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

CG Director Author Alex Glawionby Alex Glawion   /  Updated   /   1,240 comments
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PC-Builder: Find The Best Parts For Your PC & Workstation



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:

  • 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.

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!

1240
Comments
Also check out our Forum for feedback from our Expert Community.

Jess

Hello Alex,

I have read your comments about the workstation for Cinema 4D. But I am still lost in the jungle of hardware. Therefore I would like to ask directly if the following combination is recommendable or what you would change about it.

I want to use the PC mainly for architectural design, rendering, animation (simulation of time of day in rooms). However, even with this level of investment, I would like to use the computer for occasional gaming.

CPU: AMD Threadripper 3970X 3.7GHz 32-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X63 280mm
Motherboard: ASROCK TRX40 Creator ATX sTRX4
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 6GB – Gigabyte Windforce
or Nvidia RTX 3070TI 8GB – EVGA FTW3 Ultra Gaming
Memory: 128GB (8 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 C16
Storage SSD: Crucial MX500 500GB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
Power Supply: Corsair RMx Series Platinum RM850x 850W Power Supply
Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Titanium Big Tower Case

I am looking forward to your answer and opinion.
Best regards
Jess

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Jess,
What render engines are you using in cinema 4d? Physical, redshift or another?

I am asking because, if you don’t need multi-cores performance for cpu rendering, I’d heavily recommend going the mainstream CPU route with a 5950X for example, as that cpu is much faster in active workloads. You would need an x570 Motherboard like the MSI Tomahawk for it.

Definitely go with the RTX 3070Ti if you can swing it, it is a lot better than the GTX 1660, especially if you are using GPU rendering in engines such as octane or redshift.

The rest looks good to me. Be sure to get 4x32GB RAM instead of 8x16GB if you decide to go with the x570 Motherboard, as it only has 4 ram slots.

Cheers,
Alex

MFX

Hi Alex,
Wondering can I get your advice on this build.
I mostly use it for :
After effect – Motion Graphic and 4k video footage
Cinema 4D – Modelling, Animate, Rendering

SPEC:
Ryzen 9 5900X Processor
Asus ROG Strix B550-F Gaming Wifi Motherboard (Supports overclock)
Zotac RTX 3060 Ti Twin Edge OC Graphics Card
XPG Spectrix D50 RGB 3200 MHz 4 x 16GB (64GB) DDR4 RAM
XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB M.2 PCIE SSD
NZXT C850 80 Plus Gold Full Modular Power Supply
NZXT H510 Elite Case
Silverstone PF240 RGB Liquid AIO Cooler White

Thanks and appreciate for your time.

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey MFX,
Looks like a solid build, I see no issues! 🙂 Maybe get a bigger SSD or a second one soon, as those 512GB fill up pretty quickly, depending on the amount of Software you install, and workloads you are running.

Cheers,
Alex

Andro

Hi Alex,

Do you have recommendations on an upgradeable budget build using Ryzen 9 5900x cpu for 3D modelling and rendering purposes? An entry level gpu would do.

I tried to use the pc builder but whenever 5900x shows up it goes beyond my budget range ($1000-$1500).

If it isn’t possible, I highly appreciate any alternative suggestions.

What I love about the builder tool is that I won’t worry on the compatibility anymore and I thank you so much for that.

Thank you for your time!

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Andro,
The main problem is the GPU. GPUs are just so expensive right now, that they throw off the pricing of an entire build.

Here’s what you can do:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900X 3.7GHz 12-Core Processor ($581.75)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 ($84.90)
Motherboard: MSI X570 Tomahawk ATX AM4 ($219.99)
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 1660 ($350.00)
Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-3200 C16 ($89.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Sabrent Rocket Q4 500GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($79.00)
Power Supply: EVGA 650 B5, 80 Plus Bronze 650W Power Supply ($68.01)
Case: NZXT H510 ATX Mid Tower Case ($144.48)
Total: $1614

Of course, you could get a cheaper case and maybe a cheaper Motherboard as well, which might push you below your 1500$ threshold.

The MSI AMD B550 Pro comes to mind which should cost around 140$.

Cheers,
Alex

Lee

Why no option to check for just regular web browsing and Word, etc.?

Alex Glawion
Alex GlawionCGDIRECTOR

Hey Lee,
This is an option we can add. Though because CGDirector focuses on professional graphical workloads (e.g. video editing, design, 3d, etc.) first and foremost, we haven’t done so yet.

The closest you’ll get to web-browsing and word, is the photo-editing workload that you can chose from the dropdown list above.

TBH, Browsing and Word are such lightweight workloads, that you will see no performance difference between a 500$ and a 2500$ PC, so offering such a large bandwidth here wouldn’t make too much sense.

Cheers,
Alex

Jane

Hey Alex!
I’m an artist and graphics designer who’s looking to delve into 3D modelling in the future (namely blender). I’m a complete beginner when it comes to building a pc and I was wondering if you have any build suggestions for art, 3D modelling and gaming (a lot of open worlds and graphic heavy games) ?