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Best Processor For Premiere Pro

By January 13, 2021January 24th, 2021No Comments

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Best Processor For Premiere Pro – The CPU

Best Processor For Premiere Pro

With all the CPU benchmark tests out there for video editing, gaming, and productivity, all these bar graphs are hard to sift through. It’s difficult to know what is actually the best CPU for video editing in Premiere Pro. Especially considering your use case is likely different from the next creator. This article is all about helping you avoid all the noise and find the best processor for Adobe Premiere Pro.

In order to come up with this curated list, I have put in hours, literally watching tons of benchmark reviews, reading articles, and researching video editing PC builds. Not to mention adding my own experience editing on Intel and AMD setups. The goal is to save you time, and give solid recommendations for different price ranges, and use cases.

If you want to get right to the recommended CPUs scroll down. However, if you want to learn more about what should be considered for a video editing CPU, check the links in the table of contents.

Best CPU For Premiere Pro (Compared)

Preview
Pro Choice
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32-Core, 64-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Intel Core i9 i9-10980XE Octadeca-core (18 Core) 3 GHz Processor - 24.75 MB Cache - 4.60 GHz Overclocking Speed - 14 nm - 165 W - 36 Threads
Great Value
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-Core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0GHz Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W (BX806849900K)
Budget Option
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT 6-core, 12-threads unlocked desktop processor with Wraith Spire cooler
Title
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X
Intel Core i9 i9-10980XE
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
Intel Core i9-9900K
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT
Base Clock
3.7 GHz
3.0 GHz
3.5 GHz
3.6 GHz
3.8 GHz
Boost Clock
4.5 GHz
4.8 GHz
4.7 GHz
5.0 GHz
4.5 GHz
Cores
32
18
16
8
6
Threads
64
36
32
16
12
L3 Cache
128MB
24MB
64MB
16MB
32MB
Socket
sTRX4
LGA 2066
AM4
LGA 1151
AM4
Pro Choice
Preview
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32-Core, 64-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Title
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X
Base Clock
3.7 GHz
Boost Clock
4.5 GHz
Cores
32
Threads
64
L3 Cache
128MB
Socket
sTRX4
Preview
Intel Core i9 i9-10980XE Octadeca-core (18 Core) 3 GHz Processor - 24.75 MB Cache - 4.60 GHz Overclocking Speed - 14 nm - 165 W - 36 Threads
Title
Intel Core i9 i9-10980XE
Base Clock
3.0 GHz
Boost Clock
4.8 GHz
Cores
18
Threads
36
L3 Cache
24MB
Socket
LGA 2066
Great Value
Preview
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-Core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Title
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
Base Clock
3.5 GHz
Boost Clock
4.7 GHz
Cores
16
Threads
32
L3 Cache
64MB
Socket
AM4
Preview
Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0GHz Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W (BX806849900K)
Title
Intel Core i9-9900K
Base Clock
3.6 GHz
Boost Clock
5.0 GHz
Cores
8
Threads
16
L3 Cache
16MB
Socket
LGA 1151
Budget Option
Preview
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT 6-core, 12-threads unlocked desktop processor with Wraith Spire cooler
Title
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT
Base Clock
3.8 GHz
Boost Clock
4.5 GHz
Cores
6
Threads
12
L3 Cache
32MB
Socket
AM4

Best Processor For Premiere Pro

This list is sorted by the highest price/performance to lower price/performance.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X

Best professional-level processor for video editing ($2200 price range)

Specs:

  • Base Clock: 3.7 GHz
  • Boost Clock: 4.5 GHz
  • Cores: 32
  • Threads: 64
  • L3 Cache: 128MB
  • Socket: Socket sTRX4
PROS
  • Market leader in multi-threaded performance
  • Beast at single and multi-thread performance
  • PCIe Gen 4.0 slot compatibility
  • DDR4 Support
CONS
  • Expensive
  • Requires high-level cooling
  • CPU cooler not included
  • Requires an expensive TRX40 motherboard

The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X is a money no object CPU that will give you ultra-fast renders, exports, and encodes. You get blistering speeds and overall performance with 3.7GHz – 4.5GHz clock speeds, 32 cores, and 64 threads. In addition, AMD is the first to adopt the PCIe 4.0 interface. This beast from AMD outperforms and costs significantly less than Intel’s workstation CPUs, such as the Xeon W-3175X.

While the Threadripper CPUs are industry-leading and would be an amazing CPU for professional-level workstations, it is likely overkill for most video editors using Premiere Pro. This processor is targeted at creatives who demand the highest level of performance. Especially for speeding up export times. Or perhaps you just want the best possible CPU. If this is you, the AMD Threadripper 3970X will meet your needs and make your editing workflow much quicker.

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Intel Core i9 10980XE

Fast and reliable workstation CPU ($1200 range)

Specs:

  • Base Clock: 3.0 GHz
  • Boost Clock: 4.8 GHz
  • Cores: 18
  • Threads: 36
  • L3 Cache: 24MB
  • Socket: LGA 2066
PROS
  • Powerful & reliable for Premiere users
  • Good for smooth playback
  • DDR4 Support
  • Thunderbolt compatible
  • 256GB max memory support
  • Low power consumption
CONS
  • Still expensive compared to AMD Ryzen 3950X
  • PCIe 3.0, no 4.0

If you are wondering what is the best CPU for Adobe Premiere, the 10th gen Intel Core i9-10980XE is definitely one of the best. It’s a very capable processor for professional video editors, 3D artists, and content creators. The i9-10980XE finds itself positioned in between the AMD Threadripper 3970X and the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X. However, the $200 less expensive 3950X performs mostly the same in a number of benchmark tests.

The 18 core 36 thread Core i9-10980XE made our list because of the way it performs specifically in Premiere Pro. The Core i9-10980EX has a small edge on the Ryzen 3950X in playback and export times. But again, at $200 more than the Ryzen 3950X, you will have to decide if you prefer Intel or AMD. All-in-all, both are brilliant CPUs for professional video editing in Adobe Premiere.

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AMD Ryzen 9 3950X

Great value for money – ultra-fast professional processor (sub $750)

Specs:

  • Base Clock: 3.5 GHz
  • Boost Clock: 4.7 GHz
  • Cores: 16
  • Threads: 32
  • L3 Cache: 64MB
  • Socket: Socket AM4
PROS
  • Class-leading performance for the money
  • PCIe Gen 4.0 slot compatibility
  • DDR4 Support
  • Compatible with most AM4 motherboards
CONS
  • Requires high-level cooling
  • Limited overclocking

I’m going to sound like a broken record talking about AMD CPUs being such great value for money. But I have to say it, the AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is the best value for money in the professional 16 core 32 thread performance range. This processor offers similar performance to the 18 core, 36 thread Intel i9-10980XE, for $200-$300 less.

At around $750, the 3950X is in a league of its own. Especially for video editors users, as Premiere can take advantage of CPUs with more cores. The question might be, is it worth getting over the $500 3900X? If you are a professional video editor working in Premiere, I would say yes. Because the 3950X is about 5% faster in playback (not much). But more importantly, it is about 15 to 30% faster in renders and exports. This adds up, making the AMD Ryzen 3950X an amazing processor for premiere pro and creative apps in general.

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Intel Core i9-9900K

Solid all-around CPU for video editing and content creation (sub $400)

Specs:

  • Base Clock: 3.6 GHz
  • Boost Clock: 5.0 GHz
  • Cores: 8
  • Threads: 16
  • L3 Cache: 16MB
  • Socket: LGA 1151
PROS
  • High 5.0GHz one-core clock performance
  • Supports up to 128 GB of memory
  • PCIe Gen 4.0 slot compatibility
  • Compatible with LGA1151 and Z370 motherboards
CONS
  • Power hog under heavy load
  • Only 24 PCIe lanes

The Intel Core i9-9900K is perhaps one of the fastest mainstream all around CPUs. The Core i9-9900K is a single-threaded beast in Adobe Apps like Premiere Pro and After Effects. In fact, the i9-9900K has a slight edge of the 12 Core AMD Ryzen 3900X in various Adobe App benchmarks. If you are working in heavy 4K, 6K, or 8K, and multitasking the i9-9900K’s max 64 GB RAM capacity might leave you wanting more. If this is the case, you should consider the Intel X series or AMD Threadripper.

Overall, the Core i9-9900K is an excellent choice for video editors and content creators who use Premiere, After Effects, and Photoshop. 8 cores and 16 threads are enough at this price point. Currently priced around the $360 mark, the i9-9900K offers amazing value for the performance. If you want similar performance from the AMD side, the Ryzen 3800X is a solid option. Overall, the 3800X and the Intel Core i9-9900K are hard to beat in the sub $400 price range.

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AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT

Best all-around budget CPU for video editing (sub $300)

Specs:

  • Base Clock: 3.8 GHz
  • Boost Clock: 4.5 GHz
  • Cores: 6
  • Threads: 12
  • L3 Cache: 32MB
  • Socket: AM4
PROS
  • Low price
  • Solid performance for the money
  • Comes with cooler
  • PCIe Gen 4.0 slot compatibility
  • Compatible with most AM4 motherboards
CONS
  • Only 6 cores
  • Not ideal for 4K editing

The AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT gives budget-conscious video editors a solid all-around CPU, with minor improvements over the award-winning Ryzen 5 3600X. The AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT outperforms Intel CPUs in its price range. The 3600XT also separates from the Intel comparables by offering DDR4 support and PCIe Gen 4.0 slot compatibility. This will allow you to take advantage of new SSDs and GPUs. 

While the Ryzen 5 3600XT is our pick in the $250 price range, if you edit heavy 4K files, do any 3D work, or just need faster exports, you might need to jump up to the Ryzen 7 3700X with 8 Cores 16 threads. In summary, at about $250, the AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT has proven to be amazing value for budget-minded video editors.

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Cores Vs Clock Speed Video Editing

Cores Vs Clock Speed Video Editing:

One common question for video editors building a workstation is; are CPU core counts or clock speeds more important? While the answer, similar to many technical questions, is it depends. In order to answer this in the cleanest way possible, let’s quickly understand what is a CPU Core, and what is a clock speed?

CPU Core:

A CPU Core is a processor. While the first processors ever made had only one core. Modern CPUs have multiple cores. This enables the CPU to handle multiple tasks concurrently. This means the more cores, the more efficient your CPU is.

Related to cores, threads are a series of programmed instructions that allow a CPU core to appear to be split into two cores. For each core, you have 2 threads. For example, a 6 core CPU can have 12 threads.

CPU Clock Speeds:

CPU clock speeds, or clock rate, refers to how many cycles per second it takes to execute. CPU clock speed can also be referred to as CPU frequency or PC Frequency. GHz, or gigahertz, is the unit of measure for clock speeds. Clock speed is a barometer for how quickly a CPU can process data. Generally speaking, the higher the frequency in GHz, the better performance in computing tasks.

What ultimately determines a CPUs performance is a mixture or clock speed, how many instructions the CPU is able to execute per cycle (known as IPC: Instructions Per Clock), and the number of cores the CPU has.

Most CPUs on the market today operate on a range of different clock speeds. There’s the “base clock”, and “turbo” clock speed. Turbo speed is used when the CPU needs to temporarily increase speed to get a more demanding task completed quicker. Note turbo mode is limited by CPU temperatures and will throttle down when too hot.

Now that’s out of the way let’s answer the question; “are CPU core counts or clock speeds more important for video editing?” The fact of the matter is, both are important. While clock speed matters more in After Effects, more cores are important in Premiere Pro. Especially for exporting/rendering. However, clock speed is also important for playback, effects, and general performance.

The sweet spot is to be in the neighborhood of 3.2 GHz clock speed, and 8 Cores. More cores are beneficial depending on your workflow. However, from a price per core perspective, there are diminishing returns. For example, looking at the Puget Systems benchmarks, the more than double the price AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32-Core performs only 10% better than the more affordable AMD 3950X 16-Core.

Best Processor For Premiere Pro -Puget Bench

Image Source – Puget Systems

How Many CPU Cores Do I Need For Video Editing?

When determining how many cores you need for video editing in Premiere, we can’t rely on Adobes system requirements. They simply state; Intel 7th Gen or newer CPU – or AMD Ryzen 3000 Series or newer CPU. There’s such a range of different CPUs with this generalization. The only way to know how many cores you need is to assess what kinds of video editing work you do.

For very basic editing, you could get by with a quad-core processor. Yet for more complex editing, 6 to 8 cores is highly recommended. As mentioned above, anything over 8 cores gives you diminishing returns for the money. Whether you should get more than 8 cores should depend on many factors, including other components like RAM, a fast SSD, GPU, and how you work.

For video editing in Premiere Pro, you’re going to want a well-rounded computer. I would much rather have 64 GB RAM, a couple of ultra-fast NVMe SSDs, and a solid GPU, than going all-in on a CPU that has a couple more cores. As long as the CPU is 8 Cores, and 3.2 GHz clock speed, you should be fine.

In terms of how you work, I’m talking about multitasking. Do you work on video editing in Premiere, while also listening to music, or watching YouTube? Maybe you have a few browser windows open. You might even open up Photoshop to edit an image quickly. For me, multi-tasking like this is a daily occurrence (my CPU has 12 Cores). If you can relate, I highly recommend having at least 8 Cores.

6 Core Vs 8 Core Video Editing

Both 6 cores and 8 cores will work for video editing. But depending on what kind of footage (such as 4K with layers and effects) you edit, and how much multitasking you do with other applications, having 8 cores over 6 would be better. How much better depends on a number of factors. And making assumptions on unknown factors wouldn’t be right.

My general recommendations are this; if you are on a tight budget, go with a 6 core CPU. But if you work on heavy 4K footage, while multitasking, 8 cores will be beneficial. Plus future-proofing always helps. The 8 Core 16 thread AMD Ryzen 7 3700X offers impressive performance for the money, in the $350 price range.

Monitor Resolution Chart Premiere Pro

AMD Or Intel For Video Editing

AMD and Intel now compete on a much more level playing field. In fact, many would argue AMD has taken the lead in value and performance for the money. In fact, each price tier sees lower-priced AMD CPUs outperforming Intel across a variety of benchmark testing.

In the high-end video editing workstation category, AMDs 3rd Gen Threadripper CPUs outperform Intel’s fastest x-series contenders by about 18%. That said, Threadripper CPUs are more expensive.

When you are spending this much, know what you value more; export times or playback. In this high-end CPU tier, AMD Threadripper CPUs will give you the most benefit if you need the fastest export times. Where-as if you put more value on playback, the Intel Core i9 10980XE CPU offers very similar performance at a lower price than the Threadripper.

In the sub $1000 price range Inter Core X-10000 series and 9th Gen processors perform similarly to the AMD 3950X. But in this price range, the AMD’s are $100 – $200 less.

In the $500 price range, the Intel Core i9 9900K and the AMD Ryzen 7 3800X ($100 less) offer great performance in Premiere Pro and After Effects for the money. If you are shopping for less than $400, AMD CPUs are the best value for money, such as the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X.

In the past Adobe only supported hardware decoding from Intel CPUs IGP(Integrated Graphics Processor) with Quick Sync. However, Adobe has recently added GPU-accelerated hardware decoding for H.264/HEVC media in Premiere Pro. As a result, Intel no longer has the edge. The addition of GPU decoding means anyone using AMD or Intel CPUs will have greater performance when exporting H.264 and HEVC media.

Another consideration is if you want to run Thunderbolt, which support is very limited for AMD users. There’s only a handful of motherboards that support AMD CPUs and Thunderbold 3 as standard. The Gigabyte TRX40 Designare is one of them.

Best CPUs Recap

Preview
Pro Choice
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32-Core, 64-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Intel Core i9 i9-10980XE Octadeca-core (18 Core) 3 GHz Processor - 24.75 MB Cache - 4.60 GHz Overclocking Speed - 14 nm - 165 W - 36 Threads
Great Value
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-Core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0GHz Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W (BX806849900K)
Budget Option
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT 6-core, 12-threads unlocked desktop processor with Wraith Spire cooler
Title
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X
Intel Core i9 i9-10980XE
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
Intel Core i9-9900K
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT
Base Clock
3.7 GHz
3.0 GHz
3.5 GHz
3.6 GHz
3.8 GHz
Boost Clock
4.5 GHz
4.8 GHz
4.7 GHz
5.0 GHz
4.5 GHz
Cores
32
18
16
8
6
Threads
64
36
32
16
12
L3 Cache
128MB
24MB
64MB
16MB
32MB
Socket
sTRX4
LGA 2066
AM4
LGA 1151
AM4
Pro Choice
Preview
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X 32-Core, 64-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Title
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3970X
Base Clock
3.7 GHz
Boost Clock
4.5 GHz
Cores
32
Threads
64
L3 Cache
128MB
Socket
sTRX4
Preview
Intel Core i9 i9-10980XE Octadeca-core (18 Core) 3 GHz Processor - 24.75 MB Cache - 4.60 GHz Overclocking Speed - 14 nm - 165 W - 36 Threads
Title
Intel Core i9 i9-10980XE
Base Clock
3.0 GHz
Boost Clock
4.8 GHz
Cores
18
Threads
36
L3 Cache
24MB
Socket
LGA 2066
Great Value
Preview
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 16-Core, 32-Thread Unlocked Desktop Processor
Title
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X
Base Clock
3.5 GHz
Boost Clock
4.7 GHz
Cores
16
Threads
32
L3 Cache
64MB
Socket
AM4
Preview
Intel Core i9-9900K Desktop Processor 8 Cores up to 5.0GHz Unlocked LGA1151 300 Series 95W (BX806849900K)
Title
Intel Core i9-9900K
Base Clock
3.6 GHz
Boost Clock
5.0 GHz
Cores
8
Threads
16
L3 Cache
16MB
Socket
LGA 1151
Budget Option
Preview
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT 6-core, 12-threads unlocked desktop processor with Wraith Spire cooler
Title
AMD Ryzen 5 3600XT
Base Clock
3.8 GHz
Boost Clock
4.5 GHz
Cores
6
Threads
12
L3 Cache
32MB
Socket
AM4
Camden Taylor

Author Camden Taylor

Camden is ARTURTH's Chief Editor, Senior Graphic Designer, and artist from the Pacific Northwest.

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