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Premiere Pro CC 2018: NVIDIA GeForce vs AMD Radeon Vega

Written on August 1, 2018 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

While GPU acceleration has become fairly common in Adobe applications, in most situations it is much more important to have a powerful CPU, plenty of RAM, and fast enough storage. Despite this, a popular request we get is to compare AMD's Radeon Vega video cards to NVIDIA's GeForce cards. In previous articles we have compared these cards in both Photoshop and Media Encoder, but now it is time to take a look at how they do in Premiere Pro. It is worth noting that while we will be focusing on Premiere Pro performance in this article, choosing a specific GPU to use is a much more complicated topic. Many other factors including current pricing, reliability, power draw, noise level, and available cooler designs are all things that need to be considered.

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

For this testing, we will be using the following hardware and software:

This CPU, RAM, and storage combination we are using is among the best you can currently get for Premiere Pro which should give each GPU the chance to perform to the best of its ability. To compare AMD and NVIDIA, we chose a wide range of cards from both the Radeon and GeForce lines. We do want to point out that at the time we did this testing, it was difficult to source a quality AMD Radeon Vega card that was not factory overclocked. Rather than delaying our testing we decided to go ahead and use the overclocked cards even though it will slightly skew the results in favor of those cards.

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

Codec Resolution FPS Camera Clip Name Source
CinemaDNG 4608x2592 24 FPS Ursa Mini 4K Interior Office Blackmagic Design
[Direct Download]
RED 4096x2304
(7:1)
29.97 FPS RED ONE MYSTERIUM A004_C186_011278_001 RED
Sample R3D Files
RED 6144x3077
(7:1)
23.976 FPS WEAPON 6K S005_L001_0220LI_001 RED
Sample R3D Files
RED 8192x4320
(9:1)
25 FPS WEAPON 8K S35 B001_C096_0902AP_001 RED
Sample R3D Files
H.264
ProRes 422 HQ
ProRes 4444
DNxHR HQ
8-bit
3940x2160 29.97 FPS Transcoded from RED 4K clip

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 GPU for this test. In essence, a score of "80" would mean that on average that card 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.

It should be pretty clear from the chart above that for Live Playback, the AMD Radeon cards are overall slower than their NVIDIA GeForce counterparts. However, to fairly compare AMD and NVIDIA, we first want to define which cards we really should be looking at. While pricing varies widely based on numerous factors like current sales or the popularity of bitcoin mining, in general you can think of the following rough price parity:

  • AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB ~ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • AMD Radeon Vega 56 8GB ~ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8GB
  • AMD Radeon Vega 64 8GB ~ NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB

Using these as comparison points, the NVIDIA GeForce cards were on average 20-25% faster than their AMD Radeon equivalents across all our tests. However, if you dig into the results you will notice that most of this is from our tests with RED RAW (.R3D) footage. This type of footage utilizes the video card for debayering (converting the raw sensor data to a usable video format) and with this codec, we saw on average 40-60% higher FPS with the GeForce cards.

The results with non-RED footage much less dramatic and only showed about 7-8% higher FPS with GeForce cards. This isn't a huge difference, but either way NVIDIA is clearly the winner for live playback.

AME Export - Raw Benchmark Results

[Click Here] to skip ahead to analysis section

Export with "H.264 - High Quality 2160P 4K" Preset

Export with "DNxHR HQ UHD" (matching media FPS) Preset

AME Export - Benchmark Analysis

In case you missed it explained in the previous section, the "AME Export Score" shown in the chart above is a representation of the average performance of each GPU for this test. In essence, a score of "60" would mean that on average that card was able to export our timelines at 60% of the tested media's FPS.

Similar to the Live Playback tests, once again the AMD Radeon cards fall behind their NVIDIA GeForce counterparts. Comparing the video cards based on very rough price parity, the NVIDIA cards were overall on average about 13% faster than their AMD equivalents, but this rises all the way up to a 50-60% performance improvement if we only look at RED footage. Interestingly, with Non-RED footage the AMD and NVIDIA cards averaged out to being within 1% of each other so for those codecs there is no clear winner to AMD vs NVIDIA in this test.

We do want to point out that this is really only comparing up to the GTX 1080 since AMD does not currently have a consumer GPU that is similarly priced to the GTX 1080 Ti. So if you are looking to get the best performance possible, the GTX 1080 Ti is still going to be ~5% faster than any of the other GeForce or Radeon cards.

Conclusion

If we combine the results from our Live Playback and AME Export tests, we get the following Overall Score for each GPU:

NVIDIA GeForce vs AMD Radeon Vega Premiere Pro CC 2018 Benchmark
Using the same rough pricing equivalents we used earlier (RX 580 ~ GTX 1060, Vega 56 ~ GTX 1070 Ti, and Vega 64 ~ GTX 1080), we found that the NVIDIA cards were on average 16-20% faster than their Radeon equivalent. However, much of the performance gap shown in the chart is due to the fact that the AMD Radeon cards performed so poorly with RED footage. For users that don't work with RED footage, the actual difference between NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon should be much smaller. It will obviously vary based on what codec you use and the type of timeline you have, but on average the NVIDIA GeForce cards were up to 8% faster with non-RED footage and around 50% faster with RED footage.

Keep in mind that this is comparing factory overclocked AMD Radeon Vega cards against stock NVIDIA GeForce cards. While this probably didn't actually affect the results by a large amount, we would estimate that if we used stock AMD Radeon Vega cards the performance would likely be 1-2% lower than what we saw in our testing.

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Tags: Premiere Pro, Radeon, Vega, RX 580, GeForce, 1060, 1070, 1070 Ti, 1080, 1080Ti
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