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Agisoft Metashape CPU Performance: AMD Threadripper 3990X 64 Core

Written on February 7, 2020 by William George


AMD has launched a new top-end CPU, equipped with a whopping 64 cores: the Threadripper 3990X. We have tested this new chip in a wide range of applications, from video editing to photogrammetry, but this article is looking specifically at Metashape. Keep reading to find out how the 3990X stacks up against fellow Threadripper models as well as a mix of Intel and AMD's other desktop processors.

AMD Threadripper 3990X Tested in Metashape

For this article, we are primarily interested in how this new AMD Threadripper 3990X compares to other current-generation processors. The focus is on photogrammetry processing in Agisoft Metashape, using a benchmark tool we developed here at Puget Systems. More info about this utility is available in the Benchmark Details.

If you would prefer to skip over our test setup and benchmark sections, feel free to jump straight to the Conclusion.

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Test Hardware

Here are the specifications of the different platforms we used for our testing:

AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen Test Platform
CPU AMD TR 3990X ($3,990)
AMD TR 3970X ($1,999)
AMD TR 3960X ($1,399)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3
Motherboard Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Pro WiFi
RAM 4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
Intel X-10000 Series Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 10980XE ($979)
Intel Core i9 10940X ($784)
Intel Core i9 10920X ($689)
Intel Core i9 10900X ($590)​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12DX i4
Motherboard Gigabyte X299 Designare EX
RAM 4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Ryzen Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3950X ($749)
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X ($499)
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X ($399)
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 ($499)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z390 Designare
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 1909)
Agisoft Metashape Pro 1.6.1
Puget Systems Metashape Benchmark

A quick note about memory specifications: the latest CPUs from AMD and Intel support varying speeds of RAM depending on how many modules are installed. In past articles, we've sometimes tested at multiple speeds, but to help keep things more uniform going forward we are standardizing on the speed that each processor/platform supports when all memory slots are used (even if we aren't filling them completely for our testing). Along with using the same total RAM capacity, that should help to keep results fair and consistent.

Additionally, it is worth pointing out that the CPU cooler we used for testing the new TR 3990X is somewhat borderline for how much heat this processor can potentially put out. In the systems we build with this chip going forward, we will be utilizing a larger heatsink and fan to ensure maximum performance even under extended loads - but in the open-air testbeds we use here in our lab, we found that the cooler we used did not lead to throttling.​​

Benchmark Details

For benchmarking photogrammetry applications we now have four image sets that we own the rights to, covering both smaller and larger size Model and Map projects. All of these image sets are available in our public Metashape benchmarks, split up to allow quick or extended tests, which you can download and run if you want to compare your system's performance to what we measured for this article.

  • Rock Model - 36 photos at 20 megapixels each
  • School Map - 51 photos at 18 megapixels each
  • School Model - 439 photos at 18 megapixels each
  • Park Map - 792 photos at 18 megapixels each

Benchmark Results

There is a lot going on in the chart below, so before getting into it here is a reference key for the color scheme:

  • Light blue = Intel consumer CPUs (9th Gen Core series)
  • Dark blue = Intel HEDT CPUs (X series)
  • Light red = AMD consumer CPUs (Ryzen)
  • Dark red = AMD HEDT CPUs (Threadripper)
  • Dark red with glow - NEW AMD Threadripper 3990X

For those who want to dig into how each CPU performed in the various processing steps within Metashape, here is a full results table:

Metashape 1.6.1 Processor Performance Table

Click image to expand for better readability


Unfortunately for the 3990X, Metashape favors clock speed and appears to effectively utilize only a moderate amount of cores. Intel's Core i9 9900K & i7 9700K, along with AMD's Ryzen 8- to 16-core processors, consistently led with the best performance in our tests. Both families of "high end desktop" (HEDT) chips - Intel's Core X line and AMD's Threadrippers - were slower, with their best showing in the larger of our two model image sets. Even there, though, the higher price tags of these processors keeps them from being viable.

Is AMD's Threadripper 3990X Good for Metashape?

Unfortunately, no: the 3990X (and other AMD Threadripper processors) are simply not a good fit for Agisoft Metashape.

Instead, go with AMD's Ryzen family or Intel's mainstream Core series (not the Core X line!) to get both the best performance and the most value for your money when running Metashape.

Looking for a Photogrammetry 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 3rd Gen, Threadripper, CPU, Metashape, photogrammetry, Threadripper 3990X, Intel X-10000

Thanks for your work, this is very useful information

Posted on 2020-02-25 00:43:10

I'm glad to hear that it is helpful! :)

Posted on 2020-02-25 00:51:41
Markku Luoto

What's the situation now? Have Metashape upates changed the situaiton or has there been any word from Agisoft as to whether the Metashape would benefit from multiple (16+) cores in a near future?

Posted on 2020-12-14 22:34:36

We've done more recent testing, but the situation remains the same - at least as of the latest non-beta version, Metashape does not do well with high court count processors: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

However, disabling HT / SMT does improve performance on processors with ~12 or more cores: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Moreover, you can run multiple instances of Metashape (assuming you have a video card for each of them, plenty of RAM, and appropriate licensing) and if you are careful about setting up CPU core affinity then you can get more performance out of a high court count processor by running multiple projects at the same time. We have an article looking at that approach as well: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Posted on 2020-12-14 22:49:06