Table of Contents
TL;DR: Intel Xeon W-3300 Processor Performance in DaVinci Resolve
The new Intel Xeon W-3300 series processors are interesting to consider because they can do well in DaVinci Resolve Studio, but they require changing the Windows power profile to "High Performance" in order to match the AMD Threadripper Pro processors. If you do so, the Intel Xeon W-3335 16 core and W-3365 32 core overall perform within a few percent of the AMD Threadripper Pro 3955WX 16 core and 3975WX 32 Core, but if you do not, they fall behind by roughly 20%.
Between the two processor families, we have to give the edge to Threadripper Pro for DaVinci Resolve. The Intel Xeon W-3300 processors are not only slightly more expensive than the comparable AMD TR Pro models, but you have to change the Windows power profile in order for them to match AMD. And while changing the power profile isn't difficult, it also isn't ideal as it is something that many end users may not even consider doing on their system. Not to mention that it will raise the idle power consumption, heat, and noise of the system.
Intel has long been a staple in the world of workstation computing, but when AMD released their 3rd generation Threadripper line in late 2019 (and more recently Threadripper Pro), they took over the performance crown for a number of workflows. With the launch of the new Xeon W-3300 series, however, Intel is looking to retake its position as uncontested top dog in the workstation space.
The Intel Xeon W-3300 series of processors include a number of advantages over the previous W-3200 line, including an increase in max core count, 64 lanes of PCI-E Gen 4.0, 8 channel DDR4-3200 memory (up to 4TB max), and up to an 18% increase in IPC (instructions per clock). Threadripper Pro still has the advantage in terms of total core count (64 vs 38) and PCI-E Gen 4.0 lanes (128 vs 64), but these changes – plus a number of other improvements – should make the Xeon W-3300 series a significant upgrade over the previous generation.
If you want to read about what sets the Xeon W-3300 series apart in more detail, we recommend checking out our landing page for Intel Xeon W-3300 Processors.
In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new Intel Xeon W-3300 series CPUs in DaVinci Resolve compared to AMD’s Threadripper Pro line. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, we also have other articles for Photoshop, After Effects, Premiere Pro, and several other applications available on our article listing page.
One very important thing to note is that we will be performing our testing with both the default “Balanced” Windows power profile, as well as the “High Performance” profile. In the course of our testing, we discovered that the Xeon W-3300 processors can sometimes give significantly lower performance on the default Windows power profile, so we thought it was important to show results for both profiles.
We will be leading with the “Balanced” profile results as that is what most systems will likely be using by default, but since changing the power profile is extremely easy, we will look at the performance with both power profiles.
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:
|Intel Xeon W-3300 Test Platform|
|CPU||Intel Xeon W-3375 38 Core ($4,499)
Intel Xeon W-3365 32 Core ($3,699)
Intel Xeon W-3345 24 Core ($2,499)
Intel Xeon W-3335 16 Core ($1,299)
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12DX i4|
|RAM||8x DDR4-3200 16GB Reg. ECC (128GB total)|
*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of July 20th, 2021
To see how well the Xeon W-3300 CPUs perform, we are primarily going to be comparing them to the AMD Threadripper Pro processors. For the test itself, we will be using our PugetBench for DaVinci Resolve V0.92.1 benchmark and DaVinci Resolve Studio 17.2.2. 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.
Raw Benchmark Results
While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each test, we also like to provide 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.
DaVinci Resolve Studio Performance Analysis (Balanced Power Profile)
As noted in the introduction of this article, we found that the Xeon W-3300 series processors often gave vastly different benchmark results depending on which Windows power profile we used. But to start off, we want to look at the performance with the default “Balanced” power profile.
With the default power profile, AMD’s Threadripper Pro line has a solid lead over the new Xeon W-3300 CPUs. At the 16 core level, AMD is 17% faster, and this increases to 23% at the 32 core level. The Intel Xeon W-3375 38 Core shows some significant issues in this power profile, but if you wanted to compare it to the top-end Threadripper Pro 3995WX, AMD is a massive 38% faster overall.
One thing we should point out is that for the 4K and 8K media tests, AMD was typically only about 10-20% ahead of Intel. But for the Fusion tests (which are largely single-threaded), AMD has a 50-75% performance advantage when using this power profile. This lines up with the fact that the biggest issues we have seen with the Xeon CPUs with the default “Balanced” profile come from lightly threaded applications like Photoshop and After Effects.
Luckily for Intel, it is easy enough to change the Windows power profile, so let’s also take a look at what the performance is like if you were to switch to the “High Performance” power profile:
DaVinci Resolve Studio Performance Analysis (High Performance Power Profile)
Switching to the “High Performance” profile nets a significant performance improvement with the Intel Xeon W-3300 processors. It varies a small amount depending on the model, but on average the performance jumped by 15-20% overall compared to the “Balanced” power profile. In fact, for the Fusion tests, in particular, the Intel Xeon W-3300 CPUs showed anywhere from a 50% to 2x improvement in performance! The AMD Threadripper Pro CPUs, on the other hand, showed minimal performance difference when we changed the power profile, and were even slightly slower in some cases.
This means that if you are willing to adjust the Windows power profile, the Intel Xeon W-3300 CPUs become a much more attractive option. Starting with the 16 models, the Xeon W-3335 is now able to best the AMD TR Pro 3955WX by a small 4% overall. That is just inside the margin of error for this kind of testing, however, so it is really a performance tie between Intel and AMD.
Moving up to the 32 models (where AMD has a $950 lower MSRP), Intel and AMD again overall perform about the same. The AMD TR Pro 3975WX is a bit better for 8K media, but the Intel Xeon W-3365 takes a similar lead for Fusion.
There isn’t much of a reason to go beyond the 32 core models for DaVinci Resolve, but if you were to get the most expensive CPU from each line, the TR Pro 3995WX 64 Core does take a solid 12% lead over the Xeon W-3375 38 Core. However, the AMD CPU is $990 more expensive, and you would never actually use the Xeon W-3375 since the W-3365 is faster and significantly cheaper.
How well do the Intel Xeon W-3300 CPUs perform in DaVinci Resolve?
The new Intel Xeon W-3300 series processors are interesting to consider because they can do well in DaVinci Resolve Studio, but they require changing the Windows power profile to “High Performance” in order to match the AMD Threadripper Pro processors. If you do so, the Intel Xeon W-3335 16 core and W-3365 32 core overall perform within a few percent of the AMD Threadripper Pro 3955WX 16 core and 3975WX 32 Core, but if you do not, they fall behind by roughly 20%.
Between the two processor families, we have to give the edge to Threadripper Pro for DaVinci Resolve. The Intel Xeon W-3300 processors are not only slightly more expensive than the comparable AMD TR Pro models, but you have to change the Windows power profile in order for them to match AMD. And while changing the power profile isn’t difficult, it also isn’t ideal as it is something that many end users may not even consider doing on their system. Not to mention that it will raise the idle power consumption, heat, and noise of the system.
Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for DaVinci Resolve and that performance will vary widely in different applications. If your workflow includes other software packages (we have similar articles for Photoshop, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and more), 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.