Best Workstation Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex  ⋮   ⋮   423 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 dive into it, take a quick look at the Table of contents here, in case you prefer to skip the theory and want to know my recommendations immediately:

CPU Rendering

CPU Rendering uses all cores of your CPU 100% of the time while rendering.

This means, if you’ll use your Workstation just for 3D Rendering Images and Animations, or encoding Videos 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 clocked relatively low.

This is because the render engine assigns a so-called “bucket” to each core in your CPU. Each individual core will render its bucket and then get a new bucket once it’s finished rendering the old one.

Perfect for Multi-Core CPUs.

CPU Rendering CPU Cores Buckets

3D Modeling

Contrary to rendering, 3D modeling is an active working process.

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

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

Take this example: I am modeling a car. That Car consists of Polygons that will have modifiers and Deformers applied to it, such as Mirroring, Cloning, Bending Objects and so on.

Your computer has to go through some serious calculations to process all this, but the key here is that these calculations are mainly done on only a SINGLE CPU Core.

Why? Because the Scene is built according to a certain hierarchy. A CPU has to work its way through this hierarchy step by step.

It can’t skip or off-load certain steps to other cores, because most of the steps depend 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 and actively working in your 3D Scene,  you would need to get a CPU that has the highest Clock Speed possible.

It doesn’t 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 working on Computer Animations or for running a CAD Workstation. A high-Clocking CPU will almost always outperform a high-Core-count CPU.

If you had to pick one: Which do you consider your main 3D Software?

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

It’s now tempting to think you should get a CPU with lots of cores AND high clock speeds. After all, then we’ll have a workstation on which we can work fast AND which can render fast, right?

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

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

The faster the Cores are clocked, the fewer 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 found a way to improve upon this.

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

Enter Turbo-Boost.

Turbo-Boost (Turbo-Core)

Turbo-Boost is a feature that automatically overclocks Cores until thermal and power limits are reached. Depending on the Quality of cooling, duration can vary.

Say we are currently modeling and are only really using 1-2 Cores, the rest of the Cores are idle.

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 within the predefined limit.

As soon as these limits are reached, the Turbo-Boost will clock 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.

Are you mainly rendering on the GPU or CPU?

As you probably guessed, CPU Rendering utilizes the Processor for calculating the Image, and GPU Rendering utilizes the Graphics Card.

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

First of all, almost every popular 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 by a tenfold as you are able to iterate more often before finishing a project.

Furryball

Image-Source: furryball.aaa-studio.eu

Beginners are often 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.

Just look at Blenders in-built Cycles GPU Render Engine and Cinema 4Ds new ProRender GPU Render Engine.  Both GPU render engines are built into the software itself and don’t rely on third-party plugins.

If you had to pick one: Which do you consider your main Render Engine?
  • V-Ray 40%, 883 votes
    883 votes 40%
    883 votes - 40% of all votes
  • Cycles 18%, 405 votes
    405 votes 18%
    405 votes - 18% of all votes
  • Arnold 11%, 245 votes
    245 votes 11%
    245 votes - 11% of all votes
  • Octane 9%, 189 votes
    189 votes 9%
    189 votes - 9% of all votes
  • Redshift 8%, 183 votes
    183 votes 8%
    183 votes - 8% of all votes
  • Corona 5%, 109 votes
    109 votes 5%
    109 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Other 5%, 102 votes
    102 votes 5%
    102 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Mental Ray 3%, 71 vote
    71 vote 3%
    71 vote - 3% of all votes
  • Maxwell 1%, 30 votes
    30 votes 1%
    30 votes - 1% of all votes
Total Votes: 2217
10. Apr, 2019

Best individual Hardware Parts for 3D Modeling and Rendering explained

But enough talk! Let’s take a look at what specific Computer Parts you’ll need for the best Computer or Workstation for 3D Modeling and Rendering:

Best Processor (CPU) for 3D Modeling and Rendering

For Active Work: Intel i9 9900K

As explained above, you’ll have to make a decision depending on what you will use your computer most for.

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

Then you’ll want 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 Benchmark.

Take a look at this page with Cinebench Benchmarks and sort the Table on the “Cinebench Single” column to find the CPU that will give your workstation the best performance when you’re actively working on it.

What CPU Core-Feature is more valuable / important to you?

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 are also more expensive.

If you have the budget for an Intel i9 9900K, this CPU is currently the best CPU for active Work such as Modeling and Animation.

Texturing 3D Models and painting or sculpting, too, need a high-clocking CPU. So if you consider yourself a Graphic Designer, the i9 9900K is an excellent choice.

For Render Work? AMD Threadripper CPUs such as the Threadripper 2950X!

Do you use this Workstation less for active work and more to Render out your Projects? Do you 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 2920X, 2950X, 2970WX, 2990WX – 12-32 Cores – Highly Recommended!
  • Intel i9 9900X, 9920X, 9960X, 9980XE – 10-18 Cores (quite expensive)

If you want to use VRAY, as it is one of the most popular Render Engines available, have a look at the following page to get an overview of the VRAY CPU Benchmarks Results.

AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3D Rendering

Image-Source: overclock.net

Which CPU are you planning on Buying?

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

Best GPU for GPU Rendering: GPU Rendering is becoming more popular as we speak and is likely to overtake CPU Rendering in the near future.

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

Personally, I prefer recommending GPUs that work with any of the above Render Engines (CUDA Support), so here are a few NVIDIA GPUs in order of Performance that will give you excellent GPU Rendering Speed:

The Nvidia Graphics Card List could go on, but I think 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 Benchmark overview if you’d like to compare the cost to performance in a bit more detail.

Other great GPU Benchmarks to take a look at are the VRAY-RT, Octane, and Redshift benchmarks.

Best GPU for Viewport performance

As the Processor is usually the bottleneck in having a snappy Viewport, Graphics Cards shouldn’t usually make a noticeable difference, if you buy good enough.

All the GPUs listed above will perform roughly the same in Viewport performance.

This is because there are rarely features in 3D Applications, that the GPU computes slower than it takes the CPU 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.

This being said, 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 for a snappy Viewport.

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

Let’s pick the Nvidia RTX 2070 for our Best Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering, as it has excellent GPU-Render value and is fast enough for any kind of Viewport challenges.

A quick heads-up:

In rare cases if you only use a few extremely high-poly RAW meshes (such as a CAD-Converted Car with 40 Million Polygons) and you don’t have any modifiers on this mesh, then 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?

Similar to the CPU, the amount and type of memory (RAM) you’ll need will depend 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 this quite quickly.

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 DDR4-2666 RAM.

That said, AMD Threadripper does benefit more from higher clocked RAM than Intel CPUs do. This is due to the fact, that some components on Threadripper CPUs are linked to the Memory Clock speed.

So having Quad Channel Memory that is clocked at 2933Mhz might give you a few percents more performance on Threadripper CPUs.

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 DDR4-3200 CL15 would be slightly faster than a DDR4-2800 CL16 for example.

A note on RAM Kits

When buying RAM, buy the full amount in a single RAM kit. RAM Kits (which are RAM Modules packaged together) are pre-tested in the Factory and will work well together.

Although people often say you can buy some RAM now and add some more laterRAM modules sometimes don’t work well together.

So if you are getting entirely new RAM for your PC, be sure to get (for example) 4x8GB in a KIT and not 2x8GB + 2x8GB in two separate KITs.

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

The reason why RAM in different kits differ from each other is because they can be manufactured in different factories and different factory lines that use slightly different silicon, or because one RAM module might have been manufactured in 2017, while the other module was manufactured in 2019. You don’t know for sure that the timing on the RAM will be exactly the same between modules from different factories or different manufacturing dates.

My point is: get a kit that’s pre-tested.

Good RAM Brands are G.Skill, ADATA, Crucial and Corsair such as the Corsair 16GB Vengeance LPX Ram Kit or this 32GB Corsair RAM Kit.

Best Motherboard for 3D Modeling and Rendering

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

It’s unlikely to impact performance all that much, but you should make sure it has all the features you need. Some important things to take note of are:

  • CPU Socket type: Different CPUs need different Sockets. Make sure your motherboard has the right socket for your CPU.
  • Memory Maximum: Some Motherboards/Chipsets can only support a certain amount of RAM and only have a certain number of RAM slots. Make sure it supports the amount of RAM you want.
  • Max # of GPUs: Motherboards support a certain number of GPUs and have a certain amount of PCIe slots and lanes that your GPU will use. Make sure you have enough for the number of GPUs you want.
  • Support for M.2 (NVME Drives): If you want an M.2 PCIe drive, make sure your motherboard supports this kind of drive (the motherboard’s manual is your friend).
  • Size of the Motherboard: Motherboards comes in different sizes. Make sure your motherboard fits inside your computer case (and vice versa too, of course).

I understand this might start to sound a bit complicated, and perhaps a bit too much to handle, particularly if you’re a first-time PC builder.

This is why I have built a few workstations for you, so you won’t have to figure out every detail on your own.

Best Storage for 3D Modeling and Rendering

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 your RAM is full
  • Launching your Software

If you want to load your scenes quickly, you’ll need a fast disk.

A feature like autosave (which I highly recommend you always have ON) will save your scene faster if you have a fast disk. On the other hand, a blazingly fast disk won’t do much for your performance once your scene is loaded into RAM.

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

Consider a PCI-E M.2 SSD such as the Samsung 970 EVO if you want even faster Performance and don’t mind spending the extra money.

samsung_970_evo

Fortunately, flash-based SSDs have become quite cheap recently and prices continue to drop.

Just have a look at the price decrease of the Samsung 860 EVO 1TB over the last six 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 PCI-E-Lanes

This section is a bit more advanced, but I get this question often enough that I want to explain it. Feel free to skip this part.

Here’s the 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: While the CPU-GPU PCIe-Lane interconnect is 16 PCIe Lanes wide, the Chipset itself can create 24 additional PCIe Lanes if required (on the Z370/Z390 Chipset).

The chipset lanes are connected to the CPU through a DMI link that’s only 4 PCIe lanes wide (which is roughly 4GB/s).

There could be a bottleneck in the unlikely scenario that you continuously copy huge amounts of data (like 50GB) from one of your NVMe SSDs to your second NVMe SSD and if your NVMe SSD can read and write faster than 2GB/s.

While that type of sequential read/write is possible (with the 970 EVO it is), it’s extremely rare that you’ll continuously be reading and writing sequentially for files that are of such size. If anything, you’ll be reading/writing randomly and on much smaller files.

Everything except for the RAM and the GPU is connected to those 24 chipset PCIe lanes, which are themselves connected to the CPU through the DMI link that’s 4 PCIe lanes wide. This includes LAN, USB, and everything else you plug into the motherboard.

The PCIe lanes from the chipset to the CPU are not used from the moment you plug in a new component. Instead, think of these PCIe lanes like highway tunnels: they’re always there and let traffic through if it has to.

So you can attach up to 24 PCIe lanes worth of components to the chipset (SATA SSDs, HDDs, USBs, Ethernet cables, etc…) but they will only connect to the CPU and use Bandwidth when needed.

If you use all those components at maximum speed at the same time, then you would bottleneck. In such a scenario, you would need to turn towards the HEDT platform (such as the LGA 2066 or TR4) and not mainstream (1151, AM4).

Best Monitor for 3D Modeling and Rendering

It’s usually better to go for a monitor with an IPS panel instead of a TN panel. IPS display panels have better color and better contrast.

If you’ll spend many hours a day staring at your monitor, you’ll want a non-glare (matte) monitor. This will avoid hard reflections that could otherwise distract you.

You also want at least a Full HD 1920×1080 monitor that nicely fits the viewport and all your software. You might even want to consider higher-resolution monitors with a 2560×1440 or even a 4K (3840×2160) resolution, so you can fit more of your footage, references, and software windows.

This is particularly true if you’re working on 4K advertising and films, or on hi-res images.

I’ve had great experiences working on the Asus IPS monitors, such as the Asus PB 278QR, but you might prefer a different brand.

How many Monitors do you use?
  • Two Monitors 53%, 387 votes
    387 votes 53%
    387 votes - 53% of all votes
  • Just one Monitor 35%, 256 votes
    256 votes 35%
    256 votes - 35% of all votes
  • Three Monitors 10%, 76 votes
    76 votes 10%
    76 votes - 10% of all votes
  • More than 3 Monitors 2%, 13 votes
    13 votes 2%
    13 votes - 2% of all votes
Total Votes: 732
10. Apr, 2019

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

While an expensive PSU won’t increase your performance, it’s wise to get more than enough wattage.

Usually, you’ll want around 400-500 Watt for a regular build, with an additional 250W for every additional GPU.

Good PSU brands are Corsair, Seasonic, and beQuiet.

Here’s a PSU calculator that will tell you how many watts your PSU will need depending on the hardware you choose.

Build your own Computer!

The best computer for 3D modeling and rendering is a computer that’s fast, makes you spend less time on it, avoids you wanting to punch through your monitor, and shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg.

I get tremendous joy from building my own computers for 3D modeling, rendering, and many other use cases.

If you don’t build your own PCs yet, I’m sure you’ll learn to love it too.

Do you assemble your PC yourself or buy Pre-Built?
  • I assemble myself 68%, 500 votes
    500 votes 68%
    500 votes - 68% of all votes
  • I buy Pre-Built / Let others assemble my PC 32%, 235 votes
    235 votes 32%
    235 votes - 32% of all votes
Total Votes: 735
10. Apr, 2019

Building your own computer teaches you the inner working of the various hardware components while allowing you to gradually upgrade parts if so required and helping you find potential problems easier.

But the best part? It’s a lot cheaper than buying pre-configured computers, and it only takes an hour or two to assemble!

If you want to learn how to assemble a PC and how a computer actually works, I have an excellent book for you. It blew my mind a few years ago. You might’ve already read it, but for those of you who haven’t: prepare to be leveled up 🙂!

But How Do It Know – J. Clark Scott

I can’t stress it enough: assembling your own computer is not difficult. You more or less just plug different parts needed to build a PC into one another and tighten some screws. The hardest part seems to be adding a bit of thermal paste to the CPU. That’s it!

Here’s a nice tutorial video for you to follow along as you build:

Whew! That was quite a lot of theory. Let’s actually take a look at some functional PC builds.

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

Best full PC-Build Recommendations at different Price points

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

PCPartPicker part list

Some Build notes:

If you know how to do a BIOS upgrade, consider the AMD Ryzen 2600, which 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.

And consider upgrading to an Nvidia GTX 1060, if you can spare some more cash.

Best Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering, AMD at roughly ~1300$

PCPartPicker part list

Some Build notes:

This is a basic AMD build that you can begin with. The Case is professional, minimalistic and quiet. However, there is no room for Optical drives, so 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.

It has excellent Multi-Core and good Single Core performance. All AMD Ryzen CPUs usually come with included CPU coolers, so no extra Coolers 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:

Just like the AMD Build, this is a basic build that you can build upon. The Case is professional, 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 usually only have one Fan and no pumping noise.

If you are planning on some more extreme overclocking, you might want to consider an AiO CPU cooling solution.

Best Computer for CPU Rendering, AMD at roughly ~2800$

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 Threadripper CPU. This build has an absolutely fantastic CPU Rendering Performance.

64GB of RAM is a lot. It should be more than enough for nearly all scenes. You can save some cash by downgrading to 32GB.

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.

At $1,300 each, RTX 2080TIs are expensive.  If you’re okay with slower performance, but want to save a decent chunk of money, I recommend going with 4x RTX 2070, as these come in at around $550 each. You’ll only have 8GBs of VRAM per card, but the GPU rendering performance/price is much better.

The Case is big. It 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 builds 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 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

CGDirector.com PC-Builder Title Image

If you are not quite sure yet what general kind of Computer, Desktop, Workstation or Laptop you need and you are still looking for some beginners help, check out this Article on finding exactly what kind of Computer you need.

Best Laptop for 3D Modeling and Rendering

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

I have written an Article about what’s important in a Laptop for Animation or Laptops for Video Editing, if that’s a direction that interests you too. Go check it out!

A lot of the specs from 3D Animation will be exactly the same as for 3D Modeling. For CPU rendering, this article on the best CPU for rendering can help you 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!

423
Comments

Ali

Hey Alex, I need some help
I looking for a system for rendering, animation work such as editing films and making animation with C4D octane render … and modeling architecture designs and render them .
I need these list with prices … My budget for these is about 1400$.
Thanks for supporting

Vishal

Hello Alex I need your help,
Am planing to buil pc for architectural design the softwares like autocad,coreldraw,photoshop,3d work in sketchup,rendering vray or inext render.
Plz let me know config is good or not it’s little budget pc
Ryzen 1600x or Ryzen 2600
Gigabyte ax370m motherboard
120gb ssd
1tb sata hdd
3gb Zotac geforce 1060
8gbx2nos 3000mghz ddr4 corsair vengance
Corsair spec01 cabinate.
Corsair vs 550 power supply
Monitor…?
I hope u can help me out.
Or suggest me good budget pc build…
Thanks,,,

vishal

hello alex
plz reply..?

Jan Gras

I am building a computer for modeling and rendering. That will be my personal computer too. So I would love your take on what might be a better option on any of these components or any other suggestions you may have:

AMD threadripper 1920x
x399 AORUS Pro
G.Skill Trident Z RGB (AMD) DDR4 3200 PC4-25600 32GB 2x16GB CL16
Enermax TR4 360 lquid cooler
Samsung EVO 970 500Gb NVMe M.2 SSD
Phanteks Enthoo Evolv X USB 3.1 Templed Glass RGB Grey
Corsair RM750X V2 750W 80 Plus Gold Modular
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2070 Gaming OC 8G 8GB GDDR6

Costantino

Hi Alex,

I am building a computer for modeling and rendering. The program for modeling uses the cpu and so does one of my rendering programs. But Vray version I have is a hybrid and uses both cpu and gpu. This is the build of have come up with. I would love your take on what might be a better option on any of these components or any other suggestions you may have.

AMD-Threadripper 2970WX 24 core
Noctua -NH-U9 TR4-SP3 46.44 CFM Cooler
Asus – Prime x399-A EATX TR4 Motherboard
Crucial-Ballistix Sport LT 32GB (2×16) DDR4-3200
Samsung-860 EVo 500 GB 2.5 SSD
PNY Quadro P5000 16GB Video Card
Fractal Design Define R5 Black Silent ATX Midtower Case
Corsair RMx Series RM850x CP-9020180 850W Power Supply
Noctua – NF-A14 PWM 82.5 CFM 140mm fan

Thank you,

Deepti

Hi alex,
i need your help…. i am trying to build my pc for 3d interior modeling and rendering..
i have selected this part…
pls let ke know whether its good or not
Intel Core i7 8700k Processor
Asus ROG strix 390 E
8gbx4nos. Ddr4 Corsair vengeance
1tb sata hdd
500 gb ssd
11gb Nvidia gtx 1080ti graphic card
Cooler master cabinet
corsair power supply
cooler master fan H 410R

pls help me out

ZENcgi

Just one idea/solution for render&viewport-computer-users:
(Introduction in januar): Ideal for 4-5GPU system, with good single-core clock(14*5Ghz) and 44 lane (viewport performance):
9990XE.
https://en.wikichip.org/wiki/intel/core_i9/i9-9990xe

ZENcgi

Hi Alex,sorry i posted 1st in wrong topic (C4D), so I post here, 2 the right topic.
1st: your post is the best on the internet, pretty useful, and detailed. Really, i’ve read all of them, in this agrumentum, subject.

I’ve one short question.
Config plan,
For 3D modelling,texturing,animating.
durability, quiet less noize, lower temp, stability and fast VIEWPORT performance is important without manual OC.

not cheap, but much better than overpriced XEON+QUADRO. (better in perf/$, and effective realtime speed)
(sw: C4D or Houdini+RedShift3D, AE, ZBrush, Adobe Premiere, Photoshop )
(not additional GPU planed in this config,rendertime is not important)

—Thermaltake Core X9 Black Cube $200
—PSU Corsair HX1000i $240
—GigaByte Aorus ULTRA Z390 $270
—i9-9900K+Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut+Noctua NH-D15 $530+$15+$100
—G.Skill Ripjaws V 2x16GB 3200 DIMM 288 C16 (?) $250
—1x Gigabyte RTX 2080 Ti Aorus XTREME Waterforce 11GB $1500
—1x 1TB M.2 Samsung EVO 970 Plus 3500MB/s Read ‘MLC’, 600000 IOPS $240
—Acer Predator XB273K 27”+Club3D – DisplayPort 1.4 VESA Certified cable 5meter $1300+$70
[4K 3840×2160,IPS,VESA HDR400,90%DCI-P3, 120Hz – 144Hz(OC) G-SYNC, 4ms latency, 10bpc(8+2), quantum dot pxs]
Σ$4715

Question:
RAM
2×16 G.Skill C16 3200MHz Ripjaws V or 2×16 Corsair LPX 3200MHz C16 ?

Ripjaws V is not low profile, but Noctua 2nd FAN is mobile (Moving +6mm upward is needed)

Thanks!

Corten

Hi
I’d wanted to know what version of windows 10 to chose. I’ve heard that not all software works with any version of windows 10. for example software from Affinity or Reallusion don’t work at LTBS (or LTSC or whatever). I’ve heard also about some windows 10 with creators update. So, what that all means? what version to choose for 2D-3D in order not to have any problems of incompability?
I’d be very appreciated.

Tom

Hi Alex,

Also this is the build I am considering … trying to go for a bit of an all rounder optimising power – price ratios. Mostly using 3DS Max and Vray. Modelling and rendering on the same computer.

CPU: AMD – Threadripper 1920X 3.5GHz 12-Core Processor
CPU-Cooler: beQuiet Dark Rock Pro 4 TR4
Motherboard: MSI – X399 GAMING PRO CARBON AC ATX TR4 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair – Vengeance LPX 64GB (4 x 16GB) DDR4-2666 Memory
GPU: 4x NVIDIA GTX 1070 Ti
Case: Corsair – Carbide Quiet 600Q ATX Full Tower Case ? – Discontinued so as per below would be great to have your recommendation!
Power Supply: Corsair – 1600W 80+ Titanium Certified Fully-Modular ATX

1. Which case (I liked the simplicity of your recommendation) so something with similar aesthetics

2. Also is there any reason why running 4x NVIDIA GTX 1070 Ti in this setup would not work?

3. And would this setup need any additional cooling?

4. And lastly just a general opinion about these options would be appreciated!

Thanks again!

Tom

Tom

Hi Alex,

The Corsair Carbide 600Q that you recommended for the ideal GPU solution has been discontinued. COuld you please recommend a suitable replacement

Thanks so much!

Scott Gammans

Hi Alex,

Marvelous article. It’s been 11 years since I built my last computer for amateur enthusiast modeling and rendering based on a Core 2 Duo CPU and NewTek LightWave. Life intervened and I dropped the hobby almost a decade ago, but lately I’ve started feeling “the itch” again… only to find that the landscape in both hardware and software has *completely* changed. LightWave is all but dead, and mere mortal laptops leave my advanced (for 2008) Core 2 Duo system in the dust!

After fiddling with a friend’s “kitchen sink” setup of Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max, I’ve pretty much settled on learning 3ds Max for modeling and using Arnold for rendering. Since I already have a subscription to the complete Adobe suite for my *other* hobby (video/photography) I’ll be using After Effects and Premiere Pro for post-production.

So here’s my question: This time around, I don’t really have the room (or the inclination) to build multiple dedicated PCs for modeling, rendering, compositing, and editing, but your interactive system builder comes up with markedly different suggested parts lists based on the primary use case for the machine being spec’ed. I don’t envision doing anything terribly fancy in post, so do you think I’ll be OK going with the top-end recommendation your system builder suggests for “3D Modeling & Animation”?

Milad

Hi Alex, thanks to your great posts. after reading some of your posts i have some questions about choosing right system.
i mainly have CPU rendering and with budget bottleneck, i rather a better CPU than better GPU.

1- i decide to buy one of this 4 systems, and need to your help to choose best of them. which is better on your Opinion?

////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
system 1: (amd, dual channel)
CPU : ryzen 2700x
memory: 16GB-3000MHz

system 2: (intel, dual channel)
CPU : intel i7 8700k
memory: 16GB-3000MHz

system 3: (amd, quad channel)
mainboard: asus x399
CPU : threadripper 1920 or 1900
memory: 16GB-2666MHZ

system 4: (intel, quad channel)
(*** this system is stock ***)
mainboard: asus x99 deluxe
memory: 32GB-2400MHZ
CPU : intel i7 5960x
////////////////////////////////////////////////////////

2- all of them components is choosed based on mainboard sockets. if you notice a component can be changed to better one , please mention that

3- if i buy one of 3 first systems (1,2,3), i also want to consider the future(when i have more budget and need to upgrade system) to choose a right motherboard.. which of CPU has the best future in context of my work? ryzens with am4 socket (such as upcomming 3000 series) or threadrippers with tr4 sockets or any intel CPUs?

4- for GPU, which is better to buy: a stock GPU(1070ti) or a new 1060? does working some years on a GPU have affect on its performance and deprecation? and also how affect overclocking on GPU performance and deprecation?

5- the 4th system has Geforce GTX770-4G GPU. if i buy 4th system, i need also to change that?

Thank you in advance for your answer.

Nicholas K

Hey Alex,

My name is Nicholas Kemp and I’m a 3D artist who mainly focuses on 3D Modeling and 3D Animation. I just bought my 15” surface book 2 that has a gtx 1060 and my question is what monitor I should chose based on spec as well as what can handle to be the most productive with my set up? I currently have the samsung 27” monitor that has a resolution of 2560×1440 and I’m thinking of upgrading the the 32” version thats 4k. Both I think would work well but I just want a quality display so that I can get the most out of my work and produce. Please help lol.

Holger

Hello Alex,

I want to use an Intel i9 with up to four graphics cards.
Is it possible to connect an eGPU (two GTX 1080Ti) to a computer (intel i9 9900k with two GTX TitanX)?

I’m working on large interior visualizations in large files and lots of furniture. Therefore I want to use the i9 for a fast viewport – but at the same time I want to speed up the octane renderer with multiple graphics cards.

Thank you in advance for your answer,

Holger

Roman

Hi Alex, guys,
please would you be so kind and help me with my decision?
What PC would you recommend for balanced work for modeling, rendering (V-ray, Corona) and simulations (Phoenix FD, Realflow)? I consider between i9 990K and i9 9920X. Should I add to consideration some Threadrippers?
Thank you for your advice.
Roman

Tino

Hi Alex,

I am Tino and I am looking at building a pc workstation for modeling in Rhino, and rendering in both V-ray and Keyshot. I have read your post and it has a lot of great information but would really like your take on a rig with a budget of $4000. Can you please recommend what parts you would choose for my situation. Thank you.

Steve

Hey Alex,

Really appreciate all of this info. I do mostly TV stage design with Sketchup and starting to render a lot more in V-Ray. Presently, I work off a maxed out Macbook Pro and it just isn’t up to the task when it comes to rendering. I’d like to keep my laptop for my computer on set and have a rendering and sketchup drawing workstation at home. Couple of questions for you and other readers.

1. How well .skp files themselves, and .skp files with V ray lighting and textures in them transfer from Mac to PC? It is very likely that I will start a project at work and continue working on it at home so I will be saving .skp files back and forth between the two platforms.

2. I’ll be using the home PC for both drawing and rendering… what do you think about the below setup? I’m getting 2 compatibility warnings shown below, from what I can tell and have read up on this won’t be an issue, but would love your input.

“The motherboard M.2 slot #1 shares bandwidth with SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports. When the M.2 slot is populated, two SATA 6.0 Gb/s ports are disabled.
The motherboard M.2 slot #2 shares bandwidth with a SATA 6.0 Gb/s port. When the M.2 slot is populated, one SATA 6.0 Gb/s port is disabled.”

https://pcpartpicker.com/list/3bkkNQ

Intel – Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor

CRYORIG – H7 49 CFM CPU Cooler

Gigabyte – Z390 AORUS ULTRA ATX LGA1151 Motherboard

G.Skill – Aegis 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory
G.Skill – Aegis 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory

Samsung – 970 Evo 500 GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive

Seagate – Barracuda 2 TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

Zotac – GeForce RTX 2060 6 GB GAMING Video Card

Phanteks – Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case

Corsair – RMx 650 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply

LG – WH14NS40 Blu-Ray/DVD/CD Writer

Corsair – LL120 RGB LED 43.25 CFM 120mm Fan

Mohammed Abdulrazek

Hello,
thanks for making things easier.
‎‏For GPU Render, I did not know what type of RTX 2070 I should buy.

‎‏Sincerely yours
Mohamed

mary

Hi Alex,
Great article.
I do visualizations and currently studying VFX and work with 3ds max, after effects, photoshop. I model and render a lot as well since its my main work.
I’m looking for a pc with faster render time and snappy work speed. I’m looking to buy Amd 2950x with 2080 ti. I’m not sure about the build though and would like to ask your help.

Thanks!
Mary

Derek

Hi Alex!

First off, thank you so much for sharing all this information across so many articles! I have been revisiting them over the past few months trying to come up with a nice build optimized for C4D and Redshift. Your knowledge and advice have been valuable, and I think it is great that you keep updating the articles!

I was hoping you could give me advice on the components I have selected. In the not too distant future I’d like to get a 2nd GPU, not sure if the power supply I chose will handle two or not. Any input you can give me would be magnificent. If you have suggestions to make it better, I would love to hear that too!

Thanks in advance! Best!

Motherboard: GIGABYTE Z390 AORUS PRO LGA 1151
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813145098

CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K Coffee Lake 8-Core
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16819117957

CPU Cooler: Corsair Hydro H150i PRO 360mm. 3 X 120mm Fans
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181139

GPU: GIGABYTE AORUS RTX 2080 TI 11GB
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16814932075

Memory: G.SKILL TridentZ 64GB (4 x 16GB) 288-Pin DDR4
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820232747

Hard Drive OS: WD 250GB Internal SSD SATA III 6Gb/s M.2 2280
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820250090

Hard Drive: WD 1TB Internal SSD SATA III 6Gb/s M.2 2280
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?item=N82E16820250092

Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G2 220-G2-0850-XR 80+ GOLD
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817438018

Case: anidees AI Crystal XL AR V2 Tempered Glass Full Tower ATX
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA7TD8G67197

Hos

Hi Alex thanks man for this great site and for your support.

Plz suggest to me Best Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering (CBU&GBU)
which is I can upgrade later after 1 or 2 years.
I work on c4d Modeling and physical render and I’ll try to work with plugin octain render also

my budget around 2600 to 3000$ max

Hos

I also use illustrator and Photoshop too much

one more thing
– which is better for my case Intel i9 9900k or AMD Threadripper 1920X ?

Hishyar Mohammed

Hi…
WHich is better for rendering vray and simulation in Realflow ?
GTX 1070 or Quadro P2000

Damar Prince

Hey champ based on your suggestion can i get a link to this video card Nvidia GTX 1060 I’m working with the $700 budget desktop set up

Billy Ichthys

Amazing article . I dont know about pc that much. I own a really bad computer at the momment and it really dont help me to improve. I can run zbrush but i lag from 1 million polys and i work with 5 million + or 8 million . i would like to be free to work with 50 million + . I want to learn substance painter and have 4k maps , Mari with many udims , Unreal engine , marvelous desinger and maya and 3dx max , ( maya for rigging , retopology and animation ) and keyshot …. but ALL those programs my pc cant even run them. So yeah , i decided to buy a new computer and i watch this helpful article and i think to buy those :

case : Phanteks Eclipse P400 Tempered Glass
mobo : Asus Prime X470 Pro
ssd : Samsung 970 Evo Plus 500GB
ram : Corsair Vengeance LPX 32GB DDR4-3000MHz
cpu : AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2060 6GB Gaming OC PRO
psu : Corsair RMx Series RM750x (2018)

BROTHER . please help me to this questions because i dont wanna throw 1300 $ without knowing i cant get the best i can with this money . Cause it was really hard for me to get this money and i have 100 euro pc for like a decade , i hope u understand my situation xd..
1) is this ssd evo PLUS* better than this one u mention in the build of 1300 euro ?
2) is the gpu i mentioned better than the gpu u mentioned in the build of 1300 euro ? why u mentioned this 2060 gpu with 1 cooler and what differences it has from other 2060’s ? witch is the better 2060 for the things i want to do ?
3) will i have problem if i get an m2 nvme cause of the pcie lanes? cause i really want to have internet and the only way to have internet i think is with wifi adaptor witch i think takes some pcilanes ( or i hope there is another way to have wifi ) . i want maximum speeds so if i could get an m2 without using and interfeering my pcilanes of graphics card than it would be AWESOME.
4) i am planning to buy also a wacom cintiq 24 pro if its okey for 3d . will this machine be compatible for the BEST resolution of this drawing tablet ?
5) is this corsair i mentioned good ? its the Seasonic focus plus gold 750 more reliable than this i mentioned ?
6) will my gpu and all the staff i mentioned fit in the Phanteks Eclipse P400 Tempered Glass ? ( im planning to have a watercooler when i get some more money , will this be a problem with this case and the rams attached to it ?
7) if i buy the corsair i mentioned and i after get some more money buy them again it will be worst if i buy G.Skill Sniper X 64GB DDR4-3000MHz ? this g skill is compatible with the mobo i said and do i need another PSU ?

I know this are TON of questions .. but i really need to understand . Thank you for your precious time. I want to be proffesional but i my pc hold me back thats why i am trying to make a pc that will be good for some years . i love you cause of the time u took to write this article . thank you .

Billy Ichthys

i have to mention that i will have fast viewport in maya cause of a trick i saw from here :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MapL3OQQn_g

Hassan Jaber

Hi, Alex thanks for all your helpful articles. I want to build a pc Price ranging between ( $5000-6000). i mainly use 3dsmax with vray & Corona. what I care for is smooth fast viewport and a multiple numbers of rendering buckets with fast rendering. what is your best recommendations +

main pc specs
64 gb of ram
5tb hdd
1 tb ssd

( is ryzen better than Intel )( and can i use gtx 1080 or there is something better) ?
thanks looking forward to your reply

assaf

is a 1050ti gpu will be enough for 3d softwers and editing?

Richard Reyes

Wow Alex! Great article! This is something I’ll always refer to people when they ask about building a PC.
I’m a 3D Character Artist. I sold my last workstation for a mobile replacement but I’m looking into building another workstation in the near future.

The softwares that I use are (to no shocking):
Zbrush: I usually have tools that have over 20-40 m+ polys
Maya: Hope to work with millions of polys here.
Substance Painter and Designer: 4k texture sets. (want to push for 8k)
Mari: 4K Udims
Unreal Engine
Marvelous Designer
Want to learn Houdini down the road
For more context, here is my artstation: https://www.artstation.com/renderen

I usually render with Arnold but now they are launching Arnold GPU. Also Unreal is also getting really really good at rendering high quality images now with raytracing. So I think investing in a high end GPU is worth it. I would love it if you can review my part list when you get the chance.

PCPartPicker part list: https://ca.pcpartpicker.com/list/dwD8NQ

CPU: Intel – Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: Corsair – H100i v2 70.69 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Gigabyte – Z370 AORUS Gaming 7 (rev. 1.0) ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
Memory: G.Skill – Trident Z RGB 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 Memory
Storage: Samsung – 970 Evo 1 TB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
Storage: Samsung – 860 Evo 2 TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
Video Card: Gigabyte – GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11 GB AORUS XTREME Video Card
Case: NZXT – H500i (White) ATX Mid Tower Case ($124.99 @ Memory Express)
Power Supply: EVGA – SuperNOVA G3 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply
Total: $4526.45

I’m not sure if I should go for an i9 or a TR for the CPU. Maybe there’s also an alternative where I won’t see much performance difference but is less expensive. Then maybe get a 2nd GPU?

Thank you!
I really appreciate your time and effort 🙂

Pavel

Hello, Alex!

Thanks for amazing article.

Share your opinion pls – This year I’ll update my hardware and I pretty agree with your set-ups, it’s great.
Right now I’m looking for new monitor and really struggling with it.
There are 3 options, all have IPS and same color/image quality :
LG 27UK650 (4K, 60HZ) – https://www.rtings.com/monitor/reviews/lg/27uk650
Dell U2715H (1440p, 60Hz) – https://www.rtings.com/monitor/reviews/dell/u2715h
and Asus MQ279Q (1440p, 144Hz) https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/asus-mg279q-27-inch-freesync-monitor,4262.html

My main question is – does 144Hz somehow affect on 3D modeling(zbrush, Maya) ? Do you try it and did it help at all? Lg monitor is amazing option, but I think for mid-lvl hardware and 27″ size not demand for 4K resolution. What do you think?

Thanks in advance!

Carlos Gregorio

Hi Alex. Interesting articles you have written.
A question… in your opinion, how important is it for systems to have USB-C ports on them in light of animation (3D and 2D)? I have just invested in Cintiq Pro 24 and my current system is lagging hence looking at a new build.

Josh

Hi Alex, just came across your article a few days ago! Very enlightening! ^.^ I’m looking to get a beefy desktop after using a heavy duty laptop for the past several years for everything from gaming to 3D usages. As it is I know whatever I get, it’ll be light-years ahead of my laptop. That being said, I’m hoping to use my desktop for obviously all the fun stuff, gaming and whatnot, but also to handle everything from heavy 3D modeling scenes to the occasional heavy renderings. At this point I’m mostly a generalist, but I mostly work with Autodesk Maya, ZBrush, Allegorithmic Suite, UE4, and RealityCapture (photogrammetry). I’d probably be looking into learning Marvelous Designer and maybe Houdini down the road, don’t know if that matters much with the config I found list below.

I’ve never built a desktop before, not sure I’m gonna start, but looking on cyberpowerpc.com, they seem to give some good pre-built config options. Using your PC build suggestions and the cyberpowerpc.com PC configurations, I came up with this:

Gamer Infinity XLC
$3139
Gaming Chassis: LIAN LI PC-O11 Dynamic ATX Mid-Tower Dual chamber Gaming Case w/ USB 3.1 Type-C, Tempered glass on the front & side (White Color)
Extra Case Fans: 3X 120mm Case Fans for your selected case
Noise Reduction Technology: Sound Absorbing Foam on Side, Top And Bottom panels, and more(1)
CPU: Intel® Core™ Processor i9-9900K 3.60GHZ 16MB Intel Smart Cache LGA1151
Venom Boost Fast And Efficient Factory Overclocking: No Overclocking
CPU / Processor Cooling Fan: CyberpowerPC MasterLiquid Lite 120mm ARGB CPU Liquid Cooler with Dual Chamber Pump & Copper Cold Plate (Dual (Push-Pull) Standard 120MM Fans)
Motherboard: ASRock Z390 Phantom Gaming 4 -CB ATX w/ 802.11ac Wi-Fi, ARGB, USB 3.1, 2 PCIe x16, 3 PCIe x1, 6 SATA3, 2 M.2 SATA/PCIe
RAM / System Memory: 32GB (8GBx4) DDR4/3000MHz Dual Channel Memory (GEIL EVO POTENZA)
Video Card: GeForce® RTX 2080 Ti 11GB GDDR6 (Turing) [VR Ready] (Single Card)
Sli Bridge: None
EVGA Power: None
Power Supply: 800 Watts – Standard 80 Plus Gold Certified Power Supply
Primary Hard Drive: 500GB SAMSUNG 970 EVO Plus PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD – Seq R/W: Up to 3500/3200 MB/s, Rnd R/W up to 480/550k (Single Drive)
Secondary Hard Drive: 2TB (2TBx1) SATA-III 6.0Gb/s 64MB Cache 7200RPM HDD (Plus 32GB Intel Optane Memory HDD Acceleration 24X Faster (Secondary Storage Drive))
Hard Drive Cooling Fan: None
External Storage: None
Optical Drive: None
External Optical Drive: None
WiDi Router: None
Internal Wireless Network Card: None
Sound: HIGH DEFINITION ON-BOARD 7.1 AUDIO
Monitor: 24″ Widescreen 1920×1080 ASUS VS247H-P 1080P (23.6 inch Viewable) 2ms LED Backlight, DVI, HDMI Input (Dual Monitor)
Internal Network Card: Onboard Gigabit LAN Network
USB Hub & Port: Built-in USB 2.0 Ports
Professional Wiring: Professional Wiring for All WIRING Inside The System Chassis – Minimize Cable Exposure, Maximize Airflow in Your System

I was hoping I could get your input on this system config, I’m guessing some of it might be a bit overkill for what I’m hoping to do. My budget is around $3000, and $3139 works.

Honestly my main concern would be the cooling factor, I really don’t know anything about this part of the PC and the liquid cooler kinda scares me (like what if it breaks & the whole PC is destroyed, like blah! $3000 down the drain!) I couldn’t find any equivalent of the fan you listed in your PC configs, the “be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 1151” and I wouldn’t know if I bought it separately, would it fit within the chassis. 😛 Then again the “CyberpowerPC MasterLiquid Lite 120mm ARGB CPU Liquid Cooler” might be a big issue at all. Just not sure. Should I just go the fan route?

Also concerning the hard drive, was looking at the “1TB Intel 660P M.2 NVME SSD + 2TB SATA III Hard Drive Combo (Combo Drive),” but an online search was bringing up the issue of TBW & DWPD being lower than the 500 GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus. Looked like the Samsung SSD has a longer life expectancy.

Any advice/suggestions/etc would be immensely appreciated! And thank you for taking the time to read!

Josh

Zak Margolis

Hi Alex! I’ve totally been stalking your site lately, as I’m way over due for a new rig. I’m also transitioning to PC from Mac. Anyways, I’m a generalist working mostly in C4D+Arnold and AE, with some occasional Houdini.

I get that the best approach is to to either build a PC for working OR a render machine. And yet, I must ask – if you had to build a decent hybrid, what would it look like? I’m mostly working in the art world, where projects tend to be a lot longer than most commercial projects.

So here’s the case study: I’m working on an upcoming project for the symphony. The piece we are working on is about 30 minutes, but 4 channels, so I’ll need to produce 2 hours of finished HD imagery. I’ll be working on scenes with complicated setups regularly and will want the snappiest feedback that I can get. But I’ll also need to render lengthy test sequences and composites regularly. What build would you recommend?

I’ve been considering the Ryzen Threadripper 2950x which has a decent number of cores and moderate clock speed. But am I going down a “worst of both worlds” path with this?

For GPU I’ve been considering either a gtx 1080 ti or rtx 2080 ti for my ae work, with the dream that one day Arnold will have GPU support – although I guess I’m not holding my breath for that…

Finally, I should tell you that I’ve been working on a 2010 Mac Pro. I’ve found work-arounds for doing complicated, long projects, and it’s actually pretty decent at most things. But my poor computer got completely lost in the woods last year attempting to do a moderately complicated Houdini ocean simulation.

Anyways, I would love your thoughts on this, and really appreciate the work you’ve put in here!

z.

John Clancy

Hi Alex,

I have a basic PC that that I use for sketchup and Lumion. I have an nvidia gtx 1060 6gb card in that.

I want to build a new more powerful pc.

I was thinking if i kept the gtx 1060, i could buy another one to double the power. Is this possible? Also would this be a good idea, or would I be better off using a single more powerful graphics card.?

I intend to use

Intel core i7 8700k
Corsair 163301 Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4 3200 MHz C16 XMP 2.0 High Performance Desktop Memory Kit, Black (Should I get 64gb?)

Could you suggest a motherboard for this setup and do I need cooling for the CPU and graphics cards?

Thanks in advance

John

Kendall Jeffrey

Hello there, I had posted a comment but I think it may not have shown up, I’m looking to build a pc for school, I’m taking 2d animation and possibly 3d animation in the future. I have a budget of $1500 cad, I can go up to $1800 cad if I need too. Do you have any recommendations? I know I atleast need.
-gtx 1060
-16 gb ram
-windows 10
Your help would be appreciated.

Katy

First off, thank you so much for all this wonderful information! Like so many I am/was an avid Mac supporter but am finding it just doesn’t make sense to continue down that road as a 3D generalist. I never thought I could learn so much in a couple days about the inner workings of the computer, so thank you for your extremely insightful information. I actually feel like I understand some of this now. 🙂

That being said I am still a little torn about what to build. I work mainly in zBrush/Maya/Blender/Adobe Creative Suite. I do mainly short animated videos, some quite intense realistic outdoor scenes. I have a render farm at work so don’t need to render my frames from home, but I do need a machine that can handle a relatively heavy load. It looks like rendering is definitely getting more GPU based, so I want to make sure I have a decent card, but I am torn at how much I really need. I also am not sure if the i9 is the best choice or if AMD threadripper makes more sense. I can see good arguments both ways. I am hoping to spend no more than $3000 for everything regarding the Computer (monitor being a separate issue). Does this build look reasonable? I am hoping to future proof it for a few years with the option of expansion. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

CPU: Intel – Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor

CPU Cooler: be quiet! – Dark Rock Pro 4 50.5 CFM CPU Cooler

Motherboard: Asus – ROG MAXIMUS XI HERO (WI-FI) ATX LGA1151

Memory: Corsair – Vengeance LPX 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory

Storage: Samsung – 970 Pro 1 TB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
Western Digital – BLACK SERIES 2 TB 3.5″ 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive

Video Card: EVGA – GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11 GB FTW3 GAMING iCX Video Card OR
EVGA – GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11 GB XC ULTRA GAMING Video Card

Case: NZXT – H500i (White) ATX Mid Tower Case

Power Supply: EVGA – SuperNOVA G3 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply

Monitor: Asus – ROG SWIFT PG348Q 34.0″ 3440×1440 100 Hz Monitor

Phoksìng Tsan

Hi Alex!

All these articles are very helpful!! Thanks for your efforts!

I’m focus on graphic design, digital visuals, motions and plan developing interior rendering in the future. using adobe apps, cinema4d, octane and mandelbulb3d as tools.
so, I’m gonna start a new built from my old MBP15″ GT-650M (>.<") to PC work station. Here's my picks based on your recommends. Would you like to give me some suggestions?

AMD built (higher budget)

CPU : AMD Ryzen Threadipper 1920x
CPU cooler : be quiet! DARK ROCK PRO 4
MB : MSI X399 Gaming Pro Carbon
RAM : Corsair Vengeance LPX 16G *4
VGA : ASUS RTX-2060-6G Turbo *3 OR 2070-8G *2 ?
SSD : Samsung 860 EVO 1T OR 970 EVO 1T ?
CASE : Corsair Carbide 600Q
PSU : Corsair RM1000X
Monitor : Acer VG2700K 27"IPS (3840*2160)

INTEL built (less budget)

CPU : INTEL i9-9900K
CPU cooler : be quiet! DARK ROCK 3
MB : ASUS PRIME Z390P
RAM : Corsair Vengeance RBG PRO 16G *2
VGA : ASUS RTX-2070-8G Turbo *2
SSD : Samsung 860 EVO 500G
CASE : be quiet! Pure Base 600
PSU : be quiet! Pure Power 11 700W
Monitor : Acer VG2700K 27"IPS (2560*1440)

Looking forward to your reply.

Thank you,

Phoksìng

Chris

Let’s say I’m working towards the goal of having, a full-fledged Studio/Production PC; Photoshop, Illustrator, 3ds Max just to name a few and for ease of growth.
Would you say the $1,500 range model be able to handle the processing power this software? Either in conjunction, by themselves?
My secondary goal is to also build/own a computer that I can use as a gaming desktop for games as big as Star Wars Battlefront 2, Skyrim, or any other “heavy-computer-processing” games that need to run more than 60FPS at Max settings.

Course, I’m also not to look at breaking the bank, but at the very least get that 64GB RAM or dual-memory slots for 2×32 GB memory cards so I can still get enough power for just about anything.
From booting up to loading, to playing and enjoying a great game or continuation of a 3d project.

PS. The only 3ds Max software is 3ds Max 9, Photoshop/AI CS3, so maybe not big on memory/processor requirements, but I want to be able to cover my bases for future projects.

Aella

Hi Alex!

I’m looking to build a CPU with primary uses being: Compositing (Nuke), Modelling/Texturing with Maya and Substance, possibly Mari, and Photoshop or Adobe CC. (CG Generalist/DMP + Environments).

Hoping to get some help with selecting parts. Still researching all parts but I’m working with a budget of 2k

Deciding between these:
AMD Ryzen R7 1700X 8 cores
AMD Ryzen 2700X 8 Cores

SSD:
Samsung 1TB 970 EVO Plus NVMe M.2 Internal SSD

GRFX Card:
Nvidia RTX 2060

Tower Case:
Black 2 usb 3 Tempered Glass ATX Case

Appreciate the information provided and hope to receive advice/direction on this. Currently a fresh grad in need of more practice.

Thank you 🙂
Aella

Bruno de Sousa

Hi Alex!
Thanks for creating this website with so much important information condensed here. Really handy!

I’m a 3d generalist/motion designer and need a computer for working (mainly Cinema 4D and After Effects) and rendering. Right now I only use CPU rendering but would like to start using GPU rendering too.

– AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X 3.5GHz
– Motherboard MSI X399 SLI PLUS
– 2x16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 2400 PC4-19200 CL16
– Samsung SSD 970 EVO PCI-E NVMe M.2 500 GB
– MSI RTX 2070 Ventus 8GB GDDR6
– Seasonic S12II 620W 80 Plus Bronze
– NOX Hummer ZX USB 3.0
– Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64Bits

Do you advise any changes?

Thanks!
Bruno

Fernando Sabatini

Hello! I’m an architect, but I also like to play games during my free time. I would like a cumputer to fulfill both functions well.
I was thinking of the following settings:

– i9 9900k
– Motherboard Asus z390m Pro
– 32gb Kingston 3200mhz RAM (2x16gb) (* Is Corsair a better brand?) (Or is it better 4x8Gb?)
– GPX RTX 2080 OC (I do not know the brand yet, any suggestions?)
– Power Supply 850w EVGA Gold GQ (is the G2 better?)
– SSD 960Gb Kingston
– Watercooler H115i Corsair

My question is whether I am mounting something that is more than enough for my use. I work with Sketchup files that do not exceed 1Gb and render them with V-ray. I use Autocad, Corel and Photoshop. I also want to use Lumion 9. Outside the games of the current generation. I intend to use a 2k monitor (I think it’s a good resolution for better screen gain right?).

Is the setting I set up correct? Is there any improvement in cost benefit to be made? Would the RTX 2070 OC be enough? I would like something that does not have to cram me in many years.

Thank you for your patience.
Great article!

Grace

Hi Alex
Firts, congrats to make this great post is fantastic!
I mainly model and texture so I only need the maps to texturize. I use maya, zbrush, marvelous, photoshop., My question is the cpu cooler and the motherboard … I need wifi connection (although I can assess other options). I hope that the other elections are correct. I come from using an apple and I’m a little lost.

Motherboard: TUF B360-PRO GAMING (WI-FI) I’m not sure of this choice
Storage: Samsung 860 EVO
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 650 G3, 80 Plus Gold 650W
RAM Corsair Vengeance LPX (2 x 16 GB, DDR4, 3000 MHz, C15)
GPU. Gigabyte RTX 2070 Windforce
Case: Corsair Carbide 275R
Monitor: BenQ PD2700Q 27″ 2K QHD
CPU: Intel Core i7-8700
CPU cooler: Noctua NH-D15 or be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 3 or Noctua NH-U12S TR4-SP3 (I do not know if any will give problems in the case or the motherboard)
My budget was not to exceed 2000 euros. Currently this composition goes up to 1920.
Ty a lot for your time!!!
Grace

Nathan Goodchild

Hi Alex.

Really useful article, thanks. It helps to explain why there are so many different PC setups for design work.

For those that are interested I’ve just ordered the parts for the AMD $1300 configuration, here in Australia those parts come out to just over $2000.

I plan on using the PC for 3D modelling, scultping, texturing and game creation.

Nathan

Asis Martin Oar

Hi Alex!

First of all congrats on your amazing and insightful reviews & recommendations. This really helped me get my head around the different components and requirements.

So I have decided to go with the AMD 1300$ configuration. I have added 2 Barracuda 1Tb HDs and an ASUS PCIe Network adapter.

Now, a savvy friend of mine recommended me to change the suggested motherboard ( Asustek – Prime X470-Pro) for the GIGABYTE X399 Designare ( https://www.gigabyte.com/Motherboard/X399-DESIGNARE-EX-rev-10#kf)

I am not sure if it would be compatible with the rest of the components… I assume it will allow me to extend the life of my equipment ( more upgrades)?

Could you please tell me pros and cons? Its almost 150$ plus on my budget. Wise move, or should just stick to the initial config? I am looking for a generalist machine which i can boost if necessary.

Thanks in advance for your time. Greetings from Dublin!

Jorcélio

Hi I’m Architect,

I thought you would mention the Quadro Nvidia cards as they are specially made to this kind of porpuse.”

Now tell me are Quadro series not worth the mention due to its expensive price or their performance will be the same as these GTX or RTX at very low price?

I am currently rendering CAD projects on Artlantis 4.x.x using an very old and tired i7-2600K + [email protected] + SSD 256GB. I sold my GTX 770 and thus I lost performance on modeling on ArchiCAD.

I will soon upgrade to an i7-5960X with X99 MOBO + 32GB RAM and I was thinking on picking up NVIDIA Quadro K6000.

Kevin Htoon

Hi,
I am about to built my PC or modeling plus rendering.
CPU- Intel i7 9700k
CPU cooler- H60 corsair
Mobo- 2390 Aorus Pro
Ram – Gskill 16GBx2
I haven’t decided on the rest.
Please let me know your professional opinion.
Much appreciated.
Kevin

Scott

Hello Alex,

I am interested in this build that you recommended, but how would/could/should I modify it to be better for 3D Modeling?

Best Computer for CPU Rendering, AMD at roughly ~2800$
CPU: AMD – Threadripper 2990WX 32-Core Processor
CPU-Cooler: Noctua – NH-U12S TR4-SP3 55.0 CFM CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Asus – PRIME X399-A EATX TR4 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair – Vengeance LPX 64GB (4 x 16GB) DDR4-2666 Memory
Storage: Samsung – 860 Evo 500GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
GPU: Asus – GeForce GTX 1060 6GB 6GB Turbo Video Card
Case: Fractal Design Define R6 – Blackout ATX Tower
Power Supply: Corsair – RMx 750W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX

Thanks,
Scott

Scott

Side Note: My budget is about $3500, including peripherals.

Joe

Hi again,

Thanks so much for all of this information; it really helps plebs like me to understand things.

I’m about to order this computer:

Be Quiet! Pure Base 600
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
AX470 AORUS Ultra Gaming
NVidia RTX2070 8GB GPU
Nvidia GTX1060 3GB GPU
32GB DDR4 2400Mhz Ram
128GB 2.5″ SU800 SSD Drive
1TB BarraCuda 3.5″ HDD
AMD Wraith Cooler
Corsair CX750 Bronze PSU
2 x USB 3.0 Bracket
Windows 10 Home
Be Quiet! 120mm Fan

My question is: will this motherboard be sufficient? This is the cheapest setup I can find online (that I won’t have to build myself), but it only has this motherboard option available. Does the AX470 AORUS Ultra Gaming support two GPUs?

Also, the main reason I want to get 2 graphics cards is because I have heard that Octane uses a large amount of GPU for the live preview, etc, and so consequently the program runs slowly on a single GPU. Apparently it’s better to get an extra (cheaper) card that can be dedicated to general screen usage and stuff, and let the more powerful GPU do all the heavy lifting. Does this make sense to you? What are your thoughts on having an additional, less powerful GPU just for this purpose?

Thanks again!! You’re a legend

Joe

Also, is there a problem with the secondary GPU (GTX 1060 3GB) having such low vram? I heard that the system is ‘limited’ by the lowest gpu; is this true? If so, would I be better off just going for the single rtx 2070, as to not risk limiting anything?

Thanks!

zihan

Hi, i need suggestion for cpu between i7 8700(non-k) and r7 2700x. in my country the prices of these are almost same.
ill be running mostly autocad,revit,sketchup,3ds max and ocassionally some render in vray.

which one should i go for 2700x or 8700(non-k)

Melanie

Hi Alex! Thank you for this amazing article.
I want to build a pc for 3D modeling. I mostly work with Maya, Mari, Substance Painter and ZBrush.

I already have:
CPU: Intel Core i7-8700K 3.7GHz 6-Core Processor
GPU: MSI – GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11 GB GAMING X Video Card

Here are the components I want to buy.

CPU-Cooler: be quiet! – Dark Rock Pro 4 50.5 CFM CPU Cooler
Motherboard: Asus – Prime Z370-A ATX LGA1151 Motherboard
Memory: Corsair – Vengeance LPX 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
Storage: Samsung – 970 Evo 500GB M.2-2280 Solid State Drive
Western Digital – Red 8 TB 3.5″ 5400RPM Internal Hard Drive
Case: be quiet! – Dark Base Pro 900 (Black/Silver) ATX Full Tower Case
Power Supply: be quiet! – DARK POWER PRO 11 750 W 80+ Platinum Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply

Regarding the case, my friend told me that he prefers the Dark Base 700 model. According to pcpartpicker though, there seems to be an issue with it:
“The be quiet! – Dark Base 700 ATX Mid Tower Case supports video cards up to 430mm long, but video cards over 286mm may block drive bays. Since the MSI – GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11 GB GAMING X Video Card is 290mm long, some drive bays may not be usable.”

What do you think of my specs? Do you have any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

Evgeny

Here you are
https://comino.com/en/comino_n1_2070_render_station

Config with 4 * 2070 inside
If you need you own spec, let us know

According to our tests 16x and 8x = the same speed for Rendering with 4 GPUs 2070
But 16x config is much expensive

Ivan

Hi alex!
Such an excellent article

Right now i’m using
I7 4770k
Maximus V formula
120gb vgen ssd
And 2 tb hdd

My msi r9 290x lightning is broken last week and right now i having a bot dilemma between rtx 2070 or gtx 1080 and 1080 ti. Mostly I use vray, sketchup, autocad, lumion and artlantis also photoshop. And in this article i dont find that the ray tracing feature will be useful or not in the rendering software. Thx

jay r villalobos

Hi Alex,

Thank you for this article. I’m comparing your second option from dell xps which has almost the same specs but with the same price. May I ask what is the difference between each other? Planning to buy before the end of the month but i am confused, is it because it is desktop and not a workstation?

DELL XPS:
XPS 8930
XPS 8930 Base
Processor
8th Generation Intel® Core™ i7-8700 Processor (6-Core, 12M Cache, up to 4.6 GHz)
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro 64-bit English
Microsoft Application Software
Microsoft Office 30 Day Trial
Protect your new PC
McAfee Small Business Security 12 Month Subscription
Memory
32GB, DDR4, 2666MHz
Hard Drive
1TB 7200 rpm Hard Drive
Video Card
NVIDIA® GeForce® GTX 1070 with 8GB GDDR5 Graphics Memory

Dener

Alex i need help,
I bought a motherbord b450 aorus m, Memory 2×8 3200 C18 hyperX and i need a CPU, but I’m in doubt.
the Ryzen 1600 in my country cost 154$(converting to dollar) and Ryzen 2600 214%. the 2600 is worth 60 $ more or not?

Strahinja

Hi Alex,

How are you?

I just have few questions in regards to 8700 vs 8700k.

How much of a difference does it make in viewport? Im using maya (vfx, simulation) and c4d. Im not rendering with cpu.
How much of a difference does it make for premiere? Im doing a lot of heavy color grading.
How much of a difference does it make in Z brush?
Should 8700 be fine and use it with mce? Does mce in these workloads work as advertised?
Do you understand my concern?

Thx

F J B

Hi Alex,

Great article, thanks for the really useful information all in one place with the data to support it all.
I’d like to get your opinion on the following, situation is at work I’m arguing with the IT guy who has recommended this system below which in his opinion being a prebuilt “tested CAD Station” would be more reliable for overnight heavy rendering. When I showed him the specs you recommended (slighlty upgraded GPU and CPU), he said these specs are for a Gaming machine as oppose to a CAD Station. Is there a concrete difference? I’m looking to get a machine to boost render times for detailed interior scenes, overnight rendering and allow more smooth 3D modelling work with heavy polygons in detailed models in 3DsMax with Vray Adv (not RT).

IT Guy’s specs:
3XS WI4000 Viz, Overclocked Intel Core i7 9700K, 32GB DDR4, 8GB NVIDIA Quadro RTX 4000, 250GB M.2 SSD, 2TB, Win 10 Pro
Price: $4200 USD (is this overpriced?)

My proposed specs from a Custom Build PC website:
Option 1 – CPU 15th on Vray benchmark list, GPU 5th on list
Intel i9 9900K – (8 x 3.6 GHZ – Turbo 8 x 5.0 GHZ), CPU Cooling Corsair Hydro H45, Corsair 32GB Vengeance LPX 3000MHz DDR4, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti – 11 GB, 500GB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD, Motherboard Asus ROG STRIX Z390-F, Powersupply Corsair RMx 650W Gold, Win 10 Pro
Price: $3530 USD
or
Option 2 – CPU 9th on VRay benchmark list, GPU 8th on list
Intel i9 – 7920X Extreme (12 x 2.9 GHZ – Turbo 12 x 4.3 GHZ), CPU Cooling Corsair Hydro H45, Corsair 32GB Vengeance LPX 3000MHz DDR4, NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 – 8 GB, 500GB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 SSD, Motherboard Asus STRIX X299-E, Powersupply Corsair RMx 650W Gold, Win 10 Pro
Price: $3852 USD

He’s driving my head in because he’s insistent on the fact that these proposed machines are gaming machines and says they will be unreliable. “The site which those benchmarks come from is largely populated by the gaming community who like the raw numbers but don’t forget that they pertain to computer games and pc speed testing programs and not cad work. The systems looks OK on paper but for me its a gaming system.” My boss needs assurances that the IT guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about with regard to 3D Rendering software.

Your prompt response could save my life! Haha thanks a lot, hope this all makes sense.

Looking forward to hearing back from you.

Thanks again.

FJB

John

Hi – So glad I stumbled onto your site. It’s just what I’ve been looking for in regards to a workstation and not gaming setups. I really don’t do the gaming route.

I currently use a laptop with XEON E3-1535M v5 2.9GHz – 64GB – M2002M Nvidia Quadro – 4k IGZO IPS
Storage Samsung SSD SM951a 512GB M.2 PCIe 3.0 x4 NVMe (MZVKV512), 512 GB and a 1TB SSD 1 USB C
I use this mainly with 3D Max (vray 3.6) and ACAD.

I design for various events. So basically architectural renders.

I’ve been toying with the idea of an eGPU option for the convenience of traveling (laptop). I’m not sure if I would get the horse power that I would from just getting the $1500 AMD setup you’ve put together.
What’s your thoughts on an eGPU vs the stand alone AMD option?

https://www.notebookcheck.net/Dell-Precision-7510-4K-IGZO-Mobile-Workstation-Review.167586.0.html

Joe

Hi Alex,

Thank you for the really fantastic, free and comprehensive information! You’re the best.

I want to buy a workstation for basic Octane rendering. I’m not so concerned with render speed as long as the live preview runs smoothly, and hence I think I’ll be ok with a single RTX 2070 and a Ryzen 2700x.

I’m pretty confident with things so far, but I think my IQ is too low to understand motherboard specs. As I’m ordering the machine online, I only have a limited range to select from:

ASUS PRIME B450-PLUS
ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F GAMING
ASUS ROG CROSSHAIR VII HERO

Do you think the ASUS ROG STRIX X470-F GAMING will be suitable for my needs? Am I right that this build should be ok for 1-2 GPUs?

Thank you very much!

Mario

Hi Alex, Thanks so much for these useful build recommendations. I am probably going to build something like your $1500 workstation for my home work with architectural visualisation using 3DS max (corona and vray), Rhino 3D and a little bit of Unreal. I was wondering if you think the brand new GeForce RTX 2060 is a good shout to replace your recommended GeForce GTX 1060 and even GeForce GTX 1080? Has it been proven yet as a good workstation graphics card? Thanks for your insight.

Mario

Also, you recon the CORE I7-9700K is now worth getting over the CORE I7-8700K?

Paulo Caldas

Hi! My name is Paulo,
Nice work man, very nice advices and comparisons!
I’m moving to Europe, and there i find out that the UK is where most of the stores and onlinestores are.
Do you have and tip on the best price/fair place to buy on Europe?
By the way, i’m from south america, and here is veeerryyy expensive. So i’m planing to build a workstation around 4,5k, for working with C4D with octane….
Great thanks!

Sven

Hey Alex,

I can’t believe I just discovered your website! All brilliant advice and things I’ve been preaching around me for ages. You’re much more knowledgeable than I am on GPU render engines than I am. My specialty revolves more toward environments and matte painting. So photoshop, maya, nuke are my daily tools. I’m learning Houdini in the hope of adding it to my arsenal one day. I build a lot of my hardware myself. Used to be a Big Mac fan until they dropped the ball after their 2013 trash can. Now they just build good laptops but even then performance has suffered a lot compared to PC for equivalent pro apps. One of my area of interest is to build powerful PCs in as little foot print as possible using the ITX format. There is still no decent prebuilt tiny workstation class power boxes. The closest I got is with the intel Hades Canyon NUC but only 4 cores. Check out the specs. Another I might consider is a Lenovo P330 Tiny with Quadro P1000 but it uses a low power T intel cpu. Anyway, I just wanted to say hi and keep up the good work! I’ll read through more of your articles over the coming days. Good material can also be found with Puget systems.

Ben

Hey Alex
I wonder if you can help, Im taking that blind cliff jump from Mac to PC, I’m a C4D generalist so I’m constantly diving in and out modelling, dynamics, animating etc, I’ve found this build and hoped you could advise weather or not I would optimal performance or any parts I could or should upgrade or swap, any help would be brilliant

Processor

• Intel Core i7-8700K Coffee Lake Processor
• 12MB L3 Cache

CPU Cooler

• Corsair Hydro H100x Water Cooler

Motherboard

• Asus STRIX Z390-F GAMING Motherboard

Memory

• 32GB DDR4 2400MHz
• Configuration 2 x 16GB
• Dual Channel Support
• 4 x DIMM Slots

Solid State Drive

• 250GB Samsung 970 EVO M.2 Solid State Drive

Hard Drive

• Seagate 3TB BarraCuda 7200rpm Hard Disk

Software

• Operating System: Windows 10 Home 64bit

Graphics

• NVIDIA Quadro P4000 8GB Graphics Card

Networking

• LAN: 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet

Power Supply

• Corsair TX650M 650W 80 PLUS Modular PSU

Interfaces

• 4 x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Ports
• 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Port
• 1 x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C Port
• 2 x USB 2.0 Ports
• 1 x RJ45 LAN Port
• 1 x DVI Port
• 1 x HDMI Port
• 1 x Displayport
• 5 x Audio Ports

Expansion

• 2 x 16x PCI Express Slot
• 3 x 1x PCI Express Slot
• 4 x SATA ports

Alan

Hi there, I ve been using Mac for years but definitly see the value and flexibility of moving to PC. I use Blender 3D and feel a bit lost in terms of where to start. I have a budget of £800 £1000 at a push any help/advice would be greatly appreciated.

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.