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Premiere Pro CC 2019: Intel X-series 2018 Refresh Performance

Written on November 15, 2018 by Matt Bach


Over the last few years, both Intel and AMD have been steadily adding more and more cores to their CPUs. However, the recently updated Intel Core X-series processors break this trend completely as they don't have any more cores than the previous generation. Intel did decide to drop the odd-ball 6 core model, but the standard lineup still ranges from 8 to just 18 cores. Instead of more cores, these CPUs feature a slight frequency increase and other minor architecture updates.

Whether this is a good or bad thing for Premiere Pro is actually a bit hard to estimate. Exporting through Premiere Pro or Media Encoder definitely sees a performance boost by having more CPU cores, but it isn't as significant for Live Playback. So far in our articles looking at After Effects, Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, DaVinci Resolve, and a number of other applications, we have only seen an average performance increase of about 5% with these new X-series models. However, in some isolated cases the performance gain has been as much as 12%, so it will be interesting to see if Premiere Pro benefits more or less from these new processors.

One thing we will note is that we currently only have access to the i7 9800X, i9 9900X, i9 9920X, and i9 9980XE models. Because of this, we will be focusing on how much faster these new models are compared to the previous generation. Once we get the full lineup, we will publish a more in-depth roundup article include all the X-series models as well as other CPUs like AMD Threadripper.

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:

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

Raw Benchmark Results

Our Premiere Pro testing includes a ton of data, which you are free to go through individually if you wish. If you would rather skip ahead to our analysis, however, you can go straight to our Live Playback or AME Export sections.

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.

Overall, we didn't really see much of a difference with the new X-series models. Most of them were about 1% faster than the previous generation, although the 9900X was actually 1% slower. All this is such a minor difference, however, that we would call this test a complete wash.

AME Export - Benchmark Analysis

Compared to the live playback tests, exporting through Adobe Media Encoder gives us a larger of a performance delta between the various CPUs we tested. Starting at the lower core counts, the i7 9800X and i9 9900X both saw about a 3% increase in performance over the i7 7820X and i9 7900X respectively. At the higher core counts, however, the i9 9920X and i9 9980XE both saw about a 7-8% increase in performance. To put this into perspective, an 8% increase in performance should shave about 5 minutes off a 60 minute export.

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

While the CPU typically does the majority of the heavy lifting in Premiere Pro, we didn't see very large performance gains with the new Intel X-series CPUs. At most, we saw an average of about 4% better performance with the higher core count models like the i9 9980XE, but at lower core counts there was little to no gain.

Intel Core X-series 2018 refresh i7 9800X, i9 9900X, i9 9920X, i9 9980XE Premiere Pro Benchmark Performance

Overall, the new 2018 X-series CPUs from Intel are not going to be drastically better for most users. Live playback shouldn't be affected really at all, but you may notice a small improvement when exporting. There is no reason not to use them, of course, but they certainly are not worth a direct upgrade for most users.

Since most of our readers end up on our articles via search, we decided to go ahead and go through each model comparison one by one even though it is fairly underwhelming:

Core i7 9800X vs Core i7 7820X for Premiere Pro

For most users, the new i7 9800X will be very slightly faster than the previous generation i7 7820X, but not by much. However, be aware that the less expensive Intel 9th Gen i9 9900K is actually faster than these CPUs, so if you don't need 128GB of system RAM, we recommend using that CPU instead.

Core i9 9900X vs Core i9 7900X for Premiere Pro

The i9 9900X and i9 7900X will be almost identical in Premiere Pro. Once again, however, the Intel 9th Gen i9 9900K is technically a bit faster, so unless you work with 6K+ media where you need more system RAM, that CPU is likely a better fit.

Core i9 9920X vs Core i9 7920X for Premiere Pro

In our testing, the i9 9920X ended up being on average roughly 4.4% faster than the i9 7920X. This performance gain was entirely from our export tests, however, so live playback performance will not be much better with the new model.

Core i9 9980XE vs Core i9 7980XE for Premiere Pro

At the top of the Intel X-series stack, the i9 9980XE averaged out to being about 4% faster than the previous generation i9 7980XE. Most of this was from exporting, so again live playback performance will not be significantly better with the new model.

There is some benefit to these new models, but it is primarily from slightly improved export performance. Across the board, live playback was not much better, although that makes sense as live playback tends to be influenced less by the power of the CPU than exporting is. If you are interested in how these new Intel Core X-series Processors perform in other applications, be sure to check out our recent Processor articles as we have a number of articles for Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, and many other software packages.

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Tags: Premiere Pro, 9900K, 8700K, 7820X, 7900X, 7920X, 7980XE, 9800X, 9900X, 9920X, 9980XE
Mark Harris

Guys can you tell me how to make sure I am using Quicksync (iGPU) AND my 1080ti GPU for Premiere 2019? I enabled the igpu from the Bios and installed the driver so it shows in Device Manager but I cannot tell how exactly to make sure it is being used. From tests I saw on 2018 it renders much faster than without it but so far the only option I see when exporting is for Software or Hardware rendering and somehow software is faster! This is with a 9900k all cores at 5Ghz and a 1080ti

Posted on 2018-11-16 07:16:23

If you are selecting Hardware mode, it is using Quicksync. In the testing we have done, however, we didn't see much of a performance benefit when the rendered video was the same bitrate. One of the bugs we know of with Quicksync is that it doesn't follow the bitrate you set, so I feel like some of the benchmarks out there are using results where Quicksync was actually rendering at a lower bitrate resulting in better performance.

It could also be that lower-end CPUs will see a bigger benefit with hardware mode since a powerful CPU like the 9900k can power through things pretty well on its own.

Posted on 2018-11-17 04:37:25
Morten Telling

The 9900X is almost as fast as the 9920X and the pricedifference is almost 200$...??

Posted on 2018-11-18 22:51:03

That is pretty normal these days - the higher up you get in the CPU stack (or GPU for that matter), the less benefit there tends to be per dollar. So if you just look at the price of the CPU, it is only a 5% performance increase for a 20% price increase. However, another way to think about it is in terms of total system cost. You aren't spending $1000 on workstation, it is going to be more like $4000 for a really nice editing system. At that point, $200 is only 5% of the system cost which actually lines up pretty well with the performance increase.

Posted on 2018-11-19 17:31:22
Mark Harris

ok so I started playing with this more and noticed some interesting behavior.
For H.265 if I use Hardware rendering it pegs the iGPU to the max while still using the CPU but not maxed out and a little bit of the 1080 ti.
For H.265 Software rendering...it gets stuck at 6% or so for a little bit then starts processing but sure takes a LONG time (currently showing 25 minutes when it took about 1min and 45 seconds in hardware mode). I dont see the GPUs been used at all.

Now for H.264 if I use Hardware mode, once again iGPU is fully used with CPU getting probably 50% usage and about 20% for the 1080ti.
But for H.264 is where it gets interesting when used in Software mode. The CPU gets to 100% BUT the iGPU is also used around 30-50% or so and the 1080ti gets some usage as well which makes this a bit faster than the Hardware mode. So with H.264 software mode is not only using software which I find intriguing.
Guess the only way to really test H.264 mode is by disabling the iGPU first.

What do you think about this?

Posted on 2018-11-20 03:07:14

You shouldn't be seeing any load on the iGPU at all in software mode. Are you sure mercury playback is set to CUDA?

Posted on 2018-11-20 03:10:24
Mark Harris

Ok so it keeps getting weirder.
If I select Mercury Open CL the iGPU gets used to the max. if I select CUDA the iGPU still gets used but not at 100% more like hovering maxing out around 70% while the 1080ti is showing under 20% usage and the CPU is showing usage as well.
If I select Software for Mercury then the CPU goes to 100%, iGPU to around %60 and the 1080ti does not go over 10%.
I have no idea what is going on.

Posted on 2018-11-20 06:12:52
Morten Telling

Do you have an explanation why the 9920X is so bad at RED pip 4 tracks? It looks like its almost having a breakdown?
Its hard not to consider the 9900K above the 9920X - its half the prize and almost the same performance. Only bad thing is the 64 GB limit...I have never really studied Adobes development history, so I do not know if we can expect them to make use of the X-series ekstra cores and speed in the future, so the 9900K will be left behind at some point?

Posted on 2018-11-19 16:04:52

It looks like we had a small issue with the live playback tests with that CPU. I'm not sure why it gave such a low result with 8K RED media, but I re-did that test and it performed right where I would expect it to. I've updated those results and the charts (although in the grand scheme of things it didn't change the conclusions all that much).

Posted on 2018-11-19 18:00:02
Morten Telling

Ok thank you so much Matt! Which x series CPU would you say is the Best Buy? I would say the i9 9920x as it is a bit better than the 9900x and the 9900k and still only about 2/3 of the price of the 9980ex. As I wrote earlier I have the i7 4930K right now, and never upgraded the CPU before it was too late. Also because the price never really drops for the faster CPUs like the x-series. So I could imagine I would stick to the 9920x forever as well ;-) The question is if it’s so much better to buy the 9980ex from the start instead of never getting the update or if I will live happily anyway without the relatively small difference in
Performance? ;-)

Posted on 2018-11-19 19:14:45

We don't have the full CPU lineup yet, so it is hard to say. With the 7000 series, the 7900X and 7940X were probably the best from a value standpoint, although there is definitely diminishing returns the higher-end you get. These new models look to be a lot more linear in terms of performance gain, however, so which model is best I think will really just come down to budgets and how much time you want to save when exporting since unless you work with 6K+ RED footage, there really isn't that much difference in terms of performance while you are actually working on the timeline.

As far as 9920X vs 9980XE, I think only you can make that call. Just to put in reference, the 9980XE should save you about 10 minutes for every hour of rendering you do compared to the 9920X. So if your renders only take an hour, that probably isn't worth it. If they take 6 hours, however, it really starts to add up. Something else to keep in mind in whether you do a lot of proxies or transcoding since the 9980XE should be even better than that since you can do that in parallel if you have multiple video files (that is actually something I'de like to add to our testing at some point).

Posted on 2018-11-19 19:33:19
Morten Telling

Thanks again for a very useful and informative answer ;-) My issues using an older pc for video editing in Ppro is mainly playback issues. I edit 4K footage and after every update of Ppro it gets slower and slower and more and more demanding in terms of hardware. I have 64 GB ran and it never use it all. What I need is a faster playback and a computer that’s useable for at least the next 3-4 years. My 4930 is from 2012, and is actually still almost useful as long as I playback in 1/4-1/2 res without any effects. But it gets more and more annoying. So it’s time
For an upgrade. What rendering/exporting concerns I have no problems waiting a bit. I seldom do videos more than 10-15 min long and it’s not every day I do it either. I also use photoshop and especially Lightroom
a lot. So I don’t need the best, but on the other hand I don’t mind buying a computer that’s useable for some years.
I guess it’s a bit like when I bought my old 4930K. It was far from the best CPU but it was more than adequate for 1080P and the performance I would gain from a faster cpu was not enough for me to use a lot of cash for an upgrade. I never thought I would edit 4K footage on this computer. But I did :-) even without upgrading while a faster cpu was still possible to get.
I guess I should go for the x series and maybe wait to see if the 9940 or 9960 could be a better alternative than the 9920? After reading your test it certainly does not look like the step from 9920 to 9980 really makes any big difference yet. But Adobe might make some changes in the code so Ppro would benefit more from the faster CPU’s with more cores?

Posted on 2018-11-19 22:09:00

I don't think Premiere Pro is going to be able to utilize higher core counts better in the future since Adobe is in general taking more and more advantage of the GPU. Video cards are really good at processing things that can be done in parallel (across multiple cores), so any parts of Premiere Pro that can be parallelized they should be offloading to the GPU since it will be way faster than leaving it on the CPU. So what will be left to run on the CPU are things that are either difficult or not possible to run in parallel. It will never get to the point where the CPU is only ever doing single-threaded tasks, but I also don't think we are going to see any general improvements in CPU multicore efficiency. Honestly, this is a good thing. You can get way more performance for your dollar from a GPU for those tasks, and it is much easier to upgrade.

If I were you, I would use either an i9 9900K or an i9 9900X/9920X. The 9900K is going to be much cheaper which means you can spend more of your budget on things like faster/more storage, better monitors, etc. The downside is that there isn't much of an easy upgrade path since you would have to buy a new motherboard as well as a new CPU. The X-series, however, is more expensive upfront but it will be much easier to upgrade in the future if you find that you need a bit more performance. You can just drop in one of the higher-end CPUs and be done with it. Which way to go I think is just a call you have to make since there is no right or wrong answer.

Posted on 2018-11-19 22:20:40
Morten Telling

Thx a lot!!

Posted on 2018-11-19 19:21:12

Here's what I'm confused about. How do PCIE lanes play into this, if at all.
The 9900K has 16 and the 7820(28) 9800x (44).
If I get a GTX 1070 x16 GPU, and I'm using a PCIE nvme x4 ... on a 9900k, the graphics goes to x8? And what kind of impact does that have on overall performance if I'm using CUDA and all that.

[I should add, I'm upgrading from a 2600K and 16GB RAM, so I'm sure no matter what I do, I'll see a pretty nice jump in overall system performance... ]

Posted on 2018-11-20 19:52:48

That completely depends on how many PCI-E devices you are going to use and how the motherboard is designed. Most boards have at least one x4 slot that you can use for things like a NVMe drive that uses some of the chipset's PCI-E lanes. In that case, the GPU would stay at full x16. If it doesn't or you want to use one of the CPU's lanes, then yes, the GPU will go down to x8. Honestly, however, the difference between x8 and x16 for PCI-E 3.0 is minimal for video cards - especially in applications like Premiere Pro. I wouldn't worry too much about running it in x8 unless you are trying to squeeze out every last percentage of performance.

Posted on 2018-11-20 21:07:37
Szab S.

There were some tests about this, that resulted 1-10 FPS difference in games - depending on resolution - between PCIe 3.0 X8 and X16, using an RTX 2080 Ti card. I have the same worries, as Kyle. I would like to build a new rig, using some M.2 NVMe drives as well. Now, the problem with onboard M.2 sockets is, that they are connected to the CPU through PCB via DMI bus, and DMI 3.0 has a maximum bandwidth of only 3,93 GB/s, plus you have to be aware, that this bandwidth is for ALL your devices together, that are connected to PCB slots (like SATA devices etc.). Regarding tha fact, that a Samsung 970 M.2 SSD has a maximum read speed of 3,5 GB/s, this is a real bottleneck issue here. And to be honest: OK, maybe I loose some FPS and some strength using VGA card X8 instead of X16, but honestly, the thought kind of bothers me, that I buy an insanely expensive graphics card and I can't run it at full speed... For this reason I'm trying to move towards X299 and 44 PCIe lanes, but here is another concern: 9900K is quite hard to beat with it's 5Ghz boost clocks. Thats why I'm desperately searching for some tests and overclocking results for 9800X or 9900X, trying to find out, if any of these CPUs would be a fair alternative of 9900K. If any of you guys have opinions about this issue I wrote, I'm happy to read!

Posted on 2018-11-21 11:41:47

Performance in games is very, very different than in applications like Premiere Pro. We haven't published an article about PCI-E lanes for Premiere Pro or other Adobe apps simply because we have done plenty of spot checks and there is virtually no difference so it isn't a very interesting topic. It is always good to run PCI-E devices with all their lanes, but for pretty much anything in Creative Cloud your choice of CPU is going to far outweigh the difference between x8 and x16 on the GPU. Sure, you could get a 9800X instead of a 9900K, but not only is it more expensive, it will also be 10% slower in Premiere Pro. Even if running the GPU at x8 results in 2-3% less performance (I highly doubt it would ever be more than that), you are still getting less performance with the 9800X configuration.

Overclocking could change things a little bit if you really want to get into that, but in general I don't think it would change the relative performance enough to really change things too much.

Posted on 2018-11-21 17:50:22
Szab S.

Thanks for your response! I really need these feedbacks to decide. Problem is, that I would like to use three M.2 NVMe SSDs. So going with Z390 I could only do that - if I'm correct -, that I would use two M.2 SSDs on an adapter card in one of the X16 PCIe slots, plus one on the motherboard socket. This way all my three M.2 SSDs would go on full speed, but my VGA card would run X8 instead of X16, plus I could use only dual channel RAM. However in this case I could get the best CPU power, 9900K. My other option is to go with X299, in this case all M.2 SSDs plus the VGA card could run full speed, plus I could use quad channel memory, but I couldn't find a Skylake-X refresh CPU, that could even get close to the performance of 9900K. Am I right? Hard to decide! In addition, I don't know any comparisons yet, which would show 9900K vs. any Skylake-X refresh CPU overclocked. So I also can not tell, how close could I get to 9900K by overclocking any of the Skylake-X refresh CPUs...

Posted on 2018-11-21 18:39:52

There certainly are X299 CPUs that are faster than the 9900K for Premiere Pro, but you would have to get up to the 12+ core models which are quite a bit more expensive than the 9900K. If your budget allows for it and you need that performance, one of those CPUs would be faster, but it really comes down to whether the ~15% higher performance with something like a 9980XE is worth the higher cost. I think that is simply something you have to decide for yourself.

I really don't think running the GPU at x8 is going to be at all noticeable, so I wouldn't let that dictate your decision. If it were me, I would go with the 9900K, but for many of our customers the cost of a slightly faster X-series CPU pays for itself pretty quickly. It all depends on what your time is worth, what jobs it allows you get, etc.

Posted on 2018-11-21 18:53:36
Morten Telling

I consider the i9920X, but are also considering going for the 9980xe to be able to wait a bit longer before an upgrade later on. It is of course possible to upgrade from 9920 to 9980 later on, but it will be much more expensive, as a used cpu seldom will be sold for more than 1/2 the Price and I guess the 9980xe will not drop in Price. Thats my experiencefrom earlier, that faster cpus never got very much cheaper, so I never upgraded anyway on the same mobo.

Posted on 2019-01-02 09:57:43
Olivier Caors

there is two motherboards on Z390 with more PCI-E lanes, one from Asus and the other from Supermicro.
They use PLX chip to increase max PCI-E lanes count. May be it is what you are looking for. They can do x8 x8 x8 x8.
But like Matt said, the upgrade path is a dead end on Z390 with 9900k.
I am on the same boat, looking for an AE/PP/C4D workstation, still on sandy bridge atm.
I think I will wait until H1 2019 to make the purchase. 9900K is overpriced (800€ !) and out of stock in Europe atm, and RAM price will lower in 2019.
Maybe AMD will surprise us with Zen2, forcing Intel to lower their prices.

Posted on 2018-11-22 09:58:01

Note that PLX does not increase the number of lanes you have, it is just works like a network switch. You still only have 16 lanes to the CPU, but PLX lets the system switch them around on the fly so that if your GPU is under heavy load, but your Raid card (or whatever) isn't, it will allocate more lanes to the GPU.

Like you noted though, it won't be able to allocate more than 8 lanes to any one device at a time since there always need to be at least one lane allocated to each device. Since PCI-E only works at x1/2/4/8/16 and the 9900K only has 16 lanes, that means the most a device can get is 8 lanes at a time (unless you only have one device, but then why pay for a board with PLX?).

Also, PLX does introduce additional overhead, so if you have two boards that each ran the GPU (or any other device) at x8, you will get very slightly more performance from the non-PLX board.

Posted on 2018-11-22 16:19:55

Given the BF deals and that the 7820 and 9800x were not in stock at close to msrp I got a 9900k and gigabyte Z390 motherboard setup 64 GB ram and a 1070Ti.

Given that I seem to keep my systems for years (still using i7 2600k as my main editing system from 2011) next time I’m ready in 2026 who knows where we’ll be in terms of sockets and all that.

Posted on 2018-11-26 17:13:23

Overclocked to 5ghz the 9900k would be fastest?

Posted on 2018-11-29 13:12:21
Salvatore Iudica

Hi, I have to redo my workstation.
I have to decide whether to take an I9 9900X or I9 9900K cpu
I recommend an IT specialist telling me the 9900X, but I recommend that other editors tell me the 9900K
Considering that the 9900K costs half, I'd rather spend less!

Posted on 2019-01-04 10:43:21

You are definitely right that the 9900K is going to be much cheaper - it is also slightly faster than the 9900X in Premiere Pro. However, the lower cost means you can spend more of your budget on things like faster/more storage, better monitors, etc. which could make the system overall faster at the same overall system budget.

The downside to the 9900K is that there isn't much of an easy upgrade path since you would have to buy a new motherboard as well as a new CPU if you want more performance in the future. The X-series is more expensive upfront but it will be much easier to upgrade in the future if you find that you need a bit more performance. You can just drop in one of the higher-end CPUs and be done with it. You can also get higher RAM capacities with the X-series which can be very important if you work with 6K/8K media.

Posted on 2019-01-07 18:28:34