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TL;DR: Intel Core 10th Gen vs AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen for Premiere Pro
Even with the launch of Intel's new 10th Gen desktop processors, AMD continues to hold a slight performance lead in Premiere Pro with their 3rd Gen Ryzen line. The difference is often relatively minor, but AMD processors like the Ryzen 7 3800X and Ryzen 9 3900X are a small 5% better for live playback compared to the Intel Core i7 10700K and Core i9 10900K.
We did find that the Intel 10th Gen processors are faster when exporting to H.264, although this advantage is likely to be mitigated in the new 14.2 version of Premiere Pro which added GPU accelerated encoding of H.264 and HEVC.
Over the last few years, AMD has been making great strides with their Ryzen and Threadripper processors, often matching – or beating – the performance from similarly priced Intel options. In fact, for Premiere Pro, in particular, AMD has held a healthy performance advantage since the launch of the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen processors and it is only the fact that we have found Thunderbolt to be much more stable on Intel platforms that is preventing us from solely offering AMD processors on our Premiere Pro Recommended Systems.
However, with the launch of Intel's new 10th Gen desktop processors, it is possible that Intel will be able to take a solid lead at the "consumer" level. There is little chance that these processors will be able to match the power of the (significantly) more expensive AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen processors, but they may be able to comfortably overtake the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen CPUs.
In this article, we will be examining the performance of the new Intel 10th Gen Core i9 10900K, i7 10700K, and i5 10600K in Premiere Pro compared to a range of CPUs including the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen, Intel X-10000 Series, AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen, as well as the previous generation Intel 9th Gen processors. In addition, we will be including a 2019 Mac Pro and iMac Pro to act as additional reference points. If you are interested in how these processors compare in other applications, we also have other articles for After Effects, Photoshop, Lightroom Classic, and several other applications available on our article listing page.
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:
|AMD Ryzen Test Platform|
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U12S|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte X570 AORUS ULTRA|
|RAM||4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)|
|AMD Threadripper 3rd Gen Test Platform|
|CPU||AMD TR 3990X ($3,990)
AMD TR 3970X ($1,999)
AMD TR 3960X ($1,399)
|CPU Cooler||Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS PRO WIFI|
|RAM||4x DDR4-2933 16GB (64GB total)|
|Mac Pro (2019)||iMac Pro|
|CPU||28‑core Intel Xeon W 2.5GHz||14-core Intel Xeon W 2.5GHz|
|RAM||96GB DDR4 ECC||64GB 2666MHz DDR4 ECC|
|Video Card||Radeon Pro Vega II Duo 2x32GB||Radeon Pro Vega 64 16GB|
|Hard Drive||1TB SSD storage||1TB SSD|
|OS||Mac OS X (10.15.4)|
*All the latest drivers, OS updates, BIOS, and firmware applied as of March 30th, 2020
In order to see how each of these configurations performs in Premiere Pro, we will be using our PugetBench for Premiere Pro V0.9 benchmark and Premiere Pro 2020 (14.0.4). 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. We do want to point out that the day prior to this article going live, Adobe released a new version of Premiere Pro (version 14.2) that will likely give you much different results than what we are reporting in this post. In this new version, Premiere Pro is able to leverage the GPU to greatly speed up exporting to H.264/HEVC. We have a post on how well this worked while the feature was still in beta if you want to read about it, and we have another round of testing planned that will include looking at how this feature may be impacted by different models of both CPU and GPU.
Another thing we want to note is that due to COVID-19 impacting access to our testing hardware and platforms, we are reusing the Intel X-series, AMD Threadripper, and Mac results from our previous Premiere Pro article: Premiere Pro performance: PC Workstation vs Mac Pro (2019). Reusing old results is actually extremely common for hardware reviews, although we normally re-do all our testing to see if newer BIOS, driver, Windows update, and application versions change the results. In this case, however, we are going to simply have to be OK with a bit of a mix of old and new results.
Lastly, we have found that the pre-launch motherboards we received from Gigabyte (and multiple other manufacturers) were not using Intel's specified power limits in their default BIOS settings. This isn't anything new, but now that Intel is being more aggressive about adding cores and pushing the frequency, this is resulting in much higher power draw (and heat) than you would expect from a 125W processor – often resulting in 100c temperatures after only a few seconds of load. Because of this, we decided to manually set the PL1 and PL2 power limits in the BIOS. We used a value of 125W for the PL1 setting on all three Intel 10th Gen CPUs we tested along with the following PL2 limits according to Intel's specifications:
- Core i9 10900K: 250W
- Core i7 10700K: 229W
- Core i5 10600K: 182W
Setting these power limits made our Noctua NH-U12S more than enough to keep these CPUs properly cooled and helps match our philosophy here at Puget Systems of prioritizing stability and reliability over raw performance in our workstations.
While our benchmark presents various scores based on the performance of each test, we also like to provide the 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 in Premiere Pro.
Benchmark Analysis: Intel Core 10th Gen vs AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen
To start off our analysis of the Intel 10th Gen desktop processors, we are first going to look at the performance in Premiere Pro versus AMD's 3rd Gen Ryzen processors. This is likely to be what the majority of readers are going to be interested in, so we decided to pull these results out from the full slew of results that are in the next section.
The results are actually very interesting – more so than you may think at first glance. From an overall perspective, AMD takes the top performance spot with the Ryzen 9 3950X, although keep in mind that this CPU is more expensive than the Intel Core i9 10900K and is actually similar in price to the Intel Core i9 10940X.
Comparing the similarly priced models from Intel and AMD, the Intel Core i9 10900K is about 6% faster than the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X for exporting, while the 3900X is about 5% faster for live playback. This makes the overall score almost exactly the same, although we would give the edge to AMD here since live playback performance is typically more important than exporting for most users.
Looking at the Core i7 10700K, however, it is a solid 15% faster on average for exporting while the Ryzen 7 3800X only pulls ahead by about 3% for live playback.
One thing we want to point out is that the version of Premiere Pro we tested (14.0.4) utilizes Intel Quicksync to improve performance when exporting to H.264/HEVC which gives the Intel 10th Gen processors an advantage. If you were to go through the raw data and examine the export results individually, you would find that these Intel processors performed about 20% faster when exporting to H.264 compared to AMD, while the Ryzen CPUs were about 10% faster when exporting to ProRes 422HQ.
In the past, this would simply be a point for Intel since it is a feature in the application, but that argument likely got thrown out the window with the latest version of Premiere Pro that (of course) launched the day before this article was published. In this new 14.2 version, Adobe added GPU accelerated hardware encoding for H.264/HEVC which means that anyone with a discrete NVIDIA or AMD video card should be able to export to H.264 several times faster than what was possible even with Intel Quicksync. We have a new round of testing planned to see how this will affect overall performance with each of the CPUs we tested in this article but based on the testing we have already done, we suspect that it will level the playing field between Intel and AMD almost entirely when it comes to exporting to H.264 or HEVC.
How does Intel 10th Gen stack up overall?
Looking at how the Intel 10th Gen processors compare against a wider range of CPUs, there are a couple of key points we want to note:
First, compared to the previous 9th Gen processors, we are looking at about a 10% performance gain with the new 10th Gen models. While this may not seem life-changing, it is actually on the upper end of what we are used to seeing from Intel over the last several years.
Next, relative to the new Intel Core i9 10900K, the only Intel X-series processor that is going to be significantly faster is the Intel Core i9 10980XE – and only by about 10% overall. However, the Core i9 10980XE is a bit overshadowed by the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X which performs almost exactly the same while costing about $200 less. Still, if you need a feature like Thunderbolt that (in our experience) is more reliable on Intel platforms, the Core i9 10980XE can be a solid choice.
AMD's Threadripper 3rd Gen CPUs are really in a completely separate class since they cost anywhere from three to eight times more than the Core i9 10900K, but they are also quite a bit faster. It is a significant investment, but you can expect around a 20% improvement in live playback performance or a 60% improvement in export performance compared to the Core i9 10900K. Like we mentioned in the last section, however, this export performance may be less significant in the latest version of Premiere Pro due to the addition of GPU accelerated H.264/HEVC encoding which should take a large load of the CPU.
Lastly, compared to the Apple iMac Pro and Mac Pro systems we have available, the Intel Core i9 10900K configuration we tested performed about on par with the $20K Mac Pro, or about 14% faster than the $7.5K iMac Pro.
Is the Intel Core 10th Gen or AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen better for Premiere Pro?
Overall, we would give the edge to the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen CPUs over the Intel 10th Gen desktop processors – although the difference is often relatively minor. AMD has slightly better live playback performance, and while Intel is slightly better when exporting to H.264, this lead is likely to diminish with the new 14.2 version of Premiere Pro that was released while we were in the midst of this testing.
In a vacuum, the AMD Ryzen 3rd Gen CPUs would be our recommendation over either the new Intel 10th Gen processors or Intel's X-series line, but we want to point out that there are reasons why you may still go with Intel when the performance difference is relatively small (such as with the Intel Core i9 10900K vs the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X). For us, the most common reason why we may push a customer towards an Intel platform is if they require Thunderbolt as we have found it to be significantly more reliable on Intel platforms at the moment.
In addition, keep in mind that the benchmark results in this article are strictly for Premiere Pro and that performance will vary widely in different applications. If your workflow includes other software packages (we have similar articles for After Effects, Photoshop, and Lightroom Classic), 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.