We’re going to kick off this performance look with a handful of encode tests. Encoding is one of those scenarios that can be extremely hit-or-miss when it comes to taking good advantage of big CPUs. Sometimes, applications will give the impression that they’re making proper use of the CPU, but we’ve found more than once that some applications actually just use the entire CPU very poorly.
Fortunately, the situation is getting a lot better over time. As an example, for most of its life, Adobe’s Lightroom didn’t use more than a few cores and threads. Today, the application can use most of whatever CPU you can hand it.
The performance look on this page is going to tackle Adobe’s ever-popular Premiere Pro, as well as MAGIX’s Vegas Pro. That duo takes care of video encoding for this page, while Agisoft’s Metashape will help with a photogrammetry scenario.
It’s clear from the get-go that AMD’s 3950X is a super-strong contender, going head-to-head with Intel’s 18-core i9-9980XE. It’s interesting that despite both of these projects being similar in design, they’re still different enough to shake the results up between them. Between the 3950X and 9980XE, both camps win a round. For fun, let’s add a GPU:
Adding a GPU throws even more spin to the cycle of these results, with things not looking too hot for the second-gen 32-core Threadripper 2990WX. Seeing results like these make us crazy anxious to see if the third-gen series will truly fix all of these anomalies. The 3950X has none of those, though – it soars to the top in both of these charts.
Let’s make time for a codec moment:
When Zen originally launched in early 2017, Intel managed to retain the lead in a core-for-core battle, such as how the 8-core Core i7-6900K beat out the also 8-core Ryzen 7 1800X. Since then, things have changed, with more polish being added, largely by the architecture. Zen 2 packs in a lot of cache compared to what we’re used to, and it seems to be paying off handsomely in workloads like these.
With the CPU-only test, it seems that Intel has some strengths in Vegas, beating out the AMD competition core-for-core, with the 32-core 2990WX inching ahead of the 9980XE. Things change a bit when the GPU is introduced, pegging the 3950X to the top. It’s worth looking at the competitive results between the 3950X and last-gen 2950X, because the gains from one generation to the next are made clear there. Core-for-core, we’re seeing the current-gen mainstream platform beat out the last-gen enthusiast option.
As great as photogrammetry is, it’s honestly one of the toughest workloads to benchmark. A huge reason for that is that one overall process actually consists of many smaller processes, and each of those may scale differently than the others. We see examples of that here, with Intel’s 9900KS topping two charts, and the 3950X leading one. What’s not great for photogrammetry is the 32-core 2990WX, which yet again finds itself at the bottom.
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