Best Workstation Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex  ⋮  Last updated on January 21st, 2019  ⋮   198 comments
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The most interesting thing about looking for a Computer or Workstation for 3D Modeling and Rendering, is the fact that 3D Modeling and (CPU) Rendering are two very different use cases.

Both use the Hardware of a Computer in very different ways!

Before we get into it knees deep, here are some quick links in case you want to skip some of the Theory behind all of it and go directly to the best Computers for 3D Modeling and Rendering:

CPU Rendering

CPU Rendering in itself uses all cores of a CPU 100% of the time while rendering.

This means, when you go looking for a Workstation just for 3D Rendering Images and Videos, and also Video Editing for that matter, you would be looking for a Computer with a CPU that has as many cores as possible

Even if these cores are somewhat clocked low.

Every Core will be assigned a so called “bucket” by the Render Engine and it will Render its Bucket until it is finished and gets a new bucket to render.

Perfect Multi-Core Usage.

CPU Rendering CPU Cores Buckets

3D Modeling

3D Modeling then again, is an active working process.

You (usually) sit in front of your computer and interact with your Computer and the 3D Software.

Actively using a Software makes the Software utilize the Hardware it is running on in entirely different ways.

If I were to Model a Car for example, this Car would consist of Polygons that might have modifiers and Deformers applied to it, such as Mirroring, Cloning, Bending Objects and so on.

These kind of calculations though are mainly done by only a SINGLE CPU Core.

Why? Because a scene is built in a hierarchical Order, and a CPU has to step through this hierarchy one at a time.

It can’t skip or off-load hierarchy steps to other cores, because most of them are dependent on each other!

hierarhcyOrderOfExecution

What does this mean?

It means quite frankly that having lots of CPU-Cores will do nothing towards speeding up your modeling, and does not usually make your Viewport faster.

Long explanation short:

For Modeling in itself and actively working in your 3D Scene,  you would need to get a CPU that has the highest Clock possible, no matter if it only has a few Cores, as most of these Cores won’t be used for modeling.

Take a look at this page to find the highest clocking CPUs currently available.

Same is also valid for doing Animation on a Computer. A high-Clocking CPU will almost always outperform a high-Core-count CPU.

The more Cores and the higher the clock the better, right?

Now, the next logical train of thought would be to just get the fastest clocking CPU with lots of Cores.

Then we could work fast AND render fast, right?

Unfortunately, because of power consumption and heat limits, there usually is a proportional trade-off between CPU-cores and core-clock.

This means the more Cores the CPU has, the lower it will clock and vice versa.

The faster the Cores are clocked, the less cores there usually are on the CPU.

Many Cores need lots of Power and lots of Power produces lots of heat. CPUs have thermal regulations that need to be adhered to. The same applies to higher clocked cores that will be hotter than lower clocked cores.

This is quite a bummer, but it’s 2019 and the major CPU Manufacturers wouldn’t be all that major, if they hadn’t thought of improving this impracticability.

AMD and Intel, have thought of a nice way of compensating for some of these trade-offs.

Enter Turbo-Boost.

Turbo-Boost

Turbo-Boost is a feature that automatically overclocks Cores, when not all Cores are currently used.

So, say we are currently modeling and are only really using 1-2 Cores, the rest of the Cores are lying dormant.

What Turbo boost does now is overclock these 1-2 Cores as far as specified by the manufacturer and as long as the Power Consumption and Temperature stays withing the predefined limit.

As soon as these limits are reached, the Turbo-Boost clocks these two cores back down.

turboBoost

Image-Source: Intel

This way, to a certain degree, we can get CPUs with more Cores (and a low base-clock), that clock higher on limited cores, when needed and not all cores are being used.

CPU vs GPU Rendering

There are currently two popular methods of Rendering Images and Animations in 3D Software: CPU Rendering and GPU Rendering.

As you probably guessed, CPU Rendering utilizes the Processor for calculating the Image in all kinds of Render Engines, and GPU Rendering utilizes the Graphics Card.

There are some differences in GPU and CPU rendering that you might want to be aware of, before choosing a new Computer or Workstation for 3D Rendering and Modeling:

Almost every major 3D Software comes with an inbuilt CPU Render Engine nowadays.

Only recently have GPU Render Engines such as Octane, Redshift,  V-RAY RT or FurryBall become mature enough to slowly but surely overtake CPU Render Engines in popularity.

In popularity, because GPU Render Engines are much faster in many cases and allow for extremely interactive preview Renderers.

This can improve and accelerate a 3D-Artists Workflow tenfold as you are able to iterate more often before finishing a project.

Furryball

Image-Source: furryball.aaa-studio.eu

Usually, beginners are told to start with 3D Rendering on the CPU and later switch to (often) costly 3rd Party GPU Render Engines when they have learned enough to properly utilize them.

I think this is about to change.

Especially with Blenders in-built Cycles GPU Render Engine and Cinema 4Ds new ProRender GPU Render Engine, that are built into the Software packages itself and don’t rely on third party plugin installation.

But enough talk, lets take a look at what hardware you will need for the Best Computer or workstation for 3D Modeling and Rendering:

Best Computer Hardware for 3D Modeling and Rendering

Best Processor (CPU) for 3D Modeling and Rendering

For Active Work: Intel i9 9900K

As mentioned above, you will have to make some decisions here depending on what you will want to use the Computer for the most.

Do you use it mainly to Model, Sculpt, Texture, Light, Animate and you spend much more time actively on it than rendering on it?

You will want to get a CPU that is clocked as high as possible!

Good choices here are:

  • Intel i9 9900K, 8-Cores, Clocked at 3,6 GHz Base, 5 GHz TurboBoost
  • Intel i7 9700K, 8-Cores, Clocked at 3,6 GHz Base, 4,9 GHz TurboBoost (No Hyperthreading)
  • Intel i7 8700K, 6-Cores, Clocked at 3,7 GHz Base, 4,7 GHz TurboBoost
  • Intel i7 8086K, 6-Cores, Clocked at 4 GHz Base, 5 GHz TurboBoost
  • AMD Ryzen 2700X, 8-Cores, Clocked at 3,7 GHz Base, 4,3 GHz TurboBoost (Turbo Core)
AMD Ryzen vs i7 8700K

Image-Source: AMD/Intel

A great benchmark for finding CPUs that are the snappiest is the Cinebench Single Core Test.

Take a look at this page with Cinebench Benchmarks and sort the Table by “Cinebench Single” to find the snappiest CPU that will let you actively work as fast as possible.

Intel has recently released a new Generation of i7 and i9 9xxx CPUs that have a slightly higher Cinebench Single Core Score than the 8700K, but I do not recommend them yet, as they are still too expensive for the extra performance they offer.

If money does not play a role for you though, the Intel i9 9900K might be an interesting pick.

If you are less a 3D Artist and consider yourself more in the realms of Graphic Design for doing lots of Texturing and Design work for your or others’ 3D Models, having a high-Core clock is one of the most important factors to keep an eye out for too.

For Render Work? AMD Threadripper!

Do you use this Workstation less to actively work on and more to Render out your Projects and spend more time on Rendering than on actually sitting in front of it?

You should consider going into a high core-count direction which are the best CPUs for Rendering (Or if you want a second Computer just for Rendering on).

Good choices here are:

    • AMD Threadripper 1900X, 1920X, 1950X, 2950X, 2990WX – 8-32 Cores – Highly Recommended!
  • Intel i9 7900X, 7920X, 7960X, 7980X – 10-18 Cores

If you are looking at using VRAY, as it is one of the most popular Render Engines out there, head on over to get an overview of the VRAY CPU Benchmarks Results here.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3D Rendering

Image-Source: overclock.net

Best Graphics Card (GPU) for 3D Modeling and Rendering

Best GPU for GPU Rendering: GPU Rendering is getting more and more popular as we speak and will surely overtake CPU Rendering in the near Future.

Investing into a good GPU that lets you render on, or if you are already planning on extensively using GPU Rendering, is definitely a wise thing to do.

The most popular modern GPU Render Engines are Octane, Redshift, VRAY-RT and Cycles. The first two only support NVIDIA GPUs the latter additionally also support AMD (OpenCL) GPUs.

As I want to recommend GPUs that will work with any of the above Render Engines (CUDA Support) I will name some NVIDIA GPUs in order of Performance that will give you excellent GPU Rendering Speed:

    • NVIDIA RTX 2080Ti
    • NVIDIA RTX 2080
    • NVIDIA GTX 1080Ti
    • NVIDIA GTX 1080
    • NVIDIA GTX 1070Ti
    • NVIDIA GTX 1070
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060

The list could go on, but you get the gist.

The higher the number, the faster and the more expensive they get.

Nvidia GPUs 3D Modeling and Rendering

Image-Source: gamespot.com

Here is a GPU Render Benchmarks overview if you would like to compare the cost to performance benefit of those GPUs more in-depth.

Great GPU Benchmarks to also take a look at are VRAY-RT, Octane, and Redshift.

Best GPU for Viewport snappiness: As the Processor is usually the bottleneck in having a snappy Viewport, Graphics Cards don’t usually make that much of difference, if you buy good enough.

All of the above listed GPUs will usually perform roughly the same in Viewport snappiness.

This is because there are rarely features that the GPU is slower in computing than the CPU takes to update Meshes, Deformers and the like.

In other words: The GPU usually has to wait for the CPU to finish its tasks to continue working.

Of course, if you rely heavily on In-Viewport SSAO, Reflections, AO, Anti-Aliasing and the like, you might want to lean towards the top of the above GPU list if you value a snappy Viewport.

But for most, a high clocked-CPU will make a much larger difference.

A quick heads-up:

If you use only a few extremely high-poly RAW meshes, such as a CAD-Converted Car that turns out to have 40 Million Polygons, and you don’t have any modifiers on this mesh, then again, the GPU will probably be the bottleneck as your workstation only has to update the viewing angle of the Car and not the meshes underlying structure.

How much and what Type of RAM (Memory) do you need for 3D Modeling and Rendering?

As so often, this depends a bit on your use case.

If you work on models with extremely high polygon counts, you will want more RAM than if you usually only do lightweight 3D work with simpler scenes.

I recommend 32GB of RAM for most 3D Artists.

If you sculpt or work on high-poly meshes, use lots of large textures or have complex scenes with thousands of objects in them, you might want to go with 64GB of RAM.

16 GB of RAM can be enough for many starting out with 3D, but usually you outgrow 16GB quite fast.

Corsair RAM for Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering

Image-Source: gskill

RAM speeds & timing can normally be ignored, as these don’t make much of a difference performance-wise.

Getting DDR4-4166 RAM won’t be noticeably faster than DDR4-2133 RAM.

If you do like to optimize your hardware as much as possible, the rule is usually: The lower the CL and higher the Clock Speed, the better. So a DDR4-3000 CL15 would be slightly faster than a DDR4-2800 CL16 for example.

A note on RAM Kits: It is usually advised to get the final amount of RAM in a single RAM Kit. RAM Kits (The RAM Modules that are packaged together) are pre-tested in the Factory, so you know they will work well together.

Although it is often said, that you can get some RAM and a year later add some more of the same kind, in rare cases these RAM Modules won’t work nicely together.

So if you are getting entirely new RAM for you PC, be sure to get, say 4x8GB in a KIT and not 2x8GB + 2x8GB in two seperate KITs.

Why should RAM in different KITs be different from each other?

Because there can be different Factories and Factory Lines, that use slightly different silicon. Or if the RAM Modules are manufactured in the year 2017 but another one in 2019, you can’t be sure the timings of the RAM will be stable and exactly the same across all Modules from different Factories and or Manufacturing Dates.

So best to get a KIT that was pre- tested.

Best Mainboard for 3D Modeling and Rendering

The motherboard or Mainboard is the Hub that connects all of your hardware components together.

It won’t impact performance all that much, but you should make sure it has the features and sockets you want. Some important things here to note are:

  • The CPU Socket type: Different CPUs use different Sockets. Make sure the Mainboard fits your CPU Socket
  • Some Mainboards/Chipsets have support for different amounts of RAM and RAM Slots
  • Some Mainboards support more GPUs than others and offer more PCIE-Slots and Lanes to be used by GPUs
  • If you wan’t to get an M.2 PCIE Drive make sure the Mainboard you get supports this type of Drive (The Mainboard Manual is your friend)
  • There are different form factors of Mainboards. This is especially important if you get a custom PC Case, that might be smaller than usual

This all sounds very complicated and might be too much to handle for a first time builder.

But fear not, I have some pre-selected components in different Tier builds down below, that will work greatly together without you having to figure out every last detail on your own.

Best Storage for 3D Modeling and Rendering

Now, the speed of the storage is responsible for a few things:

    • Saving and loading your scene Files
    • Storing and loading your textures, Assets, References
  • Swapping to disk if RAM is Full
  • Launching your Software

Loading your scenes fast, will require a fast disk.

If you have Autosave on, which saves your scene every few minutes (so you don’t lose any progress in case of a crash, highly recommended) you will also want as short of an interruption as possible.

Then again having a blazingly fast Disk doesn’t do much for you once your scene is already loaded into RAM.

I recommend to have at least a SATA SSD such as the Samsung 860 EVO for your OS and your Scene Files.

Consider a PCIE M.2 SSD such as the Samsung 970 EVO if you want even more Speed and can spare the extra cash.

samsung_970_evo

Fortunately, flash based SSDs have become quite cheap recently and the prices are continuing to drop.

Take a loot at the Price decrease of the Samsung 860 EVO 1TB over the last 6 Months:

Samsung 860 EVO Price Drop

Image-Source: geizhals.de

It usually is a good Idea to get a larger HDD to be able to periodically backup your Data in case your main Discs brake down out of unforeseeable reasons. As they tend to do in the middle of the most important Project.

About PCIE-Lanes

This little section here is somewhat advanced (feel free to skip over it), but I am asked this often, so let me just put this here:

Question: If the i7 8700K, i7 9700K, i9 9900K CPUs only offer 16 PCIE-Lanes, how can you use NVME SSDs (that already need 4 pcie-lanes) or Sata Drives, if your GPU already uses up all of the 16 PCIE-Lanes to the CPU:

Answer: The CPU-GPU PCIE-Lane interconnect is 16 PCIE Lanes wide, the Chipset itself can create 24 additional PCIE Lanes if needed (on the Z370/Z390 Chipset), BUT the Chipset Lanes are connected to the CPU by a DMI Link is only 4 PCIE-Lanes wide (roughly 4GB/s).

So in an unlikely Scenario that you permanently copy huge Data (Like 50GB of Data) from one of your NVME SSDs to your other NVME SSD, this would be bottlenecked, if your NVME SSDs can read and write faster than 2 GB/s.

Talking about sequential read/write this is possible of course (like with the 970 EVO), but extremely rare. In an everyday use like in gaming, rendering and the like you won’t be read and writing sequentially all that much, but randomly and usually much smaller files.

Everything but the RAM and GPU are attached to those 24 Chipset PCIE Lanes that are attached via a 4 PCIE-Lanes wide Connect to the CPU. So LAN, USB and everything you plug into the motherboard otherwise, too.

The PCIE Lanes to the CPU from the Chipset are not used up or reserved as soon as you have a component on the mainboard that could use them.

It is like a tunnel on a highway that is always there and will only let traffic through, if it has to.

So you can attach up to 24 PCIE Lanes worth of components to the Chipset, such as SATA SSDs, HDDs, USB, Ethernet Cables, and they will use the Connect to the CPU only if needed.

If you use all components at maximum speed simultaneously though, then yes you would most certainly bottleneck. In this case you would have to turn towards the HEDT Platform (Like 2066 or TR4) and not mainstream (1151, AM4).

Best Monitor for 3D Modeling and Rendering

It is usually good to go with a Monitor that has a so called IPS Panel and not a TN Panel.

IPS Display Panels have better Color and Contrast display.

If you work on this Workstation a lot you will want to get a Non-Glare (a Matte) Monitor as hard reflections on your display would otherwise distract you a lot.

You will want to get at least a FullHD 1920×1080 Pixel Monitor, so it nicely fits all of your Software Palettes and Viewport.

You might want to consider even Higher-Resolution Monitors with 2560×1440 or even 4K (3840x2160Pixels) Resolution to be able to fit more of your footage, references, and Software Windows on the display.

Especially if you are working on 4K Advertising and Films or Hi-Res Images.

I have had great experience using Asus IPS Monitors such as the Asus PB 278QR, but you might prefer a different brand.

Best Power Supply (PSU) for 3D Modeling and Rendering

An expensive Power Supply won’t increase your performance, but it is wise to get a bit more than enough wattage.

You will usually want around 400 – 500 Watts for a regular Build and add +250Watts for any additional GPU you are planning to get.

Good PSU brands are Corsair, Seasonic and BeQuiet among others.

There is a PSU calculator here, where you can pick your parts and it tells you how strong of a power supply you will need for your build.

Build your own Computer!

The Best Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering is a Workstation that is snappy and makes you spend less time on it.

It shouldn’t make you want to punch your monitor and should preferably costs less than an arm and a leg.

Building your own Workstations and Computers for 3D Modeling, Rendering and many other use-cases is something I myself enjoy tremendously.

If you don’t do it yourself yet, I am sure you will learn to love it.

Building your own Computer teaches you about the inner workings of the various hardware components, lets you gradually upgrade parts if needed and helps you find potential problems later on.

And the best of it all?

It is a lot cheaper than buying pre-configured Workstations and Computers and only takes an hour or two to assemble!

Apart from learning how to assemble a PC, if you want to learn about the inner workings of how a Computer actually works let me just drop this Book recommendation here, as it kind of blew my mind a few years ago when I picked it up.

Most of you have probably read it already, but those of you who haven’t: Prepare to be leveled up! 🙂

But How Do It Know – by J. Clark Scott

Anyway, you might know this already, but I can’t stress it enough. Assembling your own Computer is not difficult.

Especially nowadays, you more or less just plug different parts into each other, tighten some screws and the hardest part seems to be to add some thermal paste to the CPU. That’s pretty much it!

Here is a nice guide with step-by-step instructions that you can follow along:

Now, this was quite some theory. There is much more of course, but for now lets take a look at some actually functioning Builds.

Here are some Pre-Selected Builds in different Price Tiers:

Best Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering, AMD at roughly ~700$

PCPartPicker part list

Some Build notes:

If you are experienced enough to do a BIOS upgrade you should consider the AMD Ryzen 2600 that will work on this board with a BIOS upgrade. If you still want a second Generation Ryzen CPU but don’t want to flash your BIOS, go with a 400 Series Chipset that supports these already.

Consider upgrading to a Nvidia GTX 1060, if you can spare some more cash.

Best Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering, AMD at roughly ~1500$

PCPartPicker part list

Some Build notes:

This is a basic AMD build that you can build upon. The Case is professional looking, minimalistic and quiet. There is no room for Optical drives, you will need a different Case if you want to have DVD/CD Drives.

The AMD Ryzen 2700X is the fastest of the second Generation Ryzen CPUs with excellent Multi-Core and good Single Core performance. All AMD Ryzen CPUs usually come with included CPU coolers, so no extra Cooler needed here.

I added a Samsung 970 EVO M.2 NVMe Drive in this build that will give you extreme Storage Performance. The Asus Turbo Series GPUs are Blower-Style GPUs, meaning you can stack them on top of each other in Multi-GPU Builds, without loosing too much Cooling performance.

Best Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering, Intel at roughly ~1500$

PCPartPicker part list

Some Build notes: This is a basic build that you can build upon. The Case is professional looking, minimalistic and quiet. There is no room for Optical drives, you will need a different Case if you want to have DVD/CD Drives.

The Intel CPUs need additional CPU Coolers, so I added an excellent CPU Air Cooler from BeQuiet here. Air Coolers are usually quieter than AIO or Water Cooling solutions, as they only have one Fan. If you are planning on some more extreme overclocking, you might want to consider getting a different CPU cooling solution though.

Best Computer for CPU Rendering, AMD at roughly ~3100$

This is an excellent Build that leans towards CPU Rendering Performance and less towards 3D Modeling.

PCPartPicker part list

Some notes on this build: As this build is focused on CPU Rendering, the other parts such as storage and GPU are proportionally low-end compared to the 32-Core CPU. This build has absolutely great  CPU Rendering Performance.

64GB of Memory is lots of RAM and will be more than enough for almost all scenes but you can save some cash and downgrade to 32GB if needed.

Best Computer for GPU Rendering, AMD at roughly ~6800$

This is an excellent Build that will bring you the maximum GPU Rendering Performance (on a single Consumer Mainboard) combined with an excellent CPU for good Workstation performance. But it comes at a steep price.

PCPartPicker part list

Some notes on this Build: The PCPartPicker list only supports 2 GPUs but I am going with 4 GPUs for this build.

Having 4 GPUs makes you need a Motherboard with 4 PCIE Slots that are spaced far enough from each other to allow for 4 dual-Slot GPUs. This is possible with the MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC Motherboard.

RTX 2080Tis are quite expensive ~1300$. If you can work with less performance but want save some good money, I’d recommend going with 4x RTX 2070 as these are only about 600$ a piece. You will only have 8GBs of VRAM on these, but the GPU rendering performance / price is much better.

The Case is a big one that has room for 8 single-slot (or 4 dual slot) Cards. The Power Supply should provide at least 1250W and I added some headroom here with the excellent 1600W Corsair Titanium Power Supply.

Threadripper CPUs are excellent for multi-GPU setups, as these CPUs have 64 PCIE-Lanes to drive all of those GPUs in 16x and 8x Mode.

All of these Build will of course need a Keyboard, Mouse, Monitor and Operating System to be complete, but I’ll let you figure those out on your own.

Custom PC-Builder

If you want to get the best parts within your budget you will most certainly love the Web-Base PC-Builder Tool that I have created.

After selecting the main purpose, that you will use the computer for and adjusting your budget, it creates the perfect PC with Parts recommendations that fits nicely within your budget.

Be sure to check it out and feel free to give me some feedback on it!

CGDirector PC-Builder Tool

PC-Builder Facebook Title Image

Best Laptop for 3D Modeling and Rendering

Just a quick reminder for anyone who would like to get a Laptop instead of a Desktop Computer or Workstation.

I have written an Article about what is important in a Laptop for Animation that you should definitely check out.

Lots of the specs from 3D Animation will be exactly the same for 3D Modeling, and for CPU Rendering in itself the Article Best CPU for Rendering will help you out.

It has a section on the best CPUs for Rendering in Laptops, so feel free to check that out!

What kind of Computer or Workstation are you building?

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Alex from CGDirector - post author

Hi, I am Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist, Motion Designer and Compositor.

I have 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!

198
Comments

Daniel

Hey,

I just stumbled upon your site as I was busy trying to research something. It’s a very good and interesting site.

I have a more technical question for you (than the other “is my PC good enough” questions), which is really just something I want to confirm for myself.
I’m only a hobbyist 3D artist. I currently have an i7 7700K and I want to upgrade to the Ryzen 3 (Ryzen 7) 3700X when that gets released, and keep using my current PC as an extra render node. I have a project I’m currently working on that will take about 2 weeks to finish rendering (estimated), so I’m trying to figure out what sort of speed improvements I can expect from the upgrade and using an extra render node.

I want to know, with everything else being equal, how does extra cores scale in rendering? Would, for instance, 4 cores at 4.5GHz render twice as fast as 2 cores at 4.5GHz? Can it more or less be calculated as 2-cores x 4.5GHz is 9GHz render capability compared to 4-cores x 4.5GHz, 18 GHz render capability, thus making it twice as fast?
Going by that terrible assumption and calculation, I could expect around a three-quarter cut in render times after the upgrade.

I’ve been trying to get comparisons of the expected performance of the Ryzen 3 3700X, and trying to figure out how it would perform with 3D rendering, along with an i7 7700K node. Basically, trying to figure out by how much I can cut down on that 2-week render time 😛

lance

I am looking to build a machine which I can efficiently work on individual models consisting of fifty million plus polygons. fairly new to sculpting but from what I can tell the level of detail I am shooting for requires this kind of poly count. Any advice is greatly appreciated

Mustakim shaikh

Hiii Alex sir i am from india and a 3d visualizer i have read your above configuration for rendering in 3dmax,what i exactly need from you is just prefer me a perfect pc configuration by which my pc must b fast in rendering etc.what should best the processor,ram,graphic card and all that are important for a best pc for rendering animation and all….plzzzzz help

Roman

Hi Alex,

I’m an architect and my working tools are Revit, 3d max, Rhino, Grass, SketchUp and other BIM CAD systems. Mostly I redirect rendering time proccess to cloud or my render profi collegue, but sometimes I do it myself. Other side of the moon is my engineering hobby it is some garage fab working etc and I use SW for that.
So I need some advises from you – if I should overpay for quadro solutions or will it be enough to purchase a 2080ti game card, and pay more attention to the CPU?
How do’u think what would be better in the battle of R7-2700X vs i7-8700K. Which of them should meet my requirements in CAD/CAM systems? And what about the bunche of R7-2700x + P4000? Is it true that rumored professional video cards thanks to its optimised Open GL drivers are much more productive than game cards based on the same chips or is it pure marketing and knocking out our money? )))
Thx in advance.

Monty

Hi Alex,

This is quite a comprehensive guide document so thanks for that. What would you recommend as far as builds go for a budget of around $4500-6500 for someone who uses c4d Octane, redshift, adobes tools, VFX software and DAW tools. Im looking for a workstation that a jack of all trades so to speak, decent CPU performance for VFX and modelling ect but great GPU power for renders in both Octane and out of AE. Ive had a look at the $6800 dollar build and thats a bit to much for me, but with the x4 RTX 2070 it ends up being about $7000 AUD (im from Australia.). I was going to get an Imac Pro to make my life easier with my job and music, but now im thinking that their $7k price tag is way to high for something that has low GPU power and cant be upgraded. So i guess im wondering what you recommend as a medium between a a computer thats around 10k in AUD and the other build you recommended which was more CPU based. Also what would you recommend as a decent 4k monitor to go with that, ive got some idea but there is a lot to choose from.

Hope thats not to complex a question 🙂

Jonathan

Hi Alex,
first i want to thank you for all the valuable Information you share.

There was one thing i am curious about your Threadripper-builds: you did choose a ddr4-2400 RAM for them. All over the internet there is written, that threadripper benefits of faster clockspeeds. Is there a reason you ‘just’ got 2400 RAM?

Best,
Jonathan

KurtB

Hi all, I’ve been having a hell of a time deciding whether to go with an AMD or Intel CPU for my new computer that will be a happy medium for everything I do for work. I am primarily a 3D modeling/print artist, but also do some game modeling and Illustration. I am not really a gamer other than I do play abit of Overwatch and World of Warcraft.

80% of my time is in Zbrush and the rest is a mix of Maya, Substance Painter, and Photoshop. I do not render a whole lot other than setting up render passes to composite in Photoshop. Getting back into rending in MAYA is planned for this year.

Over the last few weeks I have been trying to do a lot of research and it is getting a little hard to choose. One review will say something like, AMD is better for Zbrush then the next will say that AMD has a lot of bugs which can cause issues ranging from RAM speed to overall performance. Intel seems to have less issues but is a bit more expensive to buy. I know that AMD will render faster and Intel has faster clock-speeds for snappier viewport work.

I have narrowed it down to 4 CPU’s

Ryzen AMD 2700x
Ryzen ThreadRipper 2920X
Intel i7 8700K
Intel i9 9700k

Any suggestions/feedback would be great and really appreciated.

Thanks again,
Kurt

KurtB

Thanks for the reply.

Norman Ellison

Thanks Alex, This is best source of information I’ve seen! I’m an American living in France and I chose the $1500 Intel configuration and was really happy that changing the region from US to France on the PCpartpicker list brought up local suppliers for everything. I’m new to PCpartpicker and thought that feature was cool as hell.

Norm

Cédric

Hi Alex!

First of all, thank you very much for the guide you put together! I have been looking for a detailed guide on building desktop for 3D, and I have to say this is by far the best one! I learned quite a lot and I thank you for that!

I am currently looking to build a workstation for professional use. I am a 3d designer in the automotive industry. I use mainly Autodesk Alias and Maya. I am now looking to expand my skills, mainly in rendering and VR. I am looking for a workstation that can run smoothly Alias, Maya, Photoshop, Vred ( full car exterior and interior in Vr with vred), and also gravity sketch, or other 3d modeling vr programs. Would you mind commenting the following build?

processor: Intel® Core™ i7K-8700K (6 cores/12 threads, 12 Mo memory cache, overclocked up to 4,6 GHz on all cores)

graphics card: NVIDIA® GeForce® RTX 2080 Ti with 11 Go GDDR6 memory

RAM: 32 Go DDR4 at 2666 MHz

hard drive: 256 SSD coupled with a 1 Tb normal

power supply: 850 W EPA

cooling: liquid cooling

Price: 2.9k € (prebuilt in this case)

What do you think? Is it good enough? 🙂

Best regards,

Cédric

Dustin

Hi Alex,
I am an architecture student putting a computer together for school and probably after that. Just had a few questions about what components are best. I do a lot of modeling in Rhino and Revit and rendering with Enscape and Lumion. I’m looking at a medium range build and maybe a little cheaper. ($1250-$1500)
I’ve seen some pretty high ratings for the RTX2070 graphics card. It’s more updated than say the GTX1060 or 1070, but quite a bit more expensive. I see that you’ve just put the 1060 in your $1500 build. Do you think it’s worth the extra money?
Along with that, the i7 8700 is probably what I was going to pair with the RTX2070 or GTX 1070. However, would it be any worth it or helpful to my modeling and rendering to buy the i7 8700k with the 1070Ti to allow for overclocking?
Lastly, I’ve trying to figure out if I should get 16 or 32GB of RAM. Would I outgrow the 16GB quickly or is it a good place to start?
Thank you so much for the help!

Muhsin

Hi Alex,
I am a 3D designer. I don’t have much knowledge about computers. I do 3D modelling and rendering, VFX, animation etc. I want a good PC with capabilities for all these purposes. I am using software’s such as 3Dsmax, Maya, lumion, premiere pro, aftereffects etc. I don’t have a great budget. Can you please suggest me a good configuration. I don’t have any options since I don’t know about PC configurations. Please recoment a great but medium cost mechine.

Dam

Hi,thx for your reply .
When we will get your build for modelling and rendering ?
Hope very soon , please give us different tiers to choose .

pabgo

hey alex, thanks for the info. had 2 points/questions i wanted to make. Mostly for sculpting.

1.do you think there would be a big gap in performance in upgrading to quad channel memory from dual?
someone did a test with single/dual memory and found a small performance increase
http://www.zbrushcentral.com/showthread.php?3015-Benchmarking-in-Zbrush&p=1238660#post1238660
but im wondering how big a difference a jump to quad channel would make.

2.for sculpting apps you say higher clock speeds is better, but i found 2 comments that have me wondering. first comment is from the creator of 3d coat saying “3DCoat is essentially multithreaded, so cores will speed up.”. second comment is from a zbrush super moderator saying “CPU influences how smoothly you interact with the mesh as you are sculpting. So the better your CPU, the better your sculpting experience will be as you increase the polygon count. Here, more cores is typically better than faster core speed.”
(btw zbrush is optimized for multi-threading)

i was thinking of getting a threadripper build becuase of the quad channel memory and more cores for smoother sculpting experience.

Max

Hi Alex,

Thank you for your big help here.

I am looking to build a computer for rendering V-ray.
My work is not so complicated as an interior design, just a simple picture.

My first priority is to rendering V-ray fast.

– So would you recommend Intel or AMD 1500$ budget?
– Rendering by CPU or GPU, which one is the fastest

Thank you

Ryno

Hey man. Thanks a lot for taking the time to put this together. It’s a big help. We appreciate you!

Efe

Hi Alex,

Thank you so much for taking the time to put together such a detailed and informative article.

I am looking to build workstations for our interior design company to develop 3D models and high-end renders for display to customers in 4k with VR setup. I am unsure of the optimal coolers, PSU and Case for the set up. Also, i am torn between 4 x Nvidia RTX2080Ti vs the 1 x Quadro RTX6000 for GPU rendering. Please Help! 🙂

CPU: AMD – Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX
GPU: 1 x NVIDIA Quadro RTX6000 VS 4 x Nvidia RTX2080Ti
Memory: Corsair – Vengeance LPX 64GB (4 x 16GB) DDR4-2400 Memory
SSD: Samsung 970 Evo 2TB
Board: X399 GAMING PRO CARBON AC ATX TR4 Motherboard

I wish you a prosperous & happy new year!!

mohammed ibrahim

Alex
Question:- I want to build a pc for 3d middling and rendering?
I am a civil engineer. So I want to design with using EX autocad,3ds max, civil 3d,revit and much more please suggest me specifications

Dam

Hi Alex very nice article .
Q: how to know if a new workstation build up for modelling and rendering will be faster than the current I have at work?guide me please, what should I compare ?
Thank you .

Strahinja

Hi Alex,

Did I go wrong with 8700 instead 8700k?
Im doing C4D and Maya simulations, animations. And Premiere editing
Gpu bound render, although, lots of cashing, thats why Im worried.

Only now I have realized they do not have the same boost.

Ken

Hi. I really liked your article and I think it has put me on the right track for my new computer. I do much of my research using 3D models, but I also need to move toward presenting my findings in a VR/AR. My data collection platforms are terrestrial 3D scanners that simultaneously capture 360 photos, aerial lidar, or photogrammetry, micron-level desktop 3D scanner, etc. It is a LOT of data. With the computers I use now (I borrow computer time at the local university’s 3D visualization center) many of my models can take a solid week or more (as in I wait a week or more for the computer to stop “thinking”). I see you have made a list of components that fit together at particular price points; however, I am required to work with short production times and funding is not much of an issue. Could you recommend a suite of commercially available components if I said, “money is no object”?

mack

Hey There! Love these guides and look over them almost everyday in anticipation of a new build. I have a question about PCIE lanes for the 9900k. I am thinking of purchasing a 9900k and two blower style 1070ti’s (on sale right now at B H photo). Does this config alone use up all of the PCIE lanes available? I would like to use an M.2 SSD but don’t know if i’ll be forcing the gpu’s to run at 4X rather than 8X. I think from earlier posts, i’ve gathered that a 9900k has 16 lanes, and two graphics cards running @8X shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but im curious where does that leave me in terms of storage. Am I limited to using exclusively SATA rather than M.2 if i choose an intel build with 2 gpu’s.

Hsuan

Hello Alex, thank you for writing this amazing article! I want to build my own desktop after reading your article! Because there are too many things need to digest for a beginner, I feel that using the options you provide may be safer for me. But I still have several questions.
I’m an Interior Design student, mostly use SketchUp and Revit (files are often larger than 300mb and may be larger in future) for building models. Now using Enscape ( a real-time rendering plugin) for rendering but may turn to Lumion, Unreal or Vray RT in future.
Now I have a HP Z-book Studio G4 : I7-7700HQ, 16gb ram, PCIe TLC 256gb (Samsung pm 961), with Quadro M1200. The thing is that my laptop was super slow when opened the file and also slow when worked on the model larger than 200mb. (Of course was also terrible for using Enscape in this situation.) In addition, I eager to use high-quality components in models but not always limit my choices because of worried about the files’ size.
Now I figure out that the Quadro M1200 is not enough for most real-time rendering programs, but I still not understand what CPU or other specs are enough for building a large model in SKU or Revit.

1. Are the options of $1500 AMD or $1500 Intel enough for building the huge models in SKU? Which one may be better for me?
2. My budget is $1400-1600. But because I already bought a 970 evo SSD, do u think I should upgrade gtx1060 to “Asus – GeForce GTX 1070 Ti 8 GB CERBERUS Video Card ($360)”? or it is not necessary?

p.s. I played Assassin Creed sometimes lol

Sorry for having this long article…

Hope to get responses from you 🙂 Thank you again!

JeffG

Hi Alex, It’s a deep resource you have here, many thanks for creating this. I’m getting ready to put together my first PC as I step away from the Mac OS. If you had a budget of say $1200 for a GPU / multiple GPUs for rendering, would you recommend putting all of that budget in one card like the NVIDIA RTX 2080Ti or 2-3 less powerful cards? I’m going to use provender and redshift primarily and have my eye on the i9 9900k CPU. My initial thought was to buy one powerful card and add a second and or or third later to cut render times if it becomes necessary for my workflow and I can afford to down the road. Am I potentially wasting money or sacrificing any potential upshot to using multiple smaller power GPUs with this approach?
Best,

Jeff G

TomBer

Hi Alex, great article! Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
I went the get the Intel $1500 built and noticed there is an Intel Core i7-9700K 8 cores (9th gen) for just $40 more. Can I use that CPU instead as it seems to be more powerful? I need mostly for renderings. I also do 3D work but normally not too complex. Do I need to modify any of the other parts?

Youlong

Hello i’m a designer i’m looking a new desktop my friend recommended .
-CPU : Intel Xeon Processor E5-2620 v4 Max to 3.0GHz 8 Cores 16threads 20M Cache
– CPU FAN : MasterAir G100M
– RAM :32GB DDR4 3000MHz G.skill SniperX
– HDD : TEAM MP32 M.2 PCIe SSD 256 GB PCIe + 2TB WD BLUE
– MB : Ausu x99-Deluxe II
– VGA : Nvidia Quadro P4000 8GB GDDR5
– POWER : Masterwatt 550 Semi-fanless Modular 80 Plus Bronze 550W
– CASE : MasterCase MB500
so what’s your opinion about it? Please reply
thank you .

Junaidmarwan

Hi . I’m a 3D visualiser and I’m looking for a new laptop for workstation and gaming. One of my friend recommended Alienware 17 r5 , so what’s your opinion about it? Please reply

Yaman

Hi Alex, this is an amazing resource for artist. I’m wondering if I can use this ” Dell OptiPlex 7060 CoffeeLake 8Gen Core i7 ” just for rendering purposes since it has a good CPU, here are some details and I would appreciate your advice .
Dell OptiPlex 7060 CoffeeLake 8Gen Core i7 Processor ( 6-Cores, 12M Cache, up to 4.60 GHz) 8GB DDR4- 2666 1000GB 7200 RPM Intel® Integrated Graphics – Power 260w >>> I want to know if this PC could renders for at least 48 hours in one session without being exploded !
Thank in advance

Yaman

the CPU is Core i7- 8700 (without K ) / by the way, I already have a descent workstation

Gen

Hi Alex, great information.
I’m an upcoming 3D modeller, and I definitely want to have my PC build, however, I am stuck on what CPU to get, AMD or Intel? which one is better ? can u tell cons and pros for both Please? I’m also on the budget around £1300 pounds? can also list PC parts that are good enough for 3d modelling and rendering? Please thanks

RMT

Hi Alex, great article and insight, thank you! Would you have any opinion on running Maya 2010 on the $2300 AMD build, for those of us who can’t yet upgrade to the newest Maya software? Thanks, RMT

Imaobong Udofa

Hello Alex,
Well written article.I am using cinema 4d as the 3d software and looking to start using octane too. What do you think of the Philips BDM4350UC 43″ Brilliance Monitor, 4K as a monitor for the AMD 1500$ build but replacing the GPU with a ASUS GeForce GTX 1070 8GB.
What will be a good substitute for the Corsair – Carbide 400Q ATX Mid Tower Case since its no longer in stock?

JOHN. R

HI there,
Corsair – Carbide 400Q ATX Mid Tower Case is no longer available to buy from Amazon or the Corsair website itself, any suggestions for a similar alternative best and suitable PC case ?

Sat

Hi thanks for the great information. I’m a architect and build a lot of complex 3D models in rhino and Grashopper. I tend to work with heavily detailed geometry. I also need to turn around high res renders quickly. Currently I use maxwell but also can use vray instead. I want to upgrade my studio up currently mac book pros ( has been struggling very much and larger renders are actually not possible). Which configuration would be best for me? Ideal scenario would be to buy something cost effective that will do the job now but then eventually Lee upgrading to a top end machine. But if that’s not possible could also spend towards your best spec in the article if necessary. We are also planning to use VR soon. Please advise . Thank you

Strahinja

Hi Alex,

How much do latencies play a role in animation?

2400 cl 16 vs 3000 cl15

Spikey

What about Quadro 4000 GPUs? and is safe to pick these up second hand off ebay from 100% sellers.

Also is there a good compromise for both single core and rendering, How about a i9 – 9900x or amd threadripper 2950x, Any other suggestions?

Simon

Hi Alex,

What do you think about that build :

Case : Corsair Carbide Quiet 600Q

Power supply : Corsair AX1600i

Motherboard : MSI X399 GAMING PRO CARBON AC

CPU :AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X

CPU Cooler :Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3

Memory Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO Series 64 Go (4x 16 Go) DDR4 2933 MHz CL16

GPU : MSI GeForce RTX 2080 Ti DUKE 11G (x4)

Storage : Samsung SSD 860 EVO 2 To

I’m not sure about the memory, i saw that the maximum speed supported by the Threadripper is 2933Mhz but maybe that choice is not the best one.

Otherwise, is there any changes i should make to get the maximum gpu rendering performance

Thank you in advance

jeet das

hi,
thank you for all the information. very useful. the Asus – GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11 GB Turbo Video Card (2-Way SLI) seems to be out of stock in most places in the uk, could you recommend an alternative. preferably a bit lower in cost. Also do we need 4 of these?

Thank you.

Rob

Hi,

I’m having a hard time debating between CPU – AMD Ryzen 2700x or the Threadripper 1920x. I work mostly on cinema 4D and getting into and learning Octane/Redshit. I want to have 2 GPUs in the future(or maybe 3xGPU way way down the road). Do most x470 motherboards allow up to 2 GPUs? Any Recommendations? I just don’t know spending extra $$ is justified on the Threadripper either.

Thank you.

Sydas

Hi there, great read – learned a ton about the technical side in what it takes to run a powerstation.

I find myself increasingly more invested in designing with 3D (Cinema/Octane) and work heavily in other Adobe products. I have a serious need to upgrade my current workstation (mini-atx) to the level of your basic build for intel (maybe with a little more oomph). I’m cash-strapped but any tips/suggestions on what next steps I should take to bring my mini-atx to the future once again? My current build is this:: https://pcpartpicker.com/user/sydas/saved/Hg62RB

Based on your read, it seems that getting a CPU with high clocking would be a good first step since I’ll be doing a lot of active work (despite GPU processing becoming more popular these days?)

Many thanks in advance!

emmanuel

Hello Alex,
After a 7years iatus regarding 3d I am trying to get back to cinema4d, focusing on modeling and rendering. I would like to start learning/playing with redshift. Being both for professional and personnal use, I’d need a laptop I can carry to my office. What Laptop offerings would you recommand for modeling and gpu rendering? I’d like to keep my budget within $2000-2500.
thanks!

mark d

Hi, i am just starting out in 3d modeling and rendering. i work for an interior designer where i model interiors, texture them, and then render them. being that i’m mainly self taught and working on my own, i don’t have anyone to really discuss my questions with. is what i’m doing considered very light work? my scenes my have upto 30k polygons. right now i’m working on an old toshiba satellite s850 core i7 3610QM 2.30 GHz 6gb RAM amd radeon HD 7670M. i also installed a samsung ssd 850 evo 1 TB a while ago. for what i am doing right now, 3ds max is crashing on me at least 4 times a day and to render my scenes at 3000×1500 can take overnight.
i am desperately looking to upgrade to something that will work fast and render fast. i am looking to spend upto 3k (but that should also include a quality monitor if i decide to get a desktop instead of laptop).

my question to you alex, is, based on what i’ve described i do, and without looking to unnecessarily overspend, what would you recommend? and is what i’m doing considered very light work?

thanks!

Nin4

Hi Alex, sorry to bother you but I am about to get a new computer and would like to hear your opinion if possible. I need a good computer for faster vray rendering in 3d max ,working in zbrush and in adobe illustrator and photoshop. Here is my configuration:
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X, Noctua NH-U12S SE-AM4 , SAMSUNG SSD 960 EVO 250GB , 32GB DDR4 3200MHz HyperX HX432C16PB3K4/32, 850W Corsair TX850M Semi Modulrno 80 Plus GOLD , ASUS ROG STRIX X399-E GAMING , Asus Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 – ROG STRIX-GTX1060-O6G-GAMING – 6GB GDDR5 192-bit , Corsair Midi Carbide 270R, Black, CC-9011106-WW .
Is it any good? Can you give me some advice?
Thank you.
Cheers

Nin4

One mistake above,I am considering 250 GB Samsung 970 EVO MZ-V7E250BW instead 960 EVO

Nin4

and I don’t know if 750W Corsair HX750 80 PLUS/CP-9020137-EU is better than the one I mentioned above, this are the only two Corsair Power Supply available in our country

Yashwanth

Is gtx 1050ti good for Maya rendering.
Thank you

Filip

Hi ,I am an architect and need a new computer for faster vray 3d max rendering and a better work overall in 3d max viewport, cad and photoshop. I received a configuration from my colleague and would like your professional opinion or some upgrade ideas on it,I would be grateful. He got 250 GB Samsung s850 EVO MZ-75E250B, Cooler Master 590 III RC-593-KWN2, 700W Cooler Master MasterWatt Lite MPX-7001-ACABW-EU,Asus PRIME X370-PRO,32GB DDR4 3200MHz HyperX HX432C16PB3K4/32,1TB Western Digital SATA RE WD1004FBYZ3.5” and AMD Ryzen 7 1700. I don’t know much about it and I know that this is his configuration from one year ago so is it outdated? What should I consider updating? Thank you in advance

Yashwanth

Hi.
I have a laptop dell7577…the specs are nvidea gtx 1050ti (4gb) ,core i7 7700hq, 16gb ram.
Is this enough for 3d rendering for college level.
Thank you

Marijana

Hi Alex, this was such an informative and beautifully written article, the best one I read in my research for the new laptop. I’m an architect, just started my own company. Before, I have been using using Rhino and Sketchup for 3D modeling, basically form finding, finding the materials that fit together etc, and would make occasionall “renderings” with primitively rendered model + extensive PS, or we would outsource our archviz. Now, having started on my own, I started watching tutorials to step up my game, with the goal of using 3D modeling as even better form finding (so HQ textured displayed in viewport, lots of trees with textures, furniture with textures, cars, complex terrain with textures) and occasionaly doing the best ever photorealistic renderings in 3DS max + Vray, in ratio modeling (with textures) to rendering 99:1… My XPS 13 9350 (i7-6500U, 16GB RAM, HD graphics 520, 4K) can’t handle my new progress of course. Two trees in the model and it crashes. I’m a beginner, so I’m sure my explanation sounds funny, but I plan to get better soon. I wish to start with a laptop, cause I like to move around the office when I work, and work on sofas and at home (a lot).. and then when I get better at 3D modeling/rendering the idea is to buy a desktop, with more clock speed available. I’m looking at:
-Alienware 17 R5, i7-8750H, GTX 1070, 16GB RAM, 4K
-Alienware 17 R5, i9-8950HK, GTX 1080, 32GB RAM, 4K
-HP Zbook G5 8850, Quadro P4200, 16 GB RAM, 4K
-Lenovo P52, i7 8750H, Quadro P3200, 32GB RAM, 4K
-HP Omen, i7 8750H, GTX 1070, 16 GB, 4K
-Dell Gaming Inspiron 5587 G5, i7 8750H, GTX 1060, 16 GB RAM
Those are the ones I chose after my initial research, but I might be completely wrong, especially seeing now that single-core speed is the most important for modeling. Although, I checked the single-core benchmarks for i9-8950 and i7-8750, and there isn’t much of a difference, and there is a huge price difference. Also, you say that for viewport that GPU 1060, 1070, and 1080 don’t make much difference, but again, the price difference is substantial. Money is not an issue, I want to invest so I can learn, but It wouldn’t make sense to pay 2x the price of the laptop, that makes no difference for what I plan to do with it. Of all the laptops that exist in the world, which one would you get if you were me, but with all of your knowledge? Thank you so much, Alex!

Spikey

You listed set built computers the kind you would get in PC world.

Have you looked at the likes of PCspecialists.co.uk whihc does custom builds and specialises in things like workstations and amd thread ripper computers ie do a pick and mix, pick good parts not bad ones and they see far cheaper than most and a very easy to use customiser

Spikey

Avoid laptops if you can and go for desktops…. with a boody big box with lots of 3.5 and 2.5 inch trays for hard drives and that you can upgrade and swap out bits and have a custom build or make it yourself.

Also get advice from CEX shops not the likes of PC world

Diego

Hey Alex, nice blog! Too late for me, I learned the hard way while building my PC, but I’d definitely share this stuff with my pals from now on.

My question is, what do you think about Closed-loop liquid coolers for 3D rendering? Are they worth the price tag when you have air coolers like the Noctuas for half the price?

Bjorn

Hello
Can someone tell me if I should go for this configuration or build a new computer for rendering terrain in ArchiTerra with many polygons (heavy) 🙂

Dell t7600 (year 2012)
2x Intel Xeon E5-2667
128GB 1600mhz RAM
Nivada Quadro 5000
2TB HDD
2x 256GB SSD
Dell Inspiron Motherboard

Thanks:)

Brent

‘WOW Alex! This was eye opening … I have wondered, but did’t think it practical to actually build my own workstation – especially since I have NEVER done that. Alex, I feel a little stuck in the middle as I launch into SolidWorks 2018 for model manipulation primarily on complex assemblies, but also strong emphasis on Visualize work to produce Marketing assets – probably 50/50 split.

Having focused thus far on Dell’s configurator I came away with two primary specs that each hold promise – but for different reasons …

1) Dell 5820 with Intel Xeon W-2125 4 Core / 4.0GHz – 4.5GHz Turbo, w/8.25 MB Cache, Nvidia Quadro P4000 8GB, 32 GB RAM and SATA/SAS 512 GB SSD

2) Dell 3630 with Intel i7-8700K, 6 Core / 3.75GHz – 4.7GHz Turbo w/12 MB Cache, Nvidia Quadro P2000 5GB, 32 GB RAM and M.2 512 GB Class 40 SSD

What would your initial thoughts be? And, would your 1,500 and 2,300 configurations suit my purpose? I have not reviewed much data on AMD Threadripper..

Thank you for what you have done with your contribution here Alex – VERY encouraging!

elBrandzo

Hey Alex –

your article on building your own PC toootally motivated me to give it a try.
Now here´s my question:

1)
I have my old CPU RenderPC which is a Dell Precision T5500.
Is there any chance I can reuse parts (motherboards etc) of that machine when setting up a new GPU Work and Renderstation?
Where do I have to pay extra attention in terms of „fitting all in there“ or „beware of the bottleneck…“ ?

I am planning 2 to 3 GPU´s and a snappy Workstation with a turbo CPU, following your advice on the C4D Workstation.

2)
Would you advice me to build two machines – one for rendering and one for working?
Does it make sense, or is the Speedgain of a sole rendermachine not THAT much of a difference to your C4D Work- & Renderstation that you described in your article?

Thank you very much for your answer –
I am so happy that I found your article, since I cannot really afford a new PC but building it myself, it feels so good to save some bucks.

Cheers
eLBrandzo

Tris

Hi Alex,
Thank you for the comprehensive article you’ve written, as somebody who has no experience whatsover on building PC (Macbook user for the past 5 years) it has been a great help in my research for tech parts.
I am looking to have a workstation desktop with a heavy emphasis on C4D, Unreal engine, Zbrush, Photoshop and Illustrator, as well as video editing with Premiere Pro & After Effects. I will be mainly producing graphics and visuals, with animation as well, and will be looking to use Octane for rendering too.

I am currently torn between an i7 8700 or a RYZEN 7 2700, im not looking to overclock as i have no knowledge on it. I have read your article on the best computer for C4D, but i have also read many forum reviews when the Ryzen 7 2700 comes highly recommended, especially so when an Intel set up (I7 8700 with Asus Prime z370a) are suggested to be paired with high performance coolers, so they cost decently more.
I’ve also read that many have noted that softwares tend to be more optimised towards Intel, making it an even confusing decision to make. It’s a heavy investment for me and i don’t want to screw up! I hope you could give me some advice on this.

Best Regards,
Tris

Hung Ly

Hi Alex,

Thank you for the very in depth article on 3D modeling and rendering. I was searching all around for something that would give me more of a direction on what parts to get for my next PC and this gave me a lot of good information. I would love to get your opinion on my PCPartPicker list and see if anything can be improve.

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/yGJxtg

A little bit of information about myself and what kind of usage that i want out of my new PC. I am graduated college student that is currently doing a lot of self taught 3D programs such as Zbrush, Maya, and also will be trying out Blender in the near future. I am also looking to start more rendering programs such as Keyshot, Quixel Suite, Substance Painter. For the most part, I would be doing more modeling and sculpting than rendering. I chose the Ryzen 2700x as i think it would be happy medium for both modeling and rendering.
My current budget range is from $2000USD – $2500USD. Gonna be keeping an eye out for deal on parts and will probably be getting a majority of them on Black Friday/Cyper Monday.

Do you also have any recommendation for a good monitor as well? I am looking toward to getting a 2nd monitor and would love to see if you have advice to offer. My spec for it would be 1440p, 144hz, IPS and do you have any specific spec that you look for in a monitor that fit more of a creative usage?

Thank you and have a great day.
Hung

Luke

Hi Alex,

First and foremost, awesome article! Its really helpful to people like me who have little or no knowledge regarding tech matters. I am an architecture student and I need your help in deciding between laptops for school.
I have been using a desktop so far and the main applications I use are Autocad, Rhino, Sketchup, Vray Lumion, and the Adobe creative suite. I hope to do medium to large scale models smoothly and occasional rendering. However I am looking for a laptop that can run these apps and has a touch function so i can draw (a lot to ask for i know)

I have narrowed down my options to these 2 choices mainly due to their light form factors which i value and touch capabilities.

Microsoft Surface Book 2
-Intel i7-8650U
-Nvidia GTX 1060 with 6gb DDR5
-max 16gb Ram

Lenovo Thinkpad P1
-Intel XeonE-2176M (12MB Cache, up to 4.40 GHz) OR Intel Core i7-8850H Processor (9MB Cache, up to 4.30 GHz)
-NVIDIA Quadro P2000 4GB GDRR5 128bits
-up to 64gb ram( but probably getting 16)

While the Thinkpad’s specs seem to be better, several forums online and websites i have perused online seem to be pointing to the fact that the apps i run such as Autocad, Rhino, Sketchup etc rely on a higher clock speed cpu or faster gpu like geforce as compared to quadro and throw out terms such as openGL and CUDA which have absolutely befuddled me. What should i look out for in CPUs and GPUs with regards to the applications i run? Hoping to get a laptop that can at least last me through school and your opinion is grealy valued.

Best regards,
Luke

Alex

Hi,
I am a 2D/3D graphic designer in freelance in France, Main applications are 3dsMax, Vray, Corona, UE4 plus PS, AI…
I am looking to go step further by changing my laptop Alienware to a stat build
I am looking for your recommendation for the best computer for CPU/GPU rendering setup and some games (from 2 to 5h a week)!
What I have in mind today :
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X
MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon AC
SAMSUNG SSD NVMe 970 EVO 500GB
BE QUIET Power Sup PC Dark Power Pro 11 1000W or 1200W
CORSAIR Kit Watercooling Hydro Series, H150i PRO – Liquid CPU Cooler ( Or should I go vs NZXT ?)
NZXT PC Case S340 Elite Moyen tour – Black
2x G.Skill RAM PC Trident Z RGB – DDR4 – Kit 16Go (2x 8 Go) – 3200 MHz – CL16
Gigabyte GeForce® GTX 1080 Ti Gaming OC 11G – 11Go GDDR5X
2 or 3 x 1TB HDD or one single 4Tb HDD and make 4 partition
If I forget something please let me know, or if you have some suggestion please suggest 🙂
By the way, It’s going to be my first build ( and hope to keep it for at least 5-6years )
My budget still unknown but hope around 4k€ to 5k€ Max
additionally I have chosen 2 SAMSUNG C24FG73 – curved 24″ FHD 1920×1080 144Hz
Best Regards,
Thanks
Alex

Moe

HI Alex,

thanks for the article, it was really helpful and gave me some good directions, I think.

I am a landscape architect, and generally work on large exterior scenes/landscapes (landscape and architectural visualizations) with lot’s of vegetation. On my recent big project I almost run out of resources in modeling and rendering process, so after that I’ve decided to build a new PC configuration which will be good enough for future projects.

The software I mostly use for modeling is Sketchup, Acad, Map3D, Civil3D, Rhino, Blender, learning 3DdMax and C4D, looking also to work in UE and Unity in future. Postprocessing in Photoshope and lightly afftereffects.
I mostly render images and videos with Lumion, Blender, Vray and Octane. I am looking for a configuration with I7-8700K and GTX1080 Ti with 32GB (3000Mhz) RAM.
Modeling/rendering ratio would be 70/30 and as always with short deadlines and last minute corrections.

Initially i thought maybe to install 64GB of RAM and new RTX2080 Ti, but I am not sure would the price justify the performance gain enough. Also I am not sure would I benefit from a SLI for GPU rendering in the future or would the configuration support that.

My current system is I7-4790,3.6/MBO GAZ97X-SLI/GTX970 4GB/16GB DDR3 and i am looking to build something like I7-8700K/AS Prime Z370-A/ GTX1080Ti or RTX2080Ti / 32 or 64GB DDR4 3000Mhz.

here is the link: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/4XtMmq

OS is WIN 10 Pro 64bit and would stay the same.
I am not sure if 2080Ti and 64GB would be too much for a price and does this configuration stands to go SLI in future. The budget for the highest configuration is around $4000 in my country,
I am also not sure if all the other components in the rig are optimal so this is a separate question 🙂

After reading it and doing some research online I think I7-8700K is a good choice if i want to OC the system in future to gain some performance. But maybe I am wrong, maybe some other Intel CPU is better or even AMD so I need advice.

I am a medium tech-guy in terms of PC building and maybe I am asking wrong or silly questions, but
I would like this system to serve me for at least 3-4 years as my current one did until projects went bigger.

Thanks in advance!

Moe

Robert

Alex

Thanks a million for your article. It was super helpful..
I am looking at your recommendation for the best computer for CPU rendering. What motherboard would you recommend if i use the AMD Threadripper 2990WX and the Asus – GeForce GTX 1080 Ti? Still the Asus – PRIME X399-A EATX TR4 ?

Thanks and best regards,
Rob

Lee

Hi Alex, your articles have been very helpful in helping me understand what’s important in a workstation. Thanks! I’m potentially going to be building what will probably be a “do-everything” machine: video editing (Premiere Pro), After Effects, 3d modelling/rendering (3ds Max / V-ray). I’ve got a number of issues that all seem to feed off of each other:

I wanted to go with a 8700k or 8086k for the single CPU speed as you mentioned, but they only have 16 PCIe lanes. I want to have an M.2 drive and dual RTX 2080’s with NVLink, which will take up 20 lanes. Because of the limitation of the lanes, I decided on the Ryzen 7 2700x, which has 20 lanes.

So my first question is, am I going the right route if I want to SLI two RTX 2080’s? I want to use NVLink, since I believe that will let me share all 16gb (8gb each) of memory between the two cards, as opposed to SLI with a 1080 Ti. And from what I’ve read, it doesn’t seem like I’d max out the PCIe slots at 8x each using the 2080’s, so I could stick with the 2700x instead of a Threadripper. And I guess related to that, will using 2 RTX 2080s be faster for rendering than something like a Threadripper 1900x or 1950x? I realize GPU and CPU rendering are different, but does it seem like we’re at the point where GPU rendering has eclipsed multi-core rendering?

Thanks for all your help!
Lee

Aurontwist

Hi there! Awesome article! I have 2 questions: 1) I wonder, texturing with substance Designer and Painter with great performance falls in which category: modelling or rendering (cpu wise)?
2) Would you recommend a threadripper 1950x/2950x for a zbrush/maya/substance/ue4 workstation? Or you would prefer a higher single core performance, when it comes to 50-1xx million polygons, and 4k texturing?
(I’m aiming for a $2500-$3000rig for 3d generalist/3d character creation work for games any advice for a rig config like this?)

Many thanks for your help

Alex

Hi,

Which one of these two builds (1500$) would you recommend, AMD or Intel? Modeling/rendering ratio is approximately 70/30%.

Does it make sense to replace recommended Asus GPU with Gigabyte GTX1060 G1 Gaming 6Gb?

Thanks

Andrew

Hi Alex,
Thank you for this Article it is very informative. I want to buy a computer for 2d and 3d Animation and not as much 3d modeling or rendering. Are the mentioned builds good for Animation too?

Thanks!