Best Computer for Blender (Workstation & PC-Build Guide)

CG Director Author Alex  by Asher   ⋮   ⋮   101 comments
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Best Computer for Blender (Workstation & PC-Build Guide)

Blender is a versatile digital content creation tool that has been used in a variety of high budget and low budget productions. It’s free, it’s open source, and it’s incredibly flexible — if you have the right workstation.

This guide will cover the ins and outs of building a computer tailored to fit Blender’s hardware requirements.

The end result won’t differ too much from your usual gaming or workstation setup, but there are a few factors we’ll cover that can have a big impact on Blender’s performance.

We’ll start out by taking a look at how Blender uses your computer hardware, and follow it up with a breakdown of what features you should look for when buying computer parts. After that, we’ll show you some finished builds that are great for Blender users with different budgets.

Finally, we’ll take a look at how Blender’s hardware requirements may change in the future, and the things you can do to make sure your build will be ready when those changes happen.

If you already know what you’re looking for, feel free to skip ahead to our hardware recommendations or finished Blender PC-Builds. Otherwise, read on!

How Blender Uses Your Hardware

Blender is a versatile program that has been used to make everything from movies to 3D printed dentures.  It has modes dedicated to 3D modeling, 3D animation, 3D sculpting, 2D animation, rendering, shader editing, video editing, compositing, and even text editing!

Blender Splash Screen

Image-Source: Software Blender

This versatility makes it hard to pick a single performance scenario that’s more important than the rest, but there are a few common categories that are important for every user.

3D Modeling

While it’s theoretically possible to use Blender without digging into its 3D modeling system, most users work with it extensively.

Blender tries to split modeling workloads between the CPU and GPU. Using the former for high-precision tasks — modifiers, shape keys, drivers, etc — and python modules, and the latter for things like geometry selection, viewport rendering, and overlays.

Blender Modeling 3d

This approach makes Blender a wonderfully undemanding tool for low-poly and mid-poly modeling, but you’ll still need a powerful workstation for high-poly work. You’ll need all the power you can get in order to take advantage of things like OpenSubdivision and parametric modeling.

3D Sculpting

Blender’s sculpting system was partially refactored for version 2.8, shedding a lot of unmaintainable code. The developers didn’t have time to implement all of the performance optimizations they wanted to before 2.8 hit release, but the features on the road map still show a lot of promise.

The current sculpting system is CPU-based, with decent multi-threading, and it relies on aggressive RAM caching to deliver consistent performance while working on high-poly models.

Best PC for Blender - Blender Sculpting

Image Source: Blender Software

Blender hits RAM capacity and CPU processing bottlenecks faster than other sculpting programs because of this, but it still delivers solid sculpting performance on the right hardware.

Cycles Rendering

Cycles is Blender’s production rendering engine. It’s been used in a variety of films and TV shows, like Next Gen and Man in the High Castle, as well as countless commercials.

Under the hood, Cycles is a cross-platform physically-based unidirectional path tracer that can run on CPU, GPU, and CPU+GPU hybrid mode in single-processor and multi-processor (CPU or GPU) configurations. In simple terms, it’s flexible, powerful, and surprisingly easy to work with.

Blender Cycles Settings

Like all production engines, though, Cycles is demanding. It takes full advantage of multithreading where it can and it’s a popular benchmark tool for both CPUs and GPUs.

Cycles renders faster on GPU by a fair margin, but it has a larger feature set (including OSL support) on CPU.

Eevee Rendering

Eevee can’t achieve the same fidelity as a production ray tracer like Cycles, but it isn’t meant to. Eevee’s built for real time rendering and look development, with a PBR feature set that parallels real time engines like Unreal and Lumberyard.

As you’d expect, Eevee is a GPU-only engine and that doesn’t run on multi-GPU configurations. Eevee supports bloom, ambient occlusion, depth of field, screen space reflections, motion blur, volumetrics, and indirect light baking.

Eevee Rendering

Eevee runs smoothly on mid-to-high-end consumer GPUs in most situations. It performs best when it has access to ample VRAM, and it can be bottlenecked by excessive draw calls. It performs a bit better on Nvidia cards than AMD, mostly due to the close relationship between Nvidia and the Blender development team.

Best Hardware for Blender Explained

Now that we’ve looked at Blender’s general hardware requirements, we can dig into the specific details that’ll influence how you’ll build your Blender workstation.

CPU

While Blender takes advantage of multithreading where it can, there are certain tasks that have to be handled on a single thread. You can usually predict what is or isn’t multi-threaded, though, and striking a good balance isn’t too much of a challenge.

If you’re interested in all of Blender’s features, or you’re building a generalist workstation that doesn’t target a particular pipeline, pick a processor with a balanced feature set.

Blender is well-optimized for multithreaded CPU rendering, but not to the point that it struggles on processors that prioritize single-core performance.

CPU NameCoresGhzScore (minutes)
CPU NameCoresGHzScore (minutes)
AMD Threadripper 3970X323.704.24
AMD Threadripper 3960X243.805.43
AMD Threadripper 2990WX323.006.16
AMD Threadripper 2970WX243.007.40
AMD Ryzen 3950X163.508.17
Intel i9 10980XE183.008.51
AMD Threadripper 2950X163.510.32
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X123.810.55
AMD Threadripper 2920X123.513.02
AMD Threadripper 1920X123.514.05
Intel i9 9900X103.514.23
Intel i9 7900X103.315.02
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X83.915.30
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X83.616.18
Intel i9 9900K83.616.45
Intel i9 9900KF83.616.45
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X83.718.24
AMD Ryzen 5 3600X63.821.01
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X83.621.09
AMD Ryzen 7 270083.221.10
AMD Ryzen 5 360063.621.55
Intel i7 8700K63.722.04
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X63.624.27
AMD Ryzen 5 260063.426.26
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X63.327.12
Intel i7 7700K44.232.48
Intel i5 840062.835.18

The chart above is from our recent Blender Benchmarks article. The CPU’s we tested run the gamut from basic consumer processors to dedicated workstation chips, covering both ends of the budget range.

The benchmark tool we used was built by the Blender Foundation, and it’s a part of their open data platform. If you’re interested in seeing more rendering benchmarks, take a look at their Top 50 CPUs List.

If you aren’t specifically optimizing for CPU rendering, don’t worry too much about picking an expensive processor. You probably shouldn’t go for an Intel Core i3 or AMD Ryzen 1500x if you can afford something better, but there’s no need to break the bank here.

AMD Ryzen vs Intel CPU

Best CPUs for Blender – CPU Recommendations

If you’d like to stay on Intel’s side, the Intel i9 9900K is a good buy for Blender with fast active work performance, but it lacks behind in multi-core performance compared to AMD’s offerings.

GPU

Blender makes liberal use of GPU acceleration, which means that a good GPU can have an impact on just about everything you do in Blender. Not all GPUs are alike, however, and there are some important differences you should be aware of before you commit to a particular brand or price point.

Multiple Cores CPU vs GPU

CUDA vs. OpenCL

While CUDA and OpenCL are both programming architectures that can be used for general purpose computing on GPUs, it’s hard to compare them directly.

CUDA is a proprietary architecture, toolkit, and API from Nvidia that only works with Nvidia graphics cards. Nvidia provides tons of resources and hands-on support for developers that use it, and it’s a powerful tool for users with the right hardware configuration.

OpenCL, meanwhile, is an open source architecture for heterogeneous computing that was originally created by Apple. It’s a general purpose toolkit for making different kinds of processors work together when they otherwise couldn’t, and it’s known for its flexibility.

CUDA GTX Nvidia - Best Blender PC

Image-Source: Gametech

Blender renders faster and runs smoother on CUDA GPUs for obvious reasons; CUDA is built to be used the way Blender uses it. OpenCL isn’t designed to compete with CUDA, instead catering towards bootstrapped processing networks that mix in non-consumer processors like DSPs and FPGAs.

What About RTX?

Does Blender use RTX raytracing?”, is a common question, and it deserves a thorough answer.

Nvidia’s ray tracing API isn’t called RTX. RTX cards have dedicated ray tracing hardware, but the API itself is called OptiX.

OptiX isn’t a driver and it can’t be used to accelerate ray tracing tasks automatically. OptiX is more comparable to architectures like CUDA and OpenCL, albeit with a narrower focus.

Nvidia RTX 2070

Blender’s development team is working with Nvidia to integrate OptiX features into Blender and OptiX accelerated CUDA rendering will eventually be available alongside the existing CUDA and OpenCL implementations.

Blender 2.8 did not ship with OptiX support.

So What GPU Should I Use?

Blender’s heavy use of GPU acceleration and its rock-solid CUDA implementation makes an Nvidia graphics card a safe choice for most users. Non-CUDA cards (read: AMD cards) aren’t the best choice for rendering, but they’re still a good choice for users interested in consistent viewport performance.

When it comes to looking at GPU specifications, pay attention to the number of compute cores (CUDA or OpenCL, depending on what brand you buy) and the amount of VRAM. Blender is just as hungry for VRAM as it for normal RAM, and a GPU with ample VRAM is worth paying extra for if you’re interested in sculpting, high poly modeling, or GPU rendering.

Best GPUs for Blender – GPU Recommendations

CUDA

OpenCL

  • Radeon RX 5700XT or RX 5700
  • Radeon Vega 56 / 64

RAM

While earlier versions of Blender were known to have a relatively modest memory footprint, the Blender 2.8 reverses that trend. While you can generally get by in Blender with mid-range processors and graphics cards, insufficient RAM is a show-stopper that can’t be circumvented.

So why does Blender use more RAM than other programs? 

Blender does a little bit of everything, and it isn’t optimized for narrow performance conditions like other modeling tools.

It has multiple data structures for meshes, operations that can run on both CPU and GPU, and a system for animating just about every object property you can imagine.

Blender juggles these operations and not-quite-identical data structures by caching and duplicating object data in your RAM, giving each system a clean instance to operate on. This limits data loss and improves Blender’s stability, but only by consuming a significant amount of RAM.

This RAM caching system has a notable impact on Blender’s modifier stack, as it repeatedly re-caches objects for each active modifier. It has a similar impact on sculpting, too, due to the differences between the sculpting and modeling mesh data structures.

Corsair RAM for Computer for 3D Modeling and Rendering

Image-Source: Corsair

If you’re using Blender for anything beyond low-poly modeling and simple scenes, you’ll want at least 16-32gb of RAM. If you have a tendency to multitask and this isn’t your first workstation build, stepping up to 64gb isn’t a bad idea.

When it comes to RAM speed and how many sticks to get, check out this section of our general workstation guide. It’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Best RAM for Blender – RAM Recommendations

Storage

Data storage can have a surprisingly large impact on Blender’s performance, and investing in the right drives definitely pays off.

Blender is built with data preservation in mind, which means that it’s constantly writing temporary files and auto-saves to disk. This is great for most users, but it can lead to frustration I/O bottlenecks in large projects.

To get the best performance, you’ll need to distribute your workload across multiple drives, preventing software and operating system I/O from bottlenecking data cache and storage I/O.

A 3-drive configuration, with your OS and software on one SSD, your active project files and data caches on a second SSD, and your archived files on an HDD, will give you the best performance when you’re working on projects with cached lighting, physics, and/or animation data.

This kind of configuration is commonly used by video editors, which shouldn’t be too surprising. The Blender Foundation has a long history, and much of Blender’s feature set caters to open source short film production.

For SSDs, we strongly recommend choosing an NVMe SSD. The price difference between SATA and NVMe SSDs isn’t negligible, but the performance gains are significant.

Best PC for Blender - SSD vs NVMe

The size sweet spot will depend on how complex your projects are and how many of them you have going at once; if you tend to work on one project at a time, you can get away with using smaller SSDs and move your completed projects to an HDD as you go.

HDD prices are low enough that you should be able to get a high capacity drive for relatively cheap. If this is your first workstation build, you don’t need to worry about complex RAID configurations or NAS enclosures; you’ll know when you’ll need them.

samsung_970_evo

Storage Recommendations

Cases

I’m going to focus on ATX cases here, as the build process for Micro-ATX and ITX form-factors are involved enough to deserve their own article.

For ATX cases, though, the rubric is simple. Your case should be well-built, properly sized, and adequately vented, with mounting points for additional fans and a logical air-flow design. Tie-off points for cable management are always helpful, and front USB-C ports can be incredibly convenient.

Beyond those basics, though, choosing the right case is mostly a matter of aesthetics.

Case Airflow

Image-Source: Corsair

If you’re going for an industrial vibe check out Lian Li. The PC-A75 is a large and sturdy case that’s perfect case for an understated workstation build.

If you value air flow above all else, get a case from Cooler Master. My current workstation is in their HAF XB EVO, and, while it isn’t the prettiest case in the world, it’s a rock-solid test bench with excellent cooling.

For cases with more traditional aesthetics, I’ll defer to Alex. Here are a few of his recommendations:

Case Recommendations

Mid-Tower (Standard-Sized Build)

Big Tower (For lots of GPUs)

Power Supplies

Picking the right power supply is pretty simple. Grab an online calculator (like this one!) and add up your system’s power draw. If the average draw lines up with the peak of the PSU’s efficiency curve, and you still have some headroom for future upgrades, you’re good to go.

If you care about cable management (and you should care about cable management), get a modular power supply. These PSUs cost a smidgen more than non-modular power supplies, but the convenience of only having to deal with the cables you need in your case is worth the premium.

Cable-Management

Image-Source: Corsair

Beyond that, it’s mostly a matter of budgeting. With that, and energy efficiency, in mind, here are a few PSUs we’d recommend:

PSU

Motherboards

The importance of a high-quality motherboard is hard to quantify, as the associated costs tend to be tied up in materials and quality controls that provide stability rather than direct performance improvements.

You’ll feel the impact of those materials and controls once you start overclocking, though, and you’ll appreciate the additional PCI slots, rear I/O, M.2 capacity, and power stability when it comes time to upgrade.

Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite

Image-Source: Gigabyte

 

The specific motherboard you choose will, of course, depend on the CPU socket and form factor and amount of GPUs you are planning on using you’re interested in. Larger motherboards tend to have more internal expansion slots and rear I/O ports than smaller motherboards, and newer socket revisions tend to come with better features than older revisions (even when they’re compatible with the same hardware).

Check out this guide if you want to dive into the nitty-gritty details of buying the best AM4 motherboard; keep reading to see our current recommendations.

Motherboard Recommendations

Monitor Choices

Picking the right computer monitor for Blender is fairly straightforward, since Blender doesn’t require monitor features that other modeling programs don’t.

This lets you pick a monitor configuration that fits the overall workflow you like to use without worrying too much about how Blender will fit into it. Blender’s UI is functional on both small and large screens, with hiDPI support on all platforms, too.

We explore monitor choices in detail in this writeup, which is worth reading if you’re looking for a high-end screen. In general, though, you’ll probably want an IPS panel monitor with minimal light bleed and a broad color gamut. A 4k monitor isn’t mandatory, but the step from 1080p to 1440p is worth it if it fits your budget.

When it comes to screen size, number, and aspect ratio, it’s mostly a matter of personal preference. Your productivity won’t scale linearly with more and/or larger monitors, and you’ll benefit more from a single high-quality screen if you’re doing any sort of texturing, rendering, or color grading.

Best Monitor for Blender

Image-Source: Dell

Here are a few monitors that fit that description:

Monitor Recommendations

Future Proofing

The PC hardware market changes quickly, and some hardware configurations are more upgradable than others. If you want to build a PC for Blender that you can upgrade later on, there are a few factors that’ll affect your hardware choices.

Hardware Considerations

The biggest factor is your motherboard’s CPU socket type. Some sockets are designed to be forward-compatible (with bios updates), while others aren’t.

Depending on when you build your computer, relative to hardware release cycles, a newer low-end CPU can be a smarter choice than an older high-end CPU if you’re intending to upgrade later on.

Intel changes socket designs frequently, which gives AMD an edge for users interested in future-proofing. AMD’s AM4 socket won’t go away any time soon, either, which makes it an especially solid choice.

On the practical side of the equation, picking the right case can make upgrading a lot easier. I specifically chose my ugly brick of a case for its horizontally mounted motherboard, which makes upgrading a breeze. I can pop the top panel off and swap hardware out in minutes

The form factor of your build can also make upgrading harder; small cases don’t have a lot of wiggle room for longer GPUs and larger coolers, and compact motherboards have a limited number of PCI lanes and RAM slots.

Piecemeal upgrades in tight cases are challenging, and you’ll end up spending more time planning and installing hardware upgrades than you would in a larger case. PSUs should be strong enough from the start if you plan on getting more hardware later on, especially with multi-gpu setups that are planned to be expanded.

Building Your Workstation

This is a site for PC building enthusiasts, which means we really like the part where we get to put our workstations together. It’s fun, it’s amazingly easy, and it’s a great way to save money.

If you don’t know where to start, though, don’t worry; there are tons of guides online. We’ve found this video from Bitwit to be particularly helpful for first-time builders:

Putting your workstation together should only take a few hours; less, if you set up your workspace properly beforehand.

Best PC-Builds for Blender at different Price Points

Best Computer for Blender, AMD at roughly ~700$

Some Build notes:

This very low-budget Build can be made even cheaper if you use the CPU Cooler that comes with the CPU. It doesn’t have as great a Cooling Power as the CoolerMaster Hyper 212, but this is not entirely necessary with such a CPU.

Some CPU upgrades include the Ryzen 7 2700 or 2700X if you have some extra cash. Of course the 3rd gen Ryzen CPUs are an option too, but will increase the money you have to spend some more.

Best Computer for Blender, AMD at roughly ~2000$

Some Build notes:

This is a great “all-rounder” AMD build that will make Blender run fast in all kinds of workloads – multi- and single-threaded. The Case is professional, minimalistic and quiet and there is room for 3 Optical drives in case you want to add some DVD/CD Drives.

The AMD Ryzen 9 3900X is the fastest of the third Generation Ryzen CPUs. It has excellent Multi-Core and great Single Core performance. Be sure to take a look at this article on the best motherboards for Ryzen 3rd Gen CPUs, to see which one exactly you will want to get.

I added a Samsung 970 EVO PLUS M.2 NVMe Drive in this build that will give you extreme Storage Performance. The Nvidia RTX 2070 offers great CUDA GPU Rendering Performance at a reasonable price, but can be interchanged with the 2060 Super if you’d like to save some more money.

Best Computer for Blender, Intel at roughly ~2000$

Some Build notes:

This is a solid Intel build with an extremely well-performing Processor in Blender. The Case is professional, minimalistic and quiet.

The Intel i9-9900K is the currently leading CPU in single-core performance, meaning your viewport and active-work speed will not get any faster than with this CPU.

If you are planning on some extreme overclocking or sustained high-workload, you might want to consider an AiO CPU cooling solution.

Best Computer for CPU Rendering in Blender, AMD at roughly ~3000$

This is an excellent Build that leans towards CPU Rendering Performance and less towards active-working performance in tasks such as 3D Modeling or Animating.


Some notes on this build:

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

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

Best Computer for GPU Rendering in Blender, AMD at roughly ~7100$

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

Some notes on this Build:

4 GPUs 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 Gigabyte X399 Designare EX Motherboard.

At ~$1,200 each, RTX 2080TIs are expensive.  If you’re okay with slightly slower performance, but want to save a decent chunk of money, I recommend going with 4x RTX 2070, as these come in at around $550 each. You’ll only have 8GBs of VRAM per card, but the GPU rendering performance/price is much better.

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

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

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

Custom PC-Builder

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

CGDirector PC-Builder Tool

CGDirector.com PC-Builder Title Image

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

Best Laptop for 3D Modeling and Rendering in Blender

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

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

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

 

What kind of Computer or Workstation are you building?


Asher Stephenson - post author

Hi, I’m Asher. I’m a technical writer, a tech journalist, and CG Director's resident Blender nerd. If I’m not up a mountain somewhere, I’m probably tinkering with my PC setup.

Need help with a build? Let me know! I’ve been building workstations and gaming rigs for over ten years and I love troubleshooting.

Leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help out!

101
Comments

Max

Hi Alex, great help found here..
I am kinda out of knowledge and not up to date…
Been using Mac the last years and currently super frustrated.. As Mac doesn’t support Nvidea and Blender does’t go with AMD and MacOS.. So no GPU rendering with Mac and Blender, even EGPU wouldn’t help…

So what if I want to get something I could be big.. but start off with getting only parts (like 1/4 GPUs) but everything always ready for more (without having to change, just add).

Do the GPUs all have to be the same model, when using 2,3 or 4?

Is the latest List here for Blender still up to date?

Cheers
Max

Hey Max,
You can easily mix GPUs, even if they are not of the same kind. As long as they have cuda support and a similar amount of vram, you should be good to go.

The 4 GPU Build above is still viable as a gpu-render-focused build, but if you have the extra money and want to use the build to also actively work in blender, I would recommend going with the newest Threadripper Generation of CPUs. Here is a build similar to the one above, but with the newest threadripper gen:

->CPU: AMD Threadripper 3970X 3.7GHz 32-Core Processor ($1949.99)
or 3960x 24-core (~1300$)
->CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 280mm ($141.99)
->Motherboard: ASROCK TRX40 Creator ATX sTRX4 ($516.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080TI 11GB – Asus Turbo ($1211.00)
GPU #2: NVIDIA RTX 2080TI 11GB – Asus Turbo ($1211.00)
GPU #3: NVIDIA RTX 2080TI 11GB – Asus Turbo ($1211.00)
GPU #4: NVIDIA RTX 2080TI 11GB – Asus Turbo ($1211.00)
Memory: 128GB (8 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 CL16 ($878.65)
Storage SSD: Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($149.99)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA 1600 G2 80+ GOLD 1600W ($407.33)
Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Titanium Big Tower Case ($143.62)

Hope this helps,
Alex

Daz

Hi folks,

Thanks for this amazing article!

I’m about to put together a (GPU expandable) PC, based on the 7k system in this article.
I’m starting with one 2080ti, with a view to get more GPUs down the road.

So i’m starting with a lighter weight PSU and will sell it and upgrade if and when i go above 2 GPUs.

I’ll be doing 3D animation in Blender and compositing in DaVinci Fusion.

My list is very similar to your 7k system, so i can’t imagine there’ll be a problem, but just in case, this is it, does it look ok?

AMD Threadripper 1900X 3.8GHz 8-Core Processor
be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 TR4
Gigabyte X399 Designare EX ATX TR4
NVIDIA RTX 2080TI 11GB – Asus Turbo
128GB (8 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 CL16
Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
CORSAIR AX Series AX850
Fractal Design Define XL R2 Black Pearl big tower

Hey Daz,
Yes that’s a solid system, I see no issues! For GPU rendering it will perform nicely. Of course, if this is also a PC you want to actively work on, you COULD consider a stronger cpu such as the 2950x, which also sports higher boost frequencies.

Another jump in performance of course would be to go with a 3rd gen threadripper cpu, but that will cost a lot more than what you currently have listed.

Cheers,
Alex

Daz

Many thanks, Alex…………….wow, those CPUs are a lot of coin! i’ll think about…….. cheers! …… D

Aksh

If you are really serious, you could spring for a 3rd Gen Threadripper on the TRX40 socket, the 1st and 2nd gen T-rippers have no upgrade path. The new socket should have longer support and those new chips really are monsters.
If a gen 3 T-ripper is too much then check out the Ryzen 9 3950X, you get 16 Zen 2 cores for $750, it also has cheaper motherboards. The trade off is fewer PCI-E lanes.

Daz

Thanks dude, since posting this i kinda decided to throw my budget out the window and just build a cost-no-object PC, as waiting for stuff to render is so painful! So i’ll be back here in while when i have the time to do this (i’m doing it as a hobby so work and family stuff come first)…… cheers@

Steve

Hi!

I want to use my old VGA monitor as a second display, but powerful graphic cards doesnt have these outputs, so, I have 2 options for my build:

1) CPU R5 3600 + RTX 2060 Super + GT 710 (for VGA)
2) CPU R5 3400G (for using VGA via motherboard) + RTX 2060 Super

Since GPU rendering in Cycles much faster than CPU (especially with RTX and OptiX as I’ve seen in the recent tests) is that a problem to use CPU like 3400G?

What do you recommend?

Thanks!

Hey Steve,

Thanks for asking!

First off, if you will be doing GPU rendering, the CPU wouldn’t have much effect on it so it’s perfectly fine to use a 3400G for that matter. But for purposes of using your old VGA monitor, you can actually go for your first option of using a Ryzen 5 3600 CPU and pairing it with an RTX 2060 Super GPU but dropping the GT 710. You see, you don’t need to use an extra GPU like the GT 710 for its VGA port. You can simply buy a VGA to HDMI adapter and you should be all set.

Cheers,
Alex

Yannick

Hi Alex

I have a question – I am converting my old gaming PC into a workstation that I will mainly use to model and sculpt in Blender / zBrush.

As viewport performance is the most important factor for me, the gpu will be the last part that I will upgrade, so I thought to start with the following :

ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus (WI-FI) (AM4, AMD X570, ATX)
AMD Ryzen 9 3950X (AM4, 3.60GHz, 16-Core)
Corsair Vengeance LPX (4x, 16GB, DDR4-3200, DIMM 288)
Samsung 970 EVO Plus (1000GB, M.2 2280)
Corsair RM750x *2018* (750W)
be quiet! Dark Rock 4 (15.94cm)

Does this motherboard with that fan work if I want to use all four RAM slots (4×16)?

I still have a “Alpenföhn Matterhorn CPU Cooler Rev. B (15.65cm)” cooler from my old build, but I don’t think it is compatible with the AM4 form factor – is that right?

Also I thought to continue using my current MSI RX 480 Gaming X (8GB, High End) with it until i can replace it with a better nvidia gpu. How noticeable will the difference to a Nvidia GPU be when mostly working in the viewport?

Would it be a big difference to upgrade it with a 2070 SUPER? I think a 2080 ti would be overkill for my kind of work.

As for the case, I’ve still got my old “cooler master cm 690 ii advanced midi tower” laying around. together with an additional 500GB SSD and a green 500gb hdd that I originally used for backups.

Is there anything in that price-range that you would change?

Appreciate your advice. Thanks !

Yannick

Also, If I’d take the “be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4” cooler, would It still be possible to use all four ram sticks with this motherboard?

Hey Yannick,
Alpenföhn is not compatible with am4. Also, I’d recommend getting a bequit dark rock PRO 4, as the non-pro might not be powerful enough for cooling the 3950X under sustained load.

Ah just saw your second comment. Yes the PRO 4 has fans that can be moved up on the cooler a bit to make room for low profile ram, as the corsair vengeance is. So it fits!

The difference won’t be huge in terms of viewport performance, especially if you mainly do modeling in wireframe or simple shading views. With lots of effects on AA, ssao and the like, the gpu might become a bottleneck though until you upgrade it.

Your case can fit cpu coolers up to 177mm in height, so the dark rock pro 4 should fit easily.

The ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus has 1 pcie slot at x16 and one at x4. So beware that you won’t beable to add a second gpu at decent speeds in the future. If you want this though you should get a board such as the Gigabyte X570 Aorus Pro or ASUS Pro WS X570-Ace.

Cheers,
Alex

Yannick

Then I’ll go with the ASUS Pro WS X570-Ace, thanks for your advice!

Adrian

Hi Alex, The articles are really really fantastic!! Thumbs Up!! Im a part-time hobbist and in the midst of learning blender. Please take a look at my build and could you please give me your opinion of this build.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X

CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4 AM4

Motherboard: ASRock X570 TAICHI AM4 AMD Premium X570 SATA 6Gb/s ATX AMD Motherboard

GPU: MSI RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio

Memory: G-Skill Trident Z DDR4-3200MHz 64GB (4x16GB)

Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD 1TB (MZ-V7S1T0B/AM)

Hdd : Seagate BarraCuda 3TB Internal Hard Drive HDD (ST3000DM007)

Power Supply: Corsair RMx Series RM850x

Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case

Monitor : Philips 276E8VJSB

I took your advise in trying out the PC-Builder Tool , coupled with recommendations from reading and learning the web. Im a life-long Mac user, its the first time building a pc, please excuse me if I left out something.

1. In the future I would like to add another MSI RTX 2080 Ti Gaming X Trio, thus the additional power supply (normally RM650x will do), will this build allow for 2080 Ti x 2?

2. Should I add additional fans?

Appreciate your opinions, Thanks.

Adrian

Hi

Hey Adrian,
Great build! I would probably even go with the bequiet dark rock _pro_ 4, because the non-pro is barely better than the boxed cooler that comes with the 3900x.

Everything else looks fine! You can add a second gpu later-on and 850w too is sufficient for driving two gpus of that caliber!

The carbide already has a front and back case fan, so this will be sufficient.

Cheers and have fun, let me know how it goes 🙂
Alex

Adrian

Hi Alex, Great advice!! i’ll keep you informed. Appreciate and well done guys for the comprehensive article.

Ivan

Hello. Please take a look at my build. I use Blender, Substance Painter, Unreal Engine 4, I need a strong machine suitable for seriuos work (3d modeling and rendering high poly models ).

Ryzen 9 3950X 3,5 GHz (Matisse) Socket AM4 – boxed with Wraith Prism Cooler
Gigabyte X570 Aorus Pro, AMD X570-Mainboard – Sockel AM4
G.Skill Trident Z RGB Series, DDR4-3200, CL14 – 64 GB Quad-Kit
Gigabyte Aorus GeForce RTX 2080 Ti Xtreme 11G, 11264 MB GDDR6
Toshiba SATA 6G, DT01ACA300, 3,5 Zoll – 3 TB
Be quiet! Silent Base 600 Midi-Tower – orange Window
SAMSUNG 970 Evo Plus NVMe SSD, PCIe 3.0 M.2 Typ 2280 – 1 TB

Thanks.

Hey Ivan,

In its state, I see no issues with your build! By the way, what PSU are you planning on using? Something along the lines of 600W should do it.

Cheers,
Alex

Ivan

Hi Alex,

AMD Threadripper 3960X 3,8 GHZ 24 core processor
ASROCK TRX40 Creator (ATX) sTRX4 Motherboard
G. Skill Trident Z RGB DDR4-3200 MHz 128 GB (8x16GB)
Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 Cooler
Be quiet!-Silent base 600 window orange
MSI gaming Ge Force RTX 2070 Super 8GB GDRR& Super Ventus OC
SAMSUNG 970 Evo Plus NVMe SSD, PCIe 3.0 M.2 Typ 2280 – 1 TB
Toshiba SATA 6G, DT01ACA300, 3,5 Zoll – 3 TB
Corsair PSU (have to yet decide)

Can you please take a look at this build and see if everything is ok.
In your opinion, from the two builds, which would you choose, Threadripper 3960X or Ryzen 9 3950?
I am not sure about this case. Is Silent base 600 big enough or should I get Silent Base 801 – Midi-Tower?

MSI gaming GE Force RTX 2070 Super Ventus OC is the one that CG director recommends as value buy so I went for it. Do you think this is a good choice for CPU based build ?

Thank you very much in advance.

Ivan

Hey Ivan,
As the Creator TRX40 Motherboard is ATX, it will fit into this case. If you want some more room for possible upgrades such as gpus or aios later on, then going with a bigger case might be wise.

Looking at the list of parts you have, you will have about the same performance on both 3950x and 3960x. Of course the 3960x has more cores, if that is what you need. But Threadripper shines the most when you have to expand it even more with lots of gpus, or storage, or broad connectivity. Right now, both would perform very similarly, platform-wise.

The 2070 Super of course already is a strong gpu and might be a bit overkill if you absolutely know you would not need any kind of high gpu performance, but only rely on cpu processing power. You can always get a 2060 Super or 2060, if you want without any difference in performance. Personally though, I like to balance the build a bit and have room for using gpu render engines in the future, so I would stay with the 2070 Super.

The MSI Super Ventus OC is a good gpu variant if you don’t plan on getting more than 2 of those in your build. If you want 4 gpus for example you will need to get blower-style gpus, so they can be cooled better in a tightly stacked config. (Asus turbo, msi aero, zotac blower …)

Cheers,
Alex

Ivan

Hi again Alex! First of all I wish you all the best in the New Year!

In terms of airflow would Fractal Design Define XL R2 Titanium Big Tower Case be a better solution for Threadripper 3960X than Be quiet!-Silent base 801? I plan od adding graphic cards in the future.

Thank you.

Ivan

Hey Ivan,
Yes the Fractal will allow you to get up to 4 GPUs into your case without using riser cables, while the Be quiet!-Silent base 801, can only handle 3. The fourth has to be installed vertically with a riser cable, which I don’t recommend for best performance.

Take a look at the be quiet! Dark Base Pro 900 Rev. 2 if you want to stay with bequiet.

Cheers,
Alex

Jake Holiday

Hi there, I’m currently considering how to upgrade my Blender workstation. Here’s my current build: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/3RPmTH Suggestions on what would be best to upgrade first? I mainly render with Cycles, I also edit 4k/6k video with Premiere. Thanks for any help you might provide!

Hi Jake,

Thanks for asking!

First off, if I may ask, how much are you willing to spend for this first upgrade?

That said, I think it would be best if you upgrade your CPU first. If you have the means for it, I suggest that you go for the Ryzen 9 3900X as it has a good balance between high clock speed and high core count. The 3900X’s high clock speed will help in making sure your workflow is always fast and smooth while its high core count will come in handy assuming you’re using the CPU to render in Cycles. In case you pull the trigger on this, you might need to update the BIOS of your MSI X370 SLI Plus motherboard in order to avoid issues later on.

Cheers,
Alex

Jake Holiday

Thanks for the reply, Alex! I’d probably be willing to spend 2-3k on the upgrade (trying to buy some equipment for tax write-offs). With that in mind, would that change or add to your recommendation? Thanks so much for the help!

Hi Jake,

For that amount of money, you can already build a NEW workstation which is a going to be a lot more powerful that what you currently have. Given your budget, you can put together something like the below:

Parts List:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8GHz 12-Core Processor ($493.84)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4 AM4 ($74.90)
Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming x570-Plus (Wifi) ATX AM4 ($184.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 TI 11GB – MSI Gaming X ($1249.00)
Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($309.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive ($197.48)
Power Supply: Corsair RMx Series RM650x 650W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($117.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case ($87.53)

The total comes up to about $2715.72 but this build comes with a Ryzen 9 3900X working with a whopping 64GB of RAM at the heart of its system. This CPU-RAM combination will ensure task responsiveness when you’re working actively inside the software. In addition to that, you also get an RTX 2080 Ti which is an absolute beast of a GPU. This top of the line graphics card will be of help in case you plan on using the GPU render engines. All in all, this is a dream build that will easily handle whatever task you throw at it.

Cheers,
Alex

Jake Holiday

And just one more thing: it seems that GPU Computing Cycles might be faster than CPU? Would that change the recommendation? I only know that from a “how to speed up cycles renders” video and it seems to be true.

Hey Jake,
Yes if your workflow and feature set permit it, then going the gpu rendering route nowadays in most cases is faster and lets you iterate more often to achieve better results.

You can always get an additional GPU for double the performance, or if that goes over your budget, get 2x rtx 2070 super instead of a single 2080ti. The two together are about as expensive as the single 2080ti but faster combined. They do have “just” 8gb of vram though, so if your scenes are very complex it might be better to stick with the 2080ti which has 11gb of vram.

Cheers,
Alex

Benson

Amazing article! Very detailed and to the point. I’m thinking of buying gpus for a bit faster cycles rendering and eevee viewport performance, but not sure if having something like 2x 1060 3gb will be better or 1x more expensive gpu.

Hi Benson,

Thanks for asking!

Having multiple GPUs will definitely benefit your Cycles rendering but it will still depend on what GPU you are using and the number of CUDA cores your GPU has. The best way to check on this is to add the CUDA cores and see whether having a lower-end multi-GPU setup will have a higher CUDA score compared to a single more expensive higher-tiered GPU. In your example, 2 x 1060 3GB will have a total of 2,304 CUDA cores while the top of the line RTX 2080 Ti has 4,352 CUDA cores. In this case, the single RTX 2080 Ti still comes up on top with its higher CUDA core count.

To get a better visual on this, please check this article out: https://www.cgdirector.com/octanebench-benchmark-results/

Cheers,
Alex

Thor

Hey you guys dont recommend AMD GPU becase of the performance and the boost you would get by installing optix, but does Radeon Prorender make up for any of the lost performance, or is it negligible?
I thought about buying a RX 5700XT but since now i do a bit of Blender spending a little more and getting a RTX2070 Super seems like a better idea. But i can´t run SLI/NVlink in general but can i allways run crossfire if i want more in the future(I run a Ryzen 7 system) which is also cheaper, so does Prorender make up for any of this, i cant really find any benching or info about it?

Hey Thor,
Excellent question, we will have to do some benchmarks with the AMD ProRender Render Engine in Blender. Will let you know!

Cheers,
Alex

Daniel

Hi Alex, it’s been great to discover this web. All the articles are really really helpful. Thank you all!
Could you please give me your opinion of this build that reaches (nearly exceeds) my budget limit?

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 3.5GHz 16-Core Processor ($799)
GPU: 2x Nvidia RTX 2080 Ti 11GB – Asus Turbo ($1219.95 each)
Motherboard: MSI Prestige X570 CREATION (E-ATX) ($450)
Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($319.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 Pro 1TB M.2 NVME ($350)
CPU Cooler: Be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 ($89.90)
Power Supply: Corsair RM850X V2 850W 80 Plus Gold Modular ($129)
Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 ($145)
TOTAL: $4.722

I’m looking for excellent viewport performance and fast preview renders. My daily work consists in 3D modeling (with huuuge 8K textures), Substance Painter, Photoshop and once a month I do Photoscan processing and final renderings in Cycles.
In present time, I’m not doing long renders everyday. I need fast render previews for doing lots of iterations with Cycles (I get by with a few image samples since I don’t care of image noise). Do you think it’s a good idea to use two RTX 2080 Ti for this situation? I like the 11GB of VRAM since my scenes tend to be 10-15 Million polygons with 8K and 4K textures on it. And finally, do you think I should choose the blower style (ASUS Turbo) for stacking the two GPUs in a Fractal Design XL case?

As for the motherboard, I’m doubting between the MSI Prestige and the Aorus Pro. Do you think the 10GB LAN of the MSI can make a difference when connecting it to my NAS? I use a NAS specially to do continuous synchronization (and backup in two HDDs) of my project files as I work in local with Cloud Station.
Any comments on this would be very welcome. Thank you!

Daniel

I forgot to mention that the 3D software I use is, of course, Blender 🙂

Hey Daniel,
You won’t get more viewport performance than on a 3950X, that’s for sure 🙂 While at the same time having excellent multi-core performance, so I’d say that’s a great pick, if you have the budget for it.

2x 2080 Ti too of course is an excellent choice for cycles gpu rendering. Note though that on x570 or any mainstram platform you are limited to a total of 16 pcielanes, so both will run at x8. This isn’t all too bad though as the bandwidth of x8 is just barely saturated by a 2080ti.

IF you have the money for it you can think of going with 3600mhz RAM just for the extra little squeeze of performance, but 3200mhz of course is already really great.

Blower Style gpus are a bit louder than open air cooled ones, but in tight situations (when stacked right on top of each other) they make sense, and I recommend doing this.

HDDs usually have sequential write/read speeds of around 120 – 150mbyte/s, so just slightly above a 1Gbit LAN bandwidth. 10G would give you slightly faster speeds. Especially then when you have the hdds raided and their read/write speeds are higher than a single hdd normally has. (Or you use some kind of ssd cache on the NAS)

Nice build overall!

Cheers,
Alex

Daniel

Hi Alex, I’m very grateful for your time and help with your answer. It’s good to know there are no problems with this build. As you noticed, it requires a decent chunk of money so I thought in buying the computer with just one GPU (blower style from the beginning) and upgrade it in a year or so with a second one. It’s good to know that two GPUs can nearly improve by 2 when in Cycles preview render mode (I thought of a significant bottleneck). As for the motherboard, if I understood you correctly, I’m considering going with a cheaper one since I won’t be able to take full advantage of the 10Gbit LAN with my current HDD raided NAS setup (didn’t know of ssd cache!). Thank you!

Daniel

Hi again Alex, I’m already building my computer with just a small change from my initial build: the main board will be the ASUS Pro WS x570 instead of the MSI Prestige x570. The problem comes with the case. It’s getting difficult to find the Fractal Design XL R2 (no stock) so what other case models would yo recommend me for my build? I have no idea! I don’t mind aesthetics since this is a Workstation. Thank you for your attention!

Hi Daniel,

In terms of other case models, what’s important is that you get a case that will support the ATX form factor of your ASUS Pro WS X570 motherboard. Other good options are the Corsair Carbide Series 200R ATX Mid Tower Case ($74.99), Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($74.99), NZXT H510 – Compact ATX ($69.99), Phanteks Eclipse P400A ($89.99), and the Cooler Master MasterBox Q500L ($59.99).

Cheers,
Alex

Daniel

I’m leaning towards the Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower for its big size. Similar to the Fractal Design XL R2. Thank you again Alex, that’s what I have been looking for. Have a nice new year!