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After Effects CC 2019: NVIDIA GeForce RTX Performance

Written on October 31, 2018 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

In our previous After Effects CC 2018: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 & 2080 Ti Performance article, we found that After Effects was largely unable to take advantage of the power of new NVIDIA GeForce RTX video cards. However, since that article was published a number of factors have changed that prompted us to re-do our testing:

  1. After Effects CC 2019 has launched with a number of performance improvements mentioned in the update notes
  2. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GPU is now available
  3. The Intel Core i9 9900K 8 Core CPU is now available which is 17% faster than the i7 8700K in After Effects

To be honest, we don't expect any of this to really change our conclusions, but the more things change, the more likely we are to be surprised by something we didn't expect. Since we can't be sure that we won't reach a different conclusion, it is time to update our After Effects CC GPU testing with the latest hardware and software.

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 Hardware & Methodology

Listed below is the hardware and software we will be using in our testing:

Test Hardware
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro WiFi 
CPU: Intel Core i9 9900K 8 Core
3.6GHz (5.0GHz Turbo)
RAM: 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
Hard Drive: Samsung 960 Pro 1TB M.2 PCI-E x4 NVMe SSD
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Software: After Effects CC 2019 (ver. 16.0.0)

To see how the new RTX cards perform in After Effects, we tested them against a selection of cards from NVIDIA and AMD as well as the integrated Intel UHD 630 graphics that is built into the Core i9 9900K.

In order to accurately benchmark the different systems, we used a range of After Effects projects that are mostly publicly available for download. The projects we used (along with their source) are:

Project Name Comp Name Tested Frames Notes
Electric FX
by Video Copilot

(1920x1080)
CloseCity
PlainSmoke
212-238 (26 total frames)
0-97 (97 total frames)
 
Animated Polygon
by Video Copilot

(1280x720)
Green Polygon 0-78 (78 total frames)  
GPU Stress
(3840x2160)
  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

(1920x1080)
Party-Lite-004Full

Tested with C4D Renderer:

  • OpenGL
  • Standard (Draft)
  • Standard (Final)
0-169 (169 total frames)

"Video Wall" and "*.mov" layers
removed.

Note: Our After Effects testing usually includes an additional project - Countdown by Rocketstock - that tests the Classic 3D renderer. Unfortunately, Ae CC 2019 would constantly crash with this project so we decided to drop it for this testing. It shouldn't affect the end results too much, but it does mean that you cannot directly compare the scores in this article to the scores in previous articles.

Raw Benchmark Data

Benchmark Analysis

If you look through the raw benchmark data you may notice that for some of the projects, there is no difference between the RTX 2080 Ti and the integrated Intel UHD 630 graphics found on the Core i9 9900K. In other projects, however, a dedicated GPU improves performance dramatically! Since this article is about GPU performance in After Effects, we decided to pull out some of the results that showed this improvement in order to examine them in more detail:

There are a couple things we want to point out here:

  1. This article is primarily about the NVIDIA GeForce RTX cards, but we did notice that the AMD Radeon Vega 64 had some major issues in the GPU Stress and Heatwave projects. At first we thought there was an issue and Ae was running in software mode, but we verified that we were in OpenCL mode and these results are accurate.
  2. If your project is using the GPU heavily, having a dedicated NVIDIA GPU makes a big difference. For these three projects, we saw anywhere from a 60% to 4x increase in FPS going from the Intel UHD 630 integrated graphics up to a GTX 1060.
  3. At most, we saw a 25% increase in FPS going from a GTX 1060 to a RTX 2080 Ti. For the GPU Stress and Party Lite (OpenGL) projects, however, the difference between each NVIDIA GPU was only about 1 FPS. 

Are the RTX video cards good for After Effects CC 2019?

After Effects typically relies on your CPU much more than your GPU, and it shows in how well (or not well) it is able to utilize high-end GPUs like the NVIDIA GeForce RTX series. While the RTX 2070, 2080 and 2080 Ti are certainly not bad for AE, they only score about 4% higher than a more moderate GTX 1060.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070, 2080, 2080 Ti After Effects CC 2019 Benchmark

In terms of pure performance, the GeForce RTX cards all perform roughly the same and are right in line with the other high-end NVIDIA GPUs. Keep in mind that this chart is the average across all our test projects. In one project - Heatwave - the RTX cards were closer to 20% faster than a GTX 1060 which indicates that the importance of the GPU is going to depend heavily on exactly what you are doing.

Something else to keep in mind about these RTX cards is the potential they hold for the future. The new RT and Tensor cores included in these cards could potentially have significant performance advantages for some tasks, but it all depends on when or if the After Effects developers are able to effectively make use of these new features. Given how long it has taken for GPU acceleration to make it into After Effects in the first place, our guess is that it will be quite a while before we see significant performance gains from the RT and Tensor cores, but there is really no way to know for sure.

Overall, for most users the RTX cards (or any high-end GPU for that matter) are not strictly necessary for the majority of After Effects users. However, if you already need a new high-end GPU for other applications (Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, etc.) we would recommend using one of these RTX cards if possible. Dollar for dollar they are equal or better than the previous generation, and the potential these cards offer for the future is likely worth investing in.

If you are interested in how the RTX cards perform in other applications, be sure to check out our recent Video Card articles as we have a number of other articles looking at these new GeForce RTX cards.

Tags: After Effects, GeForce, RTX, 2070, 2080, 2080 Ti, 1060, 1070, 1070 Ti, 1080, 1080Ti, Radeon, Vega