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TL;DR: AMD Ryzen 5000 Series performance in Lightroom Classic
In the past, there were arguments for using an Intel processor for Lightroom Classic if you wanted to optimize for active tasks like scrolling through images, but with the new Ryzen 5000 Series CPUs, AMD takes a solid lead no matter the task. We saw some odd performance issues with the Ryzen 9 5950X, but the Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 9 5900X beat the Intel Core i9 10900K by a solid 14% and 21% respectively, while the Ryzen 5 5600X outperforms the similarly-priced Intel Core i5 10600K by a bit smaller 11%.
Over the last few years, AMD has been making great strides with their Ryzen and Threadripper processors, often matching – or beating – the performance from similarly priced Intel options. AMD has had a strong lead in Lightroom Classic for passive tasks like exporting, but Intel managed to maintain a small advantage for active tasks like scrolling through images and switching between modules.
With the launch of AMD's new Ryzen 5000-series processors, however, it is very likely that AMD will be able to take a very solid lead over Intel in Lightroom Classic no matter what task you are looking at. AMD hasn't added any more cores to their new line of processors, but among other things, they are touting a 19% IPC (instructions per clock) improvement. In theory, this could translate to almost a 20% performance increase over the previous generation, although it will likely heavily depend on the application.
In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new AMD Ryzen 5600X, 5800X, 5900X, and 5950X in Lightroom Classic compared to a range of CPUs including the Intel 10th Gen, Intel X-10000 Series, AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen, and the previous generation AMD Ryzen 3000-series processors. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, we also have other articles for Premiere Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, and several other applications available on our article listing page.
If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion.
Listed below are the specifications of the systems we will be using for our testing:
|AMD Ryzen Test Platform
|AMD Ryzen 9 5950X ($799)
AMD Ryzen 9 5900X ($549)
AMD Ryzen 7 5800X ($449)
AMD Ryzen 5 5600X ($299)
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X ($749)
AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT ($499)
AMD Ryzen 7 3800XT ($399)
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT ($249)
|Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA
|4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
|AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen Test Platform
|AMD TR 3990X ($3,990)
AMD TR 3970X ($1,999)
AMD TR 3960X ($1,399)
|Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3
|Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS PRO WIFI
|4x DDR4-3200 16GB (64GB total)
*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of October 26, 2020
In order to see how each of these configurations performs in Lightroom Classic, we will be using our PugetBench for Lightroom Classic V0.92 benchmark and Lightroom Classic version 10.0. This benchmark version includes the ability to upload the results to our online database, so if you want to know how your own system compares, you can download and run the benchmark yourself.
One thing we do want to note is that the pre-launch BIOS that is available for Ryzen motherboards is using AGESA 1.0.8. Soon after launch, there should be an update that adds support for AGESA 1.1.0 which is supposed to increase the performance of each Ryzen CPU by another few percent.
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 there is a specific task that is a hindrance to your workflow, examining the raw results for that task is going to be much more applicable than the scores that our benchmark calculated.
Feel free to skip to the next sections for our analysis of these results to get a wider view of how each configuration performs in Lightroom Classic.
Benchmark Analysis: AMD Ryzen 5000-series vs Intel 10th Gen
Overall, the new Ryzen 5000-series CPUs from AMD are terrific for Lightroom Classic. You can still get more overall performance from the (significantly) more expensive Threadripper processors, but the Ryzen 9 5900X, in particular, is not too far behind those beefier models.
The only oddity in our testing was that the Ryzen 9 5950X ended up performing worse than the 5900X – in large part due to some performance issues with the "Build 500x Smart Previews" tests. We confirmed these results multiple times, and for whatever reason, Lightroom Classic simply doesn't like the 5950X at the moment. Future software or BIOS updates could of course fix this issue, although we saw the same behavior between the Ryzen 9 3900X and 3950X, so this is unlikely to be a simple BIOS or software bug.
Compared to the previous generation AMD Ryzen 3000-series CPUs, these new processors are all roughly 10% faster than the CPUs they are replacing. They do have a 10-20% higher price tag as well, although in terms of absolute cost that works out to only a $50 increase which is fairly small if you look at it as a part of the overall cost of a computer.
Even this relatively small 10% increase in performance allows the modest Ryzen 5 5600X to beat every single Intel processor we tested, although it only snuck by the Intel Core i9 10900K by a few percent. Comparing the 5600X to the more similarly-priced Intel Core i5 10600K, the 5600X is a decent 11% faster in our Lightroom Classic benchmark.
With the higher-end Ryzen models, we are looking at roughly a 14% increase in performance over the Core i9 10900K with the Ryzen 7 5800X, or a 21% increase with the Ryzen 9 5900X. It is also worth noting that the 5800X and 5900X outperformed the 10900K not only in the passive tasks but the active ones as well, which was where Intel was previously maintaining a slight edge. This effectively puts AMD in the lead over Intel no matter what your budget is and what parts of Lightroom Classic you want to optimize for.
Are the AMD Ryzen 5000-series or Intel Core 10th Gen better for Lightroom Classic?
In the past, there were arguments for using an Intel processor for Lightroom Classic if you wanted to optimize for active tasks like scrolling through images, but with the new Ryzen 5000-series CPUs, AMD takes a solid lead no matter the task. We saw some odd performance issues with the Ryzen 9 5950X, but the Ryzen 7 5800X and Ryzen 9 5900X beat the Intel Core i9 10900K by a solid 14% and 21% respectively, while the Ryzen 5 5600X outperforms the similarly-priced Intel Core i5 10600K by a bit smaller 11%.
If you were to compare AMD and Intel processors based on price alone, AMD is anywhere from 11% to 30% faster than Intel. However, we do need to make clear that since the Intel X-series CPUs are not as strong in Lightroom Classic as the lower-priced Intel 10th Gen CPUs, that is being somewhat unfair to Intel. There is almost no reason to use the X-series when the Core i9 10900K is both less expensive and faster, so the true performance lead with the AMD Ryzen 5000-series peaks out closer to only 20%
Another factor that has changed recently is that the Gigabyte B550 Vision D motherboard – with fully certified Thunderbolt support – has launched and passed our internal qualification process. One of the reasons we sometimes used the Intel 10th Gen CPUs over Ryzen when the performance was similar was because only Intel platforms had passed our qualification process for Thunderbolt. With this motherboard, Thunderbolt support is no longer as much of a factor when choosing between Intel 10th Gen and AMD Ryzen CPUs in our workstations.
Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for Lightroom Classic and that performance will vary widely in different applications. If your workflow includes other software packages (we have similar articles for Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Photoshop), you need to consider how the system will perform in those applications as well. Be sure to check our list of Hardware Articles to keep up to date on how all of these software packages – and more – perform with the latest CPUs.