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Premiere Pro CC 2018: Core i7 9700K & i9 9900K Performance

Written on October 19, 2018 by Matt Bach


Typically, for a professional Premiere Pro workstation we tend to recommend either Intel's X-series or AMD's Threadripper CPUs due to their higher performance. However, Intel's new i7 9700K and i9 9900K feature a number of improvements including an increase to 8 cores that may make them excellent for Premiere Pro. It is unlikely that these new 9th Gen CPUs will be able to keep up with the highest-end processors from Intel and AMD, but for those on a bit more of a budget there is a chance that the i7 9700K and i9 9900K will be a great choice.

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:

While benchmarking the i7 9700K and i9 9900K against the i7 8700K is likely the most direct comparison we could make, we also wanted to see how these new CPUs stack up against a number of other processors. AMD vs Intel is always a popular discussion, so we included the Ryzen 7 2700X - which tends to be cheaper than either of these new CPUs - as well as the Threadripper 1920X which is similar in price to the i9 9900K. To get an idea of whether or not purchasing a more expensive Intel CPU would give you a notable increase in performance, we also include the i7 7820X and the i9 7900X.

To thoroughly benchmark each processor, we used a range of codecs across 4K, 6K, and 8K resolutions:

Codec Resolution FPS Bitrate Clip Name Source
H.264 3840x2160 29.97 FPS 80 Mbps Transcoded from RED 4K clip
H.264 LongGOP 3840x2160 29.97 FPS 150 Mbps Provided by Neil Purcell - www.neilpurcell.com
DNxHR HQ 8-bit 3840x2160 29.97 FPS 870 Mbps Transcoded from RED 4K clip
ProRes 422 HQ 3840x2160 29.97 FPS 900 Mbps Transcoded from RED 4K clip
ProRes 4444 3840x2160 29.97 FPS 1,200 Mbps Transcoded from RED 4K clip
XAVC S 3840x2160 29.97 FPS 90 Mbps Provided by Samuel Neff - www.neffvisuals.com
RED (7:1) 4096x2304 29.97 FPS 300 Mbps A004_C186_011278_001 RED Sample R3D Files
CinemaDNG 4608x2592 24 FPS 1,900 Mbps Interior Office Blackmagic Design
[Direct Download]
RED (7:1) 6144x3077 23.976 FPS 840 Mbps S005_L001_0220LI_001 RED Sample R3D Files
RED (9:1) 8192x4320 25 FPS 1,000 Mbps B001_C096_0902AP_001 RED Sample R3D Files

Rather than just timing a simple export and calling it a day, we decided to create six different timelines for each codec that represent a variety of different type of workloads. For each of these timelines we tested both Live Playback performance in the program monitor as well as exporting via AME with the "H.264 - High Quality 2160p 4K" and "DNxHR HQ UHD" (matching media FPS) presets.

Lumetri Color

Heavy Transitions

Heavy Effects

4 Track Picture in Picture

4 Track MultiCam

4 Track Heavy Trimming

Live Playback - Raw Benchmark Results

[Click Here] to skip ahead to analysis section

Live Playback - Benchmark Analysis

The "Live Playback Score" shown in the chart above is a representation of the average performance we saw with each processor for this test. In essence, a score of "80" would mean that on average that CPU was able to play our timelines at 80% of the tested media's FPS. A perfect score would be "100" which would mean that the system did not drop any frames even with the most difficult codecs and timelines.

Starting with the i7 9700K, we saw a small ~4% increase in performance over the i7 8700K across all our live playback tests. Surprisingly, the Ryzen 7 2700X is actually faster than the 9700K which isn't what we expected given that Intel is typically faster at the same core count.

The Core i9 9900K did very well, averaging about 13% higher FPS than the i7 8700K. It is worth noting, however, that the performance difference was closer to 40% when using 6K/8K RED footage. This is enough of a performance gain that the i9 9900K is actually able to slightly outperform the much more expensive Core i9 7900X.

AME Export - Raw Benchmark Results

[Click Here] to skip ahead to analysis section

AME Export - Benchmark Analysis

Exporting through Adobe Media Encoder gives us a bit larger of a performance difference between the CPUs we tested compared to the Live Playback tests, although the "rank" of each processor stayed the same.

This time, the i7 9700K was about 8% faster than the i7 8700K, but again the Ryzen 7 2700X was a touch faster than even the 9700K. The i9 9900K was terrific, coming in at 25% faster than the i7 8700K. Once again, this makes it the fastest CPU we tested in this article, beating out even the Intel Core i9 7900X.

Are the 9th Gen Intel Core Processors good for Premiere Pro?

These i7 9700K and i9 9900K CPUs are not the absolute best you can get for Premiere Pro - that crown belongs to the high-end Intel X-series and AMD Threadripper CPUs - but the i9 9900K especially is excellent for its price. Not only is it about 21% faster than the i7 8700K, it should actually outperform even the more expensive Core i9 7900X.

9th Gen Intel Core i7 9700K & i9 9900K Premiere Pro Benchmark
Overall, the new 9th Gen CPUs are a bit of a mix for Premiere Pro users. The i7 9700K is certainly not bad, but the Ryzen 7 2700X is a hair faster while being slightly cheaper. The i9 9900K, however, is terrific for Premiere Pro as it is roughly in line with the much more expensive Core i9 7900X. However, it is worth noting that these 9th Gen Intel CPUs maintain the existing 64GB RAM limitation of the Z370/Z390 platform which means that if you work with 6K/8K footage or even complex 4K timelines, you may find that you need to use an Intel X-series or AMD Threadripper CPU so you can get more system RAM. 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.

Core i7 9700K vs Core i7 8700K for Premiere Pro

In most cases, the i7 9700K should be about 5% faster than the i7 8700K. The AMD Ryzen 7 2700X is actually a better value for Premiere Pro at this price point, but keep in mind that the i7 9700K is significantly faster than the 2700X in related applications like After Effects and Photoshop.

Core i9 9900K vs Core i7 8700K for Premiere Pro

The Core i9 9900K is about 20% more expensive than the i7 8700K, but in exchange for the higher price you can expect a 21% increase in performance. This results in better performance than even the Core i9 7900X which makes it a terrific value for Premiere Pro.

If you are interested in how the 9th Gen Intel Core Processors perform in other applications, be sure to check out our recent Processor articles as we have a number of other articles for looking at the i7 9700K and i9 9900K.

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Tags: Premiere Pro, 9700K, 9900K, 8700K, 7820X, 7900X, 2700X, 1920X