PC-Builder: Find The Best Parts For Your PC & Workstation

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CG Director Author Alex Glawionby Alex Glawion   /  Updated 



The CGDirector PC Builder exists to help anyone generate a build that will fit within their budget and work well for their workload.

It’s taken a LOT of work, and we thank our readers’ fantastic feedback for making this possible.

We’ve been working hard at improving the PC Builder to cover more types of hardware, take more compatibility issues into account, consider case and RAM clearances, and a lot more. However, it’s still a work in progress, and we’d love feedback from everyone to make it even better!

What’s Changed

Here are some of the improvements/changes we’ve made recently:

  • Updated Laptop recommendation tool
  • Included New NVMe PCIe Gen 4 SSDs: Samsung 980 Pro, Seagate FireCuda 530, WD Black SN850
  • Added support for Intel 12th gen Alder Lake CPUs and B660, Z690 Motherboards (only DDR4 for now)
  • Added Ryzen 5xxx Series CPU and Nvidia 3xxx Series GPUs (Beware of out of stock or price-inflated items)
  • Improved the motherboard recommendation engine, depending on your workload. It should now suggest more balanced parts at most budgets.
  • Improved cross-compatibility checks between PC Cases, CPU Coolers, RAM clearances, and GPU length clearances.
  • Added option for users to go for a specific brand of CPU/GPU in their generated build (please only use this option if you are sure about what sort of hardware works best for your workloads).
  • Added additional price points for build generation, covering everything from ultra-budget builds to high-end workstation builds.
  • Cases now take into account the number of double-width GPUs it can accommodate and switch to a more appropriate choice.
  • Added more memory kit options to make sure every performance category is covered.
  • Added additional CPU Air and AIO Coolers after accounting for the cooling performance needed for most AMD and Intel processors.
  • Added a feature that accounts for AMD stock coolers as a cost-cutting measure to upgrade other build parts within your set budget, if possible.

Addressing Gaming Builds

We’ve wanted to add this feature, but will be delaying it to the next major update of the PC Builder. There are certain complexities involved in gaming that make the generated build less-than-ideal.

However, if you do need a gaming build, please generate one using the Video Editing workload and ask us about any required changes to it on our forum thread – here.

How Does the PC-Builder Know What Parts to Recommend?

Benchmarks, budget, and availability form the foundations of every recommended build. Not only does it take into account benchmark scores for various applications, but it also keeps tabs on pricing and availability.

Each core component has been put through benchmarks to create performance tables for each type of task. A few examples of benchmark tools and software are – Cinebench R20 and R15, GeekBench, Octane, Redshift, Vray, our Viewport Benchmarks, Video Editing, Motion Design, Photo Editing Benchmarks and much more. We’re continually adding benches to our testing so we can fine-tune the PC builder recommendations even further.

If you have suggestions about any additional workloads you’d like to see, please post a reply on our forum thread or ‘like’ a response that has mentioned your workload already. We’d love to know more about what sorts of workloads you’d like to see added to the PC Builder in the future.

Missing Specific Parts / Brands?

We have included as many mainstream brands as we can on the PC Builder, and have managed to expand our already-extensive database of products and recommendations.

Although we have also been trying to add as many laptops as possible to the PC Builder, we’ve encountered a few issues that make it a tricky undertaking. We’re working on a solution that will let us add more laptop options across a broader budget soon. In the meanwhile, any laptop currently recommended will work well for your selected workload within your chosen budget. If you have a question about a specific laptop model in your region, do come by our forum to ask us about it!

To make things more convenient, we’ve added more options to the PC builder with more arriving soon! You can now pick your brand of GPU/CPU if you’re VERY SURE that your workload requires a specific choice. However, we’d still recommend going with auto and letting the builder do its thing.

Parts out of stock?

CPUs and GPUs especially are extremely hard to find in stock anywhere. Be sure to go through our list of PC-Part Sellers to see if you can find some stock.

Why is there a Maximum and Minimum Limit on Budgets

In specific workloads, investing above or below a particular budget isn’t ideal and might turn out to be counterproductive. We’ve based this decision based on years of experience with computer hardware, these workloads, as well as from poring over benchmark data.

Nonetheless, we have expanded the budget options available thanks to the availability of some very viable parts at lower price points. However, these aren’t always ideal, and you’re still more likely to find better value at and above the $1000 budget for most kinds of workloads.

Do You Have to Worry About Compatibility?

Ideally, no. We’ve taken great care to make sure that every suggested hardware combination is compatible with each other. From RAM clearance for your CPU cooler or graphics card clearance for your case to even the number of available expansion slots in a case recommended for a multi-GPU rendering setup, the PC Builder has you covered.

That said, it is still a work in progress, and we’re hard at work trying to make it perfect. Although we’ve done all we can to make sure there are no compatibility issues between suggested parts, bugs do creep in at times. If you’re not sure about a build, do drop by the CGDirector Forum and as us about it. We’ll look it over for you.

Help Us Make the PC Builder Better!

First and foremost, use the PC Builder as much as possible. Generate builds for your workloads, make sure they’re directing you to store pages that have an active listing. 

  • Please do let us know if you see any glaring compatibility issues in any generated build. We’ve tried to be as thorough as possible, but bugs might still slip past unnoticed.
  • Please let us know if any displayed Amazon listing directs you to a used parts listing. We’re still working on squashing this bug.

Hardware availability issues and subsequent price gouging by sellers on Amazon (US) has resulted in some unfortunate builds being generated at specific price points. Please post your generated build on our dedicated PC Builder Beta forum thread if you’re not sure about the parts, and we’ll respond to tweak your build recommendations. 

Have some Parts picked but don’t know how to assemble them? Check our PC-Building Guide on How to Assemble a PC.

 

Feel Free to ask for suggestions on your PC-Build in the Comments or in our Forum.

CGDirector is Reader-supported. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Alex Glawion - post author

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

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

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

1,254 Comments

Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

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  • Emily

    Hi Alex,
    I use After Effects, Photoshop, Premiere, Cinema 4D, Redshift, and occasionally Blender. I’m a student, and my budget is 3,500 max. I’m a newbie to PC building– been mainly using an iMac that isn’t cutting it. How does this build look to you? Thanks!
    https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=6N9B0

    • Alex Glawion

      That’s an extremely good build that will blaze through all of your workloads without any sort of issues! Future proof as well. Go for it! 🙂

      3,5k is a good budget for these kinds of workloads.

      Cheers,
      Alex

  • Jesse

    Looking to decide which rig to go with:
    I use Cinema 4D, Redshift, After Effects, Photoshop, Illustrator and Premiere everyday for work. Ice projection, 2D and 3D animation, compositing and 4k video editing. I need to be able to crush renders out of C4D and AE. My budget would be to keep it below $9k. Thanks!

    Rig 1-

    CPU
    AMD Threadripper 3960X 3.8 GHz 24-Core Processor

    CPU Cooler
    be quiet! Dark Rock Pro TR4 59.5 CFM CPU Cooler

    Motherboard
    Gigabyte TRX40 AORUS MASTER EATX sTRX4 Motherboard

    Memory
    Corsair Vengeance LPX 128 GB (8 x 16 GB) DDR4-3000 CL15 Memory

    Storage
    Samsung 980 Pro 2 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive

    Video Card
    MSI GeForce RTX 3090 24 GB GAMING X TRIO Video Card

    Video Card
    MSI GeForce RTX 3090 24 GB GAMING X TRIO Video Card

    Case
    Fractal Design Meshify 2 ATX Mid Tower Case

    Power Supply
    be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12 1500 W 80+ Titanium Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply

    Operating System
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit

    Wired Network Adapter
    Asus XG-C100C 10 Gb/s Ethernet PCIe x4 Network Adapter

    Or…

    Rig 2-

    Intel Core i9-12900K 3.2 GHz 16-Core Processor

    CPU Cooler
    be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 50.5 CFM CPU Cooler

    Motherboard
    MSI MPG Z690 CARBON WIFI ATX LGA1700 Motherboard

    Memory
    Crucial 64 GB (2 x 32 GB) DDR5-4800 CL40 Memory

    Memory
    Crucial 64 GB (2 x 32 GB) DDR5-4800 CL40 Memory

    Storage
    Samsung 980 Pro 2 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive

    Video Card
    MSI GeForce RTX 3090 24 GB GAMING X TRIO Video Card

    Video Card
    MSI GeForce RTX 3090 24 GB GAMING X TRIO Video Card

    Case
    Fractal Design Meshify 2 ATX Mid Tower Case

    Power Supply
    be quiet! Dark Power Pro 12 1500 W 80+ Titanium Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply

    Operating System
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM 64-bit

    Wired Network Adapter
    Asus XG-C100C 10 Gb/s Ethernet PCIe x4 Network Adapter

    • Alex Glawion

      Both are excellent builds. You’ll have a better time with the 12900k though, as it beats the 3960X easily in any kind of active workload (viewport, timeline, etc.). And since you’re bound to GPU workloads pretty much, AND also because AE does not make great use of many cores, the mainstream intel CPU is the better choice, as long as you don’t plan on adding more GPUs. (Which would be difficult anyway given they are open-air cooled)

      Cheers,
      Alex

  • Bryan Charles Greifinger

    Hi Alex. I am a beginning creator who first wants to work with wood then metal and other materials and I’m looking to do a kitchen / home redesign with rendering So i can get an idea of how it will all look. I’m looking at starting with the 199 a year subscription for SketchUp and then possibly looking at learning Blender. What computer setup can I get into that will give me the most upgrade potential and or the best bang for the buck. I’ve been shopping for a long time and I’m getting dizzy with all the possibilities. I’m also seeing some laptops that are no longer available and problems with building my own desktop with parts shortages etc. Please help me by giving me some good options to explore. I’ve already read the options in the articles here and I’m just having all kinds of issues pinning down a good setup. My budget is about 2500. Thanks so much…

    • Alex Glawion

      Hey Bryan,
      A desktop will always get you higher performance at the same price vs a laptop, so keep that in mind. If you don’t need the mobility of a Laptop, definitely get a desktop for efficient work.

      Both SketchUp and Blender run on fairly low-end components just fine if your projects aren’t too complex. As a beginner your projects will probably be simple for quite some time, unless you badly optimize them – so a low end desktop should be fine for a few years.

      Did you take a look at our Blender and Sketchup guides?

      https://www.cgdirector.com/best-computer-for-blender/
      https://www.cgdirector.com/guide-to-building-the-best-pc-for-sketchup/

      For 2,5k$ you should be able to get a great performing desktop. The main nuisance right now really are the shortages that inflate prices of CPUs and GPUs especially. So you’re looking to pay 2-3x as much for a good GPU nowadays unfortunately.

      Here’s a build that would fit your workloads:

      CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=6MNF7

      CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 3.7GHz 12-Core Processor ($519.00)
      CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 ($89.90)
      Motherboard: MSI X570 Tomahawk ATX AM4 ($252.61)
      GPU: Nvidia RTX 3060 12GB -EVGA XC Gaming ($914.99)
      Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-3200 C16 ($232.99)
      Storage PCIe-SSD: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 2TB NVME M.2 Solid State Drive ($197.99)
      Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550M 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($41.67)
      Case: Phanteks Eclipse P300 ATX Mid Tower Case ($152.58)
      Total: $2401.73

      It’s a great build, but as I said that GPU is heavily price inflated. That’s just how things are right now and they are not looking to get better anytime soon.

      Cheers,
      Alex

  • Caleb

    CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=6MMXv

    CPU: Intel i5 10600k 4.1GHz 6-Core Processor ($249.99)
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12S ($69.94)
    Motherboard: MSI Z490 Gaming Edge WiFi ATX LGA1200 ($179.99)
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Super 6GB – ZOTAC Gaming ($589.00)
    Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 C16 ($114.99)
    Storage PCIe-SSD: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 1TB NVME M.2 Solid State Drive ($99.99)
    Power Supply: EVGA 650 B5, 80 Plus Bronze 650W Power Supply ($59.99)
    Case: Fractal Design Define R5 Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($104.58)
    Total: $1468.47

    Is it possible to sub in a less expensive GPU? Kinda cheapin out here, but I don’t need to be able to run the Earth as a simulation. New to this stuff and I just wanna play a few games, current laptop wasn’t cutting it. Not gonna be a constant-use thing either. I also wanted to swap out the Fractal Define R5 case with a Fractal Focus G, if that’s advisable. Case needs to endure a cross-country move.

    Thanks,
    Cheapo McGee

    • Alex Glawion

      It’s entirely possible. Keep in mind though, that GPUs are heavily price-inflated right now and an even lower-tier GPU might not run your Games well enough. The case swap is fine.

      Cheers,
      Alex

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