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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
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Introduction

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
CPU

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
CPU

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.

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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)

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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 powerful and reliable systems that are tailor-made for your unique workflow.

Configure a System!

Labs Consultation Service

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

Find Out More!
Tags: Intel 9th Gen, Intel X-series, Intel vs AMD, AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, AMD Threadripper 2nd Gen, Intel X-10000, Premiere Pro
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