Our colleagues at Hardware Canucks got a whole lot of hate for their video about switching back to Intel, to the point that it really shows the profound ignorance of being a blind fanboy of any product. We decided to run more in-depth tests of the same featureset as Dmitry, primarily for selfish reasons, though, as we’ve also been considering a new render machine build. If HWC’s findings were true, our plans of using an old 6900K would be meaningless in the face of a much cheaper CPU with an IGP.

For this testing, we’re using 32GB of RAM for all configurations (dual-channel for Z/X platforms and quad-channel for X399/X299). We’re also using an EVGA GTX 1080 Ti FTW3 for CUDA acceleration – because rendering without CUDA is torturously slow and we’re testing for real-world conditions.

Adobe recently added IGP-enabled acceleration to its Premiere video editing and creation software, which seems to leverage a component that is often irrelevant in our line of work – the on-die graphics processor. This move could potentially invalidate the rendering leverage provided by the likes of a 7980XE or 1950X, saving money for anyone who doesn’t need the additional threads for other types of work (like synchronous rendering or non-Premiere workstation tasks, e.g. Blender). Today, we’re benchmarking Adobe Premiere’s rendering speed on an Intel i7-8700X, AMD R7 2700X, Intel i9-7980XE, and AMD Threadripper 1950X.

Part of our 4K camera upgrade was for ergonomics – better ability to handle the camera, particularly in show floor environments – with most the other reasons centering around quality. Camera quality is superior in every technical sense, low-light and noise reduction being a major area of improvement, but working with larger files at higher bit-rates means longer render times. We can now capture up to 200Mbps (previously captured 28Mbps) at 4K resolution, and we output at 2x the bit-rate of our previous 1080p60 videos. Render times have skyrocketed, as you’d expect, and have gone from roughly video duration + a few minutes to an hour per 20-minute video.

There’s not a lot we can do about this. Adobe Premiere, sadly, does not really do much with multi-GPU. The GPUs are accelerators, with rendering still falling on the CPU for a lot of the workload. We’re becoming more thread-limited than anything at this point, and really don’t want to build an entirely new production system right now. For now, upgrading the primary GPU to a 1080 Ti will help us out a bit in Premiere and significantly in Blender.

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