Building the best Cinema 4D Workstation Computer (Updated)

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex   ⋮   ⋮   360 comments
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Building the best Cinema 4D Workstation Computer (Updated)

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 also works great for a Best Blender PC or Best 3ds Max PC, Maya, XSI, you name it.

All of these 3D Animation Software Packages tend to work very similarly! But I will focus on Cinema 4D in this Article.

But first, let me say this:

Don’t buy a pre-configured Workstation!

Don’t buy a pre-configured Workstation, as these are ridiculously over-priced. The PC-Parts I recommend in this Article will cost you roughly 1750$.

Build your own Workstation!

Building it yourself is probably the most fun part of 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 it’s 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 Modeling or specifically the best Computer for Cinema 4D is,  is configure a Workstation that makes most of the stuff an average Cinema 4D 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:

Best Hardware Parts for Cinema 4D

The Best CPU for Cinema 4D: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X or i9 9900K

Wait, What?

A 8-12 Core CPU for a 3D Software? Couldn’t I easily get an AMD Threadripper or Intel Xeon CPU that has up to 32 cores with better rendering performance…?, you might ask.

You could, but you shouldn’t.

Let me explain why:

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

If this Computer will be your Workstation for actively working on your projects, you will want the fastest feedback and Viewport in Cinema 4D as possible.

A slow Viewport and lagging Clicks is something we want to avoid or at least reduce as much as possible or you will end up becoming frustrated, work slower and probably lose quite some motivation.

The Computer should not slow you down when actively interacting with it.

You will want real-time 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.

As CPUs have temperature and power limitations, this is how it usually is set up: A CPU with fewer cores can clock very high and a CPU with a lot of cores has to clock fairly low so it doesn’t get too hot or draw too much power.

This, fortunately, leaves us with some great CPUs to pick from:

The Intel i9 9900k has a 3.6 GHz base clock and a 5.0 GHz Turbo Clock to make your viewport refresh as fast as currently possible.

It is the CPU with currently one of the highest Cinebench Single-Core Scores on the market.

The i7 9700K or i7 8700K, although slightly lower tier, offer similar speeds but can be bought at a better price point.

But..

Although Intel still has an extremely small single core performance lead, AMD has caught up to Intel with their new 3rd generation Ryzen CPUs.

And the great thing about these new CPUs is, that you can get the 12-Core AMD Ryzen 9 3900X CPU at the same price as the Intel i9 9900K. But with 12 Cores you have much higher multi-core performance.

Highly recommended!

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

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 at the same time.

I recommend the Corsair LPX Vengeance 2x16GB 3200MHz RAM Kit.

Graphics Card: Nvidia RTX 2070

There is no need to get an overpriced Nvidia Workstation Graphics Card (Quadro). Since the bottleneck in Cinema 4D Viewport Performance is almost always the single-core CPU performance, a “Gaming” Graphics Card such as the Nvidia RTX 2070 8GB will be more than enough.

GPU Rendering

If you are planning on rendering with your GPU you should consider the Nvidia RTX 2070 8GB, RTX 2080 8GB or even the RTX 2080ti 11GB. Get a quick overview of how powerful different GPUs are with the Redshift Benchmark List here.

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

The Nvidia RTX 2070 currently offers the highest value in many benchmarks and also pulls ahead in price/performance ratio in Octanbench. Highly recommended!

Mainboard

The Asus Prime Z390-A is a great LGA-1151 (v2) Motherboard choice that supports CPU overclocking and up to 3 GPUs. It has 4 RAM Slots for a max of 64GB of RAM.

Hard Drive / SSD

You should definitely go with an M.2 form-factor type drive such as the Samsung 970 PRO/ EVO. These are blazingly fast. Be sure your Motherboard has a socket that supports PCIe-speeds on M.2, though this has pretty much become standard nowadays. (The Asus Prime Z390-A has this support)

Cinema 4D does not heavily rely on Hard Drive performance (mainly just for loading and saving scenes), so you could easily save some money here and go with a slightly slower Samsung 860 EVO SSD, which is still very fast.

Case

I recently built these parts into a Corsair Carbide 400C Case, which I am very happy with. If you are thinking about adding 3+ GPUs though, you will want to look for a bigger case.

Conclusion

This Workstation will give you roughly 2077 R15 Cinebench Points (CPU: i9 9900k), which is good for CPU-rendering. This PC though was configured as a Workstation and not a render-node, meaning: “As little delay as possible while actively working on Scenes”.

So, good for Rendering and excellent for active work.

Cinema 4D PC Build

Here is an excellent “allrounder” Cinema 4D Build I put together for you with all the compatible parts:

 

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

Now, let’s take a look at 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, namely:

The maximum number of CPU Cores.

The AMD Threadripper CPUs such as the 2920X, 2950X, 2970WX or the new 2990WX (32Cores!) have excellent Multi-Core Performance. I highly recommend these CPUs, and they have an outstanding price/performance ratio compared to Intel CPUs.

Check this Link to find the best performing CPUs for Rendering in Cinema 4D.

Here is a Render-Focused Build I put together for you, with maximum Multi-Core Performance at an affordable price:

 

Custom PC-Builder

If you want to get the best parts within your budget you should definitely have a look at the Web-Based PC-Builder Tool that I’ve created.

Select the main purpose that you’ll use the computer for and adjust your budget to create the perfect PC with part recommendations that will fit within your budget.

Be sure to check it out and please feel free to send feedback my way!

CGDirector PC-Builder Tool

PC-Builder Facebook Title Image

 

What type of Computer are you building? Feel free to ask for Build Advice in the Comments!

Alex from CGDirector - post author

Hi, I'm Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I've built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I'll do my best to help out!

360
Comments

SJO

Hi Alex,

I’m another MAC user jumping ship to build my first PC – I want to use it primarily for C4D modeling and animation, also using X-Particles, some AE work, and probably Redshift.

These are the specs that your builder gave me at the max price – everything looks great, but I’d also like to have 128gb of ram. Which kit would you recommend (I only see the Corsair kits listed as (8x16gb) and I assume i need a (4×32) kit?

CPU
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 3.5GHz 16-Core Processor

CPU Cooler
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 AM4

Motherboard
Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite ATX AM4

Graphics Card
NVIDIA RTX 2080 TI 11GB – MSI Gaming X

Memory (RAM)
??? 128gb ???

PCIe-SSD
Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive

Power Supply
Corsair RMx Series RM650x 650W ATX 2.4 Power Supply

Case
Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case

Thanks so much for your time! This site continues to be a highly valuable resource!

Stephan

Hi Alex.

First of all, thanks a lot for all you wrote about mounting an efficient cgi machine. I’m new to this and reading you is clearly useful.
I’m trying to build an efficient workstation that has the right compromise between active work and GPU rendering,

On your “allrounder” Cinema 4D Build, I was thinking to add another GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2070 8GB – MSI Gaming (or even a NVIDIA RTX 2080TI 11GB – Asus Turbo) but I’m not sure that the CPU will have enough PCI Lanes to handle that. I wonder although if the Cooler system and the power supply will be enough.

Here is what would be the build :
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8GHz 12-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 AM4
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite ATX AM4
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2070 8GB – MSI Gaming
Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 500GB M.2 Solid State Drive
Power Supply: Corsair RMx Series RM650x 650W ATX 2.4 Power Supply
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case

Can you tell me what do you think about that?
Although, what is the advantage with the PCIe-SSD ? Could I take opt for more storage with a Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive?

Thanks a lot for your time,

Best regards,

Stephan

ByzmoKid

Ok, if you already have Threadripper 3960 and RTX 2070 super, what to do to to make the animation played in the viewport faster? (apart from playing with layers, level of detail and removing elements)

Michael

For gpu Rendering you recommend a 2080ti / 11gb Vram. I donˋt know how you guys handle the win10 display driver „bug“ , but it takes 20% of the vram, so for bigger scenes a 2080ti is not enough, because you end up with approx 9gb vram. Only alternative Quadro or Rtx Titan x….

Flavio

Hi Alex,

Do you think it’s a bad idea going for a Ryzen 3950x for C4D + Redshift?
Is liquid cooling mandatory for a build like this or I’m ok as it is?

Any advice on this will be much appreciated, thanks!

cheers,
Flavio

MOBO: ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VIII HERO

Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, Zen 2, 16-core with SMT, 3.5GHz, 4.7GHz Turbo

Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4 – Quiet Performance Air Cooler

RAM: 64GB (4x16GB) Corsair DDR4 Vengeance LPX – 3200MHz

PSU: Corsair RM850x, Modular, Silent, 80PLUS Gold – Dual GPU

GPU: MSI NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11GB GAMING X TRIO

SSD: 1TB Samsung 970 EVO PLUS, 3500MB/s Read, 3300MB/s Write, 600K IOPS

Storage: 4TB Seagate ST4000DM004 BarraCuda, 5400rpm, 256GB Cache

Case: Fractal Design Define 7 Black Mid Tower PC Gaming Case

David Graham

Hi Alex, a huge thanks for your attempts to help us all out.
I am thinking of buying a computer from Scan to run cinema 4D on.
Its the 3xs carbon fluid RTX Ti SLI
It’s a lot more expensive than the parts you have listed but it an amazing bit of kit.

I hoped you could run your expert eye over it to see if there are any potential issues with it being a C4D
workstation.

cheers
David

hoshos

Hei Alex,
I am trying to install c4d r20 but I am unable to install it. When I click on MAXON-Start.exe, I am getting screen which says Please choose your language after click on OK button nothing happens.
Please help.

Brandon Craft

Hey Alex! Thanks for the awesome write-up man! I have some Best Buy gift cards to spend and I was wondering if the items I currently have in my cart will be a good build for a C4D workstation (and if all of the items are compatible)… this is my first build.. I’m currently using C4D on a Mac and I really need GPU rendering. Here is what I currently have lined up.

MOBO: ASUS – ROG Crosshair VIII Hero (Socket AM4) USB-C Gen2 AMD Motherboard with LED Lighting

Processor: AMD – Ryzen 9 3900X 12-core 3.8 GHz Desktop Processor

Fan: CORSAIR – LL Series 120mm Case Cooling Fan with RGB lighting

RAM: CORSAIR – Vengeance RGB PRO 32GB (2PK 16GB) 3.2GHz PC4-25600 DDR4 DIMM Unbuffered Non-ECC Desktop Memory Kit with RGB Lighting – Black

Power Supply: CORSAIR – RMx Series 850W ATX12V 2.4/EPS12V 2.92 80 Plus Gold Modular Power Supply – Black

Graphics: NVIDIA – NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8GB GDDR6 PCI Express 3.0 Graphics Card – Black/Silver

Case: CORSAIR – iCUE 220T RGB Airflow ATX Mid-Tower Smart Case – Black

Storage: Samsung – 970 EVO Plus 500GB Internal PCI Express 3.0 x4 (NVMe) Solid State Drive with V-NAND Technology

Any recommendations? Thanks again!

stefano

good morning,

I need some suggestion, about a new PC composition with:
MOBO,
x399, 1st and 2nd CPU Ryzen threadripper
CPU,
Ryzen threadripper 1950x

for mixed jobs:
Cinema 4D
After Effect
Premier
Blender
InDesign
animated

I found the MOBO interesting:
Gigabyte x399 designate ex
http://it.gigabyte.com/products/page/mb/x399_designare_exrev_10#sp

Currently,
VGA of the Nvidia 1060 6GB

PS:
in the future, I would like to install, the CPU
Ryzen threadripper 2990x

Thanks for your contribution

Matt

Hey Alex, What would you suggest for someone who already made the mistake of buying a PC from the big brands? Originally purchased for gaming, I am receiving an Alienware Aurora Ryzen Edition R10 with a Ryzen 7 3700x and RTX 2060 Super 6gb GPU with liquid cooling and 850w power supply and 2x8gb DDR4 cards. I was thinking I would do double duty with this machine and build it for Cinema 4d and Octane render. I work mostly on a Mac now and hate the constant apple issues with incompatibility with GPU rendering.