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While After Effects is utilizing the GPU more and more with every update, in most situations it is the speed of your CPU that really determines how fast Ae runs. This means that even though AMD's Radeon VII is an extremely robust card with twice the VRAM as a comparably priced NVIDIA GeForce card, for most Ae users it is unlikely to give any tangible performance benefits.
However, we will readily admit that we are not perfect and that our predictions are not always correct. Because of this, the only way to know for sure how the Radeon VII will fare in After Effects is to simply put it through our benchmark process and find out.
In this article, we are going to take a look at how the AMD Radeon VII stacks up against the AMD RX Vega 64 as well as the entire NVIDIA GeForce RTX lineup – plus the Titan RTX. We also have (or will soon have) a number of articles available looking at the performance of the Radeon VII in a range of other applications that you can view by filtering our recent articles to just those about Video Cards.
If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark result sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion section.
Test Setup & Methodology
Listed below is the system we will be using in our After Effects CC 2019 testing:
|CPU||Intel Core i9 9900K|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte Z390 Designare|
|RAM||4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)|
NVIDIA Titan RTX 24GB
AMD Radeon VII 16GB
Onboard Graphics (Intel HD 630)
|Hard Drive||Samsung 960 Pro 1TB|
|Software||Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1809)
After Effects CC 2019 (Ver 16.0.1)
For the testing itself, we will be using After Effects CC 2019 (ver. 16.0.1) along with version 18.12.18 of our Puget Systems After Effects CC Benchmark which is currently available for public download. This benchmark tests RAM Preview, Rendering, and Tracking in a wide range of compositions. Full details on the benchmark are available on the benchmark download page.
While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each type of task, we also wanted to provide the individual results in case there is a specific test someone may be interested in. Feel free to skip to the next section for our analysis of these results.
Our After Effects benchmark (which is available for public download) tests a range of compositions looking at performance for RAM Preview, Final Render, and Tracking. These results all combine into a single "Overall Score" that represents the overall performance of the system in After Effects.
Unfortunately, since After Effects is largely limited by the performance of your CPU, there really isn't much to talk about. With our current benchmarking process, all the GPUs we tested were within a few percent of each other and they were all only about 20% faster than onboard video.
We plan on expanding our Ae benchmark to target the GPU more in the future, but we feel very strongly that our benchmark should represent the kind of things people do every day. It likely wouldn't be too difficult to show a greater difference between each GPU by loading up on only the effects that are GPU accelerated, but at that point it would become more of a synthetic benchmark than a real-world one. Our benchmarking priority is first and foremost to determine the real world performance of various hardware components, so we are very hesitant to start down that path.
Is the AMD Radeon VII 16GB good for After Effects?
With our current After Effects CC 2019 benchmark, we found almost no difference between any of the GPUs we tested. That means that while the AMD Radeon VII 16GB is a perfectly fine card for Ae, it really won't give you a performance boost over a Vega 64, RTX 2060, or almost any other modern GPU. The 16GB of VRAM is a nice feature, but it is also way more than After Effects needs since even 6-8GB of VRAM is going to be more than enough for the vast majority of users.
We realize that this is a very unexciting post since all the GPUs we tested were within a few percent of each other. However, half of the reason we do this testing is to make sure there are no weird performance abnormalities. The results sometimes take us by surprise, and often help us track down a driver/software issue before it becomes a problem for our customers. Our recent DaVinci Resolve testing is a good case in point as we discovered that Resolve is underperforming when using newer NVIDIA GPU drivers.
Of course, very few workflows involve just one piece of software. Because of this, we highly recommend checking out our recent Video Card articles where we look at – or will be looking at – the performance of the Radeon VII in Premiere Pro, Photoshop, DaVinci Resolve, as well as a number of other applications. Just because After Effects doesn't benefit from the Radeon VII, that doesn't mean that other applications you use every day won't either.
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