Building the best Cinema 4D Workstation Computer

12 October 2016

Last Updated May 2017.

It’s always fun to research new hardware components to make your new Workstation or Computer work as fast as possible in your desired Programs without having to spend an arm and a leg.

Making sure your hardware is not slowing you down when spending valuable time on the Computer is of utmost importance.

This is why I have put together this Guide to building the best bang-for-the-buck Cinema 4D PC and Workstation.

This Guide can also read as: Best Blender PC or Best 3ds Max PC, Maya, XSI, You name it, since these 3D Animation Software Packages all tend to work very similarly! But I will focus on a Cinema 4D PC here.

But first, let me say this:

Don’t buy a pre-configured Workstation!

Don’t buy a pre-configured Workstation. They are ridiculously over-priced. The Computer Parts I recommend in this Article will cost you roughly 1750$. The same configuration on Boxx.com for example will cost you over 5000$. Go have a look yourself, be sure to Input the same specs as listed here.

Build your own Workstation!

Building it yourself is probably the most fun part in getting a new Computer.

If you have never built a Computer before you might think: I don’t know how! I might end up breaking something.

Let me tell you this: If you know how to put together a Lego set, you can build a Computer. Here is how.

If you don’t think you want to build it yourself, many shops offer to put together the hardware you chose for some extra money.

That said, what I could do now, is just list a few Hardware parts and say: “Hey, buy that, it’s the best.” Unfortunately its not quite that easy.

What the best Computer for Cinema 4D is, really depends on your use case. Are you mainly animating? Modeling? GPU Rendering? CPU Rendering? Simulating? Texturing?

This List could go on and on so what I will try to do here when People ask me what the best Computer for 3D Animation, the best Workstation for 3D Animation or specifically the best Computer for Cinema 4D is,  is configure a Workstation that makes most of the stuff an average C4D User uses, run the best it can. With “most of the stuff” I mean:

  • Animating: Great performance
  • Modeling: Great performance
  • Texturing: Great performance
  • Simulating: Good average performance
  • CPU Rendering: Good average performance
  • GPU Rendering: Good average performance

So here goes:

The Best CPU for Cinema 4D: Intel i7 7700K

Wait, What?

A 4-Core CPU for a 3D Software? Couldn’t I easily get an AMD Ryzen chip that has 8 Cores and much better multi-core performance for the same price…?, you might ask.

You could, but you shouldn’t. And here is why:

Your work hours are much more expensive and valuable than the computers’ work hours. You can easily bill a client tenfold for your own working hours compared to your computers render-time.

If this Computer will be your Workstation for actively working on your projects, you will want as fast a feedback and as fast a viewport as possible.

Slow viewport and lagging clicks is something we want to avoid or reduce as much as possible or you will end up getting frustrated, work slower and lose motivation.

The Computer should not slow you down when actively interacting with it. You will want realtime playback when animating your characters, sculpting on millions of polygons or set-dressing some hundreds of thousands of trees into your environment. Every split second here counts.

Many Cinema 4D features like deformers, generators and cloners are calculated on the processor using only a single CPU-core. This is where you will want the fastest possible core speed.

The Intel i7 i7 7700K has 4.2 GHz base clock and 4,5 GHz Turbo to make the viewport refresh as fast as currently possible. It is the fastest single core CPU currently on the market. With decent cooling, you can also overclock it.

RAM: 32+ Gbyte DDR4 (Look for high Clock Speeds, low CL latency)

RAM is quite cheap nowadays RAM prices have unfortunately increased in the last couple of months but 32GB helps when you have large scenes (high polycounts, displacements…) and textures, or multiple Applications open.

Graphics Card: Nvidia GTX 1060

There is no need to get an overpriced Nvidia Workstation Graphics Card (Quadro). Since the bottleneck in viewport speed is almost always the single-core cpu speed, a “Gaming” Graphics Card such as the Nvidia GTX 1060 8GB will be more than enough.

GPU Rendering

If you are planning on rendering with your GPU (Redshift3D, Octane, VRAY RT …) you should consider the Nvidia GTX 1070 8GB, 1080 8GB or even the 1080ti 11GB.

The important part here is how much VRAM you need to render your scene and can your render engine use system memory if the scene is larger than the VRAM.

The GTX 1070 and 1080 have dropped in price quite a bit and you get 1920 – 2560 cuda cores of power on 8GB of VRAM.

Mainboard

Asus Prime Z270-A is a great LGA-1151 Motherboard choice that supports CPU overclocking. It has 4 RAM Slots for a max of 64GB of RAM.

HardDrive

Definitely go with the new M.2 form-factor such as the Samsung 950 or 960 PRO/ EVO. These are blazingly fast. Be sure your Motherboard has a socket that supports pcie speeds on M.2. (The Asus Prime Z270-A has this support)

Cinema 4D does not heavily rely on Hard Drive performance, so you could easily save some money here and go with a slower Samsung 850 EVO SSD, which is still fast enough.

Case

I recently built this hardware configuration into a Corsair Carbide 400Q Case, which I am very happy with. If you are thinking about adding 3+ GPUs though you will want a bigger case.

Conclusion

This Workstation will give you roughly 950 – 980 R15 Cinebench Points, which is still excellent for CPU-rendering. This PC though was configurated as a Workstation and not a render-node, meaning: “As little delay as possible while actively working on Scenes”.

Cinema 4D Render-Node or Rendering Workstation / Best Computer or Workstation for 3D Rendering

Now lets look a bit into what the best PC configuration for 3D Rendering would be. If you are looking for fastest CPU-render-speed the Processor configuration will have to go into a different direction: Max CPU Cores (e.g. Dual Xeon E5 2630v3 or i7 6800K – 6950X), but this will then be slower for actively working, Animating/Modeling/Texturing in the viewport and more expensive.

The AMD Ryzen 7 CPUs  such as the 1700 or the 1800X have great Multi-Core Performance. Highly recommended and a great price/performance ratio compared to Intel CPUs!

Check this Link for CPU Single and Multi Cinebench Benchmark Scores of all modern CPUs: http://cbscores.com/index.php?sort=single

 

In your opinion, what is the best Hardware Configuration for Cinema 4D? Have you ever built a Workstation yourself? Share your knowledge in the Comments!

Alex - post author

Hi, I am Alex, a passionate Director and 3D Generalist currently working in an Animation Studio.

Leave a Reply

Notify of
avatar
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Parthibaraj rajasekar
Guest
Parthibaraj rajasekar

Sir, will this configuration also work best for after effects and premiere pro?

Aivaras
Guest

It’s sad but true that peeps spend mega bucks on 8, 10 core cpus to do C4D/AE work when an overclocked quad core machines regularly outpace them.
@Parthibaraj – the recommended spec is true for AE but Premiere will benefit from as much CUDA or Opencl performance as you can throw at it – therefore a 1070 or even a 1080 will be better, specially if you’re editing/grading uhd.

tov
Guest

are there any website that could help me find all these parts? like a PC simulator ?

rogerC
Guest
Cheers for the article, really great help (as one abotu to switch from Mac to PC). Can you suggest a case? What do you think of this setup? I was told the case is too small and will not work well with air-flow. FRACTAL DEFINE R5 BLACK QUIET MID-TOWER CASE Intel® CoreTMi7 Quad Core Processor i7-7700k (4.2GHz) 8MB Cache ASUS® PRIME Z270-P: ATX, LG1151, USB 3.0, SATA 6GBs 64GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 3000MHz (4 x 16GB) 8GB NVIDIA GEFORCE GTX 1070 – DVI, HDMI, 3 x DP – GeForce GTX VR Ready! 240GB HyperX SAVAGE 2.5″ SSD, SATA 6 Gb/s… Read more »
Phil
Guest

[Solved – See Comment Replies] Great build, but worth mentioning that the ASUS Prime Z270A comes shipped with 0505 BIOS which aren’t compatible with the i7-7700K. You’ll need to get the BIOS updated – which is kinda tricky if it doesn’t boot.

Phil
Guest
Hey Alex, Just wanted to thank you again for your sound advice. I must admit I was a little worried when the cost of this build came in so cheap. But this is an epiphany for me, my new workstation absolutely rocks! Files that clogged up and crashed my old mac pro are absolutely fine on this build, I have struggled for so long. There’s so much advice out there about building machines with Quadros and multi processor CPU’s for 3D work, costing shed loads of money, it was really refreshing to read your no-nonsense article. My build came in… Read more »
wpDiscuz