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Over the last few years, both Intel and AMD have been steadily adding more and more cores to their CPUs. However, the recently updated Intel Core X-series processors break this trend completely as they don't have any more cores than the previous generation. Intel did decide to drop the odd-ball 6 core model, but the standard lineup still ranges from 8 to just 18 cores. Instead of more cores, these CPUs feature a slight frequency increase and other minor architecture updates.
Whether this is a good or bad thing for Premiere Pro is actually a bit hard to estimate. Exporting through Premiere Pro or Media Encoder definitely sees a performance boost by having more CPU cores, but it isn't as significant for Live Playback. So far in our articles looking at After Effects, Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, DaVinci Resolve, and a number of other applications, we have only seen an average performance increase of about 5% with these new X-series models. However, in some isolated cases the performance gain has been as much as 12%, so it will be interesting to see if Premiere Pro benefits more or less from these new processors.
One thing we will note is that we currently only have access to the i7 9800X, i9 9900X, i9 9920X, and i9 9980XE models. Because of this, we will be focusing on how much faster these new models are compared to the previous generation. Once we get the full lineup, we will publish a more in-depth roundup article include all the X-series models as well as other CPUs like AMD Threadripper.
If you would like to skip over our test setup and benchmark result/analysis sections, feel free to jump right to the Conclusion section.
Test Setup & Methodology
Listed below are the systems we will be using in our testing:
To thoroughly benchmark each processor, we used a range of codecs across 4K, 6K, and 8K resolutions:
|H.264||3840×2160||29.97 FPS||80 Mbps||Transcoded from RED 4K clip|
|H.264 LongGOP||3840×2160||29.97 FPS||150 Mbps||Provided by Neil Purcell – www.neilpurcell.com|
|DNxHR HQ 8-bit||3840×2160||29.97 FPS||870 Mbps||Transcoded from RED 4K clip|
|ProRes 422 HQ||3840×2160||29.97 FPS||900 Mbps||Transcoded from RED 4K clip|
|ProRes 4444||3840×2160||29.97 FPS||1,200 Mbps||Transcoded from RED 4K clip|
|XAVC S||3840×2160||29.97 FPS||90 Mbps||Provided by Samuel Neff – www.neffvisuals.com|
|RED (7:1)||4096×2304||29.97 FPS||300 Mbps||A004_C186_011278_001||RED Sample R3D Files|
|CinemaDNG||4608×2592||24 FPS||1,900 Mbps||Interior Office||Blackmagic Design
|RED (7:1)||6144×3077||23.976 FPS||840 Mbps||S005_L001_0220LI_001||RED Sample R3D Files|
|RED (9:1)||8192×4320||25 FPS||1,000 Mbps||B001_C096_0902AP_001||RED Sample R3D Files|
Rather than just timing a simple export and calling it a day, we decided to create six different timelines for each codec that represent a variety of different type of workloads. For each of these timelines we tested both Live Playback performance in the program monitor as well as exporting via AME with the "H.264 – High Quality 2160p 4K" and "DNxHR HQ UHD" (matching media FPS) presets.
Raw Benchmark Results
Our Premiere Pro testing includes a ton of data, which you are free to go through individually if you wish. If you would rather skip ahead to our analysis, however, you can go straight to our Live Playback or AME Export sections.
Live Playback – Benchmark Analysis
The "Live Playback Score" shown in the chart above is a representation of the average performance we saw with each processor for this test. In essence, a score of "80" would mean that on average that CPU was able to play our timelines at 80% of the tested media's FPS. A perfect score would be "100" which would mean that the system did not drop any frames even with the most difficult codecs and timelines.
Overall, we didn't really see much of a difference with the new X-series models. Most of them were about 1% faster than the previous generation, although the 9900X was actually 1% slower. All this is such a minor difference, however, that we would call this test a complete wash.
AME Export – Benchmark Analysis
Compared to the live playback tests, exporting through Adobe Media Encoder gives us a larger of a performance delta between the various CPUs we tested. Starting at the lower core counts, the i7 9800X and i9 9900X both saw about a 3% increase in performance over the i7 7820X and i9 7900X respectively. At the higher core counts, however, the i9 9920X and i9 9980XE both saw about a 7-8% increase in performance. To put this into perspective, an 8% increase in performance should shave about 5 minutes off a 60 minute export.
Are the 9th Gen Intel Core Processors good for Premiere Pro?
While the CPU typically does the majority of the heavy lifting in Premiere Pro, we didn't see very large performance gains with the new Intel X-series CPUs. At most, we saw an average of about 4% better performance with the higher core count models like the i9 9980XE, but at lower core counts there was little to no gain.
Overall, the new 2018 X-series CPUs from Intel are not going to be drastically better for most users. Live playback shouldn't be affected really at all, but you may notice a small improvement when exporting. There is no reason not to use them, of course, but they certainly are not worth a direct upgrade for most users.
Since most of our readers end up on our articles via search, we decided to go ahead and go through each model comparison one by one even though it is fairly underwhelming:
Core i7 9800X vs Core i7 7820X for Premiere Pro
For most users, the new i7 9800X will be very slightly faster than the previous generation i7 7820X, but not by much. However, be aware that the less expensive Intel 9th Gen i9 9900K is actually faster than these CPUs, so if you don't need 128GB of system RAM, we recommend using that CPU instead.
Core i9 9900X vs Core i9 7900X for Premiere Pro
The i9 9900X and i9 7900X will be almost identical in Premiere Pro. Once again, however, the Intel 9th Gen i9 9900K is technically a bit faster, so unless you work with 6K+ media where you need more system RAM, that CPU is likely a better fit.
Core i9 9920X vs Core i9 7920X for Premiere Pro
In our testing, the i9 9920X ended up being on average roughly 4.4% faster than the i9 7920X. This performance gain was entirely from our export tests, however, so live playback performance will not be much better with the new model.
Core i9 9980XE vs Core i9 7980XE for Premiere Pro
At the top of the Intel X-series stack, the i9 9980XE averaged out to being about 4% faster than the previous generation i9 7980XE. Most of this was from exporting, so again live playback performance will not be significantly better with the new model.
There is some benefit to these new models, but it is primarily from slightly improved export performance. Across the board, live playback was not much better, although that makes sense as live playback tends to be influenced less by the power of the CPU than exporting is. If you are interested in how these new Intel Core X-series Processors perform in other applications, be sure to check out our recent Processor articles as we have a number of articles for Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve, and many other software packages.
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