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DaVinci Resolve Studio: 12th Gen Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen 5000 Series

Written on November 4, 2021 by Matt Bach
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TL;DR: 12th Gen Intel Core vs AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Processors for DaVinci Resolve

Overall, the new 12th Gen CPUs from Intel are a terrific option for those looking for a cost-effective DaVinci Resolve Studio workstation. They won't be able to match the higher-end AMD Threadripper (Pro) or Intel Xeon W platforms for more complex workflows, but they are solidly faster than the AMD Ryzen 5000 series.

At the top-end, the Core i9 12900K is a small 5% faster than the 5900X when using DDR4, but this should jump to closer to 11% once DDR5 becomes more widely available. Lower down the stack, the i7 12700K and i5 12600K also beat the similarly priced AMD Ryzen options, coming in at 11% and 17% faster than the Ryzen 5800X and 5600X respectively.

Introduction

Last week, Intel announced their 12th Gen Intel Core desktop processors (code-named "Alder Lake") with the most notable feature being the new hybrid architecture which utilizes a mix of Performance and Efficient-cores. The Performance-cores (P-cores) are what you typically would think of when it comes to a CPU core, and are designed to maximize performance for heavier workloads. The Efficient-cores (E-cores), on the other hand, are intended either for tasks that can be run in parallel, or for background tasks where higher performance isn't necessary.

The benefit of this type of hybrid setup primarily comes down to the fact that the E-cores take up significantly less room on the CPU die, along with having much lower power requirements. Because of this, Intel is able to pack a higher number of total cores into their processors which should give them a nice boost to multi-threading performance.

However, the difficulty is that the system needs to be able to dynamically choose what tasks are run on each type of core. For example, it would be less than ideal if Photoshop was to run on an E-core because your web browser decided to take up all the P-cores. To account for this, Intel has also launched a technology called Thread Director, which works with the OS in order to dynamically adjust which processes are run on each core.

This new hybrid architecture should, in theory, allow the 12th Gen Intel CPUs to excel at both lightly and highly threaded tasks, but that is not the only change they made. Among various architecture improvements, the 12th Gen CPUs also have support for both DDR4 and DDR5 RAM, as well as having 16 lanes of PCIe 5.0. Both DDR5 and PCIe 5.0 likely won't have much of an impact at launch since they are very new technologies that need time to evolve before we will see their full potential, but all of these improvements together should help give the 12th Gen CPUs a big boost over previous generations.

If you want to read about what sets these CPUs apart in more detail, we recommend checking out our landing page for the 12th Gen Intel Core Processors, or if you want to see performance across a range of applications, you can read our 12th Gen Intel Core CPU Review Roundup article.

12th Gen Intel Core Processors for DaVinci Resolve Studio

Because of how many things have changed, we were not quite sure how these CPUs would end up performing. If everything goes as planned, the performance should be terrific, but there is a lot of new technology that could potentially cause problems if something does not work right.

In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new Intel Core i9 12900K, i7 12700K, and i5 12600K in DaVinci Resolve Studio compared to a range of CPUs including the Intel 11th Gen and AMD Ryzen 5000 Series processors. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, we also have other articles for Premiere Pro, After Effects, Lightroom Classic, Photoshop, and several other applications available on our article listing page. Or, you can check out the summary of all our results in our overarching 12th Gen Intel Core CPU Review Roundup article.

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

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

12th Gen Intel Core Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 12900K 8+8 Core ($589)
Intel Core i7 12700K 8+4 Core ($409)
Intel Core i5 12600K 6+4 Core ($289)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12A
Motherboard Gigabyte Z690 UD AX DDR4
Gigabyte Z690 UD AC-Y1 DDR5
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
4x DDR5-4800 16GB (64GB total) @ 4400MHz
11th Gen Intel Core Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 11900K 8 Core ($513)
Intel Core i7 11700K 8 Core ($409)
Intel Core i5 11600K 6 Core ($272)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z490 Vision D
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Ryzen 5000 Series Test Platform
CPU AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 16 Core ($799)
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 12 Core ($549)
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X 8 Core ($449)
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X 6 Core ($299)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
RAM 4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
Shared Hardware & Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 10GB
Storage Samsung 980 Pro 2TB
Software Windows 11 Pro 64-bit (22000)
DaVinci Resolve Studio 17.4
PugetBench for DaVinci Resolve

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of October 27th, 2021

In order to see how the new 12th Gen Intel Core processors perform in DaVinci Resolve Studio, we will be comparing them not only to the previous 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs but also to AMD's Ryzen 5000 series. For the test itself, we will be using our PugetBench for DaVinci Resolve benchmark and the 17.4 version of DaVinci Resolve Studio. This benchmark version includes the ability to upload the results to our online database, so if you want to know how your own system compares, you can download and run the benchmark yourself.

As for the test platforms we will be using, there are a number of things we want to point out:

First, you will note that we are using Windows 11 rather than Windows 10. Windows 11 includes features that work closely with the Intel Thread Scheduler, which may be necessary to get the full performance possible from the 12th Gen Intel CPUs. VBS was left disabled, and all chipset and Windows updates were applied to fix a number of AMD performance issues.

Windows 11 had a rocky start with AMD CPUs and processors with more than 32 cores, but with the latest updates, we found the difference between Windows 10 and Windows 11 with these Ryzen CPUs to be negligible for Premiere Pro. We will have those results, and similar testing examining Intel 12th Gen performance on Windows 10, in an upcoming "12th Gen Intel Core - Windows 11 vs Windows 10" article.

Beyond the OS, we will be primarily using DDR4 RAM because, at least for the immediate future, DDR5 is expected to be largely unavailable. We did get in a set of Kingston DDR5-4800 16GB sticks early enough that allowed us to get some initial numbers, however, which we will include in the results. Note that while the RAM itself is rated for 4800MHz, the 12th Gen platform only officially supports that speed on motherboards that have just two physical RAM slots. In the cases where four sticks are being used, the supported RAM speed is 4400MHz, which is what the Gigabyte board we used defaulted to when we left the RAM speed on Auto.

The DDR5 RAM we are using is very much intended for stability over raw speed, and has fairly loose CL40 timings. However, we tend to be fairly conservative on RAM speed, so this is actually a good comparison to use against the DDR4-3200 CL22 RAM we are using for the rest of our tests.

Like any early launch content, keep in mind that performance is likely to change over time. Especially in this case where there is still work to be done for Windows 11, the thread scheduler, and DDR5, performance is likely to increase slightly as the technology is developed.

Benchmark Results

While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each test, we also like to provide individual results for you to examine. 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 scores that our benchmark calculated.

Feel free to skip to the next sections for our analysis of these results to get a wider view of how each configuration performs in DaVinci Resolve.

Intel Core 12th Gen DaVinci Resolve Studio benchmark results

DaVinci Resolve Studio Performance Analysis

With something as significant as moving to a hybrid architecture, it is understandable that there might be a few kinks that have to be worked out. Luckily we found minimal issues with the apps we tested - including DaVinci Resolve Studio.

DaVinci Resolve is a very interesting application to look at because there are three distinct areas of performance. The first, and most commonly examined, is the GPU performance for tasks like OpenFX and noise reduction. This area typically isn't as important when testing processors, but we did see a small ~5% performance gain in these tests with the Intel 12th Gen CPUs over the AMD Ryzen 5000 series.

More important for the CPU is performance when processing footage (as shown in our 4K and 8K media scores), and for Fusion. Fusion is actually more important than many realize, as it is used when doing motion graphics and VFX, including most of the title, lower third, and other motion graphics presets that come in Resolve. And in Fusion, the new 12th Gen CPUs really excel with the i9 12900K, i7 12700K, and i5 12600K all coming in at approximately 20% faster than the Ryzen 5900X, 5800X, and 5600X respectively.

However, when processing 4K and 8K media, AMD is able to make a bit of a comeback at the higher end of the product stack. Here, the AMD Ryzen 5900X and Core i9 12900K effectively tie in performance as they perform within the 4% margin of error we typically account for in real-world tests like this. However, this is only with DDR4 memory and when we switch up to DDR4, the Core i9 12900K gets a big boost to performance - jumping ahead of the 5900X by 10-13%. In fact, that is enough for the 12900K to beat even the Ryzen 5950X for 4K media, and to perform on par for 8K.

At the Core i5 and i7 levels, Intel maintains a strong lead over AMD even without the benefit of DDR5. When working with 4K and 8K media, the Core i7 12700K ended up being 6-10% faster than the Ryzen 5800X, while the Core i5 12600K was about 18% faster than the Ryzen 5600X.

All in all, this puts Intel in the lead over AMD in DaVinci Resolve Studio. The difference is a small 5% overall when comparing the Core i9 12900K to the Ryzen 5900X when limited to DDR4, but increases to 12% if you are able to utilize DDR5. And at the lower price points, Intel holds an 11% lead with the i7 12700K and a 17% lead with the i5 12600K over the Ryzen 5800X and 5600X respectively.

12th Gen vs 11th Gen DaVinci Resolve Studio Performance

Intel Core 12th Gen vs 11th Gen in DaVinci Resolve Studio

With Intel taking the lead over AMD in Resolve, you can guess that the new 12th Gen CPUs must be quite a bit faster than the previous 11th Gen models. But what you might not realize is just how large the performance gain really is.

At the top-end, the Core i9 12900K came in an impressive 18% faster than the previous generation Core i9 11900K when using DDR4, and this jumps even further to 26% when utilizing DDR5. The Core i7 12700K is also impressively faster than the Core i7 11700K, coming in at a solid 16% faster overall.

The Core i5 12600K is where we saw the largest gen-over-gen performance gain without leveraging DDR5, coming in at a full 25% faster than the Core i5 11600K it is replacing. What is really incredible about the i5 12600K is that it is actually fast enough that it beats the top-end Core i9 11900K from the last generation by about 9%.

Are the 12th Gen Intel Core Processors Good for DaVinci Resolve Studio?

Overall, the new 12th Gen CPUs from Intel are a terrific option for those looking for a cost-effective DaVinci Resolve Studio workstation. They won't be able to match the higher-end AMD Threadripper (Pro) or Intel Xeon W platforms for more complex workflows, but they are solidly faster than the AMD Ryzen 5000 series.

At the top-end, the Core i9 12900K is a small 5% faster than the 5900X when using DDR4, but this should jump to closer to 11% once DDR5 becomes more widely available. Lower down the stack, the i7 12700K and i5 12600K also beat the similarly priced AMD Ryzen options, coming in at 11% and 17% faster than the Ryzen 5800X and 5600X respectively.

However, it is worth noting that a good chunk of this performance gain comes from their exceptional performance in the Fusion portion of Resolve. The i5 12600K and i7 12700K are a solid 6-18% faster than their AMD counterparts when processing 4K and 8K media as well, but at the top-end, the Intel Core i9 12900K and AMD Ryzen 5900X effectively tie when ignoring the Fusion tests unless you are able to use DDR5 memory.

Even though the i9 12900K and Ryzen 5900X perform about the same when processing media with DDR4 memory, we would still give the edge to Intel. Partially because having PCIe 5.0 is a great feature to have as far as future-proofing goes in GPU-heavy applications like Resolve. But more importantly, there are a number of variations of the H.265/HEVC codec where you can only get hardware decoding support via Intel Quick Sync. NVIDIA and AMD GPUs can handle some of the more basic flavors, but if you want to work with something like HEVC 10-bit 4:2:2, having Quick Sync on the 12th Gen CPUs is going to make a massive difference.

If this is a consideration for your workflow, we should have our "What H.264/H.265 Hardware Decoding is Supported in DaVinci Resolve?" article updated soon to include the 12th Gen CPUs for you to use as reference.

Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for DaVinci Resolve and that performance will vary widely in different applications. If your workflow includes other software packages (we have similar articles for Premiere Pro, After Effects, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop), you need to consider how the system will perform in those applications as well. Be sure to check our list of Hardware Articles to keep up to date on how all of these software packages - and more - perform with the latest CPUs.

Want to be notified when Intel Core 12th Gen systems are available?


Looking for a DaVinci Resolve Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of powerful 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: AMD Ryzen 5000-series, 5600X, 5800X, 5900X, 5950X, Intel 11th Gen, i9 11900K, i7 11700K, i5 11600K, Intel 10th Gen, Intel 12th Gen, i5 12600K, i7 12700K, i9 12900K, DaVinci Resolve
David Varela

Matt, will itbe possible you do a test between the 5600G/5700G CPUs vs 5600X/5800X. We know the X will be better but for HOW much? thanks!

Posted on 2021-11-09 07:09:23

We don't have any plans to test the "G" models - they are simply a bit lower-end than what we focus on. Our DaVinci Resolve benchmark is available for the public and hardware reviews to use, however, so a reviewer that does focus on the mid/low-end could totally do that testing. In addition, it looks like there are already a number of results for the 5700G in our benchmark database, so you might be able to find a good comparison there (just make sure the app and benchmark versions are the same) https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Posted on 2021-11-09 21:55:07
Den Ahmet

Hi Matt, Looking to specifically edit the native H265 8k 4:2:0 footage from the Sony A1. Not sure I understand the Intel Quick Sync advantage - does this work alongside the GPU card in Resolve or instead of it? (looking to upgrade to the 12900K and a RTX3090 or RTX3080Ti)

Posted on 2021-11-11 18:42:01

I don't believe Resolve uses both at the same time. We leave it as default (both NVIDIA and Intel selected), and I believe it defaults to using Intel Quick Sync first, and the GPU second. I'm not 100% on that, but based on our testing that is what it looks like.

With the 12th Gen CPUs, Quick Sync also adds hardware decoding support for a LOT more flavors of H.265 than what you can get via the GPU. So even though AMD and Intel were very similar for that test since Quick Sync and GPU decoding is pretty similar in performance in Resolve, you can get way better performance with Quick Sync if you want to use a different format of H.265 like 4:2:2 https://www.pugetsystems.co...

Posted on 2021-11-12 17:14:08
soksok

hi, how was the temperatures for 12th gen cpu's?
that noctua cooler isn't nh-d15 so it will be interesting to see how high temps got... also was it an open bench test or inside a case?
keep up the good work :)

Posted on 2021-11-12 08:33:08

We do all our testing on open test benches to make sure throttling doesn't become a factor for our performance testing. Our product qualification team does all the testing for thermals and power draw for our workstations, but generally that information we don't publish since it is highly specific to our systems.

We've done some testing like that in the past, but to be honest, reviewers like AnandTech, Tom's Hardware, and many others are much better equipped for that kind of thing, so we often just refer to their testing. No reason to duplicate their testing if they are already doing a great job, and that lets us dedicate more of our time to other things that are not covered well by others.

That said, temperatures and thermals seemed to be not that much different from the 11th Gen CPUs. So, not as good as Ryzen, but for most people, it will be just fine.

Posted on 2021-11-12 18:07:23