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. 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.
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:
The Best CPU for Cinema 4D: Intel i7 8700K or i9 9900K
A 6-8 Core CPU for a 3D Software? Couldn’t I easily get an AMD Threadripper or Intel Xeon CPU that has 16- 32 Cores and a much better multi-core and rendering performance for a similar price…?, you might ask.
You could, but you shouldn’t.
Let me explain 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.
A 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 probably lose quite some 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 8700K has 3.7 GHz base clock and 4,7 GHz Turbo to make the 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.
That said, Intel has currently released a new generation of CPUs. The i7 9700K and i9 9900K. They both have even higher single-core scores and with 8-Cores beat the 8700K even in Multi-Core Benches.
They are extremely pricey, as Intel currently has supply issues and it is still very early after the release. I would stick with the 8700K for now (or even go AMD Ryzen 2700X route) if you have to watch your budget a bit.
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.
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 6GB will be more than enough.
If you are planning on rendering with your GPU (Redshift3D, Octane, VRAY RT …) you should consider the Nvidia GTX 1070 ti 8GB, 1080 8GB or even the 1080ti 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 need to render your scene and can your render engine use system memory if the scene is larger than the VRAM.
The GTX 1070 ti and 1080 have dropped in price quite a bit and you get 2432 – 2560 cuda cores of power on 8GB of VRAM.
Asus Prime Z370-A is a great LGA-1151 (v2) Motherboard choice that supports CPU overclocking. It has 4 RAM Slots for a max of 64GB of RAM.
Definitely go with the new M.2 form-factor 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. (The Asus Prime Z370-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 slower Samsung 860 EVO SSD, which is still very fast.
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.
This Workstation will give you roughly 1360 R15 Cinebench Points, which is still excellent 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”.
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:
Maximum amount of CPU Cores.
Dual (2-Socket Systems) with Xeon CPUs or the i9 7900X – 7980XE come to mind here. Beware though that this will then be slower for actively working, Animating, Modeling or Texturing in the viewport and more expensive.
The AMD Ryzen 7 CPUs such as the 2700x or the 1800X and especially AMD Threadripper CPUs such as the 1900X, 1920X, 1950X or the new 2990WX (32Cores!) have excellent 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: Cinebench Scores
What type of Computer are you building? Feel free to ask for Build Advice in the Comments!