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AMD's 3rd generation Ryzen processors really shook up the market when they were launched back in July of 2019, often matching or beating their direct Intel equivalents. But even with how impressive they were overall, Intel managed to maintain a slight lead in After Effects with the Core i9 9900K.
However, AMD is launching one more 3rd generation Ryzen CPU that may change the performance picture – the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X. This processor features a staggering 16 CPU cores which is really starting to blur the line between "consumer" and "HEDT" (High End Desktop) processors. However, the increase in core count comes with a fairly large MSRP price of $749. For comparison, both the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12 Core and Intel Core i9 9900K 8 Core have a MSRP of $499. If you want more information on the specs of this new processor, we recommend checking out our New CPU Announcement: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X post.
In this article, we want to see whether the increase in core count (and price) is worth it for Adobe After Effects. However, since Intel is launching their new Core X-10000 series processors and AMD is launching their new 3rd Gen Threadripper processors in the near future, we are only going to compare the 3950X to a handful of Intel and AMD CPUs. If you want to see how it stacks up against a wider range of Intel and AMD processors, check back in the coming weeks for articles that will include the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen, Intel Core 9th Gen, and Intel Core X-10000 series processors in a number of applications.
If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion.
Test Setup & Methodology
Listed below are the specifications of the systems we will be using for our testing:
|AMD Ryzen Test Platform|
|CPU||AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA|
|RAM||4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)|
|AMD Threadripper Test Platform|
|CPU||AMD TR 2950X|
|CPU Cooler||Corsair Hydro Series H80i v2|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X399 AORUS Xtreme|
|RAM||4x DDR4-2666 16GB (64GB total)|
*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of November 11th, 2019
A few notes on the hardware and software used for our testing: First, we have decided to standardize on DDR4-2933 memory for the Ryzen platform. The officially supported RAM speed varies from DDR4-2666 to DDR4-3200 depending on how many sticks you are using and whether they are dual or single rank, and DDR4-2933 is right in the middle as well as being the fastest supported speed if you want to use four sticks of RAM. In fact, this is the speed we are planning on using in our Ryzen workstations once JDEC DDR4-2933 16GB sticks are available.
The second thing to note is that we are using an unreleased version of our After Effects Benchmark. This new version primarily composes of stability and usability updates, however, so the results themselves are interchangeable with the version we currently have available for download.
While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each test, we also wanted to provide the individual results. 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 total scores.
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 After Effects.
After Effects Benchmark Analysis
Our After Effects benchmark tests three main categories of performance: RAM preview playback, export rendering, and tracking. The results from these three categories are then combined into an overall score to give you a general idea of how each hardware configuration might perform in After Effects.
Overall, the AMD Ryzen 3950X manages to take the top spot for performance, beating out the Intel Core i9 9900K by about 3% and the Ryzen 9 3900X by 8%. This isn't a very large increase in performance considering it costs about 50% more than the 9900K or 3900X, but if you are looking for the absolute fastest CPU for After Effects, this is currently it.
If you dig into the results in more detail, you will find that this performance lead mostly comes from one area: rendering performance during export. Here, the 3950X is closer to 10% faster than the Core i9 9900K or Ryzen 9 3900X, which can be very significant for some users. In other areas like RAM preview, however, it is only on par with the Core i9 9900K.
Is the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X good for After Effects?
In terms of pure performance, the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is currently the fastest CPU available for After Effects. However, it is overall only a few percent faster than the Intel Core i9 9900K which may make it hard to justify since the cost is much higher. But if decreasing render times is one of your goals, it is a solid 10% faster than either the Core i9 9900K or Ryzen 9 3900X.
Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for After Effects. If your workflow includes other software packages, you need to consider how the processor will perform in all those applications. Currently, we have articles for Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve, and a number of other applications.
In addition, both Intel and AMD have new processors coming out in the near future which may change the price to performance picture. We will be publishing more articles as these new processors launch, so be sure to keep a close eye on our list of Hardware Articles in the coming weeks.