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Adobe Premiere Pro - AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT Performance

Written on January 5, 2021 by Matt Bach
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TL;DR: AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB performance in Premiere Pro

While the AMD Radeon 6000 series cards are a major improvement over the previous generation, NVIDIA simply has too large of a lead for AMD to be able to catch up. In addition, there isn't much of a performance difference between the $579 Radeon 6800 and the $999 Radeon 6900 XT in Premiere Pro as the 6900 XT scored at most just 7% higher than the 6800. All of this combines to make the Radeon 6900 XT a fairly lackluster option for Premiere Pro. In the GPU portion of our benchmark, the Radeon 6900 XT is only able to match the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 (even though the RTX 3070 is almost exactly half the cost) and falls behind the RTX 3080 by about 12%.

Introduction

For the last part of 2020, both NVIDIA and AMD have been slowly releasing a number of new GPUs. One of the most recent was the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB which officially launched on December 8th, but due to extremely tight supply, we have not been able to get our hands on one to test until just recently. In fact, we still have not been able to purchase a card ourselves, but our friends at Linus Media Group were able to loan us a card so we could perform our testing.

While gaming is almost always a major focus during these GPU launches, professional applications like Premiere Pro are becoming more and more important. In fact, if you view the product page for the 6900 XT, you will note that they are starting to include Content Creation performance from benchmarks like our very own "PugetBench for Premiere Pro"!

Premiere Pro GPU Performance Benchmark - AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB

If you want to see the full specs for the latest GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD, we recommend checking out the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 Series and AMD Radeon RX Graphics Cards product pages. 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
RTX 3060 Ti 8GB 4,864 1.67 GHz 200W $399
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
Radeon 6900 XT 16GB 5,120 2.25 GHz 300W $999
RTX 3090 24GB 10,496 1.73 GHz 350W $1,499

While specs rarely line up with real-world performance, the biggest thing to note is that the AMD Radeon 6900 XT 16GB is at the top of the product stack from AMD and has an MSRP that is $300 higher than the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB, or $500 lower than the GeForce RTX 3090 24GB. Based on price alone, this means that we (hopefully) will see better performance from the 6900 XT than the RTX 3080, although there are certainly other factors to consider such as the larger VRAM capacity.

Note that the current supply is so poor that you will be lucky to find many of these cards for anywhere near the MSRP. However, we typically use the MSRP as a baseline for price in order to rule out fluctuations due to different brands, sales, and scarcity. The actual cost you will likely need to pay for either an AMD or NVIDIA card is likely to be quite a bit different, so keep that in mind as you read this article.

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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.

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, it is interesting to see that the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB does not score much higher than either the Radeon 6800 or 6800 XT. In fact, the performance is only about on par with the GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or about 8% slower than the RTX 3080.

However, 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 6900 XT 16GB 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, NVIDIA tends to have a solid performance advantage, which results in even the lowest-end NVIDIA GPU we tested (the RTX 3060 Ti) out-performing the Radeon 6900 XT by a solid 15%. The performance difference is even larger if you compare it to the RTX 3080 which is just over 25% faster than the Radeon 6900 XT when exporting to H.264.

GPU Score Analysis

Premiere Pro GPU Effects benchmark performance AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT 16GB

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 Radeon 6900 XT does better than before, although it still only manages to sneak past the RTX 3070 (which is half the cost) by a very slim margin. Compared to the higher-end NVIDIA GeForce cards, the RTX 3080 (which is $300 less expensive), is about 13% faster than the 6900 XT, while the RTX 3090 (which is $500 more expensive than the 6900 XT) is about 21% faster.

How well does the AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT perform in Premiere Pro?

While the AMD Radeon 6000 series cards are a major improvement over the previous generation, NVIDIA simply has too large of a lead for AMD to be able to catch up. In addition, there isn't much of a performance difference between the $579 Radeon 6800 and the $999 Radeon 6900 XT in Premiere Pro as the 6900 XT scored at most just 7% higher than the 6800. All of this combines to make the Radeon 6900 XT a fairly lackluster option for Premiere Pro. In the GPU portion of our benchmark, the Radeon 6900 XT is only able to match the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 (even though the RTX 3070 is almost exactly half the cost) and falls behind the RTX 3080 by about 12%.

If you regularly export to H.264 or HEVC codecs using hardware encoding, the performance difference is even more in NVIDIA's favor. For exporting, even the RTX 3060 Ti beats the Radeon 6900 XT by a solid 15% while the RTX 3080 is a hair over 25% faster. All this means is that no matter how you slice it, NVIDIA cards are simply faster for Premiere Pro right now.

The Radeon 6000 series do offer the advantage of being able to get 16GB of VRAM at a relatively affordable price, although that amount of VRAM is typically only going to be a factor if you are working with 8K timelines in Premiere Pro. And with those kinds of projects, the RTX 3080 10GB is usually going to a better choice since it gives you enough VRAM for 8K editing while also being significantly faster in Premiere Pro than the Radeon 6800/6900 cards.

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 latest AMD and NVIDIA GPUs, as well as with different CPUs and other hardware.

Premiere Pro Workstations

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Tags: NVIDIA, NVIDIA vs AMD, AMD, Radeon RX 5700 XT, RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 3080, RTX 3090, RTX 3070, Radeon RX 6800, Radeon RX 6800 XT, Premiere Pro, RTX 3060 Ti, Radeon RX 6900 XT
Hans Reutter

I'm curious: how scalable are these results to Vegas Pro? Any insights on this? Thanks!

Posted on 2021-01-06 05:51:48
Geageac Leonard

I used to edit in sony vegas pro and it favored Opencl/AMD/Intel over Cuda/Nvidia.
I switched to premiere pro 3 years ago but saw a benchmark on gamer nexus and now Magix Vegas Pro still favors Amd more than Nvidia, it's from 2019 but i don't think much has changed
https://youtu.be/2JmWrO2bcs...
Hey Matt, again i have to stress this, can Nvidia cards get a performance boost/fix for the h.264 files ? it's all good for Nvidia cards with RED files and Prores but except for your clients who maybe do high end projects most people edit 8 bit h.264, can it be it's a bug that can be fixed or it's just a hardware limitation and that's it ?

Posted on 2021-01-06 11:17:48
bejar

thanks http://ty.area2021.com/NqVW

Posted on 2021-01-06 11:27:44
Indrajit Prasad

thanks

Posted on 2021-01-06 11:27:48
JOHNNY D STALLINGS

I advice!

Posted on 2021-01-06 11:27:49

We don't do much with Vegas (yet), but I would trust Gamers Nexus on this. Only caution I would give is that in early 2019, we saw pretty good parity between AMD and NVIDIA in Resolve, but later in the year, NVIDIA took a decent lead and it has seemed to be expanding since then. I can't tell you if that is a Resolve only thing, or if it might apply to Vegas as well though, so unfortunately that probably muddies the waters more than helps. Personally though, I would be surprised if AMD still has the lead in Vegas, but that is just my gut feeling that isn't backed up by any specific data.

Geageac, what bug are you talking about for NVIDIA cards with H.264 files? If you mean how AMD cards do better with multicam, who knows. We have a new benchmark update coming up that will help us gauge GPU decoding performance in general better, but it is impossible for us to say if AMD's lead for multicam is a NVIDIA bug, Pr bug, or simply how it is.

Posted on 2021-01-06 19:08:56
Geageac Leonard

Thank you for the hard work.
Eventually i am going to upgrade my gpu and i really wanted Nvidia this time, most plugins work better with cuda than opencl but that damn multicam test holds me back.
Now that Premiere pro decodes on the gpu timeline playback is way smoother than could ever be on the cpu, especially going reverse on timeline and working with long gop files from DJI drones, i always struggled to make a cut a few milliseconds back and eventually used mouse pointer.
I hope Nvidia can resolve this in some way because very few people have or use red cameras or shoot prores, the stars of somewhat cheap entry into the video world are Sony A7 lineup, Canon R5,R6.....and Panasonic lineup of mirrorless, all these focus on h.264.
One way you could check is with another NLE like davinci resolve or Sony vegas.

Posted on 2021-01-07 18:42:27

From some other testing we have done, I would say that NVIDIA is better for decoding H.264 as long as you are not using multicam. Things like J/K/L editing seemed better with NVIDIA as well as stuff like seek time and scrubbing which is way harder to quantify. But I agree that the poor decoding performance with multicam is a definite bummer.

Posted on 2021-01-07 19:56:15
Arr Kay

Hi Matt. Thanks so much for your review. It's been soo helpful is trying to pick the best card for Adobe PP. I'm new to video editing so historically have never invested in a powerful GPU. Your review makes the obvious choice (for me at least) if the 3080. Nightmare getting a hold of these cards of course.

Anyway to my question. You mentioned issues with multicam. I'm about to do multicam interviews for my YT channel and wondered what the bottle neck was. Would 3090 serve me better? Bang for your buck they don't seem worth it but they seem easier to get hold of.

Thanks for your reviews. Been really helpful.

Posted on 2021-02-17 17:52:02

For multicam, the RTX 3090 won't be any better - things like that are more about the generation of the card than the raw CUDA performance since it is being done by a dedicated NVDEC chip. The issue with the GeForce cards is that they can only have a single NVDEC (NVIDIA decoding). So when you have more video streams at the same time, they are not as good as something like a Quadro RTX 4000/5000 which have multiple NVDEC. AMD Radeon GPUs do support multiple (not NVDEC, but whatever their implementation is called), so they can be better for some multicam but are worse for other aspects of Premiere Pro and we have found their reliability (both hardware and drivers) to be a good deal behind NVIDIA. Oddly enough, the Radeon Pro cards only support a singe decoding as well, so they are about on par with the GeForce cards.

One thing we have found, however, is that it highly depends on the media you are working with. High bitrate media like what we test definitely isn't as good on GeForce cards, but we have done with testing with 60-100mbps H.264/HEVC media (for this article/video: https://www.pugetsystems.co... ) and didn't notice any difference between NVIDIA and AMD GPUs. I highly recommend checking out the videos in that article to see how many streams we were getting up to with GPU decoding on a RTX 3080. Getting up to 9 multicam streams wasn't that unusual with GPU decoding.

Posted on 2021-02-17 19:05:52
Arr Kay

Thanks very much for your detailed reply Matt. I'm not sure how the channel and video editing will develop but my current 1650S drops frames and my file sizes aren't huge currently (2GB max). When I do multiple cam interviews I fear the worst.
Accordingly I decided to order a EVGA 3080 FTW3 ULTRA GAMING card as in the UK I can order that and wait in a queue for it. No doubt that will be months but better that than nothing. The 3090 isn't worth the premium from what I've read.

Thanks for your reviews.

Posted on 2021-02-17 19:29:35