Is the New 8-Core Intel Processor Really the King of Video Editing?

Photographer Dave Dugdale published yesterday a comprehensive video with JJ Guerrero from ASUS covering a very interesting topic – building the ultimate video editing machine based on the newly released Intel i7-5960X 8-core Haswell-E processor and the X99 chipset.

If you are a professional video editor (or even “just” a video photographer who also edits content on a regular basis) there is a good chance that you are struggling these days with editing high bit rate 4K content. With te introduction of the Panasonic GH4, ultra high resolution video became more and more common but editing it is still a big pain.

The current video takes a look at building a very high end system but also talks about some of the things that can effect performance when building a system for video editing and content creation. It also looks briefly at this sort of Windows based system vs. the offering by Apple as well as several other relevant topics.

In case you missed it, Intel announced this weekend that it is releasing 3 new “Extreme” processors (based on the Haswell-E i7 architecture):

  • i7-5960X – 8-core processor (16 threads) with a 3.0 GHz base frequency and 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes (officially $999 – currently around $200 more on Amazon).
  • i7-5930K – 6-core processor (12 threads) with a 3.5 GHz base frequency, 40 PCIe 3.0 lanes (costing $583, again a bit more on Amazon right now).
  • i7-5820K – 6-core processor (12 threads) with a 3.5 GHz base frequency, 28 PCIe 3.0 lanes (costing $389, almost the same on Amazon now).

Alongside the 3 processors Intel also announced the new X99 chipset  using the LGA2011-3 socket which also supports the new DDR4 low power memory (for a much deeper analysis see a full article on anandtech).

So getting back to the question of video editing – is the new processor (in this case the 8-core i7-5960X) really that much faster than the older Ivy Bridge-E 6-core 3.6GHz i7-4960X? well, to make a long story short, the answer is yes, at least when it comes to using Adobe Photoshop, Premiere and After Effects CC. On all 3 software the new processor came out first (a few good percentages before the older model) with only an 8 core Xeon with a faster clock rate in front of it on two of the tests.

Of course the 8-core i7-5960X is expensive and DDR4 increases the price even more, but the much cheaper 6-core i7-5820K also performed very well, and for about 1/3 of the price you only get a moderate reduction in performance.

Getting back to Dugdale’s video, the new beast he built with the help of Asus cost around $3500 and represent quite a few of the best consumer parts money can buy today for a video editing machine, its surely isn’t cheap – but the end result definitely seems very promising. You can read more about this particular build on Dugdale’s website (including the different parts used). 

You can also find more photography related technology videos on our photo-tech section here on LensVid.