Best Workstation Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex  ⋮   ⋮   308 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, I added two links here for those who 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 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 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.

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 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 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, when not all Cores are currently in use.

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 withing 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.

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.

But enough talk! Let’s take a look at what hardware you’ll 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 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.

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

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

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:

  • NVIDIA RTX 2080Ti
  • NVIDIA RTX 2080
  • NVIDIA RTX 2070
  • NVIDIA RTX 2060
  • NVIDIA GTX 1080Ti
  • NVIDIA GTX 1080
  • NVIDIA GTX 1070Ti
  • NVIDIA GTX 1070
  • NVIDIA GTX 1060

I can 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 cost to performance in a bit more detail.

Other great 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 percent 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 you PC, be sure to get (for example) 4x8GB in a KIT and not 2x8GB + 2x8GB in two seperate 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.

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 PCIE 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 PCIE-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 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.

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 other use cases.

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

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 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 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 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 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 should definitely have a look at the Web-Base PC-Builder Tool that I’ve created.

Select the main purpose that you’ll use the computer for and adjust your budget to create the perfect PC with part recommendations that will fit within your budget.

Be sure to check it out and please feel free to send feedback my way!

CGDirector PC-Builder Tool

PC-Builder Facebook Title Image

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. 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 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!

308
Comments

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 + 16GB@1600mhz + 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.

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!