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Adobe Photoshop - AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3000 Series CPU Performance

Written on February 19, 2021 by Matt Bach
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TL;DR: AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3000 Series performance in Photoshop

For most users, high-end platforms like Threadripper Pro or even Threadripper (non-Pro) are not necessary for Photoshop since AMD's Ryzen CPUs are both cheaper and faster. There are going to be niche workflows where support for 2TB of RAM will come into play - and higher reliability is always a good thing - but the feature set of Threadripper Pro is largely overkill for Photoshop.

However, if Photoshop is only part of your workflow and you also use Premiere Pro, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, or other applications where Threadripper Pro can make a significant difference, our testing confirmed that there is absolutely no performance penalty in Photoshop when using Threadripper Pro instead of Threadripper.

This isn't always the case when it comes to workstation and server-class hardware like this, which means that while this article is somewhat boring, this testing itself is very important to do. Photoshop is one of the most common applications used in the creative community, and if Threadripper Pro happened to be significantly slower in Photoshop, that is extremely valuable knowledge to have.

Introduction

Over the last four years, AMD has been pushing the boundaries of CPU performance - steadily increasing core count and improving per-core performance with their Ryzen and Threadripper lines of processors. In addition to these mainstream areas, they have also been competing with Intel in the server world with their EPYC line.

With the launch of Threadripper Pro, AMD is now also breaking into the "workstation" space. For workstation products, straight CPU performance is not typically the most significant factor, but rather it is things like memory and PCIe capability that sets it apart from a consumer or enthusiast CPU. And in these areas, in particular, Threadripper Pro has a number of advantages over the normal Threadripper CPUs including eight-channel memory support (which maxes out at 2TB of total RAM) and 128 lanes of PCIe Gen4. Workstation products like this are also typically more reliable and include manageability features that can be important for some users.

If you want to read about what sets Threadripper Pro apart in more detail, we recommend checking out our landing page for Threadripper Pro.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3000 Series for Photoshop

In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new AMD Threadripper Pro CPUs in Photoshop compared to a range of CPUs including the AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen and Intel Xeon-W lines, as well as the AMD Ryzen 5950X. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, we also have other articles for DaVinci Resolve Studio, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and several other applications available on our article listing page.

If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion.

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Test Setup

Listed below are the specifications of the systems we will be using for our testing:

AMD Ryzen Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16 Core ($799)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
Intel Xeon W Test Platform
CPU Intel Xeon W-3265 24 Core ($3,349)
Intel Xeon W-3245 16 Core ($1,999)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12DX i4
Motherboard Asus Pro WS C621-64L SAGE-10G Series
RAM 6x DDR4-3200 16GB Reg. ECC (96GB total)
AMD Threadripper 3000 Series Platform
CPU AMD TR 3990X 64 Core ($3,990)
AMD TR 3970X 32 Core ($1,999)
AMD TR 3960X 24 Core ($1,399)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3
Motherboard Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS PRO WIFI
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Threadripper PRO 3000 Series Test Platform
CPU AMD TR Pro 3995WX 64 Core ($5,489)
AMD TR Pro 3975WX 32 Core ($2,749)
AMD TR Pro 3955WX 16 Core ($1,149)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3
Motherboard Asus Pro WS WRX80E-SAGE SE WIFI
RAM 8x DDR4-3200 16GB Reg. ECC (128GB total)
Shared PC Hardware/Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB
Hard Drive Samsung 970 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Ver. 2009)
Adobe Photoshop (Ver. 22.1.1)
PugetBench for Photoshop (Ver. 0.93)

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of Feb 1st, 2021

To see how well the Threadripper Pro CPUs perform, we are primarily going to be comparing them to the AMD Threadripper (non-Pro) processors. However, we will also be including the AMD Ryzen 5950X 16 Core CPU (to act as a core-to-core comparison for the Threadripper Pro 3955WX 16 Core CPU) as well as two of Intel's Xeon-W processors to see how AMD compares to Intel's workstation CPUs. There is a higher-end processor that Intel makes (the Xeon W-3275), but we, unfortunately, did not have access to one at the time of this testing. But as you will see throughout this article, that isn't a big deal because the Xeon W CPUs do not fare particularly well versus Threadripper Pro.

While most of the specs are as similar as we can make them across each test platform, the one thing we did vary was the number of RAM sticks and whether they were Reg. ECC or not. Essentially, we used Reg. ECC when supported by the platform (Xeon W and Threadripper Pro), and matched the number of sticks to the number of memory channels supported by the CPU and motherboard. This meant using 8 sticks for Threadripper Pro (8 channel), 6 sticks for Xeon W (6 channel), and 4 sticks for Threadripper (quad channel). The only exception to this rule is the AMD Ryzen platform where we used 4 sticks even though it is only dual channel.

Raw Benchmark Results

While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each test, we also like to provide the individual results for you to examine. If there is a specific task that is a hindrance to your workflow, examining the raw results for that task is going to be much more applicable than the scores that our benchmark calculated.

Feel free to skip to the next sections for our analysis of these results to get a wider view of how each configuration performs.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3000 Series Photoshop Benchmark Results

Overall Photoshop Performance Analysis

The new Threadripper Pro 3000 series is very interesting to test since the processors themselves have slightly lower maximum boost clocks compared to Threadripper (non-pro), but feature twice the number of memory channels. These two factors may simply cancel each other out, or one can end up being more important depending on the application.

In the case of Photoshop, the net result is that Threadripper Pro is almost exactly the same as Threadripper in terms of performance. A little faster in some tests, a little slower in others, but overall within the margin of error for real-world testing like this. This means that while Threadripper Pro performs just fine in Photoshop, since a good portion of the application is single-threaded, these CPUs are not going to be as fast as the latest AMD Ryzen CPUs. They will, however, still be a decent amount faster than Intel's Xeon W-3200 processors.

To be completely transparent, there is little demand for higher-end platforms like Threadripper or Threadripper Pro for Photoshop. In most cases, it isn't that intensive of an application, and even in workflows where higher performance is necessary, spending more money on a CPU with these kinds of core counts simply isn't going to net you a return on your investment. There is some argument for using Threadripper Pro as it, in theory, should be a bit more reliable long-term, but with a new product like this, it is impossible to know exactly how much better the reliability will be.

The main thing we want to check for in testing like this is simply that there are not any performance problems with Threadripper Pro. We didn't anticipate any issues, but given how widespread the use of Photoshop is in the creative community, we feel that it is worth the time to check. If we happened to find that Threadripper Pro was somehow significantly slower in Photoshop than Threadripper, that is valuable knowledge for users that use Photoshop in conjunction with "heavier" applications like Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve.

How well do the AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro CPUs perform in Photoshop?

For most users, high-end platforms like Threadripper Pro or even Threadripper (non-Pro) are not necessary for Photoshop since AMD's Ryzen CPUs are both cheaper and faster. There are going to be niche workflows where support for 2TB of RAM will come into play - and higher reliability is always a good thing - but the feature set of Threadripper Pro is largely overkill for Photoshop.

However, if Photoshop is only part of your workflow and you also use Premiere Pro, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, or other applications where Threadripper Pro can make a significant difference, our testing confirmed that there is absolutely no performance penalty in Photoshop when using Threadripper Pro instead of Threadripper.

This isn't always the case when it comes to workstation and server-class hardware like this, which means that while this article is somewhat boring, this testing itself is very important to do. Photoshop is one of the most common applications used in the creative community, and if Threadripper Pro happened to be significantly slower in Photoshop, that is extremely valuable knowledge to have.

Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for Photoshop and that performance will vary widely in different applications. If your workflow includes other software packages (we have similar articles for DaVinci Resolve Studio, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and more), you need to consider how the system will perform in those applications as well. Be sure to check our list of Hardware Articles to keep up to date on how all of these software packages - and more - perform with the latest CPUs.

Looking for a Photoshop Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of poweful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

Configure a System!

Labs Consultation Service

Our Labs team is available to provide in-depth hardware recommendations based on your workflow.

Find Out More!
Tags: AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen, AMD Ryzen 5000-series, 5950X, AMD Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3000 Series, 3960X, 3970X, Threadripper 3990X, 3955WX, 3975WX, 3995WX, W-3245, W-3265, Photoshop