Building the Best Cinema 4D Workstation Computer [2021 Guide]

CG Director Author Alex Glawionby Alex Glawion   ⋮  Updated   ⋮   447 comments
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Building the Best Cinema 4D Workstation Computer [2021 Guide]

It’s always fun to research new PC-Parts to make your new Workstation or Computer work as fast as possible in the Programs you use, without having to spend an arm and a leg.

Making sure your hardware is not slowing you down when using the Computer is of utmost importance. It keeps you from loosing valuable time that would eat into your margins.

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

If you are using other Software too, such as Blender, Sketchup, After Effects, or would just like to take a look at what an all-round PC for 3D-Modeling & Rendering would look like, check this Article.

But first, let me say this:

Don’t buy a pre-built Workstation!

Don’t buy a pre-built Workstation, as these are ridiculously over-priced. A PC that consists of the same parts that I recommend in this Article, will cost you at least 30% more when buying Pre-Built. Often even more than that.

Build your own Workstation

Building the PC 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 our Beginner’s PC-Building Guide that is easy to follow and will get you started quickly.

How to build a PC -Step by Step

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?

From all of those links, you can already tell that we have specialized Guides on almost every aspect of a 3D Artist’s Pipeline.

PC for Cinema 4D Viewport Animation Modeling

This List could go 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

You’ll notice in the list above, that I focused on making active work processes run the best they can – These are the tasks that you work on actively while sitting in front of your PC.

Passive processes, such as rendering, are tasks that the Computer can do on its own, without you necessarily being present.

Cinema 4D Render Stages - CPU Rendering

Why this differentiation?

Take a look at our 3D Modeling & Rendering Guide here for an in-depth answer. To summarize, it has to do with 1. specific PC-Parts (e.g. the CPU) that are optimized for specific workloads, and 2. your work-hours being that much more valuable than passive pc-work-hours.

So here goes:

Best Hardware Parts for Cinema 4D

The Best CPU for Cinema 4D: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, 3950X or i9 9900K

Wait, What?

A 8-16 Core CPU for a 3D Software? Couldn’t I easily get an AMD Threadripper or Intel Xeon CPU that has up to 64 cores with better rendering performance…?, you might ask.

You could get such a Rendering-Monster-CPU, but you shouldn’t.

Cinema 4D CPU

Ryzen 3600 CPU in its Socket

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 or cloners are calculated on the processor using only a single CPU-core. This is where you will want the fastest possible core speed.

Why just a single CPU Core?

Because many processes are heavily dependent on hierarchy chains and can only be stepped through one at a time and not offloaded to different Cores.

Cinebench Scores - Single Core Hierarchy

Hierarchy of Execution (simplified)

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. (Check our Cinema 4D Viewport Performance Benchmark Rankings here)

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

The i7 9700K, although slightly lower tier, offers similar speeds but comes at a better price point.

But..

Although Intel still has a small single core performance lead in many workloads, AMD has caught up to Intel with their 3rd generation Ryzen CPUs.

AMD Ryzen vs Intel CPU

And the great thing about these new CPUs is, that you can get the 12-Core AMD Ryzen 9 3900X CPU at the same or even lower price as the Intel i9 9900K. But with 12 Cores you have higher multi-core performance for those Renderings you’d like to get done quicker.

Another great pick is the 16-Core AMD Ryzen 9 3950X, which is a great all-rounder CPU for decent Rendering Performance and active work performance.

Highly recommended!

Memory (RAM) for Cinema 4D: 32+ GByte DDR4

RAM prices have unfortunately increased in the last couple of months but 32GB helps a lot when you have complex scenes (high polycounts, displacements…) and many large textures, or multiple applications open at the same time.

When it comes to RAM be sure to check out our guide on buying the Best RAM for 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs.

I recommend the Corsair LPX Vengeance 2x16GB 3200MHz RAM Kit as the Corsair Vengeance Brand has been proven many times to be among the highest valued RAM Modules you can get for any kind of Platform – be it Intel or AMD.

Corsair Vengeance LPX

Image-Source: Corsair

To maximize your performance when choosing RAM be sure to get high-clocking RAM with low Latency. 3200Mhz or 3600Mhz Kits are the standard nowadays and will squeeze some extra bit of performance out of your system compared to lower clocked RAM (2400, 2666Mhz).

Your final Memory Size should be in a Kit, as Modules within a Kit are factory pre-tested. That way you don’t risk incompatibilities that can arise when mixing Modules of different Kits, even if they are of the exact same type. (e.g. buying two 16GB Kits for a total of 32GB instaad of a single 32GB Kit)

Graphics Card: Nvidia RTX 2070 Super or 2060 Super

For most, there is absolutely 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 Super or 2060 Super will be more than enough for everyday workloads.

Nvidia RTX 2070

Image-Source: Nvidia

You really only need Quadro or other “Pro” GPUs when you rely on either official software certification or official support from the application’s vendor. This though is really just interesting for people working in large corporations or using Software such as Solidworks that comes with features that only run well on Quadro GPUs.

For Cinema 4D, stick with a Mainstream GPU. (Nvidia GTX, RTX, AMD Radeon RX)

GPU Rendering in Cinema 4D

If you are planning on rendering with your GPU (Redshift, Octane, Vray …) you should consider a second or even third GPU or you can get a single higher tier GPU such as the RTX 2080 Super or even the RTX 2080ti 11GB.

Multi GPU for Rendering

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 Super currently offers the highest value in many benchmarks and also pulls ahead in price/performance ratio in Octanbench.

Highly recommended!

AMD has GPU offerings too, and if you use ProRender or another GPU Render Engine that supports AMD’s GPUs (there aren’t many yet unfortunately), grab one ore more Radeon RX 5700XT‘s and you’re set! Do note though, that Nvidia GPUs are currently in the performance lead, even in Engines that support AMD GPUs.

Motherboard for Cinema 4D

If you’d like to go with an Intel CPU such as the i9 9900K, 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. You’ll find more Motherboard recommendations for Intel Mainstream CPUs in our Intel Motherboard Guide.

Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite

Image-Source: Gigabyte

If you’re considering going with AMD’s CPU offerings (e.g. 3700X, 3900X, 3950X), take a look at the Gigabyte Aorus Elite x570 which is an excellent Board and isn’t too pricey. More recommendations in our AMD Motherboard Guide here.

Hard Drive / SSD

You should definitely consider an M.2 NVME SSD such as the Samsung 970 PRO/ EVO. These are blazingly fast and you’ll be thankful for the extra performance especially when you’re also doing some Compositing or Video Editing.

Our NVMe Guide will help you choose the right drive for your needs.

Best SSD for Photo Editing

Cinema 4D itself doesn’t heavily rely on Hard Drive performance, though (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 275Q 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 such as the Fractal Design XL R2.

 

 

 

Case Airflow

Image-Source: Corsair

Power Supply for Cinema 4D

We haven’t talked about Power Supplies yet, mainly because they won’t impact Cinema 4D’s performance all that much (if at all). There still are a few things to consider though, as you will want your components to last for a long time, and a good PSU is crucial here.

Because a PSU delivers the power to all of your other components, it comes with loads of cables that can clutter the inside of our PC if they are not hidden away or routed nicely.

I recommend buying a modular Power Supply which lets you detach any cable that you don’t need in your specific Build.

Generally, shopping for a PSU is quite easy. Make sure the PSU has enough wattage to power all of your components – You can calculate the wattage you need on beQuiet’s wattage calculator.

Brands to look out for are Corsair, Seasonic, beQuiet and EVGA.

Conclusion

This Workstation will give you good CPU & GPU Render Performance, but this PC 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 “all-rounder” 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 24-Core 3960X, 32-Core 3970X or the 64-Core 3990X (Review) have excellent Multi-Core Performance for Rendering. I highly recommend these CPUs, and they have an outstanding price/performance ratio compared to Intel CPUs.

AMD Threadripper 3990X Heat Spreader Bare Photo

The 3990X inside our Review System

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 high Multi-Core Performance at a relatively 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!

Find a new friend on the CGDirector Forum! Expert Advice & PC-Build Planning with a warm and friendly Community! :)

Alex Glawion - 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!

447
Comments
Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

Yogesh Vaghela

Hi Alex,
new to this and would really like your opinion
Main use would be Ae and C4D. Thanks for your help.

Processor : Amd Ryzen 7 3800x

Motherboard : AMD X570 AORUS Motherboard with 12+2 Phases Digital VRM with DrMOS, Advanced Thermal Design with Enlarge Heatsink, Dual PCIe 4.0 M.2 with Single Thermal Guard, Intel® GbE LAN with cFosSpeed, Front USB Type-C, RGB Fusion 2.0

RAM : VENGEANCE® LPX 32GB (2 x 16GB) DDR4 DRAM 3600MHz C18 Memory Kit – Black

SMPS : Cooler master 750 w psu 80plus gold fully modular

cabinet : Antec DF600FLUX cabinet

SSD : crucial m2 NVMe 500gb

UPS : APC 1000va

Chris

Hey Alex, thank you so much for this guide!
I’m trying to figure out a build for my Cinema 4d / After Effects / Photoshop workstation and I am a bit overwhelmed by the huge amount of options out there. 😀

I have been a Mac user for the past 12 years or so, so I never really had to figure this stuff out.
I’m not trying to assemble the PC myself, but I’ve found a company online, that does it for you at a fairly reasonably price point (at least as far as I can tell).

I’d like to ask your opinion if you see any issues with these specs:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, 12x 3.8GHz, 64MB L3-Cache
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4
Motherboard: Gigabyte Aorus Master | AMD X570
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 8GB | ASUS TUF Gaming OC
RAM: 128GB DDR4-3000 Corsair Vengeance LPX | 4x 32GB
SSD: 2x 500GB Samsung 970 EVO Plus | 3.500 MB/s
Power Supply: 650W – Corsair RMx Series 2018
Case: Jonsbo C5
Case Cooling: 140mm be quiet! Silent Wings 3

I am a bit hesitant to make the jump from Mac to Windows. So I have also considered getting a more powerful MacBook (looked at the iMac Pro und Mac Pro, but the pricetags for those are insane).

Do you think the 16” MacBook Pro could also be a somewhat valid option?

CPU: 2.8 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9 Processor, 9th generation (4.8 GHz Boost)
RAM: 64GB 2666 MHz DDR4 RAM
GPU: AMD Radeon Pro 5500M, 8GB GDDR6
SSD: 1 TB SSD

Or should I just forget about Macs if I want to get serious with c4d?

Cheers,
Chris

Alan

Hello Alex!
I`m Mac user and Cinema 4D
Can you recommend which Mac would be good for C4d Animation and rendering?
Thanks
Alan

Joy

Hey Alex!
Thank you for such a detailed post. I was wondering is there a best Prebuilt PC you would recommend for C4d Animation and rendering? I am seeking a prebuilt due to my company’s policy, and was wondering if there is one that is great on the market? Thank you so much again!

Nick

Hi Alex,

Thanks for all of your great information. What do you think about the new 3090 cards? Assuming you could get them, would it be possible to put two of these into a PC and have them running both at full capacity? I’m thinking of building a C4D/Octane machine.

Cheers,
Nick

PT

Hi Alex,

following your helpful article I’ve been thinking to build my first PC. I have €3K budget. I’m running C4D R21 with Octane Render 4.05-R7. I already own MSI GT73VR 7RF Titan Pro laptop (GeForce GTX 1080, Intel Core i7-7820HK @ 2.90GHz).

But I’ve recently been running into massive rendering issues with Octane for C4D. The problem is that while rendering large files (to either the Picture Viewer or in the Render Queue), at some point during the render, the render will stop midway and does not react to anything and I have to close and restart C4D. This is happening only with very large files.

Because of that I was thinking to build an efficient workstation for GPU rendering workstation. So here is my build list after browsing around:

– Case: Corsair Crystal Series 680X RGB
– Motherboard (Option1): MSI MPG X570 AMD AM4 DDR4 DDR4 CF m.2
– Motherboard (Option2): MSI MEG X570 ACE AMD AM4 DDR4 SLI/CF m.2
– Processor: AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT 12x 4.7GHz
– Power Supply: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 750 Watt
– Graphics Card: MSI GeForce RTX 3080 Ventus 3X 10G OC, 10GB GDDR6X
– RAM: G.SKILL Trident Z Neo DIMM Kit 32GB, DDR4-3600
– Storage Drive: Samsung MZ-V7S2T0BW 970 EVO Plus 2 TB NVMe M.2
– CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4
– FAN: 3x Corsair LL Series LL140 RGB 140mm Dual Light Loop RGB LED

I would really appreciate your advice on this!

cheers,
PT

Priscilla Gomez

wow thanks so much for this, very informative but also simple enough for a newbie like me. One question I had was if this would also be enough to use touchdesigner with? or should I consider getting the multiple gpus like you suggest? thanks!

Axel

Hi Alex, thanks for this great article.
I’m wondering if I should switch to pc or if I can work with an external eGPU on my Mac. I have a pretty decent iMac and it kills me to do the switch. It’s a 5K 27 inch from 2015 with an i7 4ghz and 32 DDR Ram. The problem is that it has an AMD Radeon graphics card. I work on motion graphics with C4D and I’m still working on Arnold and render times are killing me. I’ve been doing some research on eGPUs but I didn’t get to any clear results. Do you have any experience on this?

Many thanks in advance for your time.

Matthew

Hey Alex,

Your site is amazing and just what I’ve been looking for! I’m making the big jump from Mac to PC and looking to put together something for animation and rendering (especially x-particles). I’m a bit overwhelmed by all the choices, but thankful for all the info you provided! If I had 8k-10k to spend on a system could you recommend a killer set up?

Thanks!
Matthew

Den

Hi Alex,

may I ask one more tech question concerning PCI’s…
If I am not mistaken 8 PCI lanes per one graphics card are more than enough for playing games without any restrictions from bandwidth. But what about GPU rendering: do i need more PCI’s or even less PCI for one card will be OK? I mean a card like rtx 2080 or better.

Thanks a lot for your help!
Den