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Adobe Premiere Pro - AMD Radeon RX 6800 (XT) Performance

Written on December 1, 2020 by Matt Bach
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TL;DR: AMD Radeon RX 6800 & 6800 XT performance in Premiere Pro

The new Radeon 6800 and 6800 XT show a major advancement from AMD, with performance gains of over 40% compared to the older Radeon Vega 64 and 5700 XT in certain workflows. Unfortunately, while this is a very impressive performance boost, it isn't quite enough to catch up to NVIDIA. Overall, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is 8% faster than even the Radeon RX 6800 XT, while the RTX 3080 expands that lead to 12%. This means that for most users, NVIDIA continues to be the best option for a Premiere Pro workstation.

Introduction

Recently, AMD launched their new Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT GPUs and while supply has been especially tight, we have finally managed to get our hands on a pair of cards courtesy of our friend Brian Stroh at BPS Customs. AMD has advertised very large performance gains with these cards, although gaming has been AMD's focus for the Radeon series of cards for the last few generations so we don't quite know what to expect in professional applications like Premiere Pro.

Adobe has been adding more and more GPU-accelerated effects and features over the last few years, which has made the GPU an increasingly important component in editing workstations. In the past, however, NVIDIA held a commanding performance lead over AMD, so it will be interesting to see if this continues to hold true or if the new Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT GPUs allow AMD to match or beat NVIDIA in Premiere Pro.

Premiere Pro GPU Performance Benchmark - AMD Radeon RX 6800 and 6800XT 16GB

If you want to see the full specs for the new Radeon 6800 cards, we recommend checking out AMD's product page for the Radeon RX 6800 and the Radeon RX 6800 XT. But at a glance, here are what we consider to be the most important specs:

VRAM Cores Boost Clock Power MSRP
Radeon 5700X 8GB 2,560 1.9 GHz 225W $399
Radeon Vega 64 8GB 4,096 1.55 GHz 295W $499
RTX 3070 8GB 5,888 1.70 GHz 220W $499
Radeon 6800 16GB 3,840 2.1 GHz 250W $579
Radeon 6800 XT 16GB 4,608 2.25 GHz 300W $649
RTX 3080 10GB 8,704 1.71 GHz 320W $699
RTX 3090 24GB 10,496 1.73 GHz 350W $1,499

While specs rarely line up with real-world performance, it is nice to see AMD including 16GB of VRAM on the new 6800 cards. However, this really shouldn't be necessary for Premiere Pro unless you are trying to edit 8K timelines on a budget since we typically recommend at least 10GB of VRAM for 8K editing.

From a pricing standpoint, these cards are right in between the NVIDIA RTX 3070 and 3080 - although currently, supply is so poor that you will be lucky to find a card for anywhere near the MSRP price. However, we typically use the MSRP as a baseline for price in order to rule out fluctuations due to different brands, sales, and scarcity. This means that from a performance perspective, we will be primarily looking to see if these cards are able to out-perform the RTX 3070 and whether or not they can beat the more expensive RTX 3080.

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Test Setup

Listed below is the specifications of the system we will be using for our testing:

To test each GPU, we will be using the fastest platform currently available for Premiere Pro - most notably the AMD Threadripper 3970X. Since Premiere Pro utilizes the CPU so heavily, this should minimize the impact of the processor and allow each GPU to perform at their fullest potential.

One thing we need to specifically point out is that while we are using the 4.5 version of Premiere Pro which includes GPU-based H.264/HEVC decoding, we actually saw significantly lower performance in our tests with this feature enabled. We have since determined that this is simply due to the GPU decoding being overwhelmed with some multicam setups. Tasks like scrubbing, reverse playback, etc. are all still significantly better with the GPU decoding enabled which we showed recently in our Premiere Pro GPU Decoding for H.264/HEVC media - is it faster? article. In addition, multicam performance is better with the 23.976FPS H.264/HEVC media we've tested, so this appears to be an issue only with higher framerate footage.

However, due to the rolling GPU launches from NVIDIA and AMD, we will be re-using many of the results from our
Adobe Premiere Pro - NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, 3080 & 3090 Performance article in which we disabled GPU decoding due to this issue. Our current plan is to re-do all our GPU testing with the latest version of Premiere Pro (with GPU decoding enabled) once AMD launches the Radeon RX 6900 (XT) in December (assuming we can get our hands on them before 2021).

For the testing itself, we will be using the "Standard" preset of our PugetBench for Premiere Pro benchmark. This tests a number of different codec types (H.264, ProRes 422, and RED RAW), but also includes a dedicated "Heavy GPU Effects" test that is meant to put as much load on the GPU as possible while still staying within the realm of what someone might actually do in the real world. If you wish to run our benchmark yourself, you can download the benchmark and compare your results to thousands of user-submitted results in our PugetBench database.

Raw Benchmark Results

While we are going to go through our analysis of the testing in the next section, we always like to provide the raw results for those that want to dig into the details. If there is a specific task you tend to perform in your workflow, examining the raw results is going to be much more applicable than our more general analysis.

Overall Premiere Pro Performance Analysis

In applications like Premiere Pro where the GPU is secondary to the CPU, many reviewers like to focus on extreme situations that heavily load the GPU. However, we first want to start off by looking at the overall performance we saw from our Premiere Pro benchmark with each GPU in order to show what most users would likely experience in their day-to-day work.

Looking at the overall performance, the new AMD Radeon 6800 and 6800 XT are certainly better than the less expensive Radeon RX 5700 XT that launched in 2019, but the difference even with the 6800 XT is less than 10%. That also means that AMD continues to trail behind NVIDIA, not even managing to match the previous generation RTX 2000 series cards.

Compared to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, the Radeon 6800 and 6800 XT are around 7-9% slower. And if you have a bit larger of a budget, you can get around 12% higher performance from the RTX 3080 compared to the Radeon 6800 XT.

Keep in mind that the scores shown in the charts above include quite a few tests that are heavily CPU limited. Playing or exporting ProRes footage does not utilize the GPU, and neither does our dedicated CPU Effects test. This is still a fairly good indication of what the average Premiere Pro user may experience overall, but we can dive into specific situations where a more powerful GPU should net you more significant performance gains.

Exporting to H.264 (GPU Encoding) Analysis

AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT Premiere Pro GPU Encoding performance benchmark

The chart above is not an official part of our Premiere Pro benchmark at the moment but is a calculated score from the H.264 export tests. As we showed in our recent Premiere Pro 14.2 H.264/H.265 Hardware Encoding Performance article, the amount of speedup you can see by utilizing the recently added hardware encoding feature varies greatly depending on your source media and export settings. In this case, we are exporting 4K media to UHD H.264 40mbps, which, coincidentally, is where we saw the largest performance gains.

Here, the new AMD 6800 GPUs are not all that impressive. They are ~5% faster than the Radeon 5700 XT, but even the NVIDIA RTX 3070 is a solid 30% faster than any of the AMD Radeon cards. And if you wanted to compare to the RTX 3080, NVIDIA's lead expands to over 40%.

GPU Score Analysis

Premiere Pro GPU Effects benchmark performance AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT

Our heavy GPU effects test looks at live playback and export performance with sequences that have a large number of GPU-accelerated effects including Lumetri Color, Ultra Key, Sharpen, Gaussian Blur, Basic 3D, Directional Blur, VR Digital Glitch, and VR De-Noise. Because it is designed to maximize the load on the GPU and minimize the load on the rest of the system, this should be close to the maximum possible performance difference you will ever experience between different GPUs in Premiere Pro.

In these tests, the AMD Radeon 6800 and 6800 XT do significantly better and are able to out-perform the Radeon 5700 XT by more than 40%. However, this isn't quite enough to catch NVIDIA since the RTX 3070 is both less expensive and ~5% faster than the Radeon 6800, or on par with the Radeon 6800 XT. In addition, if you have an extra $50, the NVIDIA RTX 3080 is a very solid 17% faster than the Radeon 6800 XT.

How well does the AMD Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT perform in Premiere Pro?

The new Radeon 6800 and 6800 XT are a major improvement for AMD with performance gains of over 40% compared to the older Radeon Vega 64 and 5700 XT in certain workflows. Unfortunately, while this is a very impressive performance boost, it isn't quite enough to catch up to NVIDIA. Overall, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is 8% faster than even the Radeon RX 6800 XT, while the RTX 3080 expands that lead to 12%.

If you use a number of GPU accelerated effects or want significantly faster H.264 exports, NVIDIA continues to be the best option for most users. The only exception to this is if you wanted to edit 8K media/timelines on a budget where the 16GB of VRAM on the 6800 (XT) could be useful. For those users, however, the 10GB of VRAM on the RTX 3080 should be enough, and for the extra $50 over the 6800 XT, you will also get a very healthy performance boost.

As always, keep in mind that these results are strictly for Premiere Pro. If you have performance concerns for other applications in your workflow, we highly recommend checking out our Hardware Articles (you can filter by "Video Card") for the latest information on how a range of applications perform with the new AMD Radeon 6000 series GPUs, as well as with different CPUs and other hardware.

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

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Tags: NVIDIA, NVIDIA vs AMD, AMD, Vega 64, Radeon RX 5700 XT, RTX 2060 SUPER, RTX 2070 SUPER, RTX 2080 SUPER, RTX 2080 Ti, Titan RTX, RTX 3080, RTX 3090, RTX 3070, Radeon RX 6800, Radeon RX 6800 XT, Premiere Pro

Thanks Matt. Interesting as always.

Posted on 2020-12-02 05:09:37
Hwgeek

Small question, Can SAM(Smart Access Memory) help in some pro applications or it only affects gaming?
Thanks for the great articles :-).

Posted on 2020-12-02 20:28:53

We might do some testing on that in a bit, but we are borrowing these cards and only have them for a limited time. My guess is that it won't make an appreciable difference, but we'll have to wait and see for sure once we have a bit more time with some of these cards.

Posted on 2020-12-02 20:30:11
juraj

Interlated video is still used in broadcaster in Europe. RTX cards do not support interlaced video. On my PC (export from PP or Encoder), using GTX 1080i Ti works to export h.264 interlaced video. When using RTX P4000 only progressive video works. I read that in RTX cards there is no support for interlaced video. What about Radeon RX cards? Does interlace video work?

Posted on 2020-12-03 08:42:06
Geageac Leonard

Hey Matt!
I can't wait for the test with GPU decoding, from my testing live playback on the gpu is way faster than CPU but with one caveat, Premiere pro 14.5 has to be specifically optimized for the files you use, as an example it works with all files from GH5,A7 III,Fuji XT3/4, HVEC or H.264 but defaults to CPU for HVEC or h.264 files from a7S III.
So when you test watch GPU usage as some files will default to CPU.

Posted on 2020-12-04 16:05:16
[TAO]TheseAsiansOnly

Hey, thanks for the detailed benchmarks on these graphic card. I plan on build a PC for video production. The benchmark here only shows results for base Premiere Pro. How do you think these GPU will scale with Adobe plugins like BorisFX Sapphire, Continumm and Red Giant software. All their websites says Nvidia CUDA graphics card are supported. However I'd like to know how performance would be better with a more powerful GPU.

Posted on 2020-12-16 06:04:08

Plugins is something we want to tackle more in the future, but can never seem to stay fully caught up even with the base applications. My understanding is that many of those plugins use the GPU much more than the base Premiere Pro, so a more powerful GPU should help out more. You definitely don't want to skimp on the CPU, however, so probably not worth sacrificing on the CPU side just to get a higher end GPU.

Posted on 2020-12-16 18:40:08
Zé Cotinha

I'm starting to think that Adobe's partnership with Nvidia makes Adobe boycott optimization on AMD hardware.

Posted on 2021-01-20 12:56:11
Glybirdy

Great article! Have you experienced any "Player Error" type crashes in Premiere while using AMD GPUs? It's a consistent (every 15 mins or so) crash for me and many others...official messaging from Adobe is to switch of GPU rendering which, hey thanks. Great suggestion.

Posted on 2021-06-18 13:38:27

We didn't experience that issue in our testing, but we don't use AMD GPUs in our systems right now, so we really haven't used them all that much outside of the testing for articles.

If you use reddit, you might try posting on the AMD subreddit. I know there can be driver issues with AMD cards, and I think they have a lot of workarounds and fixes.

Posted on 2021-06-18 18:31:32