I'm not sure if this will provide any useful information but, perhaps, there's some sort of useful takeaway to this.
I have a decent system (HP Envy with Core firstname.lastname@example.orgGHz, 24GB RAM, SATA SSD) that's served me well for at least four years. I upgraded the video card from the GTX 960 that it came with from the factory to a GTX 1660 Super (based upon some extremely helpful advice from a couple of TH members). The improvement in photo editing and Handbrake performance was tremendous. Okay; that's the back story.
I recently helped a client migrate from an old bottom of the line iMac to a PC and, based upon her budget, went with a nice HP with a Ryzen 7 4700G@3.6GHz, 16GB RAM, M.2 SSD and a GTX 1660 Super.
Maybe you can see where I'm heading. I figured why not test both machines with a Handbrake transcoding task? so that's what I did.
The task took just under 10 minutes on the Core i7 while it took about 6.5 min on the Ryzen. That's a pretty healthy improvement. I'm not inclined to think the 8GB of extra RAM on the Core i7 machine made any substantive difference. As Handbrake utilizes the GPU (if you tell it to) and that choice makes a massive improvement over not using the GPU, and Handbrake's task is, generally, read the next frame from the source, do any necessary conversion, drop the converted frame into the destination container, rinse and repeat until done (plus the audio conversion which, presumably, is more CPU than GPU directed - but I'll let others opine as I simply don't know), the improved performance of the Ryzen machine should be due to a number of things:
- The Ryzen's 8 cores over the Core i7's 4 cores. Handbrake's docs say 6 cores is optimum with diminishing returns for more cores.
- The Ryzen can ramp up to 4.4GHz while the Core i7 can do 4.0GHz.
- The Ryzen's single-core performance is about 20% faster than the Core i7 (in Passmark) so that may carry over to multiple cores in some fashion.
- The Ryzen's CPU Mark score is about 285% compared to a 100% rating for the Core i7. (Is this multi-core?)
- The Ryzen machine has an M.2 SSD while the Core i7 machine has an older 2.5" SATA SSD. I think this makes a big difference as I remember upgrading from a spinner HD to a SATA SSD improved everything regardless of whether it was my Core i7 PC or an old 2005 white MacBook. Handbrake's job is to read, process, and write over and over again so drive speed is critically important; the M.2 is at least 2X faster than the SATA SSD, IIRC.
Would next year's Ryzen 7 be worth the wait? (I know the answer here: Next year it will always be faster.)
Of course, there's always some budget consideration. Spending 1/3 the cost of the entire box for the video card seems ludicrous (especially since the 1660 Super seems to be providing excellent performance for LR and Handbrake). If you're a gamer, then you won't agree with the previous sentence.
Bottom line: This post isn't a cry for help (as I've been provided excellent help in choosing that 1660 Super for the upgrade I did). I had an opportunity to run a test with one important component being a constant in two machines built five years apart and I guess this shows how a combination of radically improved storage speed and CPU efficiency can make a huge difference given identical GPUs. It was an interesting test that cost me nothing but some time (as my client paid for the machine and it's now purring on her desk).
If you'd like to contribute to this thread, please do so. I'm not making any definitive pronouncements, just trying to provide a bit of clarity in comparison-shopping.
Stay safe, everyone.