Best CPU For Rendering (Updated)
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Best CPU For Rendering (Updated)

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex   ⋮   ⋮   210 comments
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Have you ever wondered what Processor (CPU) is best for rendering?

Finding the best CPU For Rendering, that is also as cheap as possible, is something you will want to do before building a new Computer for 3D Rendering, Workstation for After Effects, a dedicated Rendernode, a Renderfarm or even a Laptop for Animation.

3ds max, Maya, Cinema 4D, Blender, and many other 3D Software packages have in-built and 3rd-party CPU Render Engines that all rely on maximum CPU multi-Core Performance.

Since there are so many different CPU types with different clock-speeds, core-counts, hyperthreading, and brand, it can be difficult to select the right platform to go with.

AMD Ryzen, Threadripper, Intel i5, i7, i9, XEON, Pentium, some with lots of Cores and others with high Core-Clocks.

In the end, it all comes down to raw CPU Rendering performance, that I will be measuring with Cinebench R15, the currently leading Benchmarking Software for CPU Rendering Performance.

Of course, there are lots of lists online to check cinebench points, but what is most important is how well the Performance / Dollar ($) ratio is.

This is why I have created a Performance/Dollar ($) Table for you to sort to your liking.

This will show you the best Rendering CPU for the Money:

Best CPU for 3D Rendering

Performance / Dollar ($): Higher is better.

CPU NameCoresGHzCinebench R15Price($)Performance/Dollar
CPU NameCoresGHzCinebench R15Price($)Performance/Dollar
AMD Ryzen 5 360063.615811997.94
AMD Ryzen 5 260063.413071697.71
AMD Ryzen 7 1700X83.415402157.16
AMD Ryzen 7 170083.014262096.80
AMD Ryzen 7 1800X83.616132396.74
AMD Ryzen 5 160063.211471696.71
AMD Ryzen 5 140043.27871196.61
AMD Ryzen 5 2600X63.613732096.57
AMD Ryzen 7 3700X83.621163296.43
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X123.831684996.34
AMD Threadripper 1920X123.524313996.09
AMD Ryzen 5 1500X43.58031395.77
AMD Threadripper 1900X83.817112995.71
AMD Ryzen 5 1600X63.312502195.71
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X83.717833155.66
AMD Ryzen 7 270083.215262705.61
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X83.921663995.42
Intel i5 840062.89661795.39
Intel i7 870063.213892894.80
AMD Threadripper 1950X163.430627204.25
AMD Threadripper 2920X123.526046504.00
Intel i7 8700K63.714283593.79
AMD Threadripper 2950X163.532108503.77
Intel i7 7800X63.513333693.62
AMD Threadripper 2970WX243.0432312993.32
Intel i7 8086K63.713864253.26
Intel i7 7700K44.29963103.21
Intel i9 9900K83.620776503.19
Intel i7 7740X44.39863292.99
Intel i5 9600K63.710683602.96
Intel i5 7600K43.87012392.93
AMD Threadripper 2990WX323.0522417992.90
Intel i7 7820X83.617345992.89
Intel i7 7820X83.617345992.89
Intel i7 9700K83.615425502.80
Intel i7 6800K63.410964192.61
Intel XEON E5-2620 v482.110964202.60
Intel i9 7900X103.321699992.17
Intel i7 6850K63.612355702.16
Intel i9 7920X122.9243812002.03
Intel i9 7940X143.1284914501.96
Intel i9 9980XE183.0379919791.91
Intel i9 7960X162.8316117001.89
Intel i9 7980XE182.6345519001.81
Intel i7 6900K83.2156210491.48
Intel XEON E5-2650 v4122.2158912001.32
Intel i7 5960X83.0132410691.23
Intel i7 6950X103.0178816491.08
Intel XEON E5-2687W v4123.0186024440.76
Intel XEON E5-2699 v4222.2246045000.54


Now you know the best Performance / Price ratio of different CPUs.

Keep in mind, to truly find not just the best performing CPU for Rendering, but the best overall system for your rendering needs, you should also consider:

  • Power consumption: Does the CPU need lots of power and drive up your power bill?
  • Single vs Multi-Socket Systems: What is the overall system price per CPU? Many Intel Xeons, for example, are available as 2 socket systems, that might make an overall system price per CPU cheaper.
  • Heat: Does the CPU get very hot? Will you need a loud and expensive Cooling Solution?
  • Cooling Solution: Some CPUs such as the AMD Ryzens have a CPU Cooler included in the package already.
  • Mainboard price: A cheaper CPU might not be so cheap if you need an expensive Mainboard for it.

AMD Ryzen 9 3900X vs Intel i9 9900K

I have been asked this several times as these CPUs are both extremely popular. 3900X vs 9900K. Which one is better?

So I compiled a quick main feature list of both CPUs:

3900X: 12 Cores, Cheaper, Faster at Rendering, Included Cooler, Stays Cooler, Minimally less-snappy active working

i9 9900K: 8 Cores, Slightly snappier active Working, needs extra Cooler, can get very hot

So if you put everything but performance aside it usually comes down to: Are you rendering a lot (get a 3900X), or actively work on this PC a lot (get an i9 9900K).

One of these two CPUs is usually what you would choose when building a Computer for Animation or a Computer for 3D Modeling, as they are some of the highest-clocking CPUs out there.

High Core-Counts vs high Core-Clock

Both, high core-counts and high core-clocks, will improve your rendering speeds. Having more cores is usually the best price/performance way of increasing 3D CPU Rendering Speed.

But, of course, Rendering alone isn’t what you usually do on a typical Computer. When actively working on it, be it in 3D, Photo Editing, Graphic Design or Video Editing, having high core-clocks will benefit you much more than having lots of cores.

This means it would be best to both have lots of Cores AND high core-clocks. Since CPUs usually trade off cores for clocks (because of thermal and power regulations) you usually have to find a middle ground between # of cores and clock-speed though.

Best CPU for Rendering on a Laptop

Now, all of the above are CPUs that would be built into a 3D Rendering Computer or Workstation. If you are interested in using something more mobile, say, a Laptop for Animation and would also like great CPU Rendering Speed on this, then the following List is for you:

CPU NameCoresGHzCinebench
CPU NameCoresGHzCinebench
Intel Core i9-8950HK62.91269
Intel Core i7-8850H62.61023
Intel Core i7-8750H62.21063
Intel Core i5-8400H42.5819
Intel Core i5-8300H42.3795
AMD Ryzen 7 2700U42.2662
AMD Ryzen 5 2500U42.0584
Intel Core i7-7820HK42.9784
Intel Core i7-6820HK42.7694
AMD Ryzen 7 3700U42.3701
AMD Ryzen 5 3500U42.1620
Intel Core i9-9980HK82.41930
Intel Core i9-9880H82.31721

Benchmarks vs Real World

One should be aware, that benchmarks are of course not always representative of all types of real-world workloads.

A Threadripper 2990WX, for example, is extremely fast at rendering Scenes that are less Memory intensive but does not scale linearly when rendering memory heavy scenes.

There are lots of steps involved in Rendering:

  • Preparation time
  • Mesh exporting
  • Texture loading time
  • Cache building time
  • Ray-Tracing Tree-building time
  • Light-Cache and other GI-Caching times

.. to only name a few. These are all rendering steps that are done before the more well-known bucket rendering stage even starts.

Some of these stages might even be restricted to single Cores.

Lots of these Benchmarks, such as Cinebench, mainly measure the Bucket Rendering Phase where a max Multi-Core CPU usually pulls ahead easily, as the underlying scenes are usually not all that complex.

Long story short:

Make sure to analyze the type of scenes you are planning on rendering. Measure what rendering stage usually takes up the most time in one of your typical scenes. Keep an eye on your Task Manager to see if the current stage uses all Cores or only a few.

Most CPU Renderers nowadays show the current rendering stage somewhere in the render window like in the example below from the Cinema 4D Picture Viewer:

Cinema 4D Render Stages - CPU Rendering

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

What kind of Computer are you building? Feel free to ask for help in the comments.

Alex from CGDirector - 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!



Hi Alex,

I need some help on my next workstation.. First off let’s start with what software i will be using.
3Dsmax 2020, Vray Next for render, Houdini, After Effects, Photoshop and Agisoft (photoscan for 3d models).
In 3dsmax my main focus is on Hard surface modeling, but also archviz and vfx with tools like TYFlow for particles and Phoenix (fire, smoke). I need something that’s fast enough for a complex scene with particles and smoke/fire. I also have to cache the simulation before any render. I had 2 CPU’s in mind. The 2990wx and 9980XE. AMD will help with render time but what about complex scene that use 1 0r 2 cores for design. Then Intel will boost the design but slower render times. I need a good balance between renders and design with all the 3d party software in mind.

Hope you can help

Thank you

Hey Francois,

Thanks for dropping a line!

You are correct – the 2990WX with its higher core count will surely crush the 9980XE in terms of rendering but you can expect the Intel flagship to come out on top when it comes to single core performance.

At the end of the day, the 2990WX and 9980XE are both excellent CPUs. Each CPU has its benefits but the 9980XE does offer the best balance of single- and multi-threaded performance not because it is the better CPU but because it doesn’t have the few performance hiccups caused by the 2990WX’s unique design. However, if you will be doing a lot of heavily-threaded rendering, the 2990WX is your best bet because it brings to the table a real tangible benefit. Plus, you get more cores for less money in the process.

If you’re not too limited to the 2990WX or 9980XE, you may also want to take a look at the Threadripper 2950X because you get higher clock speeds than the 2990WX and fewer memory latency issues, thanks to its lower module/core count.


Eco Charlie

Very interesting post, tks.

for rendering big virtual models of architecture (Lumion), also converting them into video, if you could choose the best laptop processor possible, which one would you go for? i was thinking about the alien ware are 51 or the msi gt76 titan, both i9 9900k, but definetly would like to hear your sugestion.


We are going to convert a lot of video with ffmpeg, 24/7.
We could buy like HP/Dell servers with dual Xeon or we could go for multiple AMD Threadripper 2990WX with rack chassis.
Threadripper 2990WX is cheaper but Dell/HP server with dual Xeon seems to be more pro.
Threadripper 2990WX will be 4 rack U (due to cooling?) and Xeon only 2U.

What are your thoughts about this?


Hey,ñ Alex, hope u feeling great. sorry for disturbing but I really need some help. I’m goin to start buying pieces to build a work station and want to know which one should I aim for if I’m looking to model and render my spaces?? (Intel, amd.. and for gpu should I aim for rtx 2080 súper? . I’m an architect using 3ds max, vray, corona, lumion, unreal engine for vr (aiming for photorealistic a walks) and cinema 4d. Thank you very much, I really appreciate it since they don’t sell the pieces at my country and if they do m, it’s more expensive than us or eu.


Hi….. here am confused to update my workstation …. presently i have z840 workstation using xeon 2687w X 2 with 128gb ram and P4000 GPU ….i am looking some updation in my workstation threadriper 2990wx is the best for 3D Modeling and rendering ?…am using software -3D max,zbrush ,Marvelouse designer and photoshop ……


Hi! Why there is no 3800x? Is the value for 3900x in a stock setup or with overclocked? I really decided to buy and bought it by using this table list) thank you for this guide!


Hello! my question is which is better for 3d rendering max + vray next, so I understand the table published here, would always be an amd processor? I could pay for an i9 9990k or an AMD RYZEN THREADRIPPER 2920X? or some other suggestion. Thank you! Your page has been very helpful!


Workstation Dell Precision Tower T5610 2x Intel Xeon
E5-2670v2 20x 2.5GHz 64GB RAM 500GB SSD CD/DVD Rewriter Combo Gigabit-LAN USB3.0 NVidia Quadro K4200 4GB Mid Tower Windows 10 Pro
ASUS Prime X370-PRO
AMD Ryzen 7 2700X
ASROCK Radeon RX570 8GB
Samsung 500GB 970 EVO Plus M.2
2 x KINGSTON 16GB ValueRAM DDR4 2666MHz CL19
600W LC600H-12 v2.31 12cm Fan

Which is better for 3ds Max Vray rendering?

Martin Andrews

My current yet soon to be upgraded primary workstation is a Dual E5-2697 v2 setup with 128GB of Ram. My HDD setup is an 8 disk SSD Raid 0+1 Array, and GPU is a Titan Black. Cinebench R20 rates it at 5741. Hope this helps.

Zakk Rokkanno

Hi Alex

I am really scratching my head trying to work out the best system for my workstation

The targets I want to excel at…
I am looking at creating VFX for series and feature films

– Video editing: 4K multilayer compositing / rendering with 8K capable futureproofing
– 3D modelling, multipolygon with photorealistic target for authentic looking results. I want to create believable terrain, models, 3D architecture that will blend as seamlessly as possible with live action
, for example, creating large spacecraft the looks believable close-up as well as in the distance, that my virtual camera can approach and fly into detailed interiors
planets that can be detailed enough to be able to fly down from orbit perspective to a detailed scene.
– Human / creature modelling that looks natural and real
– 3D VR real video editing in High rez and creation of 3D environments like a photorealistic game-world that can be moved around within., scenes with believable terrain, vegetation and structures.
2D to 3D conversions
Advanced audio / music creation.

Ideally I want to be able to create VFX for 4-8K series & feature films on par with Netflix Lost in Space, Star Trek Discovery , Avatar,

My software
Adobe Premiere, AFX, audition
Maya , 3DS max
Autocad [for building cities]
Building software [For building detailed housing interiors / exteriors
Cakewalk for music creation / production

So, in a nutshell what is my best option…. Intel or AMD threadripper.?

The Intel solution I have mapped out is
– Core i9-9980XE and 3 fan liquid cooling { I imagine I will need to overclock for best results]
– Asus WS X299 SAGE motherboard with its high slots / 7.1 audio
– Corsair Vengeance 128 GB LPX Black DDR4 3200MHz [8x16GB]
– Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000 GPU Graphics card.

So whats the best AMD solution.
– AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX processor?
– The best mother board for this would be? – one with plenty of expansion and memory speed 7.1 Audio and capable of 128 GB Ram
– Best 128 GB Ram for the AMD setup would be?
and will the Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000 GPU Graphics card. work in an AMD environment.

Or, considering my workflow target, are there better solutions out there.

I would really appreciate your help here, so I can invest wisely.


This would be my 1st time building AMD pc I have been in intel/nvidia for many years as a rhino modeler and vray user. do you think rx580 is good for gpu rendering? or should I stick with nvidia and take advantage of CUDA?