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After Effects CPU performance: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Written on November 14, 2019 by Matt Bach


AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen processors really shook up the market when they were launched back in July of 2019, often matching or beating their direct Intel equivalents. But even with how impressive they were overall, Intel managed to maintain a slight lead in After Effects with the Core i9 9900K.

However, AMD is launching one more 3rd generation Ryzen CPU that may change the performance picture - the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X. This processor features a staggering 16 CPU cores which is really starting to blur the line between "consumer" and "HEDT" (High End Desktop) processors. However, the increase in core count comes with a fairly large MSRP price of $749. For comparison, both the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12 Core and Intel Core i9 9900K 8 Core have a MSRP of $499. If you want more information on the specs of this new processor, we recommend checking out our New CPU Announcement: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X post.

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X CPU for After Effects

In this article, we want to see whether the increase in core count (and price) is worth it for Adobe After Effects. However, since Intel is launching their new Core X-10000 series processors and AMD is launching their new 3rd Gen Threadripper processors in the near future, we are only going to compare the 3950X to a handful of Intel and AMD CPUs. If you want to see how it stacks up against a wider range of Intel and AMD processors, check back in the coming weeks for articles that will include the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen, Intel Core 9th Gen, and Intel Core X-10000 series processors in a number of applications.

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 & Methodology

Listed below are the specifications of the systems we will be using for our testing:

AMD Ryzen Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3950X​​​​
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
RAM 4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
Intel 9th Gen Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 9900K
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z390 Designare
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Threadripper Test Platform
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro Series H80i v2
Motherboard Gigabyte X399 AORUS Xtreme
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
Intel X-Series Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 9960X
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12DX i4
Motherboard Gigabyte X299 Designare EX
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
Shared Hardware/Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
Hard Drive Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1903)
Adobe After Effects 2020 (version 17.0)
PugetBench V0.8 BETA for After Effects

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of November 11th, 2019

A few notes on the hardware and software used for our testing: First, we have decided to standardize on DDR4-2933 memory for the Ryzen platform. The officially supported RAM speed varies from DDR4-2666 to DDR4-3200 depending on how many sticks you are using and whether they are dual or single rank, and DDR4-2933 is right in the middle as well as being the fastest supported speed if you want to use four sticks of RAM. In fact, this is the speed we are planning on using in our Ryzen workstations once JDEC DDR4-2933 16GB sticks are available.

The second thing to note is that we are using an unreleased version of our After Effects Benchmark. This new version primarily composes of stability and usability updates, however, so the results themselves are interchangeable with the version we currently have available for download.

Benchmark Results

While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each test, we also wanted to provide the individual results. 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 total scores.

Feel free to skip to the next section for our analysis of these results if you rather get a wider view of how each CPU performs in After Effects.

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X benchmark results PugetBench V0.8 for After Effects

After Effects Benchmark Analysis

Our After Effects benchmark tests three main categories of performance: RAM preview playback, export rendering, and tracking. The results from these three categories are then combined into an overall score to give you a general idea of how each hardware configuration might perform in After Effects.

Overall, the AMD Ryzen 3950X manages to take the top spot for performance, beating out the Intel Core i9 9900K by about 3% and the Ryzen 9 3900X by 8%. This isn't a very large increase in performance considering it costs about 50% more than the 9900K or 3900X, but if you are looking for the absolute fastest CPU for After Effects, this is currently it.

If you dig into the results in more detail, you will find that this performance lead mostly comes from one area: rendering performance during export. Here, the 3950X is closer to 10% faster than the Core i9 9900K or Ryzen 9 3900X, which can be very significant for some users. In other areas like RAM preview, however, it is only on par with the Core i9 9900K.

Is the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X good for After Effects?

In terms of pure performance, the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is currently the fastest CPU available for After Effects. However, it is overall only a few percent faster than the Intel Core i9 9900K which may make it hard to justify since the cost is much higher. But if decreasing render times is one of your goals, it is a solid 10% faster than either the Core i9 9900K or Ryzen 9 3900X.

Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for After Effects. If your workflow includes other software packages, you need to consider how the processor will perform in all those applications. Currently, we have articles for Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, and a number of other applications.

In addition, both Intel and AMD have new processors coming out in the near future which may change the price to performance picture. We will be publishing more articles as these new processors launch, so be sure to keep a close eye on our list of Hardware Articles in the coming weeks.

Looking for an After Effects Workstation?

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

Configure a System!

Labs Consultation Service

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

Find Out More!
Tags: Intel 9th Gen, Intel X-series, Intel vs AMD, AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, AMD Threadripper 2nd Gen, Ryzen 9 3950X, After Effects

Hmmm... Maybe I didn’t understand something:

RAM preview Half FPS score summ
AMD 3950X - 82 vs Core i9 9900K. - 86.1

RAM preview Full FPS score summ
AMD 3950X - 30.2 vs Core i9 9900K. - 33.2

Final render FPS score summ
AMD 3950X - 29.9 vs Core i9 9900K. - 28.9

Tracking - equal.

And still AMD 3950X has a better score?

Posted on 2019-11-15 16:24:50

It looks like you are averaging the FPS of each individual test and summing that up as the score. The way we calculate the score is to basically create a sub-score for each of the tests that is the performance relative to a fixed reference system, then averaging each of those sub-scores to get the final score for that test.

If you just average the FPS results like you did, you end up favoring the tests that give a higher FPS since they end up moving the average quite a bit. It looks like the test that shifts the results in favor of the 3950X are the C4D tests, but since the performance difference is only something like 1.1FPS vs 1.7 FPS, that doesn't move the average FPS across all the tests all that much. But in terms of the performance relative to a reference system, that is 100% vs 154% in this case. So that .6FPS difference is actually a 50% increase in FPS.

I think this is the overall better way to handle calculating scores when using a standard reference than just averaging the FPS since it removes the "big number" bias. I get where you are coming from though - and if you just look at the results without the C4D rendering engine, the 9900K is about 5% faster for RAM preview overall. But at the same time, the 3950X is 24% faster when using the C4D rendering engine.

We actually used to separate out the "standard" and "C4D" scores, but with how much Adobe is pushing people towards using the C4D engine for anything 3D, I think keeping them combined like this is the best overall metric to use. It definitely doesn't apply to absolutely every After Effects user, but any sort of combined score is never going to be a perfect representation for everyone, it is always going to be more of a summary than anything else. Honestly, that is why we include the raw results for people to examine. If you never use the C4D rendering engine, you can look at the results without it. But there are also people where C4D rendering is a significant bottleneck for them, so they may want to only look at the C4D results.

That is one of the hard things about a "standardized" benchmark like this, it is impossible to make it represent anyone and everyone, so we have to make a couple judgement calls like this to try to make it as accurate as possible for the widest number of users. I definitely appreciate your feedback though, it definitely helps when we are making those judgement calls!

Posted on 2019-11-15 18:53:55

It looks like there's something wrong with the Phone Composite Project - (full res.) data. Both Intel 9960x and AMD 3950x have done exceptionally poor in that specific test. AMD 3900x is more than double the FPS while the 3950x is equal or faster in every other result.

Posted on 2019-11-16 13:18:18

Hey Pudget team,

I was wondering can we expect a test with the i9 9900KS anytime soon? Really curious to understand what is the actual difference in performance.

Posted on 2019-11-18 20:16:21

To be honest, probably not. We tend to not get too involved with limited run products like the 9900KS. We did a bit with the 8086K last year and it ended up being a pretty poor experience for our customers. If we had extra time I would want to do some performance testing even if just for curiosity's sake, but unfortunately our to-do list is a mile long and we need to focus on the things that will impact our customers first.

Posted on 2019-11-19 18:10:24

Thank you for the prompt and clear reply!

Posted on 2019-11-19 20:35:23

I have a Dream, Adobe really start optimize their apps for many cores, would be amazing seeing they using the fully potential of so many cores.

Posted on 2019-11-21 02:45:05

Let the plabt know here: https://adobe-video.uservoi...

Posted on 2019-11-23 06:32:18
Dune Haggar

god yes, a daily thing with me... illustrator is more intensive for me than most other adobe products i would love indesign, photoshop, illustrator and AE and P PRO coming to the party...

Posted on 2020-01-16 03:14:04
Dune Haggar

would you consider adding the i9 9900KS to these benchmarks? I am keen on upgrading my CPU mobo etc and wondering for my style of work if the KS would be the sweet spot or not. Adobe indesign, illustrator, photoshop, after effects, AME and possibly some blender etc

Posted on 2020-01-16 03:12:20

We pretty much skipped over the 9900KS entirely. Limited run processors like that tend to not mesh well with the way we operate as a business, so unless there is a very compelling reason, we tend to stick with normal models only.

Posted on 2020-01-16 19:59:24