Building the Best Cinema 4D Workstation Computer [2020 Guide]

CG Director Author Alex Glawion  by Alex Glawion   ⋮   ⋮   409 comments
CGDirector is Reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Building the Best Cinema 4D Workstation Computer [2020 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!

Join the New 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!

409
Comments
Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

No navid

Hi Alex,
It is true that ryzen 9 3900x is a good enough processor, but I was planning for multi gpu, and this cpu has only 20 or 16 pcie lanes. Would this put the cpu under stress or maybe not be even compatible? The gpus I targeted are two Rtx 2080ti

Den

Hi Alex,

Thanks a lot for this article!
What about new CPUs like intel i9 10900k or 10700k or even those without ‘k’ (but cheaper)?
Will they change i9 9900k in the best build for Cinema 4d?

Den

Stefan Iyapah

Hi Alex,

Thanks again for these amazing resources. I was hoping to get your opinion on whether a Noctua NH-D15s (the single fan version of the NH-D15) would be sufficient cooling with both the processor and RAM being overclocked?

And wondering if the cooler being very close to the Graphics Card is a problem? (I’m aware it’s quite tight with these Noctua NH models)

The build I’m planning is as follows:
CPU: intel i9 i9900k
GPU: RTX GeForce 2080 Ti 11GB (https://tinyurl.com/yb6c357k)
MOBO: ASUS Rog Maximus XI Hero (https://tinyurl.com/yabf3elm)
RAM: Corsair 3200 MHz Vengeance LPX 64GB (4 x 16GB) DDR4
STORAGE: TBC
PSU: TBC
CASE: TBC – which would be best for an air cooler like this?

I’ll be using my workstation primarily for After Effects, C4D Modelling/Animation and GPU Rendering

Thanks very much for your help!
Stefan

Felipe

HI Alex,

Following your very helpful article I have put together this configuration, I have £2K budget and I will be working with C4D and Octane and planning start learning unreal. it would be ok? also I already own a Geforce GTX 1070 graphics card, do you think I can use it with this motherboard and whit this case? Thanks for your comments.

Case
CORSAIR CARBIDE SERIES™ 275Q QUIET CASE
Processor (CPU)
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12 Core CPU (3.8GHz-4.6GHz/70MB CACHE/AM4)
Get Horizon Zero Dawn: Complete Edition with select AMD Ryzen CPUs
Motherboard
Gigabyte X570 GAMING X: ATX (USB 3.2 Gen 1, PCIe 4.0) – RGB Ready!
Memory (RAM)
64GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 3000MHz (4 x 16GB)
Graphics Card
8GB NVIDIA GEFORCE RTX 2070 SUPER – HDMI, 3x DP GeForce – RTX VR Ready!
1st Storage Drive
512GB PCS 2.5″ SSD, SATA 6 Gb (520MB/R, 450MB/W)
2nd Storage Drive
3TB SATA-III 3.5″ HDD, 6GB/s, 7200RPM, 64MB CACHE
1st M.2 SSD Drive
500GB SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 3200MB/W)
Memory Card Reader
USB 3.0 EXTERNAL SD/MICRO SD CARD READER
Power Supply
CORSAIR 550W TXm SERIES™ SEMI-MODULAR 80 PLUS® GOLD, ULTRA QUIET

Felipe

Won Yoo

Hi Alex,

I have referred to your specification for Cinema 4D PC Build, and I have chosen a few alternative choices as they are easier to get here (Memory and Power Supply). Can you please check if they are
compatible?

Thank you very much for your help in advance.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8GH 12-core Processor
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 AM4
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite ATX AM4
Graphic Card: NVIDIA RTX 2070 8GB – MSI Gaming
Memory(RAM): G.SKILL DDR4 32G PC4-25600 CL16 TRIDENT Z RGB (16Gx2)
SDD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 500GB
Power Supply: Seasonic FOCUS GOLD GX-750 Full Modular
Case: CORSAIR CARBIDE SERIES 275Q

Cheers,

Won

Dennis

i like to study the use of cinema 4d but i dont have my own computer
can you help me build a computer worth $1000 for cinmea 4d thank you

Hey Dennis,

Thanks for asking!

With your budget, you can get a build like the below that will allow you to familiarize yourself with C4D:

CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=Aq1vi0g0ida

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3.6GHz 8-Core Processor ($274.49)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Prism Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Gaming X ATX AM4 ($169.99)
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 1660 Ventus XS OC ($216.95)
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($73.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 250GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($74.99)
Power Supply: CORSAIR TX550M CP-9020133-NA 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($99.98)
Case: Fractal Design Focus G ATX Mid Tower Case ($55.99)

The total of the build comes up to around $966.38 but you can expect this build to have enough power for your C4D tasks. By the way, this build is based on the Ryzen platform so you can easily upgrade its components in case you need more power or you want to make your build more future-proof.

Cheers,
Alex

Balamurugan

What are the best pc parts to get for c4d
Plz suggest for 1300$ budget thanks

Hey Balamurugan,

Thanks for dropping a comment!

Here’s a $1,300 build for Cinema 4D:

CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=zq1Dh0b0lkb

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X 3.9GHz 8-Core Processor ($328.98)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Prism Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: MSI MPG x570 Gaming Plus ATX AM4 ($169.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060 SUPER 8GB – MSI Gaming X ($429.99)
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($79.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 500GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($99.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($69.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case ($105.73)

The build costs around $1,284.66 and can be expected to deliver task responsiveness when you’re actively working inside the software, thanks to its Ryzen 7 3800X CPU and 16GB of RAM. In case you need to use the GPU render engines, the RTX 2060 Super graphics card has got you covered. By the way, you can go ahead and change things around. For example, you can get a cheaper case and increase the RAM to 32GB for more headroom or get a bigger 1TB storage. But that build in itself can definitely handle Cinema 4D really well.

Cheers,
Alex

Hey Geran,

Thanks for asking!

The ASUS ROG Strix SCAR17 in the link you shared will definitely work well for Cinema 4D. The laptop comes with the latest generation of Intel CPUs with its i7-10875H CPU. Plus, it has 16GB of RAM so you can expect this laptop to deliver a great performance in terms of task responsiveness. The RTX 2070 Super graphics card is also a nice addition to the specs sheet of the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR17 because this will take care of your GPU rendering tasks.

A quick word of caution though – the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR17 only comes with 16GB of RAM and while that is enough in some cases, you might need more RAM especially if you work on large projects and complex scenes all the time. My suggestion is for you to check with the seller if they can bump up the RAM to at least 32GB just so you have the extra headroom and at the same time make your laptop more future-proof. Other than that, no issues with the ASUS ROG Strix SCAR17 and I’m sure it’d do well with C4D.

Cheers,
Alex

Sars

Hi Alex, I’m taking your advice on the all rounder build and in the process of setting it up I discovered the motherboard (x570) and the tower are out of stock, any alternates you suggest?

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Sars,
Lots of good x570 Motherboards out there 🙂 . Check this Article here for some quick recommends: https://www.cgdirector.com/best-motherboard-for-amd-ryzen-3rd-gen/

Any ATX Tower will do fine too. Corsair 200r, 275q, Fractal Design Define R5, be quiet! Pure Base 600, Fractal Design Meshify C…

Hope this helps,
Alex

SJO

Hey Alex,

I picked up my Dark Rock Pro 4 cooler for my new build but it’s looking like there will not be enough room for my RAM – ( i got the Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro 4×32 kit on a AsRock Creator X570 MOBO).

I’ve read that some have been able to raise the fan to make clearance, but it doesn’t seem like it would be enough. placing the outside fan on the opposite side is also an option but I’m not sure how efficient that would be?

At this point I would be open to just getting a different RAM kit that isn’t as physically tall. What would you suggest?

thanks!!!

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey SJO,
Yes, usually you can move up the outer Fan about 1cm or so which should make room for the RAM. If you think that does not work, you’ll need lower profile RAM like Corsair Vengeance.

Cheers,
Alex

SJO

Yeah I tried installing the cooler base plate and a few sticks just to make sure and it’s just not gonna fit. I’m going with the CORSAIR Vengeance LPX kit instead which is, from what I researched, 31mm VS the RGBs 51mm. thanks!

SJO

Hey Alex,

I was wondering about the mounting bridge on the Dark Rock Pro 4 – I did a dry run to test the fit before I applied my paste, and when the unit is seated flat on the CPU (AMD), the bridge doesn’t seat all the way down on the mounting brackets and there is a small gap. I watched the official install video and it appears to seat all the way down when they tighten the screws. Is this normal? Pretty sure i have my brackets setup correctly for AMD…

Image: https://a-sjogren.tumblr.com/image/618612299724406784

thanks for your time!

SJO

Ok cool – Are u saying it’s best to close that gap completely, or it’s ok to still have a little space? I was just worried about tightening it too much.

thanks for the fast response!!!

SJO

Yeah I see what you mean – I finally got my build together, thanks for all the help here!

I am still concerned about CPU temperatures and how to keep an eye out though – I’m not entirely confident that my cooler install was sufficient and when / or if a redo might be warranted. Basically, I’m not going to be a user who does lots of overclocking or tries to push everything to the limit. But i would like to know what to be aware of (warning signs, what temps are too high for certain tasks, etc) and when it might be caused by a poor cooler install…

I installed the Ryzen Master app but it’s all totally new to me. If you know of any resources or guides for beginners to keeping temperatures in check, please let me know – thanks again man!!!