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Adobe Premiere Pro: 12th Gen Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen 5000 Series

Written on November 4, 2021 by Matt Bach
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TL;DR: 12th Gen Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Processors for Premiere Pro

Overall, the new 12th Gen Intel Core processors do extremely well in Premiere Pro, providing anywhere from a 20% to nearly 50% performance improvement over the previous 11th Gen processors. And compared to a similarly priced AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor, Intel holds anywhere from a 25-40% performance lead on average! That number drops a bit if you are restricted to DDR4 (which most users will be until DDR5 supply improves), but even without DDR5, the 12th Gen CPUs represent a major jump forward in performance for Premiere Pro.

And in fact, our Windows 11 vs Windows 10 testing found that the 12900K is actually roughly 8% slower in Windows 11. This performance drop did not happen on the AMD Ryzen CPUs, which means that Intel should be able to expand their lead even further when the Windows 11 performance issues are presumably fixed.

To put this into context, the 12th Gen CPUs are fast enough that even the Intel Core i5 12600K 6+4 Core processor was able to effectively score on par with the significantly more expensive AMD Ryzen 5950X 16 Core. And from there, the Core i7 12700K and Core i9 12900K only give you better and better performance.

Introduction

Last week, Intel announced their 12th Gen Intel Core desktop processors (code-named "Alder Lake") with the most notable feature being the new hybrid architecture which utilizes a mix of Performance and Efficient-cores. The Performance-cores (P-cores) are what you typically would think of when it comes to a CPU core, and are designed to maximize performance for heavier workloads. The Efficient-cores (E-cores), on the other hand, are intended either for tasks that can be run in parallel, or for background tasks where higher performance isn't necessary.

The benefit of this type of hybrid setup primarily comes down to the fact that the E-cores take up significantly less room on the CPU die, along with having much lower power requirements. Because of this, Intel is able to pack a higher number of total cores into their processors which should give them a nice boost to multi-threading performance.

However, the difficulty is that the system needs to be able to dynamically choose what tasks are run on each type of core. For example, it would be less than ideal if Photoshop was to run on an E-core because your web browser decided to take up all the P-cores. To account for this, Intel has also launched a technology called Thread Director, which works with the OS in order to dynamically adjust which processes are run on each core.

This new hybrid architecture should, in theory, allow the 12th Gen Intel CPUs to excel at both lightly and highly threaded tasks, but that is not the only change they made. Among various architecture improvements, the 12th Gen CPUs also have support for both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, as well as having 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0. Both DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 likely won't have much of an impact at launch since they are very new technologies that need time to evolve before we will see their full potential, but all of these improvements together should help give the 12th Gen CPUs a big boost over previous generations.

If you want to read about what sets these CPUs apart in more detail, we recommend checking out our landing page for the 12th Gen Intel Core Processors, or if you want to see performance across a range of applications, you can read our 12th Gen Intel Core CPU Review Roundup article.

12th Gen Intel Core Processors for Adobe Premiere Pro

Because of how many things have changed, we were not quite sure how these CPUs would end up performing. If everything goes as planned, the performance should be terrific, but there is a lot of new technology that could potentially cause problems if something does not work right.

In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new Intel Core i9 12900K, i7 12700K, and i5 12600K in Premiere Pro compared to a range of CPUs including the Intel 11th Gen and AMD Ryzen 5000 Series processors. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, we also have other articles for After Effects, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve, and several other applications available on our article listing page. Or, you can check out the summary of all our results in our overarching 12th Gen Intel Core CPU Review Roundup article.

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:

12th Gen Intel Core Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 12900K 8+8 Core ($589)
Intel Core i7 12700K 8+4 Core ($409)
Intel Core i5 12600K 6+4 Core ($289)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z690 UD AX DDR4
Gigabyte Z690 UD AC-Y1 DDR5
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
4x DDR5-4800 16GB (64GB total) @ 4400MHz
11th Gen Intel Core Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 11900K 8 Core ($513)
Intel Core i7 11700K 8 Core ($409)
Intel Core i5 11600K 6 Core ($272)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z490 Vision D
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16 Core ($799)
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12 Core ($549)
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8 Core ($449)
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 6 Core ($299)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
Shared Hardware & Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB
Storage Samsung 980 Pro 2TB
Software Windows 11 Pro 64-bit (22000)
Adobe Premiere Pro 22.0
PugetBench for Premiere Pro 0.95.3

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of October 27th, 2021

In order to see how the new 12th Gen Intel Core processors perform in Premiere Pro, we will be comparing them not only to the previous 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs, but also to AMD's Ryzen 5000 series. For the test itself, we will be using our PugetBench for Premiere Pro benchmark with the new 22.0 version of Premiere Pro. This benchmark 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.

As for the test platforms we will be using, there are a number of things we want to point out:

First, you will note that we are using Windows 11 rather than Windows 10. Windows 11 includes features that work closely with the Intel Thread Scheduler, which may be necessary to get the full performance possible from the 12th Gen Intel CPUs. VBS was left disabled, and all chipset and Windows updates were applied to fix a number of AMD performance issues.

Windows 11 had a rocky start with AMD CPUs and processors with more than 32 cores, but with the latest updates, we found the difference between Windows 10 and Windows 11 with these Ryzen CPUs to be negligible for Premiere Pro. We will have those results, and similar testing examining Intel 12th Gen performance on Windows 10, in an upcoming "12th Gen Intel Core - Windows 11 vs Windows 10" article.

Beyond the OS, we will be primarily using DDR4 RAM because, at least for the immediate future, DDR5 is expected to be largely unavailable. We did get in a set of Kingston DDR5-4800 16GB sticks early enough that allowed us to get some initial numbers, however, which we will include in the results. Note that while the RAM itself is rated for 4800MHz, the 12th Gen platform only officially supports that speed on motherboards that have just two physical RAM slots. In the cases where four sticks are being used, the supported RAM speed is 4400MHz, which is what the Gigabyte board we used defaulted to when we left the RAM speed on Auto.

The DDR5 RAM we are using is very much intended for stability over raw speed, and has fairly loose CL40 timings. However, we tend to be fairly conservative on RAM speed, so this is actually a good comparison to use against the DDR4-3200 CL22 RAM we are using for the rest of our tests.

Like any early launch content, keep in mind that performance is likely to change over time. Especially in this case where there is still work to be done for Windows 11, the thread scheduler, and DDR5, performance is likely to increase slightly as the technology is developed.

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 in Premiere Pro.

Overall Premiere Pro Performance Analysis

With something as significant as moving to a hybrid architecture, we would expect there to be a few kinks that have to be worked out. But, at least for Premiere Pro, it is evident that Intel has already done an extremely good job getting everything working properly.

Starting at the top, the Intel Core i9 12900K tops our charts in almost every category. With DDR4 memory, the 12900K comes in at 28% faster than the AMD Ryzen 5900X, and even beats the more expensive AMD Ryzen 5950X by a solid 21%. With DDR5, the performance increases by about 9% which makes the Core i9 12900K a massive 40% faster than the Ryzen 5900X or 31% faster than the Ryzen 5950X. This is a high enough score that it easily puts the 12900K into the mid-range Threadripper and Threadripper Pro territory in terms of overall score.

Moving a step down, the Core i7 12700K also does extremely well, managing to score above every AMD Ryzen CPU we tested. It is a large 26% faster than the comparable, but slightly more expensive, Ryzen 5800X, and even manages to sneak by the Ryzen 5950X by about 6%.

Even the Core i5 12600K is a powerhouse for Premiere Pro. Compared to the similarly priced AMD Ryzen 5600X, the 12600K comes in at an incredible 37% faster overall in Premiere Pro. In fact, that is fast enough that it is within a few percent of the AMD Ryzen 5950X (which is almost 3x more expensive), and handily out-performs the Core i9 11900K from the previous generation. While we didn't have enough time to test the i5 12600K with DDR5 memory, it is very possible you may be looking at a 50% performance bump over the Ryzen 5600X when using DDR5 with the i5 12600K.

Something we do want to mention is that in our Windows 11 vs Windows 10 testing for the 12th Gen CPUs, we actually saw about 8% lower performance with Windows 11 on the Core i9 12900K, and 12% lower on the Core i9 11900K. We did not see this on the AMD Ryzen CPUs, however, which suggests that there is currently a bug in Windows 11 that is lowering performance with the Intel CPUs. Because of this, it is very likely that Intel will see a decent performance bump in the near future - assuming whatever the issue is is patched, of course.

If one thing is clear, it is that for Premiere Pro, Intel has hit a home run with these new 12th Gen processors. However, it is worth pointing out that a significant part of it is due to the fact that they support the latest Intel Quick Sync technology, which Premiere Pro can use for hardware decoding and encoding of H.264/5 media. With the latest V22.0 version of Premiere Pro, it appears that Quick Sync makes a bigger difference than it did in the past.

Intel Quick Sync Performance Boost

In the charts above, we are pulling out the live playback scores from the 4K H.264 and 4K RED tests in order to see how the 12th Gen CPUs perform in a couple of different circumstances.

What is interesting to see is that with the H.264 media, the Intel Core processors - and the new Core i9 12900K in particular - are significantly faster than their AMD counterparts. You may not think that the CPU would make a big difference here since Premiere Pro is also able to utilize the GPU to decode this type of footage, but having Quick Sync on these Intel processors seems to give a nice boost to performance in the latest version of Premiere Pro. Because of this, the Intel 12th Gen CPUs are close to 2x, or even 3x, faster than the AMD Ryzen 5000 series.

However, for the codecs where Quick Sync is not able to be used, the results are a little bit more balanced. The second chart is looking at the live playback score for the 4K RED tests, and while Intel still holds a very solid lead at the 12600K/12700K level, the 12900K trails about 4% behind the Ryzen 5900X when using DDR4 memory. With DDR5, however, it catches back up and is right in line with the Ryzen 5900X.

While we only specifically pulled out charts for these two codecs, this seems to hold true for live playback across the board, and for exporting as well. Essentially, if the media used is a format that Premiere Pro can utilize Quick Sync for decoding, Intel has an extremely large lead. For other codecs, Intel still maintains a solid lead at the 12600K/12700K level, but the 12900K only takes a lead when using DDR5 memory.

As a side-note, people disabling onboard graphics (and thus disabling Quick Sync) is one of the primary reasons why reviews and end users sometimes see lower performance in Premiere Pro than what we show in our articles. Without understanding the ins and outs of the applications they are testing, it can be very easy to disable (or fail to enable, depending on the motherboard) features like Quick Sync that are critical for getting the best performance in Premiere Pro.

12th Gen vs 11th Gen Premiere Pro Performance

Intel Core 12th Gen vs 11th Gen in Premiere Pro

It should be obvious at this point that Intel has taken a pretty sizable lead over AMD in Premiere Pro, but we also want to compare them directly against the 11th Gen Intel CPUs to see how much Intel has improved versus their previous offerings.

Across the board, the performance gain from the 12th Gen CPUs is absolutely terrific. When using DDR4 memory, the i5 12600K and i7 12700K both are about 20% faster than the previous generation i5 11600K and i7 12700K respectively. The Core i9 12900K saw an even larger gain of 34% over the i9 11900K, although it should be pointed out that a good portion of that it due to the improved performance when working with codecs that benefit from using Intel Quick Sync. Either way, this further increases to about a 46% performance gain when we factor in using DDR5 memory, which is extremely impressive and one of the large gen-over-gen improvements in recent memory.

Are the 12th Gen Intel Core Processors Good for Premiere Pro?

Overall, the new 12th Gen Intel Core processors do extremely well in Premiere Pro, providing anywhere from a 20% to nearly 50% performance improvement over the previous 11th Gen processors. And compared to a similarly priced AMD Ryzen 5000 series processor, Intel holds anywhere from a 25-40% performance lead on average! That number drops a bit if you are restricted to DDR4 (which most users will be until DDR5 supply improves), but even without DDR5, the 12th Gen CPUs represent a major jump forward in performance for Premiere Pro.

And in fact, our Windows 11 vs Windows 10 testing found that the 12900K is actually roughly 8% slower in Windows 11. This performance drop did not happen on the AMD Ryzen CPUs, which means that Intel should be able to expand their lead even further when the Windows 11 performance issues are presumably fixed.

To put this into context, the 12th Gen CPUs are fast enough that even the Intel Core i5 12600K 6+4 Core processor was able to effectively score on par with the significantly more expensive AMD Ryzen 5950X 16 Core. And from there, the Core i7 12700K and Core i9 12900K only give you better and better performance.

Even more impressive is that for LongGOP codecs like H.264 and HEVC (which are easily the most commonly used codecs at this budget level), the 12th Gen processors take an even larger lead. As long as Premiere Pro is able to use Intel Quick Sync to decode the footage, we found that performance can be as much as 2-3x better than a similarly priced AMD CPU. The caveat here is that Premiere Pro only has hardware support for a limited number of H.264/5 formats, so you will want to make sure the footage you are working with supports hardware decoding in Premiere Pro. We should have our "What H.264/H.265 Hardware Decoding is Supported in Premiere Pro?" article updated soon to include the 12th Gen CPUs for you to use as reference.

Even outside of LongGOP codecs, however, Intel wins almost across the board, allowing them to take a solid lead over AMD at the "consumer" processor level. The AMD Ryzen 5900X and 5950X still hold a slim lead over the Core i9 12900K in a handful of cases, but even then the difference is minor and almost completely disappears if you use DDR5 memory.

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 After Effects, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, and DaVinci Resolve), 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.

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Tags: AMD Ryzen 5000-series, 5600X, 5800X, 5900X, 5950X, Premiere Pro, Intel 11th Gen, i9 11900K, i7 11700K, i5 11600K, Intel 10th Gen, Intel 12th Gen, i5 12600K, i7 12700K, i9 12900K
Asaf Blasberg

Hi, the live playback score for multicam H.264 - question - do you have H.264 hardware acceleration turned on or off?
Thanks,
Asaf

Posted on 2021-11-04 14:07:45

Hardware encoding and decoding is enabled. We don't specifically set it to Intel or NVIDIA, but let Premiere Pro decide which one to use on it's own. If we were to turn hardware decoding off, AMD would fare much better for the H.264/5 tests, but that isn't at all what anyone would do in reality.

Using software encoding rather than decoding, however, could be a valid analysis since some people prefer the slightly higher quality from software encoding. We decided to standardize on keeping hardware encoding enabled since that is the most common from what we can tell.

Posted on 2021-11-04 17:12:39
Geageac Leonard

The live playback score for multicam H.264 gives Intel an unfair advantage that doesn't exist in reality, the files used for the test get some GPU decoding on intel and probably defaults to software on AMD.
I tried in the past those files and Premiere defaults to software decoding on my Amd machine.
Those h264 files don't exist in reality, if you shoot from the usual mirrorless cameras, Premiere will properly decode them on the AMD or Nvidia GPU and blow any CPU out of the water.
If you stop think a bit, the chart says that if you want to cut 4k h.264 150Mbps 8bit multicam you can't with a ryzen 5950x and RTX 3080, i do that with a 2700x and a rx480 for a few years and colleague's of mine who also shoot 4k from Sony's and Panasonic GH5 do that for years with much more modest computers than what we see here.
MATT, CHANGE THE H.264 FILES YOU USE IN YOUR TEST !

Posted on 2021-11-14 19:37:43

The H.264 and HEVC clips we are using were selected for a couple reasons:

1) They are one of the few "flavors" that have full hardware decoding support in Premiere Pro. In fact, 4:2:0 8-bit is the ONLY type of H.264 that Premiere Pro (and most hardware itself) has hardware decoding support for. That includes with Intel Quick Sync, NVIDIA NVDEC, and AMD GPU decoding. If you weren't able to use hardware decoding on your system in the past, it was probably from before GPU decoding was added to Premiere Pro. GPU decoding is relatively new, and was only added just over a year ago in version 14.5. We have an article we keep updated with what flavors have support in Pr: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Before version 14.5, only systems with Intel Quick Sync would be able to process this kind of footage well. With GPU decoding a part of the picture, however, pretty much any relatively modern PC is going to be able to utilize hardware decoding for these tests. The bitrate of 150mbps is a bit on the high side admittedly, but if we were to test something like 50mbps, nearly every system would be able to do all the live playback tests in real time, which makes it somewhat useless as a benchmark.

2) They are the most common flavors of H.264/HEVC used in the wild. They certainly aren't the only ones out there that people use, but from surveys with our customers, 4:2:0 8-bit tends to be the most common. 4:2:2 is the next most common, but definitely no where near as widely used as 4:2:0. We have considered adding a 4:2:2 test, but to be honest, because Premiere Pro doesn't have hardware decoding support, performance is going to be pretty bad no matter what system you have unless you keep the bitrate extremely low (which doesn't make sense as the reason to shoot in 4:2:2 is for the extra color quality, which would be negated if the bitrate isn't relatively high).

I would agree that Intel does have an advantage, but it definitely exists in reality and is a very real value add for using an Intel Core processor. Does that mean you need to use Intel? Absolutely not. Like you noted, you can do even multicam sequences on a relatively low-end machine - it just depends on the footage you are using. 4K 150mbps is going to be pretty tough (which is why we use it for testing), but for something like 1080p 30mbps you could probably edit on a pretty moderate system all day without too many issues.

Posted on 2021-11-15 18:37:49
Dan zMan

I just want to make sure I’m clear. Even with NVDEC enabled, and even with both systems running RTX 3080, the Intel chip pulls ahead that much with quicksync?

Premiere is able to use both NVDEC via GPU *and* quicksync via Integrated to produce these results? Or is it only using Intel integrated for h.264/hevc and then smartly switching to the RTX for other tasks?

I’m shocked that quicksync is rocketing the Intel so far past a 5950x running a 3080 - card which costs as much as the Intel chip itself. How/why?

Posted on 2021-11-04 16:09:42

We actually haven't fully figured that out ourselves quite yet. This seems to be new behavior in Premiere Pro 22.0, which was launched just over a week ago, and we've been spending most of that time deep in hardware testing in preparation for this launch. However, I can tell you that it is accurate because we thought it was a mis-report at first and had to verify it multiple times before we were satisfied.

Last time we did specific GPU decoding vs Quick Sync testing was when GPU decoding was first added to Premiere Pro back in version 14.5 and the performance between the two wasn't that much different. All our testing since then hasn't shown anything to indicate a change, but something definitely changed with Premiere Pro 22 since both the 11th and 12th Gen CPUs got a big bump. Like you said, it has to be one of two things:

1) Adobe greatly improved how well Premiere Pro can utilize Quick Sync, and is now defaulting to using it over the GPU when possible.
Or
2) Quick Sync and the GPU can work in tandem now, with each of them sharing part of the load.

We have to finish getting through all the "what" parts of performance and everything else for 12th Gen for now, but after that, hopefully we can figure out some of the "why" behind behavior like this.

Edit: I forgot to mention that if you look at the results already uploaded to our benchmark database from others, the scores without the onboard GPU being enabled (and thus no Quick Sync) are much lower than the ones with QS on. So it is definitely related to Quick Sync in some manner, and not something else with these CPUs somehow utilizing GPU decoding better or something. https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Posted on 2021-11-04 17:19:41

Was expecting something like this, but not this much! I mean the 12600K is under $300 and performing close to the $800 5950X. Very impressive Intel. Plus I thought Thread Director would mean Win 11 better, but not in your tests.

Looking at the numbers for exports, it appears that the Intel chips pull away particularly when there's hardward accelerated decoding to be had as well as encoding (H.264 and H.265 source clips). So I wonder if it's something like Quicksync handles the decoding & NVENC the encoding to get that boost?

Posted on 2021-11-04 18:01:45

Yea, Quick Sync makes a massive difference. Check out that "Intel Quick Sync Performance Boost" section - we pulled out the live playback results for the H.264 test vs RED. When Quick Sync is able to be used, Intel (and 12th Gen in particular) gets a huge boost. This seems to be something new in Premiere Pro 22.0 - previous versions didn't see nearly as much of a benefit. We have to do some more digging, but maybe Premiere Pro is able to use Quick Sync and GPU decoding in tandem now?

For codecs without hardware decoding support, Intel does well, but AMD makes up a lot of ground. The 12600K is still on par with the Ryzen 5800X, however, so still a big win for Intel at the i5/i7 level. At the i9 level, AMD takes a slim lead unless you can utilize DDR5.

Posted on 2021-11-04 18:48:31
Mark Johnson

Matt, does the CPU's Quick Sync work with H.264 10-bit? I see a lot of data on 8-bit, but many cameras today are outputting 10-bit files too, esp for folks shooting in log.

Posted on 2021-11-06 16:27:15

We have a article we keep updated for what "flavors" of H.264 and HEVC that have both hardware support, and software support in Premiere Pro: https://www.pugetsystems.co... . 12th Gen isn't on there yet, but it shouldn't be any different than Quick Sync from the 11th Gen CPUs.

Resolve actually has way more hardware decoding support (https://www.pugetsystems.co..., but neither have support for 10-bit H.264. 4:2:0 8-bit is the only flavor of H.264 that has decoding support on a hardware level from any device I am aware of, so there isn't anything Adobe (or Blackmagic) can do to add support for other flavors. I also highly doubt we will ever see Intel/NVIDIA/AMD add more hardware support for H.264, because it seems like they view it as a legacy codec that has been replaced by HEVC. Personally, I don't agree with that mindset, but that is the impression I get.

With many cameras, you can switch to using H.265/HEVC, however, and 10-bit HEVC does have hardware decoding support. As of the latest version of Premiere Pro, both 4:2:0 and 4:2:2 are supported with 11th Gen and newer Quick Sync, or Resolve supports pretty much every flavor of HEVC you could want to use. So if that is an option with your camera, switching to HEVC can get you better quality per bitrate, as well as much faster editing and processing. Pretty much a win-win all the way around.

Posted on 2021-11-08 17:25:15