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Premiere Pro CPU performance: Intel Core X-10000 vs AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen

Written on November 25, 2019 by Matt Bach


It used to be that if you wanted the best workstation for Premiere Pro, that meant using an Intel CPU. However, this started to change back in July 2019 when AMD launched its 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs which finally made AMD a valid alternative at the mid-range and a very strong choice for those that were on a tight budget. But for a high-end Premiere Pro workstation, Intel's X-series processors continued to reign as king.

Now, both Intel and AMD are launching new HEDT (High End Desktop) processors that may drastically change the equation. On Intel's side, the new Core X-10000 series processors are not significantly faster than the previous generation, but Intel has cut their prices nearly in half! For example, where the MSRP of the Core i9 9980XE was $1,979, the new Core i9 10980XE is just $979. This alone will greatly improve the amount of performance many video editors are able to afford and will make working with 4K or even 8K media a much more attainable reality.

On AMD's side, the new Threadripper 3rd Gen CPUs are slightly more expensive than earlier models, but their raw performance is expected to be dramatically improved. Some of the previous generation Threadripper CPUs were almost able to match their Intel X-series counterparts, and this may be just what AMD needs to make them the top CPU choice for Premiere Pro.

Intel Core X-series vs AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen Premiere Pro Review

In this article, we will specifically be examining the performance of these new CPUs in Premiere Pro, although on our article listing page, we also have a range of similar posts examining other applications. If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion.

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Test Setup

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

AMD Ryzen Test Platform

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X ($749)
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X ($499)
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X ($399)​​​​​​​

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 ($499)​​​​​​​
Intel Core i7 9700K ($385)​​​​​​​

CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12S
Motherboard Gigabyte Z390 Designare
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Threadripper 2nd Gen Test Platform
CPU AMD TR 2990WX - DLM on ($1,799)
AMD TR 2970WX - DLM on ($1,299)
AMD TR 2950X ($899)
AMD TR 2920X ($649)
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro Series H80i v2
Motherboard Gigabyte X399 AORUS Xtreme
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
Intel X-9000 Series Test Platform
CPU Intel Core i9 9980XE ($1,979)​​​​​​​
Intel Core i9 9960X ($1,684)​​​​​​​
Intel Core i9 9940X ($1,387)​​​​​​​
Intel Core i9 9920X ($1,189)​​​​​​​
Intel Core i9 9900X ($989)​​​​​​​
CPU Cooler Noctua NH-U12DX i4
Motherboard Gigabyte X299 Designare EX
RAM 4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)
AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen Test Platform
CPU AMD TR 3970X ($1,999)
AMD TR 3960X ($1,399)
CPU Cooler Corsair Hydro Series H80i v2
Motherboard Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS Xtreme
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 Hardware/Software
Video Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
Hard Drive Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
Software Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (version 1903)
Adobe Premiere Pro 2020 (Ver. 14.0)
PugetBench V0.8 BETA for Premiere Pro

*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of November 11th, 2019

A few notes regarding the hardware and software used in our testing:

First, due to the fact that many of the platforms we are testing support different speeds of RAM depending on how many sticks you use and even whether those sticks are single or dual rank, we have decided to standardize on using four 16GB sticks of whatever the "middle" supported RAM speed is (rounding up when applicable). This means that the latest Ryzen, Threadripper and X-series platforms are using DDR4-2933 while the Intel 9th Gen and previous generation Threadripper/X-series platforms are using DDR4-2666.

The second thing to note is that we are using an unreleased version of our Premiere Pro Benchmark. This new version includes a few minor changes to the tests themselves - primarily running the CPU/GPU effects tests with a 59.94FPS sequence only rather than with 29.97 and 59.94FPS sequence. For this reason, the overall scores are not going to exactly line up with what you would see if you ran the version of the benchmark that is available for download, but they will be close. We hope to have this new version available for download within a few weeks.

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 you want to. If there is a specific codec or framerate you typically work with, examining the raw results for those tests is going to be much more applicable than the scores that our benchmark calculates.

Feel free to skip to the next section for our analysis of these results if you rather get a wider view of how each CPU performs in Premiere Pro.

Premiere Pro Benchmark Analysis

A lot is going on in the chart below, so before getting into it we wanted to provide a key regarding the color scheme.

  • Light blue = Intel consumer CPUs (9th Gen)
  • Dark blue = Intel HEDT CPUs (X-9000 series)
  • Dark blue with glow - NEW Intel HEDT CPUs (X-10000 series)
  • Light red = AMD consumer CPUs (Ryzen 3rd Gen)
  • Dark red = AMD HEDT CPUs (Threadripper 2nd Gen)
  • Dark red with glow - NEW AMD HEDT CPUs (Threadripper 3rd Gen)

Starting off with what is likely the most obvious conclusion - the AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen CPUs are really, really good for Premiere Pro. The only real caveat is that they are only better than the new Intel X-series CPUs when it comes to exporting. For live playback, all of the Threadripper 3rd Gen and Intel X-1000 series processors (with the exception of the Core i9 10900X) performed about the same on average. There are a ton of nuances with individual CPUs being better for specific codecs (or even the same codec but at different framerates), but overall you can consider the Threadripper 3rd Gen and Intel X-10000 series as being equal for live playback.

This isn't all that exciting from an AMD vs Intel perspective, but it is worth noting that both the new Intel and AMD processors saw a pretty decent gain in performance over the previous generation. While the Intel X-10000 series is only about 7% faster than the X-9000 series models for live playback, the AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen is about 20% faster than the previous generation Threadripper 2970WX/2990WX.

Like we mentioned earlier, exporting is where things get interesting. Here, the AMD Threadripper 3960X and 3970X are a huge 35-40% faster than the Core i9 10980XE! It is worth repeating that with the X-series price drop, this isn't a perfect 1:1 comparison since the 10980XE has an MSRP of $979 while the 3960X and 3970X which have an MSRP of $1,399 and $1,999, but it is comparing the top model from both Intel and AMD which in and of itself is a completely reasonable comparison to make.

Even factoring in the MSRP, however, Intel only barely comes ahead - and even that is completely subjective on what is most important to you. Compared to the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, the Core i9 10940X is about $35 more expensive, but about 3% slower overall. On the plus side, the 10940X is 7% faster for live playback (which most users value higher than export performance), supports 256GB of RAM, has more PCIE lanes, and has the option for Thunderbolt on supported motherboards. It comes up often, so it is worth repeating that no AMD platform has a certified Thunderbolt solution at this time - ASRock has a few Ryzen boards that have un-certified implementations, but trust us, you definitely don't want to risk it when it comes to something as finicky as Thunderbolt is on PC.

Are the Intel X-10000 Series or AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen CPUs better for Premiere Pro?

Picking between AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen and the new Intel X-series processors is a very complicated topic since the Threadripper CPUs are very good in some areas, but only match the less expensive X-series CPUs in others. If you have the budget for either the Threadripper 3960X or 3970X and care about exporting performance, however, the choice is pretty clear since the new AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen CPUs are 35-40% faster for exporting than any of the new Intel X-series processors.

On the other hand, if you hate proxies and just want to get the best live playback performance possible, the new Intel Core X-10000 series processors are just as fast as the more expensive AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen CPUs for live playback. In fact, the 10920X, 10940X, and 10980XE all perform about the same for this, which gives you some flexibility when deciding which model to use. The higher-end models give better exporting performance, but you may opt for a less expensive model in exchange for larger/faster storage, more RAM, or other system upgrades instead if export performance is not your primary concern.

As is always the case, there are a number of other considerations to take into account as well. Thunderbolt is a feature many of our video editing customers need, and at the moment you need to stick with Intel in order to get certified Thunderbolt support. In addition, you need to factor in the other applications that are a regular part of your workflow. The benchmark results in this article are strictly for Premiere Pro and the relative performance will vary widely between different applications.

If your workflow includes other software packages (we have similar articles for Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, and many others), you need to consider how the processor will perform in all those applications. Be sure to check our list of Hardware Articles to keep up to date on how all of these software packages perform with the latest CPUs.

Looking for a Premiere Pro Workstation?

Puget Systems offers a range of poweful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

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Our Labs team is available to provide in-depth hardware recommendations based on your workflow.

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Tags: Intel 9th Gen, Intel X-series, Intel vs AMD, AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, AMD Threadripper 2nd Gen, Intel X-10000, Premiere Pro
Nikolas Kanellopoulos

Wow! Did you test Neatbench scores?

Posted on 2019-11-25 17:56:19

Not this time around. It was a bit of a mad scramble to get all of this testing done, so we had to let things like that wait until a bit later.

Posted on 2019-11-25 17:57:49

I would also love NeatBench results, thanks so much for this

Posted on 2019-11-25 22:51:44

Where do you think the 9900KS would fall in these tests? I LOVE these tests (thank you!) but I was bummed to not see that one in the mix since it's a recent release.

Posted on 2019-11-25 21:21:18

If I had to guess, tack on about 7% performance over the 9900K and that will probably be pretty close. That will probably bring it a bit higher than the 10920X in terms of overall performance, but it should be better suited for anything H.264/HEVC based due to the fact that the 9900ks has Quicksync.

Posted on 2019-11-25 21:27:04

Ahhhhh. Based on these results I was set on getting the 10920x but now I might skip that and go 9900KS. We edit mostly h264/HEVC and often have lots of cross dissolves and LOTS of warp stabilizer but no other major effects or grading. I forgot about Quicksync and didn't realize the 10920x wouldn't have that. Hmmm. Decisions, decisions.

Posted on 2019-11-26 18:18:29

Warp stabilize is also completely single threaded, so the 9900K or KS will be a bit faster than the 10920X for that as well. Of course, if you are stabilize multiple clips at once, the extra cores on the 10920X would probably more than offset that, but how often do you stabilize more than 6 or so clips at the same time?

Posted on 2019-11-26 19:07:44

Well, this might sound crazy but we often stabilize up to 30 clips at a time. (long story) But that's my assistant editor who has the 9900k. Once it gets to me for the final edit, I tend to only do a few at a time max. For me, timeline PLAYBACK performance is huge. With hundreds of cross dissolves and dozens of stabilized clips plus some multicam, it's a very unique workflow, I know. But if QSV is the key to better timeline performance with this workflow then I'm all in on getting a CPU that supports it.

Posted on 2019-11-26 19:19:52

From what I've seen, Quicksync can help for timeline performance, but only to a certain point. Once the bitrate or FPS gets too high, having a beefier CPU is more important than having a CPU with Quicksync. I don't know exactly where that line is, if you work with 4K the Ryzen 3900X may actually end up a bit faster for playback performance.

Probably the biggest hurdle for you is that the Ryzen platform is relatively new, and there are still some bugs being worked out. At the moment, we are recommending the 9900K over Ryzen for Premiere Pro simply because it is an established, solid platform. At a certain point when we have more of a handle on Ryzen as a whole (or once the 3950X has better availability and we are somewhat forced to), we will probably be switching over (assuming no problems), but that is definitely something to consider in a production environment.

Posted on 2019-11-26 19:26:11

Ah, the "line" and where it is. I wish I knew too. We shoot exclusively with Sony alpha cameras in 4k and 1080p (60fps) and will likely go with whatever their next line of cameras are that support 4k 60p. I'm guessing that'll be a H264 or XAVC codec. So, in your opinion, if you were building a new computer right now specifically for Premiere using the media mentioned, and had a budget of maybe 800, would you go 10920x, 9900ks, or 3900x? That's probably a tough question and maybe they'll all perform similarly but I'm just curious.

Side note: thank you so much for your articles and your support. It's really the only one of its kind specifically focused on Premiere and testing various hardware. So helpful.

Posted on 2019-11-26 19:49:43

For one of our customers right now, it would be between the 10920X and 9900K. The 9900K will be able to export to H.264 faster due to Quicksync (although quality is slightly lower with hardware acceleration and it maxes out at 60mbps), but the 10920X has more room to upgrade. You can potentially have twice the RAM, more PCIe cards, etc. More expensive, however, so that means you won't be able to spend as much on RAM/storage/GPU/etc.

The 3900X is probably a slightly better option in terms of straight performance, but we are taking a bit of a slow approach to that platform at the moment. We actually haven't sold Ryzen before now since Intel was simply as good or better for applications like this, so it is a platform we don't have much experience with. We have sold Threadripper in the past, but actually had a lot more problems with it than we liked, so we are taking it slow to see if it is a solid platform or if we will have to work with AMD/Gigabyte/whomever on issues before we roll it out for a wider range of customers. We highly, highly value reliability and making a product that "just works" without any need to ever mess in the BIOS (our customers are largely NOT the kind of people who want to do that), which is why we are taking this approach.

Posted on 2019-11-26 20:12:12

Sorry, just want to make sure you read that I was referring to the 9900KS. Not the 9900k. And playback performance to me is valued over export time. I spend a lot more time editing than I do exporting. :) If playback performance was similar between 10920x and 9900ks, then yeah I'd probably do the 10920x for all the upgrade reasons you mentioned. But if playback performance was noticably better on the 9900ks then it's worth it to me to go that route. I should also note that our workflow involves editing 60p footage on a 24p timeline with multicam, warp stabilizer, etc. as mentioned. I can tell by the system I have now that it's MUCH more taxing on my CPU than when I do a simple 4k 24p edit for a film. Does this change your thoughts? (probably my last question, thanks)

Posted on 2019-11-26 20:19:49

That actually does a bit. Multicam especially since the 10920X did quite a bit better for that compared to the 9900K (or what the KS should be able to do) or the 3900X. So yea, I would agree with direction you are leaning and get the 10920X. Should be better all around for what you are doing.

Posted on 2019-11-26 20:32:38

Thanks Matt. Playback to me is far more important and so often not tested. It's always just export times. So I'm glad to get advice from someone who DOES test actual timeline playback performance. 10920x it is.

Posted on 2019-11-26 20:50:49

Hey! Thanks for taking the time to read all the comments and respond. I'm actually in the exact same boat - I've just pre-ordered a 10920X, and was looking at that chip against a 9900KS or a 3950X. My usage is roughly 40% Premiere (4K h.264 mainly for now - playback is my number one issue on my old pc), 40% Lightroom, 10% Photoshop, 10% general productivity/multitasking. It's tricky as there are different recommendations for the different uses! The thing edging me towards the 10920X are the options for future upgrades - mainly PCIe and RAM overhead (128GB in the build for now), and TB3. What do you think? I know the 3950X is seriously solid, but I've had issues with AMD in the past and Intel have always been 100% reliable from day one, so I'm inclined to stick to team blue...

One side question - I struggle sometimes with your graphs lacking units, so I'm not always totally clear on the comparisons. Are the differences in performance between the 10920 and the 3950 really going to be noticeable day-to-day? I'm upgrading from a 4790K so I think sometimes the relative differences get overblown when making a jump like that.


Posted on 2019-11-26 21:10:58

The biggest thing for you is that the AMD Ryzen CPUs are really, really good for exporting in Lightroom Classic. If that isn't a big deal for you, I think the 10920X is probably the better choice overall for all the reasons you mentioned.

As for our graphs, as far as I can find they all have the units listed (which is just a calculated score) on the axis. For day-to-day work, there probably won't be a huge difference between the 3950X and 10920X outside of exporting in Lightroom where the 3950X will be noticeably faster. Definitely either one is going to be much faster than your 4790K, but when we're talking about anything less that ~10% between CPUs it is going to be hard to tell the difference unless you have two systems sitting side by side.

Posted on 2019-11-26 21:37:35

Hmm, very good point. I do spend time exporting big batches of photos (200-600 a time on average), but as that's a passive task, I usually just use that time to make a cup of tea and stretch the legs. Same goes for export times really. The biggest impact a new PC will make on my work is going to be active tasks like live playback in premiere (including with colour and effects applied etc), culling and jumping between modules/editing in develop. Also passing files between the adobe suite (e.g. Lr>Ps and Ps>Pr). So I think it sounds like I should stick with the 10920x?

Yes, I can see it's a score, but I just wasn't sure what that related to, but I trust your rigour in testing! Thanks again for responding!

Posted on 2019-11-26 22:09:23

Sounds like the 10920X is probably the better overall choice for you, but it will be really close compared to the 3900X/3950X. Honestly, whichever way you go should be fine, so go with whichever one you are leaning towards.

Got you on the score - we have a more detailed explanation on our benchmark download page: https://www.pugetsystems.co... . Basically, the scores are relative to the media's FPS. Playback/Exporting a 59.94FPS project at 30FPS would result in a score of ~50 for that test. Then the overall score is just an average for each kind of test, then multiplied by 10 since a bigger score means more important.

Posted on 2019-11-26 23:23:28

Thanks again for this - I really appreciate the work you guys do!

(and thanks for clarifying the scores - that's helpful)

Posted on 2019-11-28 10:26:02

SMD79 thanks for asking the questions you did, I'm also hoping to get whatever sony camera supports 4k 60fps in the future. Matt Bach so based on what you said and the article you linked, the difference between the 3960x and 3950x in live playback scores, is that the 3960x could only play 76% of frames for a given resolution and framerate vs the 3950x could play 70% (averaged over time of course. I imagine the 8k footage is what makes those percentages so terrible lol)? I'm just trying to understand how much a 6 point difference really is.

Also, I had no idea you guys published your benchmarks, looking forward to testing my system! I have an i7 6700k, and gtx 1070, 32GB at 3200. Live playback of H.264 4k footage in premiere is pretty rough, although working with exported DNxHR for color grading in davinici resolve plays back quite nicely with fairly basic color grades.

After benchmarking, my scores are abysmal haha:

Overall Standard Score: 274.5
Standard Live Playback Score: 31.7
Standard Export Score: 23.2

Posted on 2019-11-28 21:37:40

You are right on the percentages. That is the average between a sequence with just Lumetri Color applied as well as a 4 track Multicam, however, so it is really just an indicator of performance. If you want to know exactly what FPS a CPU should give you, I would recommend looking through the raw result charts. We list the actual FPS for each test in there, so you can look at just the results you want. MultiCam can be really, really hard with many codecs, so you may opt to ignore those results if you don't use it much.

Posted on 2019-12-02 18:27:22

What is the best CPU and GPU for realtime H.265 editing?
I shoot with an X-T3 and currently generate proxy files to work with the 10-bit H265 video on my 2013 Mac Pro. Would a new machine with current CPU / GPU allow me to work without a proxy workflow or is H265 just too heavy for real time editing

Posted on 2019-11-25 22:56:34

Right now, we are only testing H.265 at 8K, and at that level pretty much any CPU is going to be bad. I would like to add a 4K H.265 test at some point, but we need to decide what to cut since the benchmark testing is already starting to get a little too long. My guess is that the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X/3950X will be your best bet though. The Intel Core i9 9900K does have Quicksync which allows for hardware accelerated decoding/encoding of H.265, but I'm not sure if that is enough to overcome the simple raw performance of the Ryzen 9 CPUs.

With one of those chips, I think you should be able to do up to 30FPS 4K H.265 ~100mbps, but I wouldn't expect any higher. And of course, any effects you throw on will reduce performance so that is only on a relatively clean timeline. The GPU shouldn't matter much unless you use a ton of GPU-based effects. A NVIDIA RTX 2060 SUPER is going to get you nearly the best performance in most cases.

I don't know if you are considering purchasing a system from us or not, but what we can do for our customers is have you send us a test clip/project and we can throw it on a couple systems to see exactly what kind of performance you can expect with a few different CPUs. That isn't a service we offer to the general public, but it is well worth our time for our customers since it ensures they are getting exactly the right configuration for their specific workflow.

Posted on 2019-11-25 23:04:57
Hans Reutter

Fair to expect Magix Vegas Pro to behave pretty similar to Premiere Pro? It does scale well to 16 cores, so the 3960X should be slightly faster than the 3970X based on clock speeds. Thanks for all the great post Puget Systems!!

Posted on 2019-11-26 04:40:33
Michael K. Woods

Intel is obviously behind now on HEDT (although these classes are becoming more tangled). I would be surprised if in 1H 2020 Intel doesn’t release ≈$2,000 version of the W-3175X. I think they will try to brute force higher clock speeds and will probably get much closer to TR3 with those 28 cores. It appears that the core count is why Intel is falling behind on HEDT. They have no choice but to barrow from their Xeon Platinum 8280 if they want to remain competitive at the top of the stack.

Posted on 2019-11-26 08:17:16
Jonathan Emms

Hi me again :-)
Not sure if you'd remember me, but thought I'd just bring up the same topic again as last threadripper launch about a year ago.
I'd say your cooling solutions on both sides are probably significantly inadequate for the high end TR and XE skus

Posted on 2019-11-26 10:26:26
Jamie Grant

im looking at the cost of the 7940x and its a lot more expensive that the 10940x. why is this? does the 7940x yield better results even though its an older cpu?

Posted on 2020-01-13 02:23:11

Older tech can become more expensive due to scarcity, but that is definitely a slower CPU. Intel also cut prices pretty massively from the previous Core X generations to this new 10-series, in an attempt to keep closer to AMD in terms of price:performance ratio. There is absolutely no reason to get one of those older chips today, IMO.

Posted on 2020-01-13 05:04:40
Jamie Grant

hi have you guys tested results with black magic raw footage 4k in premiere pro? i'm experiencing major live playback lag..i currently have the 7900x considering upgrading to a 10940x or 10920x but holding back want to know if it will actually make a difference in terms of live playback.

Posted on 2020-01-21 00:16:11

Not yet. From what we've heard, the current plugin that allows BRAW processing in Premiere Pro is... not good. So we're holding off until it becomes more stable.

Posted on 2020-01-21 00:29:12
Jamie Grant

Thanks Black magic just released an update in mid December for BRAW in premiere pro..i haven't came across any bugs as yet, but ive only been using it for two weeks so i guess time will tell.
Thanks again

Posted on 2020-01-21 00:38:59

Anyone know where a 7900X might fit in on these graphs?

Posted on 2020-04-29 18:30:42

You can actually download and run the benchmark yourself from here: https://www.pugetsystems.co... then compare the results to others in our online database: https://www.pugetsystems.co...

From existing results, it looks like with the 0.9 version of the benchmark (which is slightly different than the one used in this post), a 7900X + 1080Ti gets a score of 614. For comparison, a 9900K system gets around 700 points, but obviously varies based on the GPU used.

Posted on 2020-04-30 03:24:32
Niklas Johansson

Hej Puget. I've got an i9 7900x and I'm working as a freelancer. Would you say it's worth the upgrade to an 10980xe CPU for Premiere Pro?

Posted on 2020-09-24 09:25:54

It is hard to guess what performance gain you would see, but I recommend running our Premiere Pro benchmark (https://www.pugetsystems.co... and comparing your results to the ones for the 10980XE in our benchmark database https://www.pugetsystems.co... . That should give you a good idea of what kind of performance increase you would see, and let you decide if the gains are worth the investment.

From the one 7900X result that is uploaded, however (https://www.pugetsystems.co..., it looks like you can expect somewhere around a 60% improvement in performance.

Posted on 2020-09-24 16:35:21