Best CPU For Rendering (Updated)

12 April 2017

Researching what Processor (CPU) is best for 3D rendering and especially, what CPU has the best Performance / Dollar ($) ratio, is something you will want to do before building a new Computer or a Renderfarm.

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

Since there are so many different CPU types concerning clock-speeds, core-count, hyperthreading and brand, it can be difficult to select the right platform to go with. AMD Ryzen, Threadripper, Intel i5, i7, XEON, Pentium, some Multi-Cored, some Multi-Threaded.

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 generated a Performance/Dollar ($) Table that you can sort to your liking and will show you the best CPU for the Money:

Best CPU for 3D Rendering

Performance / Dollar ($): Higher is better.

CPU Name# CoresGHzCinebench MultiPrice $Performance/Dollar
AMD Ryzen R5 260063.413071896.91
AMD Ryzen R5 2600X63.613732096.57
AMD Ryzen R5 160063.211471896.06
AMD Ryzen R5 1600X63.312502195.71
Intel i5 840062.89661795.39
AMD Ryzen R7 270083.215263005.08
AMD Ryzen R7 1700X83.415403094.98
AMD Ryzen R7 2700X83.717833694.83
AMD Ryzen R7 170083.014262994.76
AMD Ryzen R5 140043.27871694.65
AMD Ryzen R7 1800X83.616133494.62
AMD Ryzen R5 1500X43.58031744.61
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1900X83.817114503.80
Intel i7 8700K63.713643593.79
Intel i7 7800X63.513333893.42
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1950X163.430629993.06
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 1920X123.524317993.04
Intel i7 7740X44.39863292.99
Intel i5 7600K43.87012392.93
Intel i7 7820X83.617345992.89
Intel i7 7820X83.617345992.89
Intel i7 7700K44.29963492.85
Intel i7 6800K63.410964192.61
XEON E5-2620 v482.110964202.60
Intel i9 7900X103.321699992.17
Intel i9 7920X122.9243812002.03
Intel i9 7940X143.1284914501.96
Intel i9 7960X162.8316117001.89
Intel i9 7980XE182.6345519001.81
Intel i7 6900K83.2156210491.48
XEON E5-2650 v4122.2158912001.32
Intel i7 5960X83.0132410691.23
Intel i7 6950X103.0178816491.08
XEON E5-2687W v4123.0186024440.76
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 CPU, but the best overall system for your rendering needs, you will have to consider:

  • power consumption
  • overall system price per CPU (the Xeons for example are 2 socket systems, that might make overall system price per CPU cheaper)
  • heat generation and acceptable cooling noise needed to have a stable system.
  • Cooling Solution
  • Mainboard price

What other CPUs would you like to see in this List? Share your Thoughts in the Comments!

Alex - post author

Hi, I am Alex, a Freelance 3D Generalist / Motion Designer and Compositor currently living in Frankfurt, Germany.

I have built a multitude of Workstations and Renderfarms for all kinds of 3D related use cases and love to optimize them as much as possible.

After working in the 3D/VFX Industry on-staff for several years, I have recently gone freelance and am having a blast!

Feel free to comment and ask for suggestions on your PC-Build or 3D-related Problem, I'll try my best to help out. :)

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Mario
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Mario

What you think about xeon 2620 ,where it would fit into this list

Sajid
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Sajid

Hi
im working as motion graphic artist.. Software is 3d s max 15.,with v ray rendering.. C4d. And after effects cc…(, element 3d)
I want to built new pc.
Im want to with. Ryzen 7 1700 or ryzen 5 1600x
Gpu zotac 1070 80gb ,mini
16,gb ram..
Want your advice on this..
Specially Ryzen 5 1600x or 7 1700
Thusus in my budget..

David Custom 3D MOdels
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Many thanks for the great info…

Francisco
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Francisco

Great read! Thanks for this.

I’m in process of starting a PC Build.
I do motion graphics in After Effects and C4D – and building my Nuke compositing skills. I will do the occasional editing in Premiere, and coloring in Resolve — finishing in 1080 mostly.

The main purpose of my new system is to work on C4D + Redshift.

I was thinking of the Intel i9 7940X at first but have switched my decision to build a Threadripper 1950X on x399 instead w/ 2 x 1080 TI’s (with room to expand later) and PCIe M2 SSD’s. Any thoughts on that?

I know that viewport performance for animation is helped by faster single clock speeds, so sometimes lower core counts are best… but I feel having a strong CPU can’t be bad.

Galih
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Galih

Hi

i need to build new pc
i7 8700k or ryzen 7 1700x for rendering in 3dsmax + vray, after effect, premiere?, i need better value, so i can get other component such as bigger SSD or better ram. thank you,

sorry for my bad english 😀

Ivan
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Ivan

Hi, I’m new on building own pc, I used to buy it. But now I need a strong pc. I work with 3d modelling and rendering, I saw a computer with these specs.

AMD RYZEN Threadriper 1950X (3.8GHz, 40MB Cache, 32x Cores, Turbo 4.0GHz) CPU
MSI X399 SLI PLUS TR4 DDR4 USB3.1 RYZEN Threapripper Gaming Motherboard
MSI GEFORCE GT 1030 2GB OC EDITION DirectX12 Graphics Card
500W 80+ High Performance Power Supply
16GB QUAD Channel DDR4 2400MHz High Performance Gaming RAM with Heat Spreader
250GB SSD Upto 500MB/s + Speed Ultra-Fast Solid State Drive (OS DRIVE)
EVETECH RUSH RGB Tempered Glass GAMING CASE
6x 120mm RGB Fans + Dual Tempered Glass
Corsair Hydro H100i V2 240mm High

Please, tell me if it is good for me… I work in Achviz and interior design. Sorry my bad English.

Best regards

kostas kas
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kostas kas

Goodmonrning. I am planning to built a new pc. I mostly work on 3dsmax with Vray, autocad, Photoshop and Maya. I am between ryzen 1800x and i7-8700. Which one you think is better for me?

kostas kas
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kostas kas

ryzen 1700/1700x/1800x and i7-8700 i wanted to write 🙂 Sorry for my bad english

Ben
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Ben

Ive had the ryzen 1700 Palles with a 1080 ti for 6 months now and Its pretty Good. Its gonna run even better if you overclock it too 3,7 GHz. So Ill defenitley go with the ryzen for 3D tasks and rendering.

Nachit
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Nachit

Hello, i have computre Hp z800 , 24G Ram, – intel (R) Xeon(R) CPU E5640 @2.6GHZ 16 Cores – qraphic card INVIDIA Quadro 2000, and any version of 3ds max work slowly and always the software close, I want advice please, if i should to change the configuration tell me what i must to buy, Thnks ,
Best Regards

Leonard
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Leonard

Hi Alex,

I was wondering which is better, to upgrade to quadro or upgrade my processor to i7 / AMD?

Current spec i3-6100, GTX 1030 D5 2GB, RAM 8 gb DDR4 kingston hyper x
Seems just not enough to work with 3dsmax 2017, it crashed so often.

As for the best bang for buck “upgrade”, what would you recommend?
I was thinking about the Ryzen R5 1600 though.

Eddy
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Eddy

What do you think of the E5-2650 V4, where would it fit in the list?

Andy
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Andy

Hello Alex,
I was asked by my friend to help her with upgrading her PC.

She is now using:

P5Q SE PLUS motherboard
NVIDIA GeForce 9600 GT graphic card
Intel(R) Core(TM)2 Quad CPU Q9550 @ 2.83GHz CPU
2x2GB RAM PC2-6400

Her day to day software are:
Artlantis
AutoCAD
Photoshop
SketchUp

The goal is to decrease rendering with Artlantis as low as we can for a sensible price. Right now it takes up to 20 hours as a maximum.

The budget we have for our “shopping” is 1500-2000 dollars. Cheaper is better but we are looking long term. We can save some by decreasing RAM for a year lets say and buy some more next year but for rendering,
I assume RAM is not the most important.

Any help would be highly appreciated.

bogdan
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bogdan

Hy, I want to know what system I would i need for editing video in after efects or premier pro in 4k. Tnx

Fred Laruccia
Guest

Hey Alex, thanks for this amazing post. Iv been doing a research about a build im planning on doing soon. I work as a 3D artist more focused in the Lighting and Rendering stage of the production. But sometimes I need to do a bit of simulation (fur) and occasionally composite animated scenes. Anyway, here is what im planning on building:

Processor – Rayzen Threadripper 1950x (16 core)
Motherboard – ASUS Prime X399 (im not going for the Zenith Extreme coz of the high cost and im not sure if I would need such board)
Ram – G.Skill TridentZ 4×8 (32gb) 3000mHz
HD – 2x SSD MP500 120gb (240gb)
Cooling system – Master cooler 240 (water cooling)
Power supply – Cooler Master V750
Graphic Card – 1x 1080ti Black Edition (cheaper than the Zotac)
Casing – Corsair 780t

Im not sure about the casing. Since im still trying to find a good measure of price and quality. Please give me your thoughts regarding this build.

BTW im not going for double Xeon or i7 coz form my research the Threadripper is a good price over power option.

Cheers

anthony
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anthony

Hi Alex,

Very nice review I m actually looking around for the best itx workstation possible with water cooling. I m mainly using AutoCAD, Blender, SketchUp and 3D Rendering with V-Ray or Artlantis + a lot of photoshop too.
I have been seeing a lot of different articles but I really don t know if I should go R7 2700X or i7 8700k.
Not sure it exists or will exist a threadripper or Xeon or i9 for mini Itx.
What would you recommend and being future proof? (No budget minimum required).

Thanks a lot for this awesome article