Performance and Conclusion
It’s a bit difficult to quantify the increase of performance in video editing we see with this upgrade, but let’s take a look at how impressive we've found 40 threads of CPU can be so far.
First let’s take a look at one of the tried and true CPU benchmarks, Cinebench.
Cinebench is based on the Cinema4D rendering engine, which is popular for 3D animation work. This gives us a good idea of potential workflow for 3D rendering applications with this workstation. It also is a way to quantify peak CPU performance to compare our architecture implementations.
While we see here that the Core i7-990X actually beats our dual Xeon configuration in the single threaded workflow, most likely due to the much higher base clock of the 990X at 3.45GHz compared to 2.8GHz for the E5-2680v2’s, multi-threaded performance is drastically different. With 28 more threads available, it’s easy to see how the multi-threaded score of the Xeon system was just over 3x the rendering performance of our previous workstation.
Next we took a look at one of our existing 4K project files in Adobe Premiere Pro. This is a fairly simple project file as far as things go, with mostly one single camera with the occasional overlayed B-Roll shots.
Exporting this 10 minute composition at the YouTube 4K preset (40Mbps) took a staggering 35 Minutes and 9 Seconds on the old Core i7-990X machine, just over 3.5x realtime. When encoding this same project on the same version of Adobe Media Encoder on the new system, this time dropped by about 60% to 22 minutes and 19 seconds. While it still took longer than we are used to with 1080p video, this is a substantial time saver.
It's also worth mentioning that while all threads on the 990X machine were completely maxed while encoding this project, the Xeon-based workstation was only at about 60% total CPU utilization. This leaves us with hope of Adobe improving their encoder in the future and potentially using more of our available CPU resources, resulting in shorter encode times.
Should anyone spend just under $7000 on a workstation to edit 4K videos? Probably not. While we are squeaking out about every ounce of performance we can get out of Adobe Media Encoder, most people should be served well with a more consumer-oriented platform like X99 and an Intel Core i7-5960X.
Nonetheless, this has been a fun experiment, and it will be interesting to see over time how different programs utilize this many cores/threads and how things start to scale into the future.
Our thanks goes out to Supermicro for the help selecting the 7047A-T barebones system!!