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After Effects CC 2018 CPU Comparison: AMD Ryzen 2 vs Intel 8th Gen

Written on April 19, 2018 by Matt Bach


AMD has just released their second generation Ryzen CPUs and while most hardware review sites focus on gaming or general system performance, today we will be looking at how they perform in Adobe After Effects CC 2018. Not only will we be comparing them to the previous generation Ryzen CPUs, but we will also see how they hold up to similarly priced Intel 8th Gen processors.

While After Effects is primarily a single or lightly threaded application, the recent integration with Cinema4D heavily favors higher core counts. Because of this, we will be segregating our testing between "standard" projects and those that utilize the Cinema 4D Renderer.

If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark result/analysis sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion section.

Test Setup

Listed below are the test platforms and CPUs we will be using in our testing:

One thing we want to point out that while our test platforms are using a single hard drive, that is not actually what we would typically recommend to our customers. A two or more drive configuration - with the cache files on a secondary drive - can make a big impact when scrubbing through complex projects. But since we will not be testing anything that would benefit from multiple drives in this article, we opted to use a single drive to cut down on the number of hardware variables.

In order to accurately benchmark the different CPUs, we used a range of After Effects projects that are mostly publicly available for download. We did this so that anyone could replicate our testing on their own computer to see just how much of a performance boost they could expect if they upgraded to one of these CPUs.

The projects we used (along with their source) are:

Project Name Comp Name Tested Frames Notes
by Rocketstock

Example Composition 0-40 (40 total frames)  
Electric FX
by Video Copilot

212-238 (26 total frames)
0-97 (97 total frames)
by EditingCorp

Main Comp 0-200 (200 total frames)  
Animated Polygon
by Video Copilot

Green Polygon 0-78 (78 total frames)  
GPU Stress
  32610-32710 (100 total frames)

4K H.264 video with:

  • Find Edges
  • Glow
  • Brightness/Contrast
  • Transform
  • Sharpen
  • Directional Blur
  • Lumetri Color
Cineware Party
by Cineversity

Party-Lite-004Full 0-169 (169 total frames)

"Video Wall" and "*.mov" layers
removed. Tested with C4D Renderer:

  • OpenGL
  • Standard (Draft)
  • Standard (Final)

RAM Preview (RAW DATA)

[Click Here] to skip ahead to analysis section

RAM Preview (Analysis)

More than almost anything else, high performance during RAM Preview is one of the most critical aspects of a productive After Effects workstation. However, with the integration of the Cinema4D rendering engine (which should be able to utilize a higher number of CPU cores), the best CPU choice will often depend on whether or not you make use of this new feature. Because of this, we will divide up our analysis between "Standard" projects and those that utilize the CPU render portion of the Cinema4D rendering engine.

Starting with the "Standard" projects, the new Ryzen CPUs are certainly faster with the Ryzen 5 2600X performing surprisingly well. Not only is it 4-5% faster than the old Ryzen 7 1800X (at less than half the cost!) it is only a hair behind the Ryzen 7 2700X. Compared to the Intel 8th Gen CPUs, however, the Ryzen CPUs simply can't keep up for this type of work. Even the inexpensive Core i3 8350K was faster than any of the new Ryzen CPUs.

The AMD Ryzen CPUs do much better if you utilize the C4D Renderer, but even for this the Intel CPUs still have a clear edge. You could make an argument for the AMD Ryzen 7 2700 since it is slightly faster and more expensive than the Intel Core i5 8600K, but the Ryzen 7 2700 was also the worst CPU we tested for standard projects. So unless waiting on C4D renders to complete is the only thing you care about, the Core i5 8600K is probably the better choice at that price point.

Final Render (RAW DATA)

[Click Here] to skip ahead to analysis section

Final Render (Analysis)

For Final Render performance, we once again decided to separate the "standard" projects and those using the Cinema4D CPU Renderer since whether or not you use that feature dramatically changes performance.

Starting with the standard projects, the relative performance between each CPU is pretty much identical to what we saw in the RAM Preview testing. This makes sense as rendering each frame into RAM is really not all that much different than rendering each from to the hard drive even if there is the addition step of encoding it to a .AVI video file. Overall for this type of project, the Intel 8th Gen CPUs are simply faster than their AMD Ryzen counterparts.

When using the Cinema4D Renderer, the AMD Ryzen CPUs did much better, but only the Ryzen 5 2600X was strictly faster than the similarly priced Intel option. For the Ryzen 7 2700 and 2700X, the Intel Core i7 8700 is faster at a similar or lower price point.


While the new second generation AMD Ryzen CPUs are certainly faster than the old Ryzen CPUs, they still can't quite keep up with their Intel counterparts in After Effects. The Ryzen 5 2600X gets pretty close, but spending a bit more on the Intel Core i5 8600K will get you a much better CPU overall and is likely well worth the small price increase. At the top end, the AMD Ryzen 7 2700 and 2700X are strictly slower than the Intel Core i7 8700 or 8700K.

What this means is that for now, the Intel 8th Gen CPUs like the Core i7 8700K are still our go-to recommendation for those looking for the best general After Effects performance.

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Tags: After Effects, Ryzen, Coffee Lake, 8th Gen, i7 8700K, i5 8600K, i3 8350K, 2700X, 2700, 2600X