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.
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.
From all of those links, you can already tell that we have specialized Guides on almost every aspect of a 3D Artist’s Pipeline.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
What type of Computer are you building? Feel free to ask for Build Advice in the Comments!