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Lightroom Classic CC 2019 CPU Roundup: Intel vs AMD

Written on December 10, 2018 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

Choosing the right hardware to use in your system can often be overwhelming due to the sheer number of part models you can pick from. Even if you are just trying to decide on a CPU, it can still be daunting to find one that not only fits your budget, but will also give you the best performance for your dollar in applications like Lightroom Classic. In this article, we are going to be benchmarking a wide range of processors from Intel and AMD including the Intel 9th Gen, Intel X-series, AMD Ryzen 2nd Gen, and AMD Threadripper 2nd Gen CPU lines to help you decide which model makes the most sense for your new workstation.

One thing to note is that we will not be including results for any previous-gen CPUs in this article. At first, we were going to include them but the charts and tables soon got out of hand. Instead, if you want to know how these CPUs compare to previous generations, we recommend checking out the following articles:

If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark result/analysis sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion section.

Test Setup & Methodology

Listed below are the systems we will be using in our testing:

Shared PC Hardware/Software
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
Hard Drive: Samsung 960 Pro 1TB M.2 PCI-E x4 NVMe SSD
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1803)

To thoroughly test each processor, we will be using two sets of images: one set of 22MP.CR2 RAW images taken on a Canon EOS 5D Mark III and a set of 45MB .NEF RAW images taken on a Nikon D850.


While our Lightroom testing is still evolving, we are currently able to accurately benchmark the following tasks with both sets of images:

Bulk Tasks

  • Import
  • Export to JPEG
  • Build Smart Previews
  • Convert to DNG

Module Tasks

  • Library Module Loupe Scroll
  • Develop Module Loupe Scroll
  • Library to Develop switch

Photomerge

  • Panorama Merge
  • HDR Merge

We are currently working on putting up an alpha version of our benchmark for public download (similar to our Photoshop and After Effects Benchmarks) which will have a much more in-depth description of each of these tests. Keep an eye out in the coming weeks (or months)!

Benchmark Results

While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each type of task, we also wanted to provide the individual results in case there is a specific task someone may be interested in. Feel free to skip to the next section for our analysis of these results.

Benchmark Analysis

Lightroom Classic CC 2019 Benchmark CPU Roundup - Intel 9th Gen, Intel X-series, AMD Threadripper 2nd Gen, AMD Ryzen 2nd Gen

In our Lightroom Classic benchmark, our tests are divided into three categories: Bulk Tasks (importing, exporting, etc.), Module Tasks (scrolling through images & switching modules), and Photo Merge. In addition, there is an Overall Score which is simply the average of the three sub-scores. The scores shown in the charts above are relative to the best possible performance for each task when using a Core i7 8700K CPU along with a NVIDIA GTX 1080 Ti 8GB in Lightroom Classic CC 2018. In essence, a score of "900" would mean that it gave 90% the performance of the reference system while a score of "1100" would mean it was 10% faster.

If we sort by the overall score, we get a great idea of how each CPU performs in Lightroom Classic CC. While there are some interesting performance distributions with the Intel X-series CPUs, one thing that is clear is that Intel currently has the lead over AMD. While all the AMD Threadripper CPUs performed well in Lightroom Classic, they were all about 10% slower overall than the Intel Core i9 9900X which was the top performer.

Another thing to point out is that the Core i9 9900K does very well for its price as it is quite a bit less expensive than any of the Intel X-series CPUs. If you look at the individual results you will see that it (and the other Intel 9th Gen CPUs) are not as good as the X-series or Threadripper CPUs for tasks like exporting, but it is faster for things like scrolling through images.

Intel vs AMD for Lightroom Classic CC 2019

For Lightroom Classic CC 2019, Intel currently has the lead over AMD with the Intel X-series being around 10% faster overall than AMD Threadripper. At the same time, the Intel 9th Gen CPUs should also give higher performance over the AMD Ryzen CPUs.

Overall, there are really only a couple desktop CPUs that we would currently recommend for a workstation that is going to be primarily used for Lightroom Classic. The most well-rounded CPU is likely going to be the Intel Core i9 9900X. Not only did it perform very well in our Module Tasks, but it was also among the fastest for tasks like exporting where it is almost twice as fast as the Intel 9th Gen CPUs. If the i9 9900X is just a bit outside your budget, the Intel Core i7 9800X also did very well for its cost if exporting performance is a concern of yours.

For even better performance while scrolling through images or switching between the Library/Develop modules, the Intel Core i9 9900K was about 10% faster than the Intel X-series for that kind of work. However, be aware that it (and the other Intel 9th Gen CPUs) are significantly slower than the X-series CPUs for tasks like exporting.

If you are interested in how the latest Intel and AMD processors perform in other applications, be sure to check out our recent Processor articles as we have a number of articles looking at CPU performance in Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, and many other software packages.

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Tags: Lightroom Classic, Intel 9th Gen, Intel X-series, AMD Threadripper 2nd Gen, AMD Ryzen 2nd Gen, 9900K, 9700K, 9600K, 9980XE, 9960X, 9940X, 9920X, 9900X, 9980X, 9800X, 2990WX, 2970WX, 2950X, 2920X, 2700X
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