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Premiere Pro CC 2019: Intel Core i9 9990XE Performance

Written on February 8, 2019 by Matt Bach
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Introduction

The Intel Core i9 9990XE 14-core CPU is a special, OEM-only, no warranty processor that only select system manufacturers like Puget Systems has access to via a once-per-quarter auction. While that means that availability and pricing may end up being highly fluid, the capabilities of this processor should (on paper at least) be second to none. This is not a product for the masses, but rather a niche offering for those looking to get the absolute best of the best Intel processor.

While specs alone are not a perfect representation of performance (especially across different product families), there are a few interesting things to point out about this CPU before getting into our Premiere Pro testing. First, it has a max Turbo Boost frequency of 5.1 GHz which means that it should perform much better than any other Intel X-series CPU in lightly threaded applications. At the same time, even if you are using all the cores, the Turbo Boost frequency only drops to 5.0 GHz which theoretically puts it at about the same performance as the Intel Core i9 9980XE in highly parallel applications.

On paper, this makes the i9 9990XE a bit of a golden CPU that should match or beat any other Intel consumer or enthusiast processor regardless of the application. In order to achieve this level of performance, however, this CPU draws about 50% more power than any other X-series CPU. While this obviously means that you need a beefy CPU cooling setup, you also need to have a motherboard and power supply that can provide said power.

 
  Core i9 9990XE Core i9 9980XE Core i9 9940X Core i9 9900K
# of Cores 14 18 14 8
Base clock 4.0 GHz 3.3 GHz 3.0 GHz 3.6 GHz
Max Turbo Boost 5.1 GHz 4.5 GHz 4.5 GHz 5.0 GHz
All-Core Turbo Boost 5.0 GHz 4.1 GHz 3.8 GHz 4.7 GHz
TDP 255 W 165 W 165 W 95 W
MSRP Auction $1,999 $1,399 $499

In this article, we are going to take a look at how the Intel Core i9 9990XE performs in Premiere Pro compared to the other Intel X-series CPUs as well as the Intel Core i9 9900K which is currently the king of single-threaded performance. We also have a number of other articles available looking at the performance of the i9 9990XE in a range of other applications that you can view by filtering our recent articles to just show the ones about Processors.

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 Premiere Pro CC 2019 testing:

To thoroughly benchmark Premiere Pro CC 2019 (ver. 13.0.0) on 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

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

Premiere Pro CC 2019 Core i9 9990XE Benchmark Performance

 

Our Premiere Pro benchmark looks at performance for both live playback and exporting using a wide range of codecs and timelines. This works out to just shy of 200 data points for each CPU, all of which combine into a single "Overall Score" that represents the overall performance of the system in Premiere Pro.

If we sort by the overall score, the Intel Core i9 9990XE is technically at the top of the chart, out-performing every other CPU we tested. It is only about 2% faster than the i9 9980XE, however, so it certainly isn't going to revolutionize anyone's workflow. Interestingly, this increase in performance is almost entirely from the slightly higher live playback performance where the i9 9990XE was about 5% faster than the i9 9960X and i9 9980XE. When exporting with Adobe Media Encoder (which is essentially the same as exporting directly through Premiere Pro), it simply performed on par with the i9 9980XE and i9 9960X.

Is the Intel Core i9 9990XE good for Premiere Pro CC 2019?

In terms of performance, the Intel Core i9 9990XE is currently one of the fastest processors available for Premiere Pro CC 2019. However, it is only a few percent faster than a more standard CPU like the Core i9 9980XE or i9 9960X, which is going to be very hard to notice in the real world.

Since the performance gain is so small, it is likely going to be hard to justify using the Core i9 9990XE for Premiere Pro. The much higher power draw (which means a more robust and often louder cooling system), difficulty in sourcing, and lack of a warranty from Intel are all pretty major drawbacks for a small 2% performance increase. If you simply want to have the best of the best CPU for Premiere Pro, however, this definitely fits the bill. In addition, it is also terrific in other applications like Adobe After Effects, which can make it a solid processor for mixed workflows.


With the very limited availability and power/cooling requirements of this CPU, there is no question that the i9 9990XE is a very niche product. The fact that only select OEMs can even get their hands on it should be an obvious indication that Intel doesn't intend for this processor to be used by mainstream users. This is intended for those that want the best of the best processor, no matter the hurdles they have to jump through in order to get it. And the fact is, this really is one of the highest performing all-around processors available right now.

While we only tested Premiere Pro in this article, we highly recommend checking out our recent processor articles where we look at (or will be looking at) the performance of the i9 9990XE in After Effects, Lightroom Classic, and Photoshop as well as a number of other applications.

Tags: Premiere Pro, Intel 9th Gen, Intel X-series, 9990XE, 9900K, 9980XE, 9960X, 9940X, 9920X, 9900X, 9980X, 9800X