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When AMD released the first of their 3rd generation Ryzen processors back in July 2019, they were quickly established as the fastest processors for Adobe Lightroom Classic. Their lead over Intel was not small either, the Ryzen 9 3900X was a very impressive 22% faster than the Intel Core i9 9900K in our Lightroom Classic benchmark.
Now, AMD is launching one more 3rd generation Ryzen CPU – 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 Lightroom Classic. 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 our soon to be released Lightroom Classic Benchmark. Lightroom Classic is not an easy application to directly benchmark, but we hope to have a publicly available version for download in the coming months.
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 Lightroom Classic.
Lightroom Classic Benchmark Analysis
Our Lightroom Classic benchmark tests a wide range of tasks that are divided between "active" tasks (scrolling through images, brush lag, etc.) and "passive" tasks (exporting, generating smart previews, etc.). These results are then combined into an overall score to give you a general idea of how that specific configuration performs in Lightroom Classic.
No matter how you look at it, however, the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X performs very well in Lightroom Classic. It may only be about 5% faster overall than the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, but that still makes it solidly the fastest CPU we have ever tested for Lightroom Classic. Compared to the Intel Core i9 9960X 16 Core or Core i9 9900K, you are looking at close to a 25-30% increase in performance!
Is the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X good for Lightroom Classic?
Overall, the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is currently the fastest CPU we have tested for Lightroom Classic, but the extra 5% performance over the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X for a 50% increase in cost is likely to be hard to justify for most users. Either way you look at it, however, the 3950X further solidifies AMD's lead over Intel for Lightroom Classic.
Keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for Lightroom Classic. 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, Premiere Pro, After Effects, 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.