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Are the 9th Gen Intel Core Processors good for video editing?

Written on October 19, 2018 by Matt Bach
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Intel's new 9th Gen Core Processors feature a number of improvements including a small frequency bump and an increase in core count. Where the previous top-end consumer Core i7 CPU (the Core i7 8700K) has only 6 cores and a maximum Turbo of 4.7 GHz, the Core i7 9700K and i9 9900K both have 8 cores and a 4.9-5.0 GHz maximum Turbo frequency. Because of this blend of both a higher core count and a higher operating frequency, these CPUs fare extremely well in video editing applications, performing close to 20% faster than the i7 8700K in many Adobe applications.

However, be aware that these CPUs still have the same 64GB maximum RAM capacity as the previous generation which can be a concern if your work includes heavy motion graphics or 6K+ footage. It has been reported by Anandtech that the i9 9900K may support 128GB of RAM in the future, but we will have to see if it ends up being stable or if the 32GB RAM modules will be at all cost effective. In addition, while the Core i9 9900K in particular does extremely well in applications like Premiere Pro (often matching the much more expensive Core i9 7900X) the higher-end Intel X-series or AMD Threadripper CPUs can still give you higher performance - assuming you have the budget for them.

If you are interested in examining how well these new CPUs perform in more detail, we recommend checking out our in-depth performance articles:

Is the Intel Core i7 9700K good for video editing?

The Core i7 9700K is decent for video editing, but in most situations, it will only be about 5% faster than the previous generation Core i7 8700K. Because of this, the Core i7 9700K is great if you are already in the market for a new system but there is likely little reason to upgrade from a Core i7 8700K for video editing.

Is the Intel Core i9 9900K good for video editing?

While the new Core i9 9900K is about 20% more expensive than the previous generation Core i7 8700K, it is also up to 20% faster. In fact, it is powerful enough that it actually matches the much more expensive Core i9 7900X in Premiere Pro and is easily the fastest CPU currently available for After Effects.

 

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Tags: Premiere Pro, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, i9 9900K, i7 9700K
Luca Pupulin

Hi Matt,
I read about the possibility (in near future..)
to use a maximum of 128 GB of RAM
on these new 9th Gen CPUs...
Have you got any info about that?

https://www.anandtech.com/s...

Cheers,
Luca

Posted on 2018-10-19 14:44:00

Yea, I saw that the other day, but didn't get a chance to update these articles. Honestly, I'm not really sure how feasible 128GB of RAM will be on this platform since it is sure to be extremely expensive. In applications like Premiere Pro, you will likely be better off getting something like an i9-7940X with 128GB of RAM using the current 16GB modules. I imagine it will be both cheaper and faster. For apps like After Effects, however, we'll have to see how the new X-series CPUs that are coming out perform - if they can match the i9 9900K in those workloads, then again going with an X-series will be all around better. If they can't, then there is definitely a use case for 128GB of RAM on Z390.

Posted on 2018-10-19 15:13:32
Luca Pupulin

Hi,
I totally agree with you Matt...
to tell the truth...the new X-series didn't impress me much....
the i7 9800X doesn't make much sense to me,unless you need features you can't find in the 9th Gen CPUs (up to 128 GB of RAM,the AVX5-12 instruction set and more PCIe lanes),but we'll see the benchmarks...
Congrats for your amazing articles!

Cheers,
Luca

Posted on 2018-10-19 17:22:10

We'll just have to see with the new X-series. Specs are honestly almost meaningless to get a feel for a new generation of CPUs at this point since core count and frequency isn't moving much anymore. It is the hidden architecture updates that are really where we are seeing performance gains these days, and those aren't reflected in the specs alone. I do agree that the i7 9800X is probably not going to be all that impressive - my guess is that the Core i9-9900X on up are the only ones that will actually be faster than the i9 9900K, but that is going to vary by applications.

Posted on 2018-10-19 17:36:06
Chris K

Thanks for the article, I the one thing nearly everyone fails to mention is that the 9900K supports Optane DIMMs, even if motherboards that support this technology are not yet available.

https://ark.intel.com/produ...

Because of this I think it would be prudent for anyone thinking about buying a system based on the 9900K to wait until a) Optane Dimms are available and b) until motherboards that support said DIMMs are available.

Also of note, only the 9900K supports this technology, not the 9700K or lesser CPUs.

Posted on 2018-10-23 13:16:09

To be honest, I don't know if Optane DIMM is really going to be useful for workstations. In some server environments it might be amazing, but until we have a working product in hand that we can test, I'm a bit doubtful. I do think that persistent memory is the future, but Optane storage didn't really live up to the hype so I'm hesitant to jump on the Optane DIMM train quite yet. It 100% will be something that we will heavily look into once it reaches the consumer market, however.

Posted on 2018-10-23 17:16:02
Chris K

My point about Optane DIMM relates to your statement that these processors only support up to 64 GB of ram and that this may be insufficient for 6K or greater content or heavy motion graphics. This limitation would be a moot point via the use of Optane DIMMs and in fact that is the purpose of persistent memory.

Personally, I love Optane SSD, I use a 32 GB model with an AMD R5 1600 as a high speed swap file with Ubuntu and I can definitely see the benefit.

Posted on 2018-10-23 17:29:18

The 64GB RAM limit may actually be broken without Optane at all: https://www.anandtech.com/s... . That as well, however, I'm going to wait to make any judgements on. With Optane DIMM, both performance and cost is a concern, and with the 32GB DDR4 DIMMs it is mostly cost that worries me. My guess is that in either case you likely would be better off getting a higher-end CPU like the Core i9 7940X and just getting 128GB of RAM in a more standard way. I really wouldn't be surprised if that would be both faster and cheaper.

Really, though, there is no way to know until those products are actually released and can be tested in real-world situations. If either or both end up working well, then of course we would change our recommendations, but right now we simply aren't seeing enough evidence that it will be worth the cost. If you want to use the 9900K in anticipation of Optane DIMM, however, go for it!

Posted on 2018-10-23 17:37:52

I'm confused. Is "Optane DIMM" (which I've never heard about) different than the Optane SSD 32GB M.2 80MM ($42) which has been available for awhile? The Optane 380GB (905P - $500) is set to be available 11/18/18.

I certainly understand the challenge in keeping up with the moving technology train. I've been attempting to research the latest'n greatest for a pending build.

Posted on 2018-11-01 15:47:20

Currently available Optane-based products are SSDs - the same in function as any other high-speed storage device for computers. They can be used as stand-alone drives or (on supporting chipsets) as cache for larger, slower hard drives... and they are quite speedy, but in the limited testing we've done with them we haven't found a use case where they are substantially faster than other high performance SSDs (like Samsung's 960 Pro and 970 Pro, for example).

Another potential use of the same underlying technology, though, is to make non-volatile RAM DIMMs. Normal memory modules (DIMMs) lose the data stored in them when power is cut - but these could allow memory to be persistent instead. They could also support much higher capacities. The trade-off, however, is far slower operation than modern volatile RAM. Because of that, I am under the impression that this technology is aimed more at servers where having a lot more data in "RAM" would be helpful, even if the latency is somewhat higher (but still lower than accessing storage).

Here is another link with more details, and I'm sure there are a lot of other articles from the last year if you want to dig further: https://www.top500.org/news...

Posted on 2018-11-01 16:55:52

Thanks for the info.

Posted on 2018-11-01 20:38:29

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe Optane occupies a space between DRAM and existing SSD/HDD. According to the Intel website, Optane works in conjunction with various Intel caching and performance software. I picture it like this. CPU >< DRAM >< Optane SSD >< SSD/HDD. If the OS + DaVinci Resolve + current video project files can all fit in the Optane SSD (380GB to 1TB), which acts more like DRAM, then we should be able to see better performance without having to select 'bleeding-edge' CPUs for our editing machines. No? This is what I'd like PS and Matt Bach to check out.

Posted on 2018-11-01 16:02:54

Not really - Optane based drives can be used as normal SSDs, or as cache for HDDs. As a normal SSD it is just occupying that role in a system, and even as cache it is just speeding up access to a limited amount of the data that would otherwise be stored on a slow HDD... so still acting as storage. Nothing is being treated differently than it would if you used a different brand of SSD as a cache drive, and indeed that tech has been around almost since the inception of SSDs (when it actually made more sense, because SSDs were small and expensive and hard drives were still the norm). Optane is faster in some respects than most other SSD technology, but in its current SSD form it does not occupy any new position in the overall storage hierarchy.

However, that could change with Optane-based DIMMs. I am honestly not sure exactly how they will be handled by operating systems - it might be that they just "look" and act like larger, slower RAM... or it may be that they are treated differently, and put into some sort of middle spot between true system memory and long-term SSD / HDD storage. I haven't dug into that much myself, because I am under the impression that the main target for those products will be servers (which isn't really my area of expertise). Matt or other readers may know more, and if so I would be interested in hearing it :)

Posted on 2018-11-01 17:01:05
Morten Telling

Nice review. It is almost like a deja vue. I bought my old and rocksolid i7 4930K in 2014/15 because I read that it was the best buy for the money for Premiere at the time. Now - where I am about to upgrade again - it looks like the 9900K could be a new "4930K" experience? I do more and more 4K work and need the extra power in Premiere Pro...but I have not been following the development in hardware lately and therefore I am very much in doubt which cpu to choose...how is the 9900K performing compared to the new i9 X series? Is the extra cores worth the money or does the 9900K alomst as good a job.

Posted on 2018-11-18 18:34:23

We have newer articles looking at the new X-series and the 9900K, the Premiere Pro one is at https://www.pugetsystems.co.... Basically, for most people you would have to go up to the i9 9920X (12 core) to get more performance in PR than the 9900K. The 64GB RAM limit can be a problem if you work with higher than 4k media, however.

Posted on 2018-11-18 18:42:02
Morten Telling

Ok. Thx. But Will The 64 GB limit not be changed with a bios Update? I guess it also depends on which Mobo one choose? Anyway - besides a minor increase in performance and the ram limit what would be the most important argument NOT to just choose the K above the X series? It’s also much cheaper...btw what mono do you suggest for the 9900K for Premiere Pro?

Posted on 2018-11-18 19:22:44

There are larger RAM modules coming out at some point that will allow up to 128GB with a 9900K w/ a Z390 motherboard, but when and for what cost is currently unknown. It may be that it is actually cheaper to get a i9-9920X with 128GB of more standard RAM than a 9900K with the higher capacity stuff.

Besides RAM, for Premiere Pro the biggest argument for an X-series CPU is the upgrade path. With a 9900k you will have the fastest you can get on that platform, so an upgrade isn't just a CPU but a motherboard as well -plus a completely OS reinstall if you want to do it right. With a X-series, you have multiple higher-end CPUs that you can just drop in to get a bit more performance in the future. In other software like DaVinci Resolve, there is also the number of GPUs the platform can support.

As for mobo, we are currently using Gigabyte whenever we can. They seem to be the best at the moment in terms of reliability, support, and features.

Posted on 2018-11-18 19:29:17
Morten Telling

Thx a lot. I guess my choice must be between the 9900K or the 9920X. If I choose to go with 9920X is there a specific MoBo uyou would reccomend? If MSI, would the Tomahawk X299 be OK? Or are there better alternatives? Thx in advance!

Posted on 2018-11-18 22:08:03

That MSI should be fine, although again I would use Gigabyte as my first choice if there is a model that fits your needs. We tend to use the Gigabyte X299 Designare in our systems.

Posted on 2018-11-19 17:26:24
Morten Telling

Is the Gigabyte Designare ready for the i9 99xx x-series right away or does it need a bios update? Sometimes
Some MoBos even needs the update made with an older cpu onboard to be able to update at all?

Posted on 2018-11-19 19:20:33

It likely depends on which BIOS comes on the board when you buy it. The latest adds official support for the new X-series, but I know we were one or two versions back when we first got the CPUs in and they at least POSTed and worked to the point that we could easily flash the BIOS. This is going to be true on all motherboard brands, though, so no matter what board you get there is always the small chance that they won't be able to work right out of the box. That said, these CPUs are really just a refresh without major changes so I don't expect you will run into any issues unless you somehow get a realllyyy old board.

Posted on 2018-11-19 19:25:39
Morten Telling

Thx Matt. What about RAM for the 9920X? In the tests you use DDR4 2666 Mhz ram...If one started out with 4x16GB - like Corsair Venegance - would there be any idea in buying 3200 Mhz instead of 2666 or does it not make any difference at all? I guess it would be no problem inserting another 4x16 GB of the same RAM after a year or two if needed...

Posted on 2018-11-20 13:42:38

I would stick with DDR4-2666. You won't get more than a percent or so of performance (maybe less) going up to 3200MHz, but in our experience you will dramatically increase the risk of blue screens or other system instability.

Posted on 2018-11-20 17:00:03
Morten Telling

Thx Matt. You have been extremely helpful! :-)

Posted on 2018-11-20 18:07:10

Do you guys also have any benchmarks comparing new processors like the 9900K to older ones like the 6700K? It would be nice to know how much of a performance increase I can expect in Premiere to know whether its time to upgrade my hardware or wait.

Posted on 2019-01-25 09:48:15

Not directly, but we are working on making our benchmarks available to the public. Once we get that all done, you will be able to run our testing right on your computer to compare it directly to the latest hardware.

Right now we have After Effects https://www.pugetsystems.co... and Photoshop https://www.pugetsystems.co... all done. I'm working on Premiere Pro next, but the scripting/plug-in development for it is nowhere near as easy as Ae and Ps. Mostly just because what we are doing is not really the kind of automation that the devs ever intended, so we have to come up with creative work arounds to get it done.

Posted on 2019-01-28 17:49:57

I'll try those out right now, thank you, your efforts are very much appreciated! :)

Posted on 2019-01-29 08:18:51
Zach Steinbach

Hi Matt,
Just found this article, I'm a little late to the party.
I just ordered a new 2019 27" iMac with SSD but opted for the CPU one option below the i9, which is the 3.7 hexa core i5, 9th gen. This needs to be my video editing computer and I'm afraid I skimped on the processor. Is the 6-core i5 still quite capable of handling 4K editing (in conjunction with the other components of course) or was it a no-brainer that I should have gone with the i9? I also do some work with the h.265 codec. Your opinion would be very much appreciated. Zach

Posted on 2019-04-19 16:00:52