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Whenever a new generation of CPUs is launched, the main question everyone wants answered is how fast they are. In the case of AMD's Ryzen, there are also a lot of questions surrounding how they compare to the processors available from Intel. For quite a while now Intel has held a dominant position in nearly every computing market, but there is a lot of hype around Ryzen due to the fact that you can get eight CPU cores for half the cost of an Intel processor of the same size.
In this article, we will be looking at how the new AMD Ryzen 7 1700X and 1800X perform in Lightroom compared to Intel's top 4, 6, 8, and 10 core CPUs.
If you want to skip over our individual benchmark results and go straight to the conclusion, feel free to jump ahead!
We also have a number of other articles looking at the performance of the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X & 1800X CPUs in other applications including:
To see how the new AMD Ryzen CPUs perform in Lightroom, we will be testing with the following hardware:
|Motherboard:||Asus PRIME X370-Pro||Asus PRIME Z270-A||Asus X99 Deluxe II|
|CPU:||AMD Ryzen 7 1700X 3.4GHz
(3.8GHz Turbo) 8 Core
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X 3.6GHz
(4.0GHz Turbo) 8 Core
|Intel Core i7 7700K 4.2GHz
(4.5GHz Max Turbo) 4 Core
|RAM:||4x DDR4-2400 16GB
|4x DDR4-2133 16GB
|4x DDR4-2400 32GB ECC Reg.
|GPU:||NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB|
|Hard Drive:||Samsung 850 Pro 512GB SATA 6Gb/s SSD|
|OS:||Windows 10 Pro 64-bit|
|Software:||Lightroom CC 2015.8|
These test configurations include three different platforms along with six different CPU models. For Lightroom, we would typically recommend a high frequency quad core CPU (like the Core i7 7700K) since most tasks in Lightroom are not able to take advantage of a higher number of CPU cores. However, since the 1700X and 1800X have eight CPU cores, we also included in our testing a number of "High End" Core i7 CPUs from Intel with six to ten CPU cores.
The images and settings we used in our testing were:
Normally we would go through the results on a test by test basis, but this time the results were remarkably consistent across the various tests. Because of this, we are simply going to present the raw data and call out the few interesting cases:
Out of all the results, there are two two test that are worth calling out specifically. The first is exporting images where Ryzen was 10-11% faster than the Intel Core i7 7700K. However, if you are concerned about export times the "High End" Core i7 CPUs were anywhere from 40-60% faster than Ryzen so using one of those CPUs would likely be a much better choice.
The other interesting result is generating 1:1 previews. While the Core i7 7700K was 15-20% faster than the Ryzen CPUs for this task, Ryzen was actually around 5-7% faster than the "High End" Core i7 CPUs.
Since the results for exporting images was quite a bit different than the other Lightroom tasks we tested, we decided to separate our average CPU performance chart into two categories: exporting images and "everything else". From there, we normalized all our results to the AMD Ryzen 7 1700X to help give us a clear idea of how these new AMD CPUs compare to Intel's offerings.
Starting with "everything else", Ryzen compares decently against the eight and ten core CPUs coming in at just 5-10% slower. This gap widens a bit with the Core i7 6850K where Ryzen was 11-16% slower. Since the Ryzen CPUs we tested are only about $100-200 cheaper than the i7 6850K, that is a pretty large difference in performance. Even worse, if you compare Ryzen to the even more affordable Core i7 7700K, it falls further behind. Although the 7700K has half the CPU cores, it is about 25-30% faster than the Ryzen CPUs for these tasks.
Exporting images is the one area where Ryzen beats the Core i7 7700K, clocking in at about 10-11% faster. Interestingly, the difference between the two Ryzen CPUs was just a small 1% for this task so if you do decide to use Ryzen and primarily care about export times, you might as well save money and use the Ryzen 7 1700X. However, if you are concerned primarily about export times, the i7 6850K is about 40% faster at exporting images in addition to being 11-16% faster for everything else – all for only a small increase in price.
Overall, Ryzen is unfortunately not a great choice for Lightroom. If you are concerned about general Lightroom performance, the Intel Core i7 7700K is significantly faster for most tasks and only ~10% slower when exporting images. At the same time, if you do care about export times then the Intel Core i7 6850K is ~40% faster at exporting images along with being ~15% at everything else in Lightroom. Considering that Ryzen is also either slower or comparable to these two Intel CPU options in other programs like Photoshop, Intel CPUs are a pretty clear winner for photo editing and image processing workstations.
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