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Adobe Photoshop - Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance

Written on July 29, 2021 by Matt Bach
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TL;DR: Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance in Photoshop

For most users, high-end workstation platforms like Xeon W or Threadripper Pro are not necessary for Photoshop since the Intel 11th Gen or AMD Ryzen CPUs are both cheaper and faster. There are going to be niche workflows where support for huge amounts of RAM will come into play - and higher reliability is always a good thing - but the feature set of Xeon W is largely overkill for Photoshop.

However, one important thing we did find in our testing is that if you plan on using Photoshop on a Xeon W-3300 processor, you may want to switch to the "High Performance" Windows power profile since it can give you up to a 20% increase in Photoshop performance over the default "Balanced" profile. This was enough to bring Xeon W-3300 to on par with Threadripper Pro, where otherwise they would be 15-20% behind.

Introduction

Intel has long been a staple in the world of workstation computing, but when AMD released their 3rd generation Threadripper line in late 2019 (and more recently Threadripper Pro), they took over the performance crown for a number of workflows. With the launch of the new Xeon W-3300 series, however, Intel is looking to retake its position as uncontested top dog in the workstation space.

The Intel Xeon W-3300 series of processors include a number of advantages over the previous W-3200 line, including an increase in max core count, 64 lanes of PCI-E Gen 4.0, 8 channel DDR4-3200 memory (up to 4TB max), and up to an 18% increase in IPC (instructions per clock). Threadripper Pro still has the advantage in terms of total core count (64 vs 38) and PCI-E Gen 4.0 lanes (128 vs 64), but these changes - plus a number of other improvements - should make the Xeon W-3300 series a significant upgrade over the previous generation.

If you want to read about what sets the Xeon W-3300 series apart in more detail, we recommend checking out our landing page for Intel Xeon W-3300 Processors.

Intel Xeon W-3300 Processors for Photoshop

In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new Intel Xeon W-3300 series CPUs in Photoshop compared to AMD's Threadripper Pro line. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, we also have other articles for After Effects, Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve Studio, and several other applications available on our article listing page.

One very important thing to note is that we will be performing our testing with both the default "Balanced" Windows power profile, as well as the "High Performance" profile. In the course of our testing, we discovered that the Xeon W-3300 processors can sometimes give significantly lower performance on the default Windows power profile, so we thought it was important to show results for both profiles.

We will be leading with the "Balanced" profile results as that is what most systems will likely be using by default, but since changing the power profile is extremely easy, we will look at the performance with both power profiles.

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:

Intel Xeon W-3300 Test Platform
CPU Intel Xeon W-3375 38 Core ($4,499)
Intel Xeon W-3365 32 Core ($3,699)
Intel Xeon W-3345 24 Core ($2,499)
Intel Xeon W-3335 16 Core ($1,299)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12DX i4
Motherboard Supermicro X12SPA-TF
RAM 8x DDR4-3200 16GB Reg. ECC (128GB total)
AMD Threadripper PRO 3000 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 980 Pro 2TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Ver. 2009)
Adobe Photoshop (Ver. 22.4.3)
PugetBench for Photoshop (Ver. 0.93.1)

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of July 20th, 2021

To see how well the Xeon W-3300 CPUs perform, we are primarily going to be comparing them to the AMD Threadripper Pro processors. For the test itself, we will be using our PugetBench for Photoshop V0.93.1 benchmark and Photoshop 22.4.3. This benchmark version includes the ability to upload the results to our online database, so if you want to know how your own system compares, you can download and run the benchmark yourself.

Raw Benchmark Results

While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each test, we also like to provide 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.

Photoshop Performance Analysis (Balanced Power Profile)

As noted in the introduction of this article, we found that the Xeon W-3300 series processors often gave vastly different benchmark results depending on which Windows power profile we used. But to start off, we want to look at the performance with the default "Balanced" power profile.

With this power profile, the new Xeon W-3300 CPUs don't fare particularly well against AMD Threadripper Pro. Photoshop is an application that doesn't benefit from having a higher core count CPU (in fact, more cores are often worse since they typically have lower single-threaded performance), but in most cases, AMD ends up being about 15-20% faster than the Intel CPUs.

Luckily for Intel, it is easy enough to change the Windows power profile, so let's also take a look at what the performance is like if you were to switch to the "High Performance" power profile:

Photoshop Performance Analysis (High Performance Power Profile)

Switching to the "High Performance" profile nets a significant performance improvement with the Intel Xeon W-3300 processors. It varies a small amount depending on the model, but on average the performance jumped by roughly 20% compared to the "Balanced" power profile. The AMD Threadripper Pro CPUs, on the other hand, showed virtually no performance difference when we changed the power profile.

This means that if you are willing to adjust the Windows power profile, the Intel Xeon W-3300 CPUs recover a lot of ground. Both the Intel Xeon W-3375 38 Core and the AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX 64 Core give a bit lower performance than the other models since higher core count CPUs tend to do worse in applications like Photoshop. But, for the 32 core and lower models, the Intel and AMD models all perform within the margin of error for this sort of real-world testing (~5%).

To be completely transparent, there is little demand for heavy workstation platforms like Xeon W 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.

The main thing we want to check for in testing like this is simply that there are not any performance problems - which is exactly what we happened to discover in this case with the power profile. Given how widespread the use of Photoshop is in the creative community, we feel that it is worth the time to check for these kinds of problems since that is valuable knowledge for users that use Photoshop in conjunction with "heavier" applications like Premiere Pro or DaVinci Resolve.

How well do the Intel Xeon W-3300 CPUs perform in Photoshop?

For most users, high-end workstation platforms like Xeon W or Threadripper Pro are not necessary for Photoshop since the Intel 11th Gen or AMD Ryzen CPUs are both cheaper and faster. There are going to be niche workflows where support for huge amounts of RAM will come into play - and higher reliability is always a good thing - but the feature set of Xeon W is largely overkill for Photoshop.

However, one important thing we did find in our testing is that if you plan on using Photoshop on a Xeon W-3300 processor, you may want to switch to the "High Performance" Windows power profile since it can give you up to a 20% increase in Photoshop performance over the default "Balanced" profile. This was enough to bring Xeon W-3300 to on par with Threadripper Pro, where otherwise they would be 15-20% behind.

As far as the performance for specific models goes, most of the Intel and AMD processors we tested performed about the same. The exception to this is the Xeon W-3375 38 Core and the AMD Threadripper Pro 3995WX 64 Core, which were slightly behind the other models. Often, as you get into higher core counts, lightly threaded applications like Photoshop can see a drop in performance due to a number of factors, including the fact that higher core count CPUs typically having lower per-core performance, and that when you cross the 32 core / 64 thread threshold, Windows has to create multiple logical processor groups. But for 32 cores and below, you will be hard-pressed to notice a difference between any of the CPUs we tested in Photoshop.

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 Ryzen Threadripper PRO 3000 Series, 3955WX, 3975WX, 3995WX, Photoshop, W-3375, W-3365, W-3345, W-3335, Intel Xeon W-3300
Alan

Hi from New Zealand! Thank you for the article, it helped a lot. I have one question, what about stability? I’m doing images at present in Photoshop that are 16bit, 1-3Gb flattened and up to 16Gb while processing and are 1.2x1.8m or larger sometimes (You can see them in the Orphism page on my www.AlanThompson.co.Nz) I do batch processing using actions, some with 100+ steps so it’s quite a process and takes time. At present I’m using a MacPro 3,1 with an 3xSSD Raid 0, 32Gb Ram & a Nividia GTX680 graphics card running OSX Catalina. It is old, not hugely fast, but with the Xeon CPUs is rock solid. I can leave it days at times with out having to check if it or Photoshop has crashed. But it’s on its last legs, so I may look at a Win system, are Xeon’s stable? Ultimate speed is not requirement

Posted on 2021-09-04 05:39:43