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TL;DR: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 & 3090 performance in After Effects
For most users, After Effects is going to be CPU bottlenecked long before the performance of your GPU comes into play. However, in certain After Effects workloads, the new GeForce RTX 3080 and 3090 are around 12% faster than the previous generation RTX 2080 Ti, 17% faster than the RTX 2080 SUPER, or a bit more than 20% faster than the older GTX 1080 Ti.
However, there is no appreciable difference between the RTX 3080 and the more expensive RTX 3090, so there is little reason to invest in the more expensive model. In fact, many users may want to wait to see how the RTX 3070 – launching mid-October – will perform before purchasing a new workstation or upgrading their GPU.
On September 1st, NVIDIA launched the new GeForce RTX 30 Series, touting major advancements in performance and efficiency. And while gaming is almost always a major focus during these launches, professional applications like After Effects should see some improvements as well. Ever since version 2015.3, Adobe has been steadily adding support for GPU acceleration in After Effects which has made the video card an increasingly important part of an After Effects workstation.
However, most of After Effects is still limited by the performance of your CPU, so will these new cards have anything to offer for After Effects users?
If you want to see the full specs for the new GeForce RTX 3070, 3080, and 3090 cards, we recommend checking out NVIDIA's page for the new 30 series cards. But at a glance, here are what we consider to be the most important specs:
|VRAM||CUDA Cores||Boost Clock||Power||MSRP|
|RTX 2070S||8GB||2,560||1.77 GHz||215W||$499|
|RTX 3070||8GB||5,888||1.70 GHz||220W||$499|
|RTX 2080 Ti||11GB||4,352||1.55 GHz||250W||$1,199|
|RTX 3080||10GB||8,704||1.71 GHz||320W||$699|
|Titan RTX||24GB||4,608||1.77 GHz||280W||$2,499|
|RTX 3090||24GB||10,496||1.73 GHz||350W||$1,499|
While specs rarely line up with real-world performance, it is a great sign that NVIDIA has doubled the number of CUDA cores compared to the comparable RTX 20 series cards with only a small drop in the boost clock. At the same time, the RTX 3080 and 3090 are also $500-1000 less expensive than the previous generation depending on which models you are comparing them to.
With the launch of the RTX 3090, we can update our previous Adobe After Effects – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 Performance article with results for the 3090, but since the RTX 3070 is not launching until sometime in October, we cannot include it at this time. However, we are very interested in how the RTX 3070 will perform, and when we are able to test that card, we will post another follow-up article with the results.
Listed below is the specifications of the system we will be using for our testing:
|CPU||AMD TR 3960X 24 Core|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS PRO WIFI|
|RAM||4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)|
|Video Card||NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 24GB
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3080 OC 10GB
NVIDIA Titan RTX 24GB
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8GB
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8GB
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB
|Hard Drive||Samsung 960 Pro 1TB|
|Software||Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Ver. 2004)
After Effects 2020 (Ver. 17.1.3)
PugetBench for After Effects (Ver. 0.92)
*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of September 7th, 2020
Big thank you to Gigabyte for providing the GeForce RTX™ 3080 GAMING OC 10G used in our testing!
To test each GPU, we will be using the fastest platform currently available for After Effects – most notably the AMD Threadripper 3960X. Since After Effects utilizes the CPU so heavily, this should minimize the impact of the processor and allow each GPU to perform at their fullest potential.
For the testing itself, we will be using our PugetBench for After Effects benchmark. This tests a number of different projects and includes a dedicated "GPU Stress" test that is meant to put as much load on the GPU as possible while still staying within the realm of what someone might actually do in the real world. If you wish to run our benchmark yourself, you can download the benchmark and compare your results to thousands of user-submitted results in our PugetBench database.
Raw Benchmark Results
While we are going to go through our analysis of the testing in the next section, we always like to provide the raw results for those that want to dig into the details. If there is a specific task you primarily care about, examining the raw results for that task is going to be much more applicable than our more general analysis.
Overall After Effects Performance Analysis
Since looking at GPU performance in applications like After Effects is often a case of examining extreme situations where the GPU is put under a heavy load, we first wanted to start off by looking at the overall performance we saw from our After Effects benchmark with each GPU. For most users, this is likely to be the most accurate representation of what they would experience in their day-to-day work since even if you use a ton of effects, they will usually be a mix of both CPU and GPU-based effects.
Looking at the overall performance, the new GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 do technically top our charts, but the difference between it and the other NVIDIA cards is so slight that it won't be noticeable in most situations. In fact, the difference between these new cards and the modest RTX 2060 SUPER is only 3%, which is within the margin of error for this type of real-world testing.
Even if we dive into the RAM preview and rendering results (ignoring tracking as that purely uses the CPU), there isn't much of a difference between each NVIDIA GPU. There is definitely an advantage to using NVIDIA over AMD, but beyond that, there doesn't appear to be a significant benefit to using a higher-end GPU.
However, if we examine our "GPU Stress" project by itself (which pushes the GPU as much as is realistic in After Effects), we can get a look at the maximum possible performance gain you may encounter with the RTX 3080 and 3090.
GPU Score Analysis
Our GPU Score is calculated based on the performance of our "GPU Stress" composition which is designed to put as much load on the GPU as possible while minimizing the CPU as a bottleneck. This test is borderline synthetic since it is rare that you will only use GPU-accelerated effects, but it does a good job of showing the maximum performance delta between different GPUs in After Effects.
In this composition, we actually see a pretty good bump in performance with the new GeForce RTX 30-series cards. An 11-13% increase in performance over the RTX 2080 Ti may not seem like all that much compared to the performance gains we saw in some of our other articles, but for After Effects that is very respectable.
Something that is very interesting, however, is that the RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 performed within a few percent of each other. So, while the new cards are definitely faster, there is not a reason to invest in the RTX 3090 for After Effects alone. This makes us very curious to see how the upcoming RTX 3070 performs. Will it be essentially the same as the RTX 3080, or will it give slightly lower performance?
How well does the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080 & 3090 perform in After Effects?
For most users, After Effects is going to be CPU bottlenecked long before the performance of your GPU comes into play. But in certain situations, the new GeForce RTX 3080 and RTX 3090 can be around ~12% faster than the previous generation RTX 2080 Ti or ~17% faster than the RTX 2080 SUPER. And for those that are a few generations behind, these new cards can be more than 20% faster than the GTX 1080 Ti.
While these cards do give a decent bump in performance, one interesting thing we found is that there is not much of a difference between the RTX 3080 10GB and the more expensive RTX 3090 24GB. The extra VRAM is not necessary for pretty much any workflow in After Effects, so unless you are using another application that can benefit from the additional power or VRAM, you might as well save some money and stick with the RTX 3080 – and possibly hold out until we see how the even more affordable RTX 3070 performs next month.
However, another factor you may want to keep in mind is how the RTX 3080 performs in rendering engines (we currently have articles up for OctaneRender, V-Ray, and RedShift). Even if you do not use these rendering engines today, After Effects has been indicating a trend towards using them more heavily in the future (especially since RedShift was acquired by Maxon), so it is likely that you will be using one of them in the near future if you do any 3D work. You may not get excited about the performance gains we saw in After Effects, but the performance of the new RTX 30 series cards in these rendering engines is absolutely fantastic.
As always, keep in mind that these results are strictly for After Effects. If you have performance concerns for other applications in your workflow, we highly recommend checking out our Hardware Articles (you can filter by "Video Card") for the latest information on how a range of applications perform with the new RTX 3080 and 3090 GPUs, as well as with different CPUs and other hardware.