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Building the best Cinema 4D Workstation Computer (Updated)

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex  ⋮   ⋮   269 comments
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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: Intel i7 8700K or i9 9900K

Wait, What?

A 6-8 Core CPU for a 3D Software? Couldn’t I easily get an AMD Threadripper or Intel Xeon CPU that has much more 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 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. With decent cooling, you can also overclock it.

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

But..

Intel CPUs come at a price, not only because they are having some difficulties with satisfying demand. If you would like to go with an AMD CPU, that are offered at an excellent value, the AMD Ryzen 2700X is the CPU to get for best active work performance.

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 3000MHz RAM Kit.

Graphics Card: Nvidia RTX 2070

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 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 (Redshift3D, Octane, VRAY RT …) 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 the new M.2 form-factor type drives 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 allround 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!

269
Comments

Undefined

Hey Alex, I wonder what youre thinking about the CPUs atm?
I’m going to buy a new build, and my first thought was the i7-9700k.

However with now the new ryzens coming out next week, do you think they will be better than the 9700k for the same price point? I guess my main interest is the single core speed since its going to be my active working pc. Not sure if the 9700k will still be the best bet.

Also, do you think the intel cpus will see a price cut? I would love to buy the parts now, but I imagine I might be able to chip in a little bit more if the i9-9900k will see a potential price cut (the i7 is currently 387 euro on amazon, and the i9 is 547 euro. With great optimism i would really hope to see the i9 around maybe 460 eur, but my assumption is thats not gonna happen)

Cheers! 🙂

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Also to add this is what my build would be:

CPU: Intel – Core i7-9700K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor (€387.00)
CPU Cooler: Scythe – Mugen 5 Rev. B 51.17 CFM CPU Cooler (€46.00)
Motherboard: Gigabyte – Z390 AORUS PRO ATX LGA1151 Motherboard (€185.00)
Memory: Corsair – Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory (€155.00)
Storage: Corsair Force MP510 960GB (€135.00)
Video Card: Gainward PCI-E RTX2070 8GB DDR6 (€460.00)
Case: Cooler Master – MasterCase H500 ATX Mid Tower Case (€95.00)
Power Supply: RIOTORO – ENIGMA 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply (€100.00)
Keyboard: Cooler Master – CK530 Wired Gaming Keyboard (€60.00)
Mouse: Steelseries Sensei 310 (€57.00)
Total: €1680

Anything you would change or got any points?

Thank you again!

Auroratrek

I’m having some difficulty balancing single and multicore CPU speeds for C4D animation. The basic builds seem to recommend for one or the other, but both are important to me. The Intel i9 9900k seems to be a popular recommendation, and coming from a 7-year old Mac Pro (Cinebench 51.7/1158 if I’m reading it right) looks to be over 4 times faster in single core, but it only renders about 2x my current speed, and I do a lot of rendering, some renders that take days. The AMD 2970WX looks to be about 3x faster in single core, and about 4x faster for multicore rendering, which sounds like a good boost for both, but it’s hard to get my head around just how much I’d lose with the the lower single-core performance. Any thoughts?

Auroratrek

PS: maybe the AMD 2950x?

ashcat

Whats the best set up i could get for £2000 – £2500? I’m thinking that i’ll go Octane Render… PS.. I’m a mac guy going PC so I just getting upto speed with PC tech terms.

Thanks

Kevin Eldridge

Hey Alex!

Looking to build a brand new system for 3d work/game dev. Really wanting to do an all-AMD build!

All the basics; 3900X 12C/24T CPU, 64GB RAM, (2) 1TB M.2 NVMe SSDs (one OS/apps, one project files)…

(…or should it be one for OS/apps/project files & one for scratch disk/cache…?)

The real question is the GPU; do I go with a shiny new 5700 XT or the established Radeon VII…?

(…keep in mind I will upgrade to the Big Navi replacement for Radeon VII when that comes around next year…)

This machine will mainly be running Cinema 4D, Houdini, Resolve, & Unreal Engine…

Martin

Hey Alex!

Amazing that you take the time to answer everyone here 🙂

I’m starting to guess this build is pretty common, but do you see any problems with these parts? I work mostly in After Effects and C4D. Also, right now I’m using a Macbook Pro 2018 (i7 3.1Ghz, 16gb ram, 4gb radeon pro, ssd) – do you think I will see a big jump in performance in for example viewport snappiness and rendering times?

Intel – Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor
be quiet! – Dark Rock Pro 4 50.5 CFM CPU Cooler
Asus – PRIME Z390-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
Corsair – Vengeance LPX 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
970 Evo 1 TB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
EVGA GeForce RTX 2070 8 GB XC ULTRA GAMING Video Card
Fractal Design – Define S ATX Mid Tower Case
Corsair – RMx (2018) 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX

Thanks so much!

Kirrily Greatrex

Hi Alex
I’m looking to buy my son a laptop he can use for C4D as he’s going overseas for a year as an exchange student. He wanted to build a pc over there but if there’s a comparable laptop that’ll do the job it would make travelling, and life, a lot easier. He’s a visual art student and only works digitally. He uses a lot of adobe stuff like PP, PS, AE and C4D, and probably a heap of other stuff I’m not aware of. He also spends a lot of time making music using fl studio – not sure if that’s relevant but the laptop would need to have the ability to run that too. The build you mentioned with the faster working time and slower rendering would probably be most suitable for his needs. He currently has the latest MacBook Pro (no touchbar) but it isn’t capable of doing what he wants (only has it because of school) so whatever he gets next needs higher specs than that. He was given his brothers gaming pc when he went overseas last year and that has been handling C4D fine – it just seems crazy to try and take something like that overseas on exchange if a laptop could do the same. Sorry about the long explanation Alex but you are so lovely answering everyone’s questions I thought you be able to help.
Basically all I am looking for is advice on the best laptop for C4D (& Adobe, & fl studio) – and if the laptop in any way compares to a pc. I don’t really care about the price, it’s more about the laptop doing what he needs it to do as fast as possible.
Thank you so much for such an informative article – even if I don’t understand 90% of it.
Cheers, Kirrily

Kirrily Greatrex

All good. I found your – PC-Builder: Find The Best Parts For Your PC & Workstation – and think that the MSI GT75 Titan will cover all bases. I really didn’t know where to look but this has been super helpful. Thank you!

Andreas

Hi Alex and great article!

I work on Cinema4D + Octane 3 + Houdini
I make dailyrenders on instagram and freelance works.
I need something that can render fast, but nothing too complex
since I am a One Man Studio. I need something that can last
1-1.5 years from today.

So here is what i’m thinking:

CPU: 2970WX (or 2990wx if money comes xD)
GRAPHICS: 2x Gtx1080ti (since RTX cards aren’t compatible with octane 3)
MOTHERBOARD: Asus Rog Zenith Extreme
RAM: 32GB (2x16gb @ 3200mhz)
POWER: Corsair HX1000i
Fans: BeQuiet! Dark Pro 4 TR4
CASE: C700M from CoolerMaster
SSD: 512 Samsung 970evo m.2

So what do you think? Can I render fast enough for a one man studio?
My animation/daily renders are similar to manvsmachine, beeple or Peter Tarka, just
to have a reference on what’s the demand in terms of workload.

Joshua Cameron

Brilliant at replying to all these questions mate, just excellent, now for mine

I kind of want the best of all worlds however I get the most joy out of Arnold at the moment with cinema 4d, I must admit I love to work as parametrically as I can Adobe usage ubiquitous of course, keen on spending more time in Davinci and fusion however and a litte unity ( should be able to run that on the sweat of an oily rag of course)

Coming from dual xeon z600 (positively ancient, but solid and never skips a beat) I am thinking the 2950x, with a 2080 working with my business partner overseas who’s gone the 9900k and dual 2080s along with redshift.

My current thinking is to cover off the multicore aspect and jump in bed with a threadripper but coming from a super solid HP build, would you say the 2950x is a safe and glitch free choice, the 5820x (Intel) at work gives me hell. I am fairly savvy wrangling the various issues you may encounter with a PC but the less time spent in this, is more money in the bank and more time with the family.

Rest of the build – Meg creation, m.2’s all over the place, 32 ram,platinum power ect ect

P.s.what monitoring software would you use to snapshot usage to best observe day to day usage i.e. multicore vs clockspeed,

Cheers

Snackwell

Great article Alex, food for thought. I’m moving out of Mac for future GPU (Octane and Redshift) reasons, and have been torn between the i9 9900K for single core performance and Threadripper for PR day-long+ render reasons (as well as price). Am wondering what you think about waiting until July for the release of the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X with 12 cores, 24 threads 3.8-4.6Ghz (along with PCI 4 interface at 2x’s PCI 3 throughput), and of course new motherboards/peripherals to support–around the same price point as the 9900K. I hate to be a new adapter, but the specs on this seem to find the sweet spot between the two choices. Thoughts? Sorry if any of the 200+ comments hit on this…I read many, but not them all.

Mohamad

hi alex, thanks for this good information about building workstation pc for cinema 4d, im not ready to bulding this one but before that i want your help to answer this , i want use cinema 4d, primier, Ae and photoshop in feauture pc , what a best pc for this recomanded? and what do you think about Apple Mac Pro desktop with 3.0GHz 8-Core Intel Xeon E5 ?
thanks