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Are 2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper CPUs good for video editing?

Written on September 21, 2018 by Matt Bach

AMD's new 2nd Gen Ryzen Threadripper processors are absolute monsters, with the 2990WX in particular having 32(!) cores. However, as we've seen time and time again in our testing, more cores is not always better. In fact, in many applications having more cores can actually result in lower overall performance depending on how the software is coded and the type of computations being done.

After extensively testing and benchmarking these new CPUs, we have publishing in-depth articles comparing the 2nd Gen Threadripper CPUs to Intel's X-series processors in a number of video editing applications:

With the data gained in those articles, we now have an excellent idea of how the 2990WX and 2950X stack up against similarly priced CPUs from Intel.

2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX for Video Editing

2nd Gen AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X for Video Editing

Is the Threadripper 2990WX better than the Core i9 7980XE for video editing?

In both Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve, most users are unlikely to notice a difference between the AMD Threadripper 2990WX and the Intel Core i9 7980XE. However, for motion graphics work in After Effects the i9 7980XE is significantly faster. Due to this, we would in general recommend going with the Core i9 7980XE over the Threadripper 2990WX.

Is the Threadripper 2950X better than the Core i9 7900X for video editing?

Unlike the 2990WX, the Threadripper 2950X is a great choice for many video editors. It lags behind the similarly priced Core i9 7900X for motion graphics work in After Effects, but is overall faster in both Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve. Especially if you work with RED media, the 2950X is a great choice for a video editing workstation.

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Tags: Premiere Pro, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, Threadripper, 2990WX, 1950X, 2950X
Troy Guerrero

So with Nvidia cards you say buy the RTX because of what might come out, but you wont say the same for AMD Threadripper 2? Im sorry, but if you don't think Windows, Adobe, Blender or 3D applications (which already destroys Intel), then your tests are for naught. AMD will be better in the near future because optimization will happen for multi thread in the NEAR future unlike the HOPE for RTX.

Posted on 2018-09-27 22:38:41

We definitely do recommend Threadripper for a number of use cases, but it really depends on what software you are using. The 2950X especially is amazing for Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve. Like you noted, it is also way better than Intel for CPU-based rendering like V-Ray and C4D. Those are outside the scope of this post, but we have articles looking at that in https://www.pugetsystems.co... and https://www.pugetsystems.co...

In general, however, the difference with the RTX cards is that they are on par or better than the similarly priced NVIDIA cards currently on the market (GTX 1080 Ti and Titan Xp). So you are not really giving up anything to use one of the RTX cards - but you are gaining the potential for even better performance in the future with the RT/Tensor cores. I don't think there is a reason to upgrade from a GTX 1080 Ti to one of the RTX cards, but if you are already getting a new GPU there is little reason to not go ahead and future proof with an RTX card.

The difference with Threadripper is that you have to give up performance right now in some applications for the hope that multi-threading will improve in the future. Based on what we've seen over the past several years, there is a general trend for software moving away from being able to utilize high numbers of CPU cores in favor of GPU acceleration since GPUs are almost always way better for those highly parallel tasks. There will always be exceptions (which is why tailoring your hardware to your workflow is so important), but I really believe that outside of very specific software we won't see much better multi-core efficiencies for CPU-specific tasks than what we have today.

Posted on 2018-09-27 22:59:02

Amazing work, Puget Systems. Always up to date with current testing. Thanks a lot!

Posted on 2018-10-17 11:10:08

Very nice and thorough work. I wanted to ask if you've tested the Dynamic Local Mode, a piece of software by AMD which is included in their latest Ryzen Master utility. It is supposed to help with 2990WX or 2970WX thread scheduling in windows. I would be interested to see if there are any differences in Adobe PP CC 2018.
Thank you

Posted on 2018-10-30 16:46:17

That is on the to-do list now that it is live. We will likely do it as a part of our next round of CPU testing looking at the 2019 versions of Pr, Ae, Ps, and Lr Classic. Maybe if I can work it in we'll have a dedicated set of articles before then, but it will just depend on how the timing will work out.

My guess is that it won't help Premiere Pro all that much (since having all those cores appears to improve performance), but should improve things in the other apps.

Posted on 2018-10-30 17:29:07

That is very interesting, thanks. In your experience is PP 18 more efficient with multi-core/multi-socket setups than previous versions?

Posted on 2018-10-30 17:34:52

Newer versions of Premiere Pro (CC 2018 and now CC 2019) tend to be a bit better at using more cores than older versions. It isn't a huge amount, but about a year ago we only listed up to the Core i9 7940X 14 core since we didn't see any benefit to the higher-end models. Now, we do list even the Core i9 7980XE 18 core since there is a small performance gain. It's still not much (~5%), but that is better than the performance loss we used to see. Dual socket, however, I think is pretty much dead for video editing applications like Premiere Pro. Single CPU setups can deliver such a high core count these days that you are going to hit these multi-thread efficiency limits with just a single CPU. Since dual CPU setups have additional overhead they have to deal with, I can't see how they could ever return to being good for this kind of work.

Overall, I don't think multi-threading is going to get too much better than it is today. Anything in Premiere Pro (or most other software packages) that can be run efficiently across a high number of cores should be getting offloaded to the GPU which is much faster for that kind of work. Adobe has been doing that largely on an effect-by-effect basis, but my feeling is that it is only going to accelerate over time. Even things like RED debayering/decoding is moving almost entirely to the GPU soon which is going to make a big impact on editors who work with RED footage regularly.

Posted on 2018-10-30 17:41:57

I managed to work in the testing to see if Dynamic Local Mode helps for the software packages we target in the video/photo industries. I won't have a full article up until Monday, but I figured I could give you a bit of a teaser: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Overall... not all that impressed. After Effects was the only software that really showed meaningful gains (6.4%), but even that wasn't enough to put it an par with the Intel Core i9 7960X (or any Intel CPU for that matter since they all perform about the same). Maybe it is simply better optimized for gaming? I know their blog post about it https://community.amd.com/c... shows a Euler3D benchmark, but that test is really, really old now. We used to run it ourselves but dropped it years ago since it was so dated that it didn't actually give any meaningful numbers.

Posted on 2018-11-02 20:24:34