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

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex   ⋮   ⋮   245 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.

= AMD   |    = Intel

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? Ryzen and Threadripper CPUs tend to be easily cooled.
  • Cooling Solution: Some CPUs such as the AMD Ryzen CPUs have a CPU Cooler included in the package already.
  • Motherboard price: A cheaper CPU might not be so cheap if you need an expensive Mainboard for it.
  • Number of Cores per System: A Ryzen 5 3600 might have extremely high CPU Rendering Value but you will also need multiple of those CPUs (and therefore multiple Systems) to get to the performance of a single Threadripper 2970X.

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 limits and power regulations) you usually have to find a middle ground between Number 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:

= AMD   |    = Intel

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 Multi-Core CPU with lots of Cores pulls ahead easily, as the underlying scenes are usually not all that complex (Read as: there is almost no preparation time involved).

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 to find out what has to be improved.

Most CPU Render Engines 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!



Hey Alex!

I was looking for a good workstation build dedicated to game development as well as video editing. My budget is around $650-$750. So any suggestions or help?

Hi Jose,

Thanks for asking!

For your budget, I was able to put together a build for your game development and video editing needs. Please see below:

Parts List:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600X 3.6GHz 6-Core Processor ($148.38)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Spire Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: MSI B450-A Pro ATX AM4 ($95.95)
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1650 4GB – EVGA XC Gaming ($159.00)
Memory: 8GB (1 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3000 CL16 ($40.34)
Storage SSD: Crucial MX500 500GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($64.42)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 250GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($70.82)
Storage HDD: Seagate BarraCuda Compute 2TB, 3.5″ ($49.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($59.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case ($82.40)

The total of the build comes up to around $771.29 which is a little over your budget but you get a decent Ryzen 5 2600X CPU and 8GB of RAM. Additionally, this build also comes with a GTX 1650 GPU. You also get 3 storage options but you may want to drop one of the SSDs and invest the money for additional RAM and make it 16GB in case you plan on working on complex scenes. This build may not be the fastest or smoothest but it can surely get you through what you need it for!


Alexander Vartanov

I see multiple flaws in your list, the largest being the fact that you opted into single channel memory instead of dual channel. On Ryzen, the performance hit is substantial when only a single stick is used. A 2×4 configuration is a way better idea for build like this. An upgrade to 3200 MHz would be pretty good too due to ram speed scaling well with performance.

Andew Hodgson

Hi Alex,

I messaged about the new 3950x a week or so ago. I have another question. I’m now wanting to go with the new threadripper 3970x and was wondering if you had any ideas on builds for me? I’m also wanting to go with the 2080ti graphics card.



I’m looking to build a workstation to be dedicated for CPU rendering
What are the best parts I can get if my budget is around $1,5000

Hi Rick,

Thanks for asking!

I’m assuming that’s a typo right there and you meant you are willing to spend $1,500 for a build dedicated to CPU rendering. With that kind of budget, you can get something like the below:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8GHz 12-Core Processor ($499.99)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4 AM4 ($74.90)
Motherboard: MSI MPG x570 Gaming Pro Carbon Wifi ATX AM4 ($239.99)
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660TI 6GB – Gigabyte Windforce ($259.99)
Memory: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($139.99)
Storage SSD: Crucial MX500 500GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($64.49)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($59.99)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($120.47)

The total of the build comes up to around $1459.81 which is within your budget. With a CPU rendering workstation, you want to invest in a CPU with high core count and the Ryzen 9 3900X with its 12 cores certainly fits the bill. By the way, you have the option of dropping the be quiet! Dark Rock 4 AM4 CPU cooler as the stock Wraith Prism cooler that comes bundled with the package of the Ryzen 9 3900X is more than enough to handle the CPU cooling tasks. You can then use the money you save for other parts of your build such as additional storage for that matter.

In case you plan on increasing your budget or just want to see other options, you might want to take a look at the site’s PC Builder Tool. It’s a web-based tool that gives you the best recommendations based on your budget and use case scenario. You can find the tool here:



Hi there Alex and other CG’ers,

I came here for a solution for a bottleneck problem we have with one of my client systems. Tho its easy to find information about ‘consumer/pro-sumer’ hardware, Its hard to find some information on pro-grade hardware my client uses (i say client but its pro bono). Lets start of with the specs of the system, and after that i’ll try to explain the problem.


– Tyan Thunder HX FA77B7119 (10x PCI-E 3.0 x16 with 2 PLX chips)
– 2x Xeon gold 6128 (a total of 12c/24t @ 3,7ghz boost)
– 10x RTX 2080ti
– 12 x 32GB 2400Mhz ECC reg DDR4 (2×6 channels occupied, 384GB total)
– 6,4kW redundant (as im told, although it comes with 4kW standard?)
– 1x 280 intel optane @ 4x pcie 3.0 (OS: Win 10 pro)
– Nas with few TB NVME

First of all, let me state that every seperate part of the system is tested and is working as intended, No overheating occurs, no errors, using AIDA64, Cinebench, Geekbench, MSI Kombustor/Afterburner and Prime95. (All 10 cards tested eleborately in this system….sigh..) 😛


The client uses multiple instances of Cinema 4D for rendering different frames at once, Every Cinema 4D instance uses 2 RTX 2080ti’s, so with all cards working we have 5 instances of Cinema 4D running. The problem we have is performance scaling. The same setup running 6 cards and 3 instances of Cinema 4D does the job faster compared to the 10 card setup.


I have monitored the 6 card/3 cinema 4D setup running, with Afterburner/. Actually there is not much to see, (but a lot to monitor) When the rendering job starts i can see all CPU cores @ 100% for a minute or 3 max, After that, when the job is loaded and the GPU’s start rendering, the cpu usage drops back to ~10%. .While this particular job was running a maximum of 50GB Ram was in use (~90GB commited charge). Boostclocks of the CPU’s and GPU’s in use were as intended. (~1800Mhz depending on temperature per card, between low 60’s – mid 70’s.)


One of the first things that come to mind is the pair of 6-core CPU’s. The pair in cinebench R20 is multithreaded only as fast as my own 3800x, however, the 100% CPU load is not very long, so i don’t know how that works with longer jobs (the test was only 20 minutes). I figured that with 2 cpu’s youre running quicker in a latency related problem, compared to lets say a single Epyc 7000 series CPU, due to qpi/upi overhead?

The second thing that comes to mind is the amount of PCI-e lanes. Whe have 96 lanes in total, minus the 4 for the optane SSD, so 92 lanes in total. Yes, there are 2 PLX switching chips for an even balance of the lanes over the 10 PCI-e 3.0 x16 slots, but in the end there are only ~9 lanes per GPU. PCI-e 8x should be enough for the rendering job according to the client, but i’m not willing to rule that out yet.


– How much does processor performance scale in Cinema 4D?
– Is the (dual) 6-core CPU setup the bottleneck here?
– is the dual PLX setup making render scaling beyond 6 cards impossible? (latency maybe?)
– Are there any other setups you’d recommend for this purpose.

I know it’s quite a story, thnx for reading sofar. Hope someone can help me out a bit, it might get me a job! I know my way around hardware (obviously?), but as we’re a bit pioneering there is so little info to go by. All help is much appreciated, thnx in advance.


Hi Alex,

I’m a digital sculptor in the film industry. I primarily use zbrush and I’ve started getting into keyshot rendering and also use marvellous designer for quick garment creation for characters. My current pc works great for zbrush but is sluggish with the other two programmes. With the new cpu’s Coming out such as the Ryzen 9 3950x and threadripper, what would you suggest for a new build pc?

I’m thinking of getting the Ryzen 9 3950 x with graphics card Nvidia 2080 ti.


Hey Andrew,

Thanks for dropping a line!

If I may ask, how much are you willing to spend for your new build?

Having a Ryzen 9 3950X at the heart of your system is the way to go! While still unreleased, the 3950X looks good on paper with its 16 cores and 3.5GHz base clock and Max Boost of up to 4.7GHz. I’m sure it will be snappy enough to deliver task responsiveness while you’re actively working inside the software while it’s high core count will definitely help in your CPU rendering tasks.

As for the RTX 2080 Ti, not much can be said aside from the fact that it’s a beast of a GPU! If you have the means for it, the RTX 2080 Ti is the way to go. Aside from having 11GB of VRAM, this GPU packs of support for CUDA core acceleration which will help in delivering better rendering performance in case you plan on using the GPU render engines.

By the way, if you haven’t done so, please check the site’s PC Builder Tool. It’s a web-based tool that gives you build recommendations based on your budget and use case scenario. You can find the tool here:

Out of curiosity, what are your current hardware specs?


Andew Hodgson

Hi Alex,

Thanks for your response. My budget would be around the £2500-£3000 mark. I’m scanning the internet daily on any info on the release of the 3950x and reviews. I was also tempted by a threadripper but I’ve been told as a general all rounder the 3950x would be best for jumping from programme to programme. Any thoughts? The threadripper would also be stretching the budget I thimk.



Hi Alex,
I’m a freshman at college taking up architecture and i’m planning to buy a laptop that I could use.
I’m looking at this laptop:
What are your thoughts on my choice?
Do you think it would last at least 3-7 years or would i need to upgrade again in a year or two?

Hey Jan-Jan,

Thanks for dropping a comment!

The MSI P75 Creator-469 looks solid! It has a snappy i9-9880H CPU working in conjunction with 32GB of RAM to give you task responsiveness when you’re working actively inside the software. In addition to that, this laptop comes with an RTX 2070 GPU which not only boasts of the best price to performance ratio among graphics cards at the moment but at the same time packs support for CUDA core acceleration for better render performance in case you need to use the GPU render engines.

If you go with the MSI P75 Creator-469, you won’t need to upgrade in a year or two, that’s for sure. The minimum it will last you, with its powerful specs, would be at least 3 years for that matter. If you’re already decided on this, you surely will not regret it!

In case you aren’t decided on the MSI P75 Creator-469 just yet, you might want to check out the site’s PC Builder Tool. It’s a web-based tool that will give you the best desktop/laptop recommendations based on your budget and use case. You can find the PC Builder Tool here:



Hey Alex, Can you check this Mobile workstation? I wan to use softwares like, 3ds max, Maya, Houdini, Blender, Vray and Arnold rendering and Architectural softwares Like Bim Softwares….Do you think 4gb Dedicated graphics would be enough. and is 2,2 ghz with 9mb cache good?

Hi Ahadu,

Thanks for dropping a line!

The Lenovo ThinkPad P72 Mobile Workstation 20MB001JUS is actually a good choice for the type of work you will be doing and the type of software you will be using. It has a snappy i7-8750H CPU and an NVIDIA Quadro P2000 GPU so the laptop shouldn’t have a problem handling the tasks you throw at it.

If you are open to other laptop brands, you might want to take a look at the MSI GE75 Raider -287 Gaming Laptop currently available for $1,695.63 and is priced almost similarly as the Lenovo ThinkPad P72.

However, the MSI GE75 Raider comes with a slightly snappier i7-9750H CPU and slightly more powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU. Of course, a Quadro GPU has its advantages but in terms of raw power so to speak, the RTX 2060 gets the better of the Quadro P2000. To see how the RTX 2060 performs in benchmarks compared to the Quadro P2000, please check out the following articles:

If you haven’t done so, you might also want to check out the site’s PC Builder Tool at It’s a web-based tool the gives you the best recommendation on workstations and laptops based on your budget and use case scenario.



Thanks Man. I really appreciate for taking the time to check and respond.


hey alex
i want to build a rendering pc but not too sure about what parts to get
i use vray a lot and hope to stick to a budget or around $1.5k
appreeciate your suggestions

Hi Carlo,

Thanks for dropping a line!

If you need a rendering PC where you will be using VRAY a lot, you want to invest in a high-core count CPU to help with rendering speeds. With a budget of $1,500, you may be able to come up with a workstation with the specs below:

Parts List:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8GHz 12-Core Processor ($499.99)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4 AM4 ($74.90)
Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming x570-Plus (Wifi) ATX AM4 ($199.99)
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1660TI 6GB – Gigabyte Windforce ($279.99)
Memory: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($139.99)
Storage SSD: Crucial MX500 500GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($64.50)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($64.99)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($148.50)

The total of the build comes up to around $1472.85 and it gives you a Ryzen 9 3900X CPU at the heart of your system. With its 12 cores, the 3900X will be of big help with your CPU rendering tasks. By the way, the boxed Wraith Prism cooler bundled with the package of the 3900X is more than enough to handle the CPU cooling tasks so you have the option of dropping the be quiet! Dark Rock 4 AM4 CPU cooler and use the money instead on other parts of your build such as additional storage.

If you are going with GPU Rendering in Vray, then a stronger GPU such as the RTX 2060 Super or RTX 2070 Super would be a good pick.

You might also want to check out the site’s PC Builder Tool at It’s a web-based tool that will give you the best parts for your build based on your budget and use case scenario.



I noticed big gaps between rendering benchmark. AMD performed well on cinebench but poorly on vray benchmark, and even the threadripper 2950wx is far behind a lot of intel cpu.
The point is, look carefully to the soft you will used instead if taking cine bench has references.


Hi Alex,
I am new to graphics art and animation and I don’t really understand most of this cores and benchmark talk. Can you suggest a laptop I could get? I am into 3D animation and I need a laptop that will go on for years without lagging. My budget is between 500-700 dollars. Small I know but I am on a tight budget. I came across the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-5762 and the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-51-55WL but the reviews for my intention have not been encouraging. Which laptop would you suggest? I am on a tight budget here. Thanks.

Hi Sally,

Thanks for dropping a line!

When you talk about cores in relation to the type of work you do, you want to invest in a laptop with a high-clocking CPU for task responsiveness if you tend to do a lot of active work inside the software. Also, if you plan on using the GPU render engines, you would need a laptop with an NVIDIA-based GPU with support for CUDA core acceleration for faster rendering speeds.

To be honest, your budget may be a bit low for the type of work you want to do and somewhat limits your choices for that matter. If your choices are limited to the Acer Aspire E 15 E5-576G-5762 and the Acer Nitro 5 AN515-51-55WL, I suggest that you go for the Acer Nitro 5 as this laptop comes with a better GPU with its GTX 1050 Ti graphics card despite having a slightly older CPU.

If you want to get the best laptop within your budget, please have a look at the site’s PC Builder Tool at