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Adobe Premiere Pro: Intel Core i9 12900KS Performance

Written on April 5, 2022 by Matt Bach
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TL;DR: Intel Core i9 12900KS performance in Premiere Pro

In most cases, we found that the new Intel Core i9 12900K was only a few percent faster than the i9 12900K in Premiere Pro. There were a few instances - such as 4K/8K RED playback - where the 12900KS showed a larger ~10% performance gain, but overall, the two CPUs performed within 2% of each other.

Even without a significant performance increase, however, Intel still holds a solid overall performance lead over the AMD's Ryzen line; primarily due to the inclusion of Intel Quick Sync. The AMD Ryzen 5950X can be the faster option for some RAW codecs like RED, but the massive 2-3x advantage when working with many H.264/HEVC codecs is tough to pass up.

Introduction

When Intel launched their 12th Gen Intel Core desktop processors (code-named "Alder Lake") in November of 2021, they showed a terrific performance improvement over previous generations. They also made some significant changes to how their CPUs fundamentally worked, primarily through their hybrid architecture which utilizes a mix of Performance and Efficient-cores.

Since then, the wider availability of DDR5 memory and improvements in thread scheduling have allowed them to expand their performance lead over AMD in a number of workflows. And today, Intel is launching yet another model to their 12th Intel Core lineup: the Intel Core i9 12900KS.

Intel Core i9 12900KS for Adobe Premiere Pro

On paper, the 12900KS appears to simply be a higher binned version of the Core i9 12900K. It has the same number of cores and the same cache, but the frequency is slightly higher. The exact amount depends on which kind of core is being used as well as what type of Turbo, but at most we are looking at about a 6% increase in Turbo frequency.

To handle the higher frequency, the 12900KS has a slightly higher base power draw of 150W versus the 125W of the 12900K. Interestingly, the maximum Turbo power is the same at 241W, which means that it may not actually run much hotter under heavy load situations.

The last difference is, of course, the price. With an MSRP of $739, the 12900KS is $140 more expensive than the 12900K. This is still a bit below the $799 MSRP of the AMD Ryzen 5950X, but it certainly brings Intel and AMD closer in terms of pricing at the top of their consumer CPU lines.

CPU Model Core i9 12900K Core i9 12900KS
Total Cores/Threads 16/24 16/24
Performance Cores 8 8
Efficient Cores 8 8
Max Turbo Frequency 5.2 GHz 5.5 GHz
P-Core Max Turbo Frequency 5.1 GHz 5.2 GHz
E-Core Max Turbo Frequency 3.9 GHz 4.0 GHz
Cache 30 MB 30 MB
Processor Base Power 125 W 150 W
Maximum Turbo Power 241 W 241 W
MSRP $599 $739

In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new Intel Core i9 12900KS compared to the 12900K, as well as the AMD Ryzen 5900X and 5950X. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, you can check out the summary of all our testing results - and links to more detailed analysis - in our Intel Core i9 12900KS Review Roundup article.

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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 12900KS 8+8 Core ($739)
Intel Core i9 12900K 8+8 Core ($589)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12A
Motherboard Gigabyte Z690 UD AC
RAM 2x DDR5-4800 32GB (64GB total)
AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16 Core ($799)
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12 Core ($549)
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
Hard Drive Samsung 980 Pro 2TB
Software Windows 11 Pro 64-bit (2009)
Adobe Premiere Pro 22.2
PugetBench for Premiere Pro

*Latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware as of March 31st, 2022

In order to see how the new Intel Core i9 12900KS performs in Premiere Pro, we will be comparing it to the Core i9 12900K, AMD Ryzen 5900X, and AMD Ryzen 5950X. For the test itself, we will be using our PugetBench for Premiere Pro benchmark and the latest 22.2 version of Premiere Pro. Our 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.

Due to the wider availability of DDR5 RAM, all our testing is now using DDR5 on any platform that supports it (currently just Intel Z690). We try to stay within spec for memory speed whenever possible, which is why we are using 2x32GB of DDR5-4800 RAM on the Intel platform. While the move from DDR4 to DDR5 can improve performance by a decent margin, the speed of the RAM doesn't make a big difference in most content creation applications. If you want to read more about the impact of DDR5 RAM speed, we recommend checking out our Impact of DDR5 Speed on Content Creation Performance article.

One thing to note is that we had to use a different motherboard for this testing than what we used for our other Core i9 12900KS articles. For whatever reason, we saw extremely low live playback results for a number of our tests with the i9 12900KS on the Asus ProArt Z690-Creator WiFi motherboard. The i9 12900K worked just fine, so we believe it to be an early-release BIOS issue with the 12900KS. Because of this, we switched to the Gigabyte Z690 UD AC, which did not show any of the performance issues. We have reported the problem to Asus, and expect that the problem we saw with the Asus board will be fixed in an upcoming BIOS update.

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.

  • Intel Core i9 12900KS Premiere Pro Benchmark Raw Results
  • Intel Core i9 12900KS Premiere Pro Benchmark Raw Scores

Premiere Pro Overall Performance Analysis

  • Intel Core i9 12900KS Premiere Pro Benchmark Overall Score
  • Intel Core i9 12900KS Premiere Pro Benchmark Live Playback Score
  • Intel Core i9 12900KS Premiere Pro Benchmark Export Score
  • Intel Core i9 12900KS Premiere Pro Benchmark Effects Score

Premiere Pro is an interesting application to look at for consumer CPUs because Intel often holds an inherent advantage due to their inclusion of a technology called Quick Sync. Premiere Pro is able to massive improve performance for a number of common (but very difficult to process) codecs like H.264 and HEVC through what is called "hardware decoding" via either an NVIDIA/AMD GPU, or Intel Quick Sync.

However, while modern NVIDIA and AMD GPUs can be used for hardware decoding, the latest implementation of Intel Quick Sync on the 12th Gen Intel Core CPUs is in many cases significantly faster. That means that even though the AMD CPUs we tested are able to utilize the NVIDIA RTX 3080 to help decode the H.264 and HEVC media during those tests, the Intel CPUs with Quick Sync are always going to have a solid advantage for those codecs. The only caveat is that not all formats of H.264 and HEVC have hardware decoding support. We recommend checking out our What H.264 and H.265 Hardware Decoding is Supported in Premiere Pro? post to see which flavors have NVIDIA, AMD, or Quick Sync support in Premiere Pro.

This is the main reason why the Intel Core i9 12900K and 12900KS have a 35% higher score in our benchmark compared to the AMD Ryzen CPUs. If you look at the individual test results, you will find that Intel and AMD are more neck-in-neck for things like ProRes, and the Ryzen 5950X actually pulls ahead by ~10% for some of the RED tests. However, for the H.264 and HEVC tests, Intel can be 2-3x faster than AMD. This definitely means that our benchmark favors Intel CPUs with Quick Sync, but given how common it is to work with H.264/HEVC media even in high-end workflows, we feel that this is a very real advantage, and not an artificial favoring of one brand over another.

As for the Core i9 12900KS itself, we didn't find much of a performance advantage over the i9 12900K. Overall, the difference was only 2%, which is well within the margin of error for real world testing like this. We did see a larger~10% performance gain in a few areas like the 4K/8K RED live playback, but overall, the difference in performance was minimal.

Is the Intel Core i9 12900KS Processor Good for Premiere Pro?

In most cases, we found that the new Intel Core i9 12900K was only a few percent faster than the i9 12900K in Premiere Pro. There were a few instances - such as 4K/8K RED playback - where the 12900KS showed a larger ~10% performance gain, but overall, the two CPUs performed within 2% of each other.

Even without a significant performance increase, however, Intel still holds a solid overall performance lead over the AMD's Ryzen line; primarily due to the inclusion of Intel Quick Sync. The AMD Ryzen 5950X can be the faster option for some RAW codecs like RED, but the massive 2-3x advantage when working with many H.264/HEVC codecs is tough to pass up.

In summary, if you are looking for a CPU in the sub-$1000 range, we would currently recommend sticking with the Intel Core i9 12900K. The higher $739 MSRP of the 12900KS is still less than the $799 MSRP of the AMD Ryzen 5950X, but it is hard to justify the higher cost compared to the 12900KS for just a few percent higher performance.

Going into our testing, we were a bit worried about the higher base power draw of the 12900KS, but throughout our testing, we didn't notice any issues. Our standard 120mm Noctua heatsink was still more than enough to keep this CPU cool, and there was no noticeable increase in fan noise.

Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for After Effects and that performance will vary widely in different applications. If your workflow includes other software packages (we have similar articles for a number of other applications that can be found in our Intel Core i9 12900KS Review Roundup article), 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.

Computer System

Looking for a Premiere Pro Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of powerful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

Configure a System!

Labs technician talking with customer

Labs Consultation Service

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

Find Out More!
Tags: AMD Ryzen 5000-series, 5900X, 5950X, Intel 12th Gen, i9 12900K, 12900KS, Premiere Pro
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