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TL;DR: AMD Radeon RX 6800 & 6800 XT performance in Premiere Pro
The new Radeon 6800 and 6800 XT show a major advancement from AMD, with performance gains of over 40% compared to the older Radeon Vega 64 and 5700 XT in certain workflows. Unfortunately, while this is a very impressive performance boost, it isn't quite enough to catch up to NVIDIA. Overall, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is 8% faster than even the Radeon RX 6800 XT, while the RTX 3080 expands that lead to 12%. This means that for most users, NVIDIA continues to be the best option for a Premiere Pro workstation.
Recently, AMD launched their new Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT GPUs and while supply has been especially tight, we have finally managed to get our hands on a pair of cards courtesy of our friend Brian Stroh at BPS Customs. AMD has advertised very large performance gains with these cards, although gaming has been AMD's focus for the Radeon series of cards for the last few generations so we don't quite know what to expect in professional applications like Premiere Pro.
Adobe has been adding more and more GPU-accelerated effects and features over the last few years, which has made the GPU an increasingly important component in editing workstations. In the past, however, NVIDIA held a commanding performance lead over AMD, so it will be interesting to see if this continues to hold true or if the new Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT GPUs allow AMD to match or beat NVIDIA in Premiere Pro.
If you want to see the full specs for the new Radeon 6800 cards, we recommend checking out AMD's product page for the Radeon RX 6800 and the Radeon RX 6800 XT. But at a glance, here are what we consider to be the most important specs:
|Radeon Vega 64
|Radeon 6800 XT
While specs rarely line up with real-world performance, it is nice to see AMD including 16GB of VRAM on the new 6800 cards. However, this really shouldn't be necessary for Premiere Pro unless you are trying to edit 8K timelines on a budget since we typically recommend at least 10GB of VRAM for 8K editing.
From a pricing standpoint, these cards are right in between the NVIDIA RTX 3070 and 3080 – although currently, supply is so poor that you will be lucky to find a card for anywhere near the MSRP price. However, we typically use the MSRP as a baseline for price in order to rule out fluctuations due to different brands, sales, and scarcity. This means that from a performance perspective, we will be primarily looking to see if these cards are able to out-perform the RTX 3070 and whether or not they can beat the more expensive RTX 3080.
Listed below is the specifications of the system we will be using for our testing:
|AMD TR 3970X 32 Core
|Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3
|Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS PRO WIFI
|4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)
|NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090 24GB
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3080 OC 10GB
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB
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 6800 XT 16GB
AMD Radeon RX 6800 16GB
AMD Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB
AMD Radeon RX Vega 64 8GB
|Samsung 960 Pro 1TB
|Windows 10 Pro 64-bit (Ver. 2004)
Premiere Pro 2020 (Ver. 14.5)
PugetBench for Premiere Pro (Ver. 0.92)
*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of September 7th, 2020
Huge thank you to Brian Stroh of BPS Customs for generously loaning us his AMD Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT to use for this testing!
To test each GPU, we will be using the fastest platform currently available for Premiere Pro – most notably the AMD Threadripper 3970X. Since Premiere Pro utilizes the CPU so heavily, this should minimize the impact of the processor and allow each GPU to perform at their fullest potential.
One thing we need to specifically point out is that while we are using the 4.5 version of Premiere Pro which includes GPU-based H.264/HEVC decoding, we actually saw significantly lower performance in our tests with this feature enabled. We have since determined that this is simply due to the GPU decoding being overwhelmed with some multicam setups. Tasks like scrubbing, reverse playback, etc. are all still significantly better with the GPU decoding enabled which we showed recently in our Premiere Pro GPU Decoding for H.264/HEVC media – is it faster? article. In addition, multicam performance is better with the 23.976FPS H.264/HEVC media we've tested, so this appears to be an issue only with higher framerate footage.
However, due to the rolling GPU launches from NVIDIA and AMD, we will be re-using many of the results from our
Adobe Premiere Pro – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, 3080 & 3090 Performance article in which we disabled GPU decoding due to this issue. Our current plan is to re-do all our GPU testing with the latest version of Premiere Pro (with GPU decoding enabled) once AMD launches the Radeon RX 6900 (XT) in December (assuming we can get our hands on them before 2021).
For the testing itself, we will be using the "Standard" preset of our PugetBench for Premiere Pro benchmark. This tests a number of different codec types (H.264, ProRes 422, and RED RAW), but also includes a dedicated "Heavy GPU Effects" 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 tend to perform in your workflow, examining the raw results is going to be much more applicable than our more general analysis.
Overall Premiere Pro Performance Analysis
In applications like Premiere Pro where the GPU is secondary to the CPU, many reviewers like to focus on extreme situations that heavily load the GPU. However, we first want to start off by looking at the overall performance we saw from our Premiere Pro benchmark with each GPU in order to show what most users would likely experience in their day-to-day work.
Looking at the overall performance, the new AMD Radeon 6800 and 6800 XT are certainly better than the less expensive Radeon RX 5700 XT that launched in 2019, but the difference even with the 6800 XT is less than 10%. That also means that AMD continues to trail behind NVIDIA, not even managing to match the previous generation RTX 2000 series cards.
Compared to the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070, the Radeon 6800 and 6800 XT are around 7-9% slower. And if you have a bit larger of a budget, you can get around 12% higher performance from the RTX 3080 compared to the Radeon 6800 XT.
Keep in mind that the scores shown in the charts above include quite a few tests that are heavily CPU limited. Playing or exporting ProRes footage does not utilize the GPU, and neither does our dedicated CPU Effects test. This is still a fairly good indication of what the average Premiere Pro user may experience overall, but we can dive into specific situations where a more powerful GPU should net you more significant performance gains.
Exporting to H.264 (GPU Encoding) Analysis
The chart above is not an official part of our Premiere Pro benchmark at the moment but is a calculated score from the H.264 export tests. As we showed in our recent Premiere Pro 14.2 H.264/H.265 Hardware Encoding Performance article, the amount of speedup you can see by utilizing the recently added hardware encoding feature varies greatly depending on your source media and export settings. In this case, we are exporting 4K media to UHD H.264 40mbps, which, coincidentally, is where we saw the largest performance gains.
Here, the new AMD 6800 GPUs are not all that impressive. They are ~5% faster than the Radeon 5700 XT, but even the NVIDIA RTX 3070 is a solid 30% faster than any of the AMD Radeon cards. And if you wanted to compare to the RTX 3080, NVIDIA's lead expands to over 40%.
GPU Score Analysis
Our heavy GPU effects test looks at live playback and export performance with sequences that have a large number of GPU-accelerated effects including Lumetri Color, Ultra Key, Sharpen, Gaussian Blur, Basic 3D, Directional Blur, VR Digital Glitch, and VR De-Noise. Because it is designed to maximize the load on the GPU and minimize the load on the rest of the system, this should be close to the maximum possible performance difference you will ever experience between different GPUs in Premiere Pro.
In these tests, the AMD Radeon 6800 and 6800 XT do significantly better and are able to out-perform the Radeon 5700 XT by more than 40%. However, this isn't quite enough to catch NVIDIA since the RTX 3070 is both less expensive and ~5% faster than the Radeon 6800, or on par with the Radeon 6800 XT. In addition, if you have an extra $50, the NVIDIA RTX 3080 is a very solid 17% faster than the Radeon 6800 XT.
How well does the AMD Radeon RX 6800 and 6800 XT perform in Premiere Pro?
The new Radeon 6800 and 6800 XT are a major improvement for AMD with performance gains of over 40% compared to the older Radeon Vega 64 and 5700 XT in certain workflows. Unfortunately, while this is a very impressive performance boost, it isn't quite enough to catch up to NVIDIA. Overall, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 is 8% faster than even the Radeon RX 6800 XT, while the RTX 3080 expands that lead to 12%.
If you use a number of GPU accelerated effects or want significantly faster H.264 exports, NVIDIA continues to be the best option for most users. The only exception to this is if you wanted to edit 8K media/timelines on a budget where the 16GB of VRAM on the 6800 (XT) could be useful. For those users, however, the 10GB of VRAM on the RTX 3080 should be enough, and for the extra $50 over the 6800 XT, you will also get a very healthy performance boost.
As always, keep in mind that these results are strictly for Premiere Pro. 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 AMD Radeon 6000 series GPUs, as well as with different CPUs and other hardware.