Building the best Cinema 4D Workstation Computer (Updated)

Building the best Cinema 4D Workstation Computer (Updated)

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex   ⋮   ⋮   325 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: 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!

325
Comments

Chris

Hello Alex kind of in the same boat as everyone else here lol im hoping to build a new pc during black friday. My main 3d software is C4D I mainly use cinema 4d + Octane for gpu Rendering and modeling. Other programs i use consist of (Photoshop, Zbrush ,Substance Painter , Marvelous Designer and Occasionally some video editing in either Sony Vegas or Premiere Pro & After Effects)

Below here is the pc i currently have which was built in 2016 im way over due for an upgrade

PCPartPicker Part List: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/dD72ZR
CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K 4 GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: CRYORIG H5 Ultimate 76 CFM CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Asus Z170-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2133 Memory
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16 GB (2 x 8 GB) DDR4-2133 Memory
Storage: Kingston A400 240 GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
Storage: Samsung 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
Storage: Western Digital Caviar Blue 1 TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1070 8 GB G1 Gaming Video Card
Case: NZXT S340 Elite ATX Mid Tower Case
Power Supply: EVGA BQ 750 W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-modular ATX Power Supply
Case Fan: Corsair Air Series White 2 pack 52.19 CFM 120 mm Fan
Case Fan: Corsair Air Series White 2 pack 52.19 CFM 120 mm Fan

This is i guess an idea of what i think would be good for new build ( by no means am i a professional which is why i am here so please correct anything that is wrong )

PCPartPicker Part List: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/7W9wzN
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8 GHz 12-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 Rev 2 98.17 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Asus ROG STRIX B450-F GAMING ATX AM4 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
Storage: Western Digital Blue 500 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
Storage: Samsung 860 Evo 500 GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
Storage: Seagate BarraCuda 4 TB 3.5″ 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
Video Card: Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB GAMING OC 3X Video Card
Case: (Not sure what is a good case)
Power Supply: Corsair RM (2019) 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply

this is the build i put together that i assume will be good for my needs? also im not sure if i should get the new Ryzen 9 instead of the 3900x. On top of the rumours of the nvida 3000 series allegedly releaseing in june of next year. (which kind of has me fearful of buying a RTX right now lol)

i would really appreciate your feed back and advice on everything im just a hobbyist whos looking to learn and do more 3d things i currently just make random assets and sell them in a virtual online world. My budget is 2000$ usd possibly 2500$ i plan to buy everything during black friday.

(if possible please let me know if any of my old parts are usable for the new build you put together)

Thanks so much!

Chris

*Update* Forget to mention i also do texturing in cinema 4d via octane. My main budget is 2000$ USD ( or lower if possible lol) but depending on your comment’s and suggestions i may be willing to go higher no more than 2500$. as stated above i am not a student or working for any indie companies just a simple guy who likes to make things who want’s to dive deeper into 3d. Thanks again so much – Chris

Tim

Hi Alex, since i’am overthinking to buy me a workstation, i would like your advice,
For me it’s al new and a bit overwhelming.

i wanted to spend arround 2000-2300€

Mainly i use c4d and redshift / octane

Currently this is what i want to buy for the build:

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X
GIGABYTE AORUS GeForce RTX 2070 Super 8G
G.SKILL TridentZ RGB Series 32GB
Gigabyte X570 AORUS ELITE
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro TR4
CORSAIR RMX Series (2018), RM650x
Samsung 860 EVO 500GB
WD Blue, 2 TB
Fractal Design Define XL R2

Thnx for your feedback on this.
Tim

Hey Tim,

Thanks for asking!

Your choice of parts look good (although your choice of motherboard is not compatible with your choice of CPU) but we can make it better. For a budget of €2,000 which is converted to roughly around $2,210, you can get a build with the below specs:

Parts List:

CPU: Intel i9 9900k 3.6GHz 8-Core Processor ($471.99)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 1151 ($89.90)
Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z390-A ATX 1151 ($177.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB – MSI Gaming X Trio ($759.99)
Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 CL16 ($271.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive ($198.48)
Power Supply: Corsair RM Series RM750 750W Power Supply ($124.97)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case ($82.40)

The total of the build comes up to around $2177.71 but you get a snappy i9-9900K CPU working with 64GB of RAM to ensure that you get task responsiveness when you’re actively working inside the software. In addition to that, you also get an RTX 2080 Super graphics card with support for CUDA core acceleration. This will enable the GPU to deliver better rendering performance in case you need to use the GPU render engines. All in all, this is a more well-rounded build that is more than capable of handling whatever task you throw at it.

If you are planning on using cpu rendering more than anything else, then your choice of Threadripper 2950X is really good though! Just be sure to go with a x399 Motherboard, as the x570 chipset Motherboard you listed is not compatible with Threadripper CPUs.

Lastly, you may also want to take a look at the site’s PC Builder Tool at https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/ for more recommendations based on your budget and use case.

Cheers,
Alex

Tim

Thnx Alex for your feedback, really appreciated!

Still bit in doubt about the cpu.
The Threadripper as cpu would be a better choice to go with regarding performance?

Regarding the motherboard, is there a possibilty to upgrade for two GPU’s in the future?
Kind regards, Tim.

Hey Tim,

On paper, the Threadripper 2950X may look like the better choice than the i9-9900K when it comes to performance. After all, the 2950X has twice the number of cores of the 9900K. Be that as it may, the 9900K compensates for its less number of cores by having a slightly faster clock speed compared to the 2950X.

To get the best CPU, you want to ask yourself what you will be using your build for the most. If you plan on using the build for working on Cinema 4D, you want to invest in a high-clocking CPU like the i9-9900K for a snappy work experience. After all, benchmarks show that the 9900K beats the 2950X in single core performance and many features of Cinema 4D are processed using a single CPU core.

Now, if you plan on using your build for CPU rendering, the Threadripper 2950X with its 16 cores should be your choice. CPU rendering tasks usually make use of multiple cores so the more cores your CPU has, the better the render performance will be. This is what you can expect from the 2950X which totally slays the 9900K when it comes to multi-core performance.

If you go for the 9900K, the ASUS Prime Z390-A motherboard I suggested has enough PCIe slots so adding another GPU in the future should not pose any problems. If you choose to build your workstation around a Threadripper 2950X CPU, you may need to go for an X399 motherboard but more often than not, these X399 motherboards also support a multi-CPU setup so you can choose to add another GPU in the future.

Cheers,
Alex

Tim

Thnx for the feedback Alex! Very much appreciated!

Tawan

Do you think the Razer blade 15 13.3’ inch is capable of doing medium animation. Compare to the same build with 15.6’ inch.
The spec for 13.3’ inch are
1.8 GHz Intel Core i7-8565U Quad-Core
16GB LPDDR3 | 256GB SSD
13.3″ 1920 x 1080 Full HD Display
NVIDIA GeForce GTX MX150 (4GB GDDR5)
While the razer blade 15 15.6’ inch Spec are

Hi Tawan,

Thanks for asking!

To answer your question, the Razer Blade 15 13.3-inch is definitely capable of doing medium animation. Its i7-8565U CPU will work with the 16GB of RAM to give you a decent experience. However, we can’t say for sure how capable it will be as you work on more complex scenes. Also, Razer laptops tend to cost more because you are also paying for the brand. There are cases wherein you can get a laptop at almost the same prize as a Razer and yet you get better and more powerful specs that what the Razer has for that matter.

Cheers,
Alex

Daniel

Hello Alex and CG people, greetings from the Czech Republic.

So, Im looking for GPU rendering workstation and I need advice! :D. Im junior digital artist and I work in cinema 4d + octane render, adobe aftereffects. My budget is aprox. 2500-3000 USD.

thank you for your advice.

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for asking!

A budget of $2,500 will get you a GPU rendering workstation like the below:

Parts List:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8GHz 12-Core Processor ($499.99)
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Gaming X ATX AM4 ($169.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080TI 11GB – Asus Turbo ($1149.99)
Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 CL16 ($273.99)
Storage SSD: Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($139.99)
Power Supply: Corsair RMx Series RM650x 650W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($112.99)
Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Titanium Big Tower Case ($145.70)

The total of the build comes up to around $2,492.64 and you get a snappy Ryzen 9 3900X CPU at the heart of your build working with 64GB of RAM to ensure you get task responsiveness when you’re working actively inside the software. More importantly, since you are focused on GPU Rendering, this build comes with the NVIDIA RTX 2080TI 11GB – Asus Turbo graphics card which is an absolute beast of a GPU! The RTX 2080 Ti is the top of the line GPU at the moment and it also packs support for CUDA core acceleration which brings about better render performance when you’re using the GPU render engines.

Also, you may want to check out the site’s PC Builder Tool for other build recommendations based on your budget and use case. You can find the tool here: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/

You could also get 2x RTX 2070 Super instead of the 2080Ti, if you don’t need 11 gb of VRAM though.
If you plan to expand your pc to 4x gpus in the future, you should think about a Threadripper system, as these CPUs sport much more pcielanes to drive all the gpus.

Cheers,
Alex

Deuce

Hello there cg people. I was picking put parts for my new PC that I’m planning on using for c4d with red shift mainly and I would like to check if everything is compatible so far. Thank you.

AMD ryzen 9

Samsung evo 970 1tb

Be quiet dark rock pro4

Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz C16 Memory Kit

MSI GAMING GeForce RTX 2070 8GB

ASUS ROG X570 Crosshair VIII Hero (Wi-Fi) ATX Motherboard 

ASUS TUF Gaming GT501 Mid-Tower Computer Case

CORSAIR HX Series, HX850, 850 Watt, 80+ Platinum Certified,

Hey Deuce,

Thanks for asking!

If I may ask, what type of work do you do and what software do you commonly use? Also, what’s your budget like?

As for the components you put together, I would say you made excellent choices! Be advised though that the stock cooler (Wraith Prism) that comes with the Ryzen 9 is more than capable enough to handle its CPU cooling tasks so you have the option of dropping the be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 CPU cooler and use the money intended for the CPU cooler on other components of your build.

Cheers,
Alex

Deuce

Alex, my man. Thanks for the quick reply. I’m going to spend the extra on other things. One quick question. What should I spend more money on when building a PC. I want to be able to do any task regarding 3d applications on my pc. Mostly I use c4d with redshift and other plugins. But I don’t want it to be strictly for c4d as I’m going to be using it for maya and Houdini. So something future proof, you know. And what parts of the PC is expected to die so that I can get warranty on those parts. Thank you Alex. 

Auroratrek

Hey Alex, thanks for all the advice, and the video on how to build the PC–it was invaluable to this newbie, and I feel pretty good about the physical build. I’m now a little less sure about starting the system up and configuring it for optimized 3D modeling and rendering. Do you know of a good video guide that might help me set up my system, maybe including loading on Windows? This is the final build (below).

CPU: AMD Threadripper 2950X

CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 TR4

Motherboard: Gigabyte X399 GIGABYTE X399 AORUS PRO (AMD Ryzen Thread Ripper TR4/ATX /3X M.2/Front USB 3.1 Type C/Intel LAN/ALC1220/ Motherboard)

GPU: MSI GAMING GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDRR6 256-bit HDMI/DP/USB Ray Tracing Turing Architecture HDCP Graphics Card (RTX 2070 ARMOR 8G)

Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz C16 Memory Kit

Storage SSD: Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB SSD (MZ-V7S1T0B/AM)

Power Supply: CORSAIR RMX Series (2018), RM650x, 650 Watt, 80+ Gold Certified, Fully Modular Power Supply

Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis Without Window Cases PH-ES614PC_BK

Thanks!–Tim

Auroratrek

Update: updated the BIOS and loaded Windows, and everything seems to be working fine. Loading software now, and looking forward to using this shiny new machine. Thanks again for all your help!

Piotr

Hello Alex,
first of all thank you for awesome article!

I’m starting my adventure with C4d and I wanted to build a PC like your setup from – ” Cinema 4D PC Build “.
Unfortunately like most people here I see Ryzen 3900x is out of stock everywhere.

As I want to go for new C4D R21 + redshift my question is:
– Do I need such a strong processor like 3900x or can I go with Intel i9 9900k and stronger graphic card since using redshift requires more GPU? Right?:P

Please let me know what do you think as I have to build PC till end of September.

Eric

I had been (digitally) building the best machine I can around the Ryzen 3900x for my do it all workstation. Im an effects artist, x-particles, even some Houdini and Unity but will rely on it for rendering as well.
All of my research was based around building for the 3900x…

My question : With 3950x coming out any time now, im opting for that instead…would you assume a system built around the 3900x would still be optimal for 3950x, or should I start the research and build all over again from scratch? Being the the cpu isn’t out, not a lot of info I can dig up anywhere around this question. Im set on dual liquid cooled 2080 Ti’s, but maybe ideal motherboard/memory could change? Want to start pulling the trigger on ordering parts asap but want to make sure I do it proper.

Thanks!

Remy

Hey Alex !
Should I go for the 3900x or wait for the new 3950x ?

Auroratrek

Hi Alex,

I’m a total newbie at not only building a PC, but even using one, so I definitely need some help! I would like to strike a middle ground between your two recommended builds for C4D by “upgrading” the “all-arounder” to an AMD 2950x Threadripper for better CPU rendering, but I want to make sure the parts I get are compatible. So I am proposing:

CPU: AMD Threadripper 2950X

CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 TR4

Motherboard: Gigabyte X399 GIGABYTE X399 AORUS PRO (AMD Ryzen Thread Ripper TR4/ATX /3X M.2/Front USB 3.1 Type C/Intel LAN/ALC1220/ Motherboard)

GPU: MSI GAMING GeForce RTX 2070 8GB GDRR6 256-bit HDMI/DP/USB Ray Tracing Turing Architecture HDCP Graphics Card (RTX 2070 ARMOR 8G)

Memory: Corsair Vengeance LPX 64GB DDR4 DRAM 3200MHz C16 Memory Kit

Storage SSD: Samsung 970 EVO Plus 1TB SSD (MZ-V7S1T0B/AM)

Power Supply: CORSAIR RMX Series (2018), RM650x, 650 Watt, 80+ Gold Certified, Fully Modular Power Supply

Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro Full Tower Chassis Without Window Cases PH-ES614PC_BK

Would this build work, or would you recommend other components?

Thanks!–Tim

Auroratrek

PS: I’d rather have a Ryzen 9 CPU, but who knows when they’ll be available again??