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Adobe Premiere Pro - 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 Premiere Pro

Overall, we are extremely impressed with how the AMD Threadripper Pro processors perform in Premiere Pro. Even though straight performance is not the primary draw of a workstation platform like this, the Threadripper Pro CPUs we tested were on average around 8-10% faster than their Threadripper and Ryzen counterparts. Even more important is that most of this performance gain was for live playback, which is often far more important than exporting for end users.

Compared to Intel's Xeon W-3200 line, the high performance of Threadripper Pro makes Xeon almost disappear from consideration. From a platform level, Threadripper Pro has higher memory capacity (unless you invest in the very expensive Xeon W "M" models), more memory channels, and twice the number of PCI-E lanes - which are also Gen4 to boot. In addition to all of this, Threadripper Pro is also massively faster in Premiere Pro. It is hard to compare Threadripper Pro to Intel Xeon W-3200 since the pricing doesn't line up well, but in general, you can expect about 35% higher performance in Premiere Pro with Threadripper Pro over the Intel Xeon W-3200 series.

Keep in mind that this is only talking about performance. Threadripper Pro also has all the additional workstation features like support for up to 2TB of RAM and 128 lanes of PCIe Gen4. While those two features may not be particularly important for Premiere Pro by itself, other considerations like the higher reliability of workstation products are something that is universally worthwhile no matter what your workflow is.

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 Premiere Pro

In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new AMD Threadripper Pro CPUs in Premiere Pro 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, After Effects, Photoshop, 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 Premiere Pro (Ver. 14.8)
PugetBench for Premiere Pro (Ver. 0.95)

*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 Premiere Pro Benchmark Results

Overall Premiere Pro 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 reality, Threadripper Pro does even better in Premiere Pro than we expected. Premiere Pro isn't known for being memory bound, but both the 3995WX 64 Core and 3975WX 32 Core overall scored about 8-10% higher than the 3990X 64 Core and 3970X 32 Core respectively. Interestingly, while we normally see CPU scaling being a bigger factor for exporting, most of this performance gain was actually for live playback.

Part of this may be due to the fact that we vastly increased the difficulty of our live playback tests in the latest version of our PugetBench for Premiere Pro benchmark, but either way, Threadripper Pro often scored significantly better for live playback than Threadripper. The tests with 4K RED and 4K ProRes 422 media didn't show much of an advantage, but for the 4K H.264, 8K H.265, and 8K RED media, we saw on average a 30-40% increase in playback FPS compared to the normal Threadripper processors. This may not be a big factor when playing a single clip at normal speed, but for J/K/L editing where you often play at 2-4x speed, this can be a very big deal.

In fact, this higher live playback performance even allows the Threadripper Pro 3955WX 16 Core to match the live playback score of the slightly more expensive Threadripper 3960X 24 Core. The 3955WX does lag behind a bit in the 4K RED and ProRes live playback tests but makes up the difference with higher performance with the other codecs. So, while the 3955WX may not be across the board faster than the 3960X, this is overall a very impressive showing considering it is less expensive than the 3960X, while keeping all the Threadripper Pro features such as the higher RAM and PCIe capabilities.

Compared to the Intel Xeon W-3200 CPUs we had available for testing, Threadripper Pro doesn't even allow it to be a contest. It is hard to do a direct comparison since the pricing for Threadripper Pro and Xeon W does not line up very well, but comparing the Threadripper Pro 3975WX ($2,749) to the slightly more expensive Intel Xeon W-3265 ($3,349), the TR Pro 3975WX is a massive 37% faster overall. No matter how you slice it, Threadripper Pro is going to be significantly faster than the Intel Xeon W-3200 series processors in Premiere Pro.

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

Overall, we are extremely impressed with how the AMD Threadripper Pro processors perform in Premiere Pro. Even though straight performance is not the primary draw of a workstation platform like this, the Threadripper Pro CPUs we tested were on average around 8-10% faster than their Threadripper and Ryzen counterparts. Even more important is that most of this performance gain was for live playback, which is often far more important than exporting for end users.

Keep in mind that this is only talking about performance. Threadripper Pro also has all the additional workstation features like support for up to 2TB of RAM and 128 lanes of PCIe Gen4. While those two features may not be particularly important for Premiere Pro by itself, other considerations like the higher reliability of workstation products are something that is universally worthwhile no matter what your workflow is.

Compared to Intel's Xeon W-3200 line, the high performance of Threadripper Pro makes Xeon almost disappear from consideration. From a platform level, Threadripper Pro has higher memory capacity (unless you invest in the very expensive Xeon W "M" models), more memory channels, and twice the number of PCI-E lanes - which are also Gen4 to boot. In addition to all of this, Threadripper Pro is also massively faster in Premiere Pro. It is hard to compare Threadripper Pro to Intel Xeon W-3200 since the pricing doesn't line up well, but in general, you can expect about 35% higher performance in Premiere Pro with Threadripper Pro over the Intel Xeon W-3200 series.

Really, the only downside to Threadripper Pro is the price, but with these CPUs, even the cost is very reasonable for what you get. Motherboards will likely be more expensive as well, but for the CPUs themselves, you are only looking at a price premium of about $24 per core over Threadripper. Since there are so many cores, that can still be up to a $1,500 price bump with the 64 core model, but in exchange for the higher performance and all the other benefits, Threadripper Pro is a solid investment.

Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for Premiere Pro and that performance will vary widely in different applications. If your workflow includes other software packages (we have similar articles for DaVinci Resolve Studio, After Effects, Photoshop, 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 Premiere Pro 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, Premiere Pro
Luca Pupulin

Great review as usual,Matt!
honestly I didn't expect the Threadripper Pro performed better than non-Pro version, due to lower maximum clock speed... pretty interesting!
Just a question... is there any reason why you didn't use a PCIe Gen4 SSD?
did you want limiting the number of variables involved, maybe?

Posted on 2021-02-23 20:59:34

We were waiting until the Samsung 980 Pro 1TB drives were available before moving everything over to Gen4 for storage. Now that they are available, we can update at any time, just haven't had a good break in all our testing to take down and re-image all the test beds. Honestly, almost none of our benchmarks are limited by storage speed, however, so it isn't a huge priority.

Posted on 2021-02-23 22:09:45
Luca Pupulin

thank you for your reply!
pretty clear...

Posted on 2021-02-23 22:17:28