Building the best PC for 3D Animation [2020 Guide]

CG Director Author Alex Glawion  by Alex Glawion   ⋮   ⋮   309 comments
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Building the best PC for 3D Animation [2020 Guide]

Building the best Computer for Animation requires some specific Hardware Components and just a tiny bit of insight into the inner workings of 2D & 3D Animation Software and how they use the hardware.

Browsing for new Computer Parts is always a lot of fun and in this article, you might find a few things that will make that process easier and even more interesting!

Now, this Article “Best Computer for Animation” is structured into three parts:

  1. The first being how Animation Software utilizes the Hardware.
  2. The second being insight and recommendations on what Hardware Parts are important and best for a Computer for Animation.
  3. And the last Part gives you finished Desktop Computer Builds in different Price Tiers if you would just like to see how a complete Computer Build for Animation would look like within your budget.

How do Animation Tasks use the Hardware

Before we take a look at what hardware we should put in our best Computer for Animation let’s see how Animation Tasks actually use the Hardware.

Now, independent from the 3D-Software, when I animate I usually do some of the following:

I pose rigged characters, set Keyframes, adjust Animation Curves, Move objects around for Keying on new Frames, move my view and cameras around a lot or play back the animations to be able to check and revise them, among others.

PC for Cinema 4D Viewport Animation Modeling

All of these processes have one thing in common: I am actively tweaking things inside my Software and expect an immediate result.

I don’t push a button and wait for 2 minutes while walking around the office, no, I expect the Viewport or Menus or other User Interface Elements in my Software to update right away.

Seems obvious! But there are lots of other tasks in a Production Pipeline of an Animated Film that work very differently.

Think of Rendering,  Simulation, Texture Baking or Encoding to name a few. These would be Processes where you don’t actively interact with the Computer, but mainly let it run its tasks on its own until it is finished.

Why is this important?

Because we can now already say one very important thing and that is “Single-Core Performance“.

Let’s see what this means exactly:

Single-Core Performance dependent tasks are tasks that can not be parallelized. Modern Processors (CPU) that are responsible for calculating almost everything you do on the Computer usually have more than one so-called Cores.

Here’s an Image of the Windows Taskmanager, showing the CPU has 4 Cores.

Quad Core CPU - Best PC for Animation

Image-Source: Microsoft Windows

Cores are individual parts of a CPU that can calculate a given task.

In a Computer for Animation, we will want a CPU with extremely fast Cores, as the tasks we are dealing with the most, are tasks that can only be calculated by one Core at a time.

So having a high Core-Count wouldn’t benefit us all that much.

The main reason why Animation can’t be parallelized that well is because the underlying Objects that are being animated usually are rigged, deformed, driven by scripts or otherwise dependent on a hierarchical order that has to be processed one after another, without being able to outsource some steps to others Cores.

Let’s make an example:

The 3D Character that you are animating usually consists of a single Mesh. This Mesh is deformed by a Rig.

The Rig is driven by Control Objects. The deformed/animated Mesh might also have Face Controls and some kind of soft body simulation for the jiggly parts such as the belly.

And this is a pretty ordinary Character. I haven’t even gotten into Hair Collisions, Dynamic IK Chains, Muscle Collisions and so on yet.

All of these Deformers and Rigs all have to be stepped through in a predefined order until the resulting final Mesh can be correctly displayed for that Frame.

I can’t tell some of my CPU cores to already calculate the Textures or Shading or Hair Collisions, if I haven’t yet calculated the basic body Animation Parts, such as the animation and movement of the extremities.

Best Computer for Animation - Hierarchy

This is why only a single Core has to painstakingly calculate all of these hierarchical steps on after another.

And this can only be accelerated if this CPU Core, that at this moment does all the work, is as fast as possible, has as high a clock as possible.

After all, it has to do this process for everything in your Scene, usually 25 times per second (or what your desired Framerate is) for you to have a fluid playback experience.

This can be applied to 2D animation as well. Even if the underlying rigs or object complexities might be somewhat simpler.

Having a slightly lower complexity in 2D usually just means you add more effects to your processing chain such as Motion Blur, and still want to have a realtime experience as much as possible, even with all the layer dependencies that are slowing the CPU down.

Now, lots of other tasks can be highly parallelized, such as Rendering. Rendering Images can be perfectly parallelized and you can make full use of all of your CPU Cores.

CPU Rendering CPU Cores Buckets

For CPU Rendering for example, you would need a CPU that has as many Cores as possible because a Render task can be split into smaller parallelizable tasks almost indefinitely.

That was quite some theory behind it all.

As the CPU seems to be the most important part in the best Computer for Animation, let’s take a look at what Processors there are that we can choose from and what other kind of Hardware Components can speed up our Computer:

Best Hardware for Animation explained

The Best CPU (Processor) for Animation

As we now know, for animation we will need a very high clocking CPU and not as much a CPU that has many Cores.

Or couldn’t we just get a CPU that has a very high clock AND lots and lots of Cores?

That way we could work fast actively AND CPU-Render fast?

Unfortunately this is not how it works. There is always a trade-off between core-clocks and core-counts.

Meaning, if you want a very high clocking CPU you will only get a few cores and if you want lots of cores, these cores will most certainly be clocked fairly low.

Why?

This is because a CPU has specific thermal and power regulations that it can not exceed. And since every core and every extra clock needs more power and makes the CPU hotter, it kind of makes sense there is this trade-off.

Now, fortunately, Intel and AMD have thought of a way to compensate for this, at least to a certain degree.

turboBoost

Image-Source: Intel, Intel’s Turbo Boost

Both have a feature called Turbo-Boost or Turbo-Core.

This feature automatically overclocks the cores that are being used as long as the power draw and thermal limitations are not exceeded.

For Animation this means, you might have a CPU with 6 Cores but while animating you only need 1-2 Cores. The CPU now automatically overclocks these 1-2 Cores that are in use but downclocks or lets all other cores in a type of idle mode.

This happens so fast, that you won’t notice it at all. But you will notice that the Cores you are using (if you are using only a few) are faster.

So here they are, the CPU recommendations for our Best Computer for Animation:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900X – 12 Cores / 24 Threads, 3.8GHz Base Clock, 4.6GHz Turbo Clock
  • AMD Ryzen 9 3700X – 8 Cores / 16 Threads, 3.6GHz Base Clock, 4.4GHz Turbo Clock
  • AMD Ryzen 5 3600X – 6 Cores / 12 Threads, 3.8GHz Base Clock, 4.4GHz Turbo Clock
  • Intel i9 9900K – 8 Cores / 16 Threads, 3.6GHz Base Clock, Turbo Boost 5GHz
  • Intel i7 9700K – 8 Cores / 8 Threads, 3.6GHz Base Clock, Turbo Boost 4.9GHz

These CPUs are all excellent for Animation. They have a high Turbo-Clock and will give you a snappy work experience.

AMD Ryzen vs i7 8700K

Image-Source: AMD/Intel

The AMD Ryzen 3700X is the Performance / Price winner in this case, as many of the higher end CPUs are still unproportionally more expensive – or have a lot of cores that don’t speed up Animation workloads per se (they do help in rendering of course).

To get an impression of how these CPUs perform in different workloads, especially in Rendering, go take a look at some of the Benchmark Comparisons such as Cinebench or VRAY Bench.

Best Graphics Card (GPU) for Animation

One would expect the Graphics Card to play a larger role in giving a smooth Viewport and Software Experience, but in the Animation stage, this is usually not the case.

This doesn’t mean the GPU can be ignored but it is seldom the bottleneck and usually has lots of headroom left over while waiting for the CPU to do its calculations before it displays the output.

This changes though when you depend on certain features, that only the GPU can calculate. This includes OpenGL features such as Anti-Aliasing, Anisotropic Filtering, SSAO, Realtime-Shadows and many more.

These type of features are also found in the Maya Viewport 2.0 and you will benefit from a strong GPU here.

Autodesk Maya Viewport 2.0 Performance Animation PC

Image-Credit: Autodesk

If you don’t rely on a realistic Viewport that approaches a near-final quality Scene, but animate mostly in shaded low-quality preview modes without any fancy effects, then you can make ends meet with a lower tier Graphics Card such as the Nvidia GTX 1660.

Let’s take a look at some of the currently most popular GPUs:

Nvidia GPUs for Animation

AMD GPUs for Animation

Both Lists in order of Performance – highest performance at the top.

Both GPU Manufacturers, AMD and Nvidia, have some excellent Cards for our purposes, although Nvidia Cards seem to do better in some 3D Applications and should be your choice, especially if you also plan on GPU Rendering with these.

The process of GPU Rendering, of course, is much more demanding than Viewport Animation, but this topic is so complex, that I covered it in another article for you to read here: Best Graphics Cards for GPU Rendering.

As a minimum, I usually recommend an Nvidia GTX 1650 Super that already gives excellent performance in most of the 3D and 2D Animation Applications out there.

Best Computer for Animation - GPU

Image-Source: gamespot.com

If you need certain professional Features such as 10bit Color support you should consider either an Nvidia RTX  or AMD GPU, as these come with drivers that support more features.

The Nvidia GTX and RTX Cards have excellent Performance / Price Ratio, especially compared to the Quadro Cards and you can GPU Render on them extremely fast.

The AMD GPUs can perform well too, though many Software-vendors optimize for Nvidia Cards, and many GPU Render Engines support Nvidia GPUs only (CUDA Support), that is why you very rarely see an AMD GPU be recommended for a Computer or Workstation in Animation.

AMD manufactures excellent GPUs, no questions asked, but the Industry support unfortunately just isn’t on the same level yet as it is with Nvidia.

How much and what type of RAM in a Desktop Computer for Animation

This discussed often and it is quite true: RAM does not impact Speed all that much (if at all) unless you have too little.

Sure there might be the 2% Speed gain in certain type of workloads, but getting extremely expensive or high-clocked Ram with great Timings, just isn’t worth it, especially if you are not planning on extreme Overclocking.

For Animation, it’s much better to get “normal” RAM Speeds for a normal price and spend the extra bucks on additional RAM size.

This will help you a lot more in the long run.

RAM (or Memory) is essentially just a storage part, that the CPU (and some other Hardware) uses to cache data so it can access it very quickly. If this RAM is full, there is nowhere else to go but the System Storage Devices such as the Hard Disk, or Solid State Disks.

These though are a multitude slower than RAM, and you will notice your System crawls to a halt if your RAM is full.

So you should make sure you have enough RAM, as full RAM is also a reason why Systems often crash or crawl to a halt.

Corsair RAM for Computer for Animation

Image-Source: gskill

That said, the baseline amount of RAM for Animation should be –

  • 16GB of RAM.

32GB though is much better already and 64GB will last you a long time unless you are working on very large projects with lots of Polygons, Displacements, Hires Textures or giant Particle Caches.

Having more RAM also benefits you when you have more than one Software open at a time. And that happens all the time.

If you are in Cinema 4D or Maya or 3ds Max, chances are you also have Photoshop, maybe After Effects, Google Chrome and an Email Program open, and of course all of these Applications need their own share of RAM.

Good brands to look out for usually are Corsair and G.Skill but you might prefer others. Some particular RAM Kits I can recommend are Corsair 16GB LPX and the Corsair 32GB LPX Vengeance Kit.

One Important thing here: Buy your final RAM Size in a KIT (Bundle). If you want 32 Gbytes of RAM, buy 4*8GB in a KIT or 2*16GB in a KIT.

Don’t buy two or more individual RAM KITs that you will mix.

Why?

Because bundled RAM modules are pre-tested in the Factory and will work well together.

If you buy RAM Sticks individually, these might not work well together (even if they are of the exact same specifications and Brand) and can be a cause of crashes and Blue-Screens.

If you do like to optimize even your RAM as much as possible and have some more cash to spare, the general rule is to buy high Clocks and low CL Timings for best performance.

So a 32GB DDR4 3200MHz CL15 would be slightly better than a 32GB DDR4 2666MHz CL17.

Here’s our RAM Guide for Ryzen CPUs that will give you some more excellent types of RAM recommendations.

Best Mainboard for Animation

As with RAM, the Mainboard too is nothing that will speed up this Computer all that much, but there are some things to consider before buying just any mainboard.

The Mainboard (or Motherboard) basically is the central HUB where all your other hardware is attached to.

It serves as a switchboard between these Hardware Components and any external devices you might want to plug into the Computer.

The CPU plugs into the Mainboard and requires the right Socket.

An Intel i7 8700K, for example, would need an LGA 1151 Socket and it only fits into this socket. An AMD Ryzen CPU needs a Motherboard that has an AM4 Socket.

Mainboards have PCI-Express Slots, where the GPU(s) are plugged into. Depending on how many GPUs you would like to get or are planning on upgrading to in the future, be sure to get a Mainboard that has enough PCI-Express Slots.

PCI-E Slots and PCI-E Lanes though are a Topic for itself and therefore have an Article for themselves.

Head over there if GPU Rendering in Redshift, VRAY-RT or Octane on Multi-GPU Setups is something you are planning on doing.

MSI MEG X570 Unify Hero

Image-Credit: MSI

In addition, you should make sure the Mainboard supports the amount of RAM you will be installing. Modern Motherboards usually support up to 64GB of RAM.

External USB Sticks, external Hard-Drives, Input Devices, Mouse, Keyboard and Tablet, and many more are also plugged into the Mainboard.

If you have a lot of external devices that you want to be able to use with this Computer for Animation, be sure the Mainboard has enough connectors to handle them.

Good Motherboard Brands to look out for usually include ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte & ASROCK but there are others that you might prefer.

If you find all of this a bit overwhelming, I have some finished Computer Builds that I put together for you down below with Hardware Components that work well together.

Best Storage Devices in a Computer for Animation

Storage is an easy one. There basically only are 3 Types of Storage Devices that you can get and I’ll list the benefits and use cases very briefly:

HDD or Hard Disc Drive

  • Kind of an old Storage Device that has been overtaken in terms of performance and speed
  • Good for archiving backing up lots of Data, not as good for an active Work Drive
  • Recommendations: Seagate Barracuda or Western Digital Blue in your desired Size (for example 2TB)

(Sata) SSD or Solid State Drive

  • About 5x faster than HDD
  • Good for working and OS Drive
  • Recommendations: Samsung 860 EVO in your desired size (for example 500GB)

M.2 PCI-E NVME SSD

  • Fancy long Name AND extreme Performance, 5x faster than even SSDs
  • Great Drive for Active Projects and OS /Applications
  • More Expensive than SATA SSDs but in my experience worth it
  • Recommendations: Samsung 970 EVO in your desired Sizes (for example 512GB)
Best Computer for Animation - SSD vs NVMe

Image-Source: atpinc.com

Especially SSD and NVME are coming down in price very fast currently as you can see in this price chart:

Samsung 860 EVO Price Drop

Image-Source: geizhals.de

I highly recommend getting an NVMe SSD for Animation and other Content Creation Workloads. The Performance is just unbeatable. Do hop over to our NVMe Article to learn more about what NVMe Drive you’ll need exactly.

Highly recommended!

Best Power Supply for our Animation PC Build

Both the Power Supply and the Case, of course, won’t do anything for your Animation performance at all, but here are some things to be aware of before choosing:

It is best to get a bit more Wattage in your PSU than necessary, so you have some headroom in case you upgrade to more or more power hungry components in the future.

This way you can keep your PSU when you upgrade your other components.

Corsair AX760W PSU

Image-Credit: Corsair

Good PSU Brands are Corsair, Seasonic & BeQuiet but you might prefer others or already have a PSU in your current/old computer that you can continue using if it is strong enough.

If you’d like to have less cables within your PC, I recommend buying a Modular Power Supply.

Check this wattage calculator here to determine how much Watts your PSU should have, depending on the Hardware Components that you are planning on having in your Computer for Animation.

Best Case for a PC targeted at Animation

The Case is what will be on display in your office or room. That is pretty much the only thing people or you get to see. (Unless you have a see-through Case)

Apart from having it fit all of the Hardware Components, this is one of the parts of Building a Computer for Animation, where you can let your taste decide what pleases you.

There are so many different Case styles, Colors, Materials, with or without See-through glass windows and various forms and sizes out there, you can browse for days and weeks 🙂

I have had excellent experience with Cases from Corsair, such as the Corsair Carbide 275Q or the Obsidian 750D, but that is just my taste in having a professional minimalistic looking case, that also dampens the noise somewhat, so my Workstations run quietly.

Best Computer for Animation - Corsair Case

Image-Source: Corsair

Of course, you should make sure your hardware components fit into the case, so be sure to get at least ATX Midi Tower (or similar) Sizes for a standard build, or a bigger Tower if you plan on putting lots of GPUs or Watercooling inside.

Ability to Upgrade your Computer

This is one of the many reasons for carefully building a Computer with the right Hardware Parts: You can upgrade almost anything.

Want a faster CPU? Get a faster one and sell your old CPU on eBay. Usually, the Mainboard Sockets are good for a couple of CPU Generations.

More RAM? Just get more RAM. (Though beware of incompatibilities when using individual RAM Kits)

Want a faster GPU? Swap your GPU for a faster one. Or add more GPUs (if your Mainboard has enough PCIe Slots)

Storage can be added too, and most mainboards support a good number of internal devices.

You can even swap out your Mainboard for a better one, as long as the CPU socket and Chipset is compatible with all your other Components.

Best Monitor for Animation

Let me say this:

Size – Important

Resolution – Important

Color Display Quality – Usually not that important (for animation) and this is the thing that drives Monitor prices up the most. But do read on:

Yes, you should get a Monitor that is large enough, or even two and more Monitors, so your Software User Interface, Viewport and previews and potential Image/Video References fit neatly without you having to change between different windows all the time.

Best Monitor for Graphic Design, Video Editing, 3D Animation: Dell

Image-Source: Dell

Having a higher Resolution helps with fitting more on your Monitors, though beware that there are still some Applications out there that scale their Interfaces and on-screen Text with the Resolution of the Monitor.

So having a high res display (such as 4k) might make the UI Text extremely small. Usually, Windows compensates this by trying to scale it back up, but that doesn’t always work well and might result in a blurry UI.

Probably the most expensive feature in a Monitor is getting a high-quality IPS Panel instead of a TN Panel.

You might have already seen, that some Monitors cost around 200$ and some other with seemingly the exact same features are 600$ and up.

This is usually because the built-in Panel type is an IPS (In-Plane-Switching) Panel and not a lower quality TN Panel.

IPS Panels have better Contrast and Color Display.

You should get one if you are doing lots of Color Grading, Post-Production, Color-accurate Print, Web or Broadcasting Work.

If all you do is Animate or Model in your 3D Software and you usually just use the standard shaded or Wireframe view, you can save some money and get a regular TN-Panel Monitor.

Definitely check out this in-depth Guide to buying the best Monitors for Content Creators, which has all the information you need for getting the best Monitor for your specific kind of work.

You should build your best PC yourself

I say this in all my Articles and I can’t stress it enough: Build your own Computer!

It’s much cheaper, it’s fun, you gain knowledge about how a Computer works and what parts it is made up of and with this knowledge, you can upgrade and fix most Problems that you might run into later on your own.

It’s not difficult and if you know how to follow instructions or how to put together a Lego Set, then you can build a Computer yourself.

Here’s a good Video that shows you how to:


Now that we know what individual Hardware Parts we should put into a Computer for Animation, let’s take a look at some Pre-Selected Builds in different Price-Tiers:

Finished Computer Builds in different Price Tiers

Best Computer for Animation, AMD at roughly ~700$

Some Build notes:

This is a lower end build, if you are a bit tight on budget. If you have some extra money to spend, you should consider the AMD Ryzen 2700X. If you want to save some money you could skip the extra CPU-Cooler and just use the Cooler that AMD ships with the CPU.

If you can spare some more cash, consider upgrading to an Nvidia GTX 1660Ti.

Best Computer for Animation, AMD at roughly ~1200$

Some Build notes:

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

The AMD Ryzen 3600X is a CPU with a great value, excellent Multi-Core and Single Core performance. All AMD Ryzen CPUs usually come with included CPU coolers, so you wouldn’t necessarily need an extra cooler if you want to save some money.

I added a Samsung 970 EVO PLUS M.2 NVMe Drive in this build that will give you extreme Storage Performance.

Best Computer for Animation, AMD at roughly ~1500$

Some Build notes:

This is a basic build that you can build upon. The Case is professional looking, minimalistic and quiet.

The AMD Ryzen 3700X CPU comes with a boxed cooler, though I added the Cooler Master EVO 212 to the build for some additional cooling performance. Air Coolers are usually quieter than AIO or Water Cooling solutions, as they only have one Fan and no pumping noise.

A nice upgrade, if you have the extra cash, would be to go with the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X, as it has 4 extra Cores for a total of 12 Cores and higher Core-Clocks.

Best Computer for Animation, Intel at roughly ~2200$

Some Build notes:

Although AMD does currently have the lead in providing CPUs for Animation tasks at better value and performance, Intel has some excellent CPUs with their own benefits.

The i9 9900K in this build has very high single core performance for smooth active work inside your 3D Viewport, and its 8, high-clocking, Cores grant you great performance when doing multi-core tasks such as CPU rendering.

Custom PC-Builder

If you want to get the best parts within your budget you should definitely have a look at our Web-Based PC-Builder Tool.

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

It also recommends Laptops for Animation, if you would like to be more mobile.

PC-Builder Facebook Title Image

That’s pretty much it!

What Computer for Animation are you building?

Join the New CGDirector Forum! Expert Advice & PC-Build Planning with a warm and friendly Community! :)

Alex Glawion - post author

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

I’ve built a multitude of Computers, Workstations and Renderfarms and love to optimize them as much as possible.

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I’ll do my best to help out!

309
Comments

atstyles

I’m looking to build a new Machine for $1500 dollars, i will use it primarily 3D animation, plus i may do some rendering . I also intend to game on it too. Can you recommend me a build please?

Hey atstyles,

Thanks for dropping a line!

Your $1,500 will get you a build like the below:

Parts List:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X 3.9GHz 8-Core Processor ($327.50)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Prism Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus ATX AM4 ($238.94)
GPU: ASUS Dual GeForce RTX 2070 ($419.99)
Memory: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 C16 ($139.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Crucial P1 1TB, M.2 Solid State Drive ($104.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550M 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($114.99)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($109.17)

This build costs around $1,455.57 but you can expect it to deliver a great performance for your workloads but at the same time have enough power to run the latest AAA games so you can enjoy a quick gaming session when taking a break from your animation tasks.

Cheers,
Alex

Conner

Hi there,

I’m looking to build a pc for industry standard visual effects and 3d computer animation, id like to be able to render for film and tv.

I have an old Pc with the following specs which 7 years ago was a beast but its starting to see its day for what I want it for:

AMD FX (tm )8320 Eight Core Processor 3.52,
AMD Radeon R9 290X GPU with 4096 VRAM,
8.00GB Dual-Channel DDR3 @ 805MHz (11-11-11-28) Ram,
Toshiba 120GB SSD,
Seagate 926GB HD

I have another which was a development pc very similar with a Nvidia 1050Ti and 16GB of Ram.

I’m not great on PC builds but if you could recommend me a build that would be great. My budget is around £1000 however maybe I can get some money for my old pc’s (Not sure). Im also not sure whats better Nvidia or AMD Radeon.

Thanks!

gia

Hi there!
Im a college student starting to do 2d animation (photoshop, adobe animate)
Not an expert so was wondering if you could help me with the extra stuff involving a PC
I am trying to not go over 1000 usd, but a little over into the 1200 range is okay
This is what I know I need so far:
AMD Ryzen 3600
16 GB ram
RX 5700 XT

Im still unsure of what Optical drive, Hard drive, etc I need so any help would be greatly appreciated!!
Thanks!

Hey Gia,

Thanks for dropping a line!

Please see below for the parts list of a build for your use case in the $1,200 range:

Parts List:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X 3.9GHz 8-Core Processor ($328.98)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Prism Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Gaming X ATX AM4 ($169.99)
GPU: EVGA GeForce RTX 2060 KO Ultra Gaming ($319.99)
Memory: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($124.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: WD Black 500GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($69.99)
Power Supply: EVGA Supernova 550 GA 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($119.99)
Case: Fractal Design Focus G ATX Mid Tower Case ($55.99)

This build will cost you around $1,189.92 but this is more powerful than your proposed Ryzen 5 3600-based build. This build comes with a Ryzen 7 3800X CPU working with 32GB of RAM and this combination will pretty much ensure that your workflow is always fast and smooth. I know you mentioned you wanted an RX 5700 XT graphics card but I don’t tend to recommend the use of AMD Radeon GPUs for content creators. It would be best if you use and NVIDIA-based GPU like the RTX 2060 because these GPUs support CUDA core acceleration and bring about a better render performance in case you need to use the GPU render engines. All in all, this build might be a little more expensive but you can expect an excellent performance from this build when you’re doing your 2D animation tasks.

Cheers,
Alex

gerard

hello! can you please recommend a build leaning more toward 2d animation, digital art, and editing (photoshop, harmony, after effects) for a budget around 6-700 usd or cheaper? thank you.

Hey Gerard,

Thanks for asking!

It’s no longer advisable to go for a build that’s cheaper that $600 because that will seriously compromise the build’s performance. That said, here’s a $700 build for your use case:

Parts List:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6GHz 6-Core Processor ($167.00)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Stealth Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: ASRock B450 PRO4 ATX AM4 ($99.99)
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB – EVGA XC Gaming ($149.95)
Memory: 8GB (1 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 CL16 ($43.99)
Storage SSD: WD Green 1TB SATA Solid State Drive ($99.99)
Power Supply: CORSAIR CX-M Series CX550M 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($79.99)
Case: Fractal Design Focus G ATX Mid Tower Case ($55.99)

The total of the build comes up to around $696.90 and you can expect this build to perform nicely as long as you don’t expect it to perform like more expensive and higher-specced builds. As always, the maxim “You get what you pay for” applies here. And in case you can increase your budget a little, you might want to increase your RAM to at least 16GB. While you can get away with just 8GB, it might not be enough if you will work on large projects and complex scenes.

Cheers,
Alex

Max

Hi! I’m thinking about building the “Best Computer for Animation, AMD.” I’m planning on switching out the AMD Ryzen 7 3700X for the AMD Ryzen 9 3900X. On top of that, I was wondering if I could switch out the RTX 2060 graphics card for a RTX 2080TI without having to upgrade anything else. This is my first time building a PC. Would you mind helping me? Thanks!

Max

Okay, on second thought I might just use the GeForce RTX 2060 Super. Should that still work?

Andrew Maguire

Hi Alex,

Thank you very much for your help, I bought followed your list that cost around 2000, only thing is, I’ve accidentally bought an X570 Aorus Elite and not the WiFi version. Can you tell me please if I am still able to insert/install an intel ax200 wireless wi-fi 6 card with Bluetooth onto this board and if so whereabouts? Otherwise I guess I need some other PCI card?

Jade

hi i have a budget of 1000$ can you help me choose the best parts for my compter
1000$ is max but cheaper is better

Hey Jade,

Thanks for dropping a line!

Here’s an animation-centric build for your $1,000 budget. Please have a look below for the specs:

CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=Cp1yi0n0lka

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 3.6GHz 6-Core Processor ($167.00)
CPU Cooler: Cooler Master Hyper 212 Black Edition AM4 ($38.99)
Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming x570-Plus (Wifi) ATX AM4 ($189.99)
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660TI 6GB – EVGA XC Gaming ($329.98)
Memory: 8GB (1 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 CL16 ($44.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: WD Black 500GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($69.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($69.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($74.99)

The build will cost you around $985.92 and you can expect this build to perform nicely when you’re doing your animation tasks. Of course, you shouldn’t expect this build to perform like the more expensive and higher-specced builds. This build will deliver a decent performance and in the event you feel it’s underpowered, you have the option of upgrading some of the components to higher-tiered ones to add more power under the hood.

Cheers,
Alex

Tito

Hi! Fist thanks for this amazingly detailed and easy to absorb article. It has helped me out a lot building the pc I need!

I would like to double check something with you before making any purchases. I am planning on getting the ASUS Prime Z390-A and pairing it with the Be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 as you guys did for the build recommendations in this article.

But going through the Be Quiet website checking for compatibility it says that this combination could obstruct the Ram slots on this motherboard, which is a shame since I want to make use off all the slots (Im getting 4×16 to use the full 64 that the motherboard can take).

In any other website no one has raised this issue and even recommend the combination. So did you guys ran into any space issues while creating this build or did it work fine? please let me know if you can c:

Thank you!

areif

Please give me some good advise because I want to buy a gaming computer for my Son, He will use it on his projects in school study @ home, I’m not expert on Hardware, but as far as I know the one I like are these:
1. Windows 10 Pro
2. Intel i9 9900K
3. 64 GB Ram
4. Graphics 2080i
5. 2 TB Samsung 970 (operating system)
6. 2 TB Back up drive 7200 rpm
7. Liquid Cooled

Please add more for the rest, like motherboard, power supply, case, etc etc, just hardware only
No software for now.

Thank you Much
areif

Hi Areif,

Thanks for asking!

I see no issues with the components you like. For the other components, please see below:

CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X53 240mm – RL-KRX53-01 – AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler ($123.44)
Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z390-A ATX 1151 ($259.70)
Power Supply: Seasonic Focus PX-850, 850W 80+ Platinum Full-Modular ($245.00)
Case: Corsair iCUE 220T RGB Airflow Tempered Glass Mid-Tower Smart Case ($128.95)

That should complete your list of components for your build and once you complete that build, you can expect it to be more than powerful enough to handle whatever task you throw at it!

Cheers,
Alex

areif

Thank you so much

James Linton

Great articles here!! Thank you! I was wondering if you could give any specific advice for my situation. I am doing Mocap with iClone, and CC3 which also works with UE4. Since that software wasn’t mentioned I was hoping for some advice. I am looking to sell off most of my current rig and take your advice. Here is what I have currently:

Operating System: Windows 10 Professional Edition build 18363 (64-bit)
CPU Type: Intel Xeon E5-2687W v4 @ 3.00GHz
Number of CPUs: 2
Cores per CPU: 12
Hyperthreading: Enabled
Motherboard: Z10PE-D8 WS
Memory: 64GB Kingston KVR24R17D4/16 16GB DDR4-2400
ECC/REG
Video card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080
Hard Drive: Samsung SSD 860 PRO 2TB (2TB)
Hard Drive: Samsung SSD 970 EVO Plus 500GB (500GB)
Hard Drive: Studio USB Device (3TB)
Hard Drive: USB Flash Memory USB Device (8GB)

Hey James,

Thanks for dropping a line!

If you plan on selling off your current rig, my suggestion is for you to keep the hard drives as these can still be used on your next build. Now, how much are you willing to spend on this new build?

By the way, the softwares you mentioned are mostly dedicated for modeling and animation so in this case, you want to invest in a CPU with high-clock speeds to ensure task responsiveness when you’re doing active work. One good option for this is the Ryzen 9 3900X from AMD.

Since you already have 64GB of RAM in your current rig, I suggest that you go for 64GB of RAM as well in your new build. I would have suggested that you also keep your RAM but seeing that it only has a speed of 2400 MHz, it would be best to sell this off and get yourself a new RAM kit with speeds of at least 3200 MHz.

Just to give you an idea, here’s an example of a build that costs around $2,500:

Parts List:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8GHz 12-Core Processor ($419.99)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 AM4 ($89.90)
Motherboard: ASUS Pro WS X570-ACE ATX AM4 ($379.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 8GB – EVGA XC Gaming ($999.99)
Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($329.99)
Power Supply: Corsair RMx Series Platinum RM850x 850W Power Supply ($127.21)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case ($103.14)

This build will cost you around $2,450.21 but you can expect this to be more than powerful enough to handle your modeling and animation needs. By the way, I didn’t include hard drives in the build to keep the costs down and also because you can use the SSDs and other hard drives from your current build. Let me know if this build works for you.

Cheers,
Alex

James Linton

Absolutely!! Thanks for the reply !! I also have a large ATX case and 1000 watt Corsair PS I can use. Only question now is whether to wait for the AMD 3900 XT rumored to be available in July! Thanks again