Puget Systems print logo
Read this article at https://www.pugetsystems.com/guides/1761
Article Thumbnail

Lightroom Classic CPU performance: Intel Core 10th Gen vs AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen

Written on May 20, 2020 by Matt Bach

TL;DR: Intel Core 10th Gen vs AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen for Lightroom Classic

In Adobe Lightroom Classic, the Intel Core 10th Gen processors such as the i9 10900K and i7 10700K do very well in active tasks like scrolling through images and switch modules - coming in at about 5% faster than a similarly priced AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen CPU.

However, Lightroom Classic currently heavily favors AMD processors for passive tasks like exporting which allows the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and Ryzen 7 3800X to be around 25-30% faster than the Core i9 10900K and i7 10700K respectively. For most users, this makes the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen processors a much better overall choice for a Lightroom Classic workstation.


Adobe Lightroom Classic is an interesting application when it comes to CPU performance since it has some very interesting performance quirks - chief among them the fact that AMD processors are overwhelming faster than Intel for a number of tasks like exporting and generating smart previews. As far as we are aware, there has not been an official explanation as to why this is from Adobe, Intel, or AMD, but the fact of the matter is that if exporting is a bottleneck in your workflow, going with AMD can make exporting significantly faster.

However, with the launch of Intel's new 10th Gen desktop processors, it is possible that Intel has fixed whatever is causing this performance issue (assuming that it is even related to the processor at all and not something in the software). Even if the exporting performance still isn't on par with AMD, it is also possible that these new processors will be significantly faster for active tasks like scrolling through images, switching modules, applying adjustments, etc, which may make them ideal for photographers that do heavier edits on a smaller number of images.

Intel Core 10th Gen vs AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen for Adobe Lightroom Classic

In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new Intel 10th Gen Core i9 10900K, i7 10700K, and i5 10600K in Lightroom Classic compared to a range of CPUs including the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, Intel X-10000 Series, AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen, as well as the previous generation Intel 9th Gen processors. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, we also have other articles for Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and several other applications available on our article listing page.

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

Looking for a Lightroom Classic 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!

Test Setup

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

Intel 10th Gen Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 10900K ($488)
Intel Core i7 10700K ($374)
Intel Core i5 10600K ($262)
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z490 Vision D
RAM 4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
(Set to 2666MHz for 10600K testing)
AMD Ryzen Test Platform

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X ($749)
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X ($499)

CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
RAM 4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
Intel 9th Gen Test Platform

Intel Core i9 9900K ($488)
Intel Core i7 9700K ($374)

CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z390 Designare
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
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-U14S 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)
Shared PC Hardware/Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
Hard Drive Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1909)

In order to see how each of these configurations performs in Lightroom Classic, we will be using our PugetBench for Lightroom Classic V0.9 benchmark and Lightroom Classic 2020 (9.3). 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.

One thing we want to note is that the pre-launch motherboards we received from Gigabyte (and multiple other manufacturers) were not using Intel's specified power limits in their default BIOS settings. This isn't anything new, but now that Intel is being more aggressive about adding cores and pushing the frequency, this is resulting in much higher power draw (and heat) than you would expect from a 125W processor - often resulting in 100c temperatures after only a few seconds of load. Because of this, we decided to manually set the PL1 and PL2 power limits in the BIOS. We used a value of 125W for the PL1 setting on all three Intel 10th Gen CPUs we tested along with the following PL2 limits according to Intel's specifications:

  • Core i9 10900K: 250W
  • Core i7 10700K: 229W
  • Core i5 10600K: 182W

Setting these power limits made our Noctua NH-U12S more than enough to keep these CPUs properly cooled and helps match our philosophy here at Puget Systems of prioritizing stability and reliability over raw performance in our workstations.

Benchmark Results

While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each test, we also like to provide the 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 Lightroom Classic.

Intel Core 10th Gen vs AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen Lightroom Classic Benchmark Results

Benchmark Analysis: Intel Core 10th Gen vs AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen

To start off our analysis of the Intel 10th Gen desktop processors we are going to look at the performance in Lightroom Classic versus AMD's 3rd Gen Ryzen processors. This is likely to be what the majority of readers are going to be interested in, so we decided to pull these results out from the full slew of results that are in the next section.

From an overall perspective, AMD continues to maintain a solid performance lead in Lightroom Classic. However, if we dig into the results a bit deeper, we find that most of this performance advantage comes from passive tasks like exporting and generating previews. For these types of tasks, the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is on average about 35% faster than the new Intel Core i9 10900K while the AMD Ryzen 7 3800X is 23% faster than the Intel Core i7 10700K.

However, things are a bit different for active tasks like scrolling through images, switching modules and applying adjustments. For these tasks, the Intel 10th Gen processors take the lead with the Intel Core i9 10900K and i5 10700K beating the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X and 3800X by a small 5% respectively.

Overall, this will likely make the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen processors a more attractive option for most Lightroom Classic users, although if exporting is not at all a problem in your workflow, the Intel 10th Gen processors can be a great choice as well.

How does Intel 10th Gen stack up overall?

Looking at how the Intel 10th Gen processors compare against a wider range of CPUs, there are a couple of key points we want to note:

First, compared to the previous 9th Gen processors, we are looking at about a 3-7% performance gain with the new 10th Gen models. This may not be all that exciting, but this is fairly typical for CPU launches from Intel over the last few years.

Next, if passive tasks like exporting is a concern for your workflow, you really can't beat the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen or (if you have the budget for it) the more expensive AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen processors. Until Lightroom Classic makes changes to their code that allows Intel to catch up in performance, AMD is simply the better choice for these kinds of tasks. It isn't by a small amount either - AMD can at times be up to 2x faster than a similarly priced Intel CPU!

For active tasks, however, the new Intel Core i9 10900K and Core i7 10700K both beat comparable or significantly more expensive AMD and Intel options. The performance gain over AMD's Ryzen 3rd Gen processors may be only ~5%, but if you spend the vast majority of your time tweaking images in Lightroom and a relatively small amount of time exporting, these processors are a solid choice.

Is the Intel Core 10th Gen or AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen better for Lightroom Classic?

Between the Intel 10th Gen and AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen CPUs, most users are likely going to want an AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen processor due to their significantly better performance in tasks like exporting. The Intel 10th Gen Core i9 10900K and i7 10700K are a bit better for active tasks, but for most, it will be worth giving up a barely noticeable performance gain in these tasks for close to a 2x improvement in export performance.

Overall, this makes AMD's Ryzen 3rd Gen processors our current recommendation for Lightroom Classic. If you export an unusually high number of images every day and have the budget for it, the AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen CPUs (in particular the 3960X) may also be worth a look as they can export images up to 2x faster than a Ryzen processor, but you would likely need to be exporting images for a significant portion of your day for one of those processors to be worth the investment.

Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for Lightroom Classic 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, 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.

Looking for a Lightroom Classic 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, AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, Intel X-10000, Apple Mac Pro, Apple iMac Pro, AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen, Intel 10th Gen, i9 10900K, i7 10700K, i5 10600K, Lightroom CLassic

Hello. Is this test relaible? It's looks for me, that results is incorrect.

For example: Ryzen 3700X and Ryzen 3800X - the exactly same processors, but difference in the frequency - 3800X have additional 300 MHz. of base clock, and additional 100 MHz of turbo clock. It's correspond to another CPU test benchmark, where 3700X have 22698 points, and 3800X have 23325 points. But in your test import 500x images (22 MP .CR2) we have: Ryzen 7 3700X - 15.33 seconds, Ryzen 3800X - 8.13 seconds. Why is such difference (2x) for the same processors?

Also export, for example 50x jpeg (22 MP .CR2): Ryzen 7 3700X (slower processor) finished in 34.94 second, Ryzen 3800X (faster processor) finished with worse result (35.22 seconds)
How it's possible? https://uploads.disquscdn.c...

Posted on 2020-05-29 19:59:19

Hi! will you ever do a Benchmarking for Capture one?

Posted on 2020-06-01 16:54:21

We may, but Capture One has a very poor API which makes automated testing much more difficult. Definitely something we are keeping an eye on, but at the moment it looks like the amount of time we would have to dedicate to doing the testing wouldn't make it financially viable for us to do at the moment.

Posted on 2020-06-01 19:15:40
Gabor Balazs

I've run into a mysterious problem. My Ryzen 3950x is exporting images from Lightroom much slower recently using all 16 cores than using just 8 cores. The same problem persists if doing "Save Images" directly from Adobe Camera Raw (via either Bridge or Photoshop).

Ryzen 3950x CPU
Asus x570 TUF Gaming Plus motherboard
Noctua NH-D15 cooler,
Adata XPG8200 pro 512GB NVME
RAM: initially 4x8Gb ADATA XPG Z1 2800 (CL17) then replaced with 2x16Gb Teamgroup Vulcan Z 3200 CL16 2 days ago (due to the lower physical profile for a better cooler fit)

For a few weeks my batch of 64 heavily edited test images (from Sony A7RIII, 42mp .ARW files) consistently took 4 min 45 seconds to save. Tested it several times.

BUT a couple of days ago I replaced the 4x8gb XPG 2800 ram with 2x16GB Vulcan Z 3200 ram. Both brands worked and work properly at the correct D.O.C.P. profile (2800 MHz and 3200 MHz respectively), no stability issues.

But now the 64 images test batch takes anywhere from 6 to 7 minutes to save/export from ACR using the same settings! Exporting the same batch from Lightroom yields the same results. So I went from 4:45 to about 7 minutes right after the RAM switch.

HOWEVER, to complicate things more, there was also an Adobe update right after I installed the new RAM. New ACR version (12.3), new Bridge, etc. The new, slower results came after the update (I did downgrade to earlier versions of the Adobe apps to try, but still the same slow speed). Never tested the new RAM with the pre-update Adobe.

So 2 things changed: new Ram, and new versions of Adobe applications. And saving/export slowed down significantly.

I experimented with some settings, and found that if I disable half the cores (for the Adobe app in Windows task manager's "Set Affinity"), speed is mostly back, and time was reduced to 4:50 for the test batch, very close to the original 4:45.

So could it be because of going from 4 sticks of ram to 2? (I consider it unlikely). Or the Adobe update screwed up something (sometimes they're 2 steps froward, 1 step back)?

I tried the CPU in stock config, then in PBO, overclock, etc. the puzzling results are still the same.

What can be the problem?

Posted on 2020-06-22 20:49:36

Might be a problem with the latest Lightroom Classic version. I would try rolling back to the previous version (in Creative Cloud, click the "..." and select "Other Versions"). You might also try setting the RAM timings/frequency/voltage manually if you aren't already. XMP profiles don't always properly set from what I've experienced.

Posted on 2020-06-22 21:35:22
Gabor Balazs

Thanks for the tips.

I did try two earlier versions of ACR (12.1 and 11.4), one earlier version of Photoshop (which was utilizing the aforementioned earlier versions of ACR for the roll-back test), still the same slow speed. Granted, I did not roll-back Lightroom, but I thought if Photoshop and Camera Raw roll-back didn't do the trick, I wouldn't try Lightroom.

I even temporarily reinstalled 2 sticks of the old RAM (not 4 sticks because I had managed to damage one stick during a heatsink removal). Same slow stuff :(

When running an export (or "Save Images" in ACR) with all 16 cores working (default scenario), the 3950x just doesn't seem to work hard enough. Temperatures are about 8 degrees lower than when running only 8 cores. Clockspeeds are similar; around 4.2 GHz for the active cores (no matter if 16-core mode or 8-core mode).

I ordered another 2 sticks of the exact same Vulcan Z memory, since I've been contemplating on having 64 Gb total RAM anyways. So on Thursday I'll see if that changes anything.

Posted on 2020-06-22 23:54:30
Gabor Balazs

An update: it seems like we're facing the same old HT/SMT on vs. off situation again. I turned SMT off and my test export/save time set a new shortest time record. It was about 2 min 30 sec faster than with SMT on. (roughly 6:50 vs 4:20).
I thought this issue was largely remedied in the 2020 Lightroom but maybe the problem got worse again with the latest update.
Anyway, I might have to use SMT off if and when I do a lot of work in Camera Raw (I hardly ever use Lightroom, I work in Camera Raw, opened via Photoshop normally.)

Posted on 2020-06-23 23:53:40

Very interesting.
I have made some tests om my PC
Ryzen 3600 CPU
Asus TUF B450-Pro Gaming motherboard
Zalman CNPS 14X cooler,
Samsung 850 pro 250 GB SSD
RAM: 1x HyperX DDR4-3333 16384MB PC4-26660 Predator
Latest Lightroom Classic 9.3

Export 180 pictures with adjustments -
- with HT/SMT off takes 5 minutes 29 seconds. Also during export 5 cores loaded fully, 6th apr. 85 %
- with HT/SMT on takes 5 minutes 01 second. During export 12 cores loaded fully on the 99.99% .
My feelings - with HT/SMT on, scrolling in Develop Module a bit quicker.
And also, I feel that latest Lightroom Classic is slower, then previous (9.2)

Posted on 2020-06-24 11:12:47
Gabor Balazs

Thanks for the test.

With your CPU having 6 cores and 12 threads, running all of those is apparently better than just running the 6 cores without HT/SMT. In my case there seems to be a sweet spot; running 16 cores and no SMT. Close to that results is the 8 cores and 16 threads setup (SMT ON but manually turning half the cores off). Any less, like 6 cores (12 threads) or 4 cores (8 threads) yields slower results. But any more, like 12 cores and 24 threads also yields slower than ideal results.

So basically, after experimenting with various core and/or thread counts, my fastest results are 16 cores, no SMT. Somewhat slower is the 8 core, 16 thread (that's with SMT ON but manually turning cores off in the "Set Affinity" option in Task Manager).
My all 16 core, 32 thread SMT ON setup result is so slow that it is roughly on par with 4 cores, 8 thread setting. Even my Dell G5 laptop beats that time (i7-9750H, 6 cores 12 threads, 32Gb 2666 MHz memory).

So similarly to previous experience here, it looks like the more cores the processor has, beyond a certain number, the more SMT or HT hurts performance. It may have improved with a version released a few months ago, but with the current version it got worse again, I think.

(My absolute best time running my test batch yesterday came using Camera Raw rolled back to 12.2.1, 16 cores, no SMT. It was 4:06. And it does not matter if I use PBO or not, it's the same time. However, I noticed that certain demanding active tasks are faster in the brand new ACR 12.3, such as adjusting an image after auto mask was already applied. Much less lag and delay. But I'm not sure if I like the brand new, Lightroom-like ACR UI. Some nice new features, but a couple of important-to-me functions or ways of operation were dropped.)

Posted on 2020-06-24 13:37:39
Gabor Balazs


I've just put another 32Gb RAM into my computer, making the total 64Gb, but more importantly, filling all 4 RAM slots again.

Even with SMT ON, I'm back to short export times (or "Save Images" times)! So with 2 sticks of RAM (32GB) I was around 6:45, now with 4 sticks I'm back to 4:42, just where I was with my old 4x8GB RAM.
So apparently, it does matter, at least on my computer, whether I use Lightroom, ACR, etc. with 2 or 4 memory sticks. It's odd, but that's what it looks like.
Now, I just need to run a test with SMT OFF and 4 sticks of RAM.

Posted on 2020-06-24 18:25:22

Fascinating! Is there any chance that it's not so much a two versus four sticks of memory issue as it is a 32 versus 64 GB of memory capacity issue? Have you watched memory usage during the benchmark at all? I know we usually test on 64 GB systems here at Puget.

Posted on 2020-06-24 18:35:01
Gabor Balazs

It's definitely not the 32 vs 64 GB, since my export time before the RAM upgrade was consistently about 4:45 with my 4 x 8 = 32GB setup (4x8Gb Adata XPG Z1 2800 C17).
Then after the RAM upgrade it slowed down to about 6:45 with the 2 x 16 = 32GB setup (2x16Gb T-Force Vulcan Z 3200 C16).

So the new memory is faster but produced slow export times with only 2 sticks. Dropping in another 2 to fill all 4 slots made a huge difference, and reduced the times roughly back to the old, pre-upgrade 4-stick setup (actually a few seconds faster due to the faster RAM speed I guess).

And I've just tested the same batch now with SMT OFF. Wow, 3:30. So the SMT ON vs OFF phenomenon still persists, which makes sense to me.

Posted on 2020-06-24 18:47:36

Yea, the SMT/HT thing still exists for exporting and making smart previews. But... the last couple versions of Lightroom Classic do much better with SMT/HT on for most of the "active" tasks like applying brushes, scrolling through images, etc. That is why we keep it on for our testing - most people will likely be willing to take the hit in export times in order to make the active tasks a bit faster.

Posted on 2020-06-24 19:27:49
Gabor Balazs

That's true. I think everybody is happy to take a faster active task set (and slower export) over a fast export and slow(er) active tasks. Exporting is always an excuse to take a break anyway ;)

Still, I quickly tested a Geometry test with an Auto Mask layered A7RIII image with SMT ON and OFF. Rotating, skewing, etc. the image yielded the same times (between 5 to 7 seconds for the various tasks I threw at it. No change in my test between SMT on or off.) But this was only one quick test, and only some geometry adjustments. AND it was in ACR via Photoshop and not in Lightroom.

Posted on 2020-06-24 20:04:41

I just got a new 10900k with 128gb rgb pro 3600mhz on a msi godlike z490 mb. Export is not much better than my old intel 3960x. Premiere pro is a little better but not by as much as I thought it would be.

Posted on 2020-09-19 20:41:44