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

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!

1,266 Comments

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

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  • Sarah

    Hi Alex,
    I love the website but have a catch-22. I’m running both 3d software for modeling, rendering, animation, fluid and destruction simulations – and I’m also shooting and editing video. I’ve started with Intel but may need an upgraded build but not with all new parts. I have a 1 Kilowatt power supply and a large computer case already (Nanoxia), 8 TB of memory HDD, two SSDs at 1 TB each. My issue comes down to the right motherboard (ASRock X99 OC Formula), RAM (currently 64), my very outdated graphics cards (2 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980ti), and my CPU (i7 5960X Haswell-E). It’s still working but I need to upgrade for the CPU, motherboard, and graphics cards with RAM. Ideally I’d use 64GB RAM in this build. I’m not sure if there’s anything I can do now for an upgrade because I don’t really want to spend $2,000+. I’m getting error messages from my rendering and modeling software because my graphics cards are too old and don’t support all of the capabilities. Now that I have waited too long and think that the deals are going to pass me by yet again. If there’s any way the motherboard can be a bit future-proofed I’d be willing to spend more on it. I’m looking for the Gigabyte Z790 AERO G to allow for upgrades but not having much luck. Any suggestions would be welcome.

  • Oleksandr

    Hi there Alex! What would you recommend in regard to storage for a workstation? I currently have one 1TB M.2 drive and one 2TB M.2 drive, where I keep basically everything. And they are pretty full already. I was thinking that I should probably get another drive where I could keep my finished project files, assets, maybe some movies, etc. I also need storage for big caches. So I was wondering if I should get another bigger SSD or should I just get a huge HDD? Also, what would an endgame storage setup for a 3D motion designer look like, should I look in the direction of a NAS Storage? Let me know and thank you!

  • Christoph S.

    Hi Alex,
    Great article and lots of good information for a newbie to building a PC (been using MacbookPro and its just not cutting it anymore)
    I will be using the Workstation for 3D modelling mostly in Blender, Fusion360, and less on other 3D softwares like Marvellous, Moi3D, Rhino etc. But also the Adobe suit with Illustrator and Photoshop etc
    But my big hang up is that I will also be using it for a lot of Rendering as well. I would say Modelling and Rendering at a same importance since I have to communicate my work and do final imagery and animations.
    Is there a good build that combines these two tasks that you could recommend? I am tempted to go half and half with the last two builds in your article but I am not sure if that will create some compatibility issues.

    Something like this:

    CPU: AMD Threadripper 3990X 2.9GHz 64-Core Processor
    CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3
    Motherboard: Gigabyte TRX40 Aorus Extreme XL-ATX sTRX4
    GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080TI 11GB – Asus Turbo
    GPU #2: Nvidia RTX 2080TI 11GB – Asus Turbo
    Memory: 128GB (8 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 C16
    Storage SSD: Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
    Power Supply: Corsair AX1600i 1600W ATX 2.4 Power Supply
    Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Titanium Big Tower Case

    Not sure why I went for two GPUs, maybe there is a better single one?

    Thank you for your help! Really appreciate it

    • Alex Glawion

      Hey Christoph,
      I can’t recommend a TR 3990X for an active workstation, it’s just too slow. You probably picked the GPU Rendering category in the PC Builder which optimizes things a bit too much towards “GPU Render Node”.

      For a workstation that you also actively work on (not just render) you should pick a different CPU.

      Here’s what I’d recommend:

      Either go Intel:
      CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=6NvHb

      CPU: Intel Core i9 12900K 3.2GHz 16-Core Processor ($499.89)
      CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 ($89.90)
      Motherboard: MSI MAG Z690 Tomahawk DDR4 ATX LGA1700 ($273.74)
      GPU: Nvidia RTX 3090 24GB – Asus ROG Strix ($976.67)
      Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 C16 ($364.99)
      Storage PCIe-SSD: Seagate FireCuda 530 2TB NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive ($239.99)
      Power Supply: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 1200W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($189.00)
      Case: Fractal Design Define R5 Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($146.99)
      Total: $2781.17

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

      CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5950X 3.4GHz 16-Core Processor ($549.00)
      CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 ($89.90)
      Motherboard: MSI X570 Tomahawk ATX AM4 ($375.80)
      GPU: Nvidia RTX 3090 24GB – Asus ROG Strix ($976.67)
      Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 C16 ($364.99)
      Storage PCIe-SSD: Seagate FireCuda 530 2TB NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive ($239.99)
      Power Supply: be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 1200W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($189.00)
      Case: Fractal Design Define R5 Black ATX Mid Tower Case ($146.99)
      Total: $2878.33

      The PC-Builder doesn’t yet include the newest gen of CPUs and GPUs, we’re working on that as we speak.

      You could pair the above builds with a RTX 4090 GPU, though if you want to maximize your single GPU performance.

      Hope this helps,
      Alex

      • Christoph S.

        Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly, Alex!
        This helps a lot!

        Best,
        Christoph

  • Mark Foster

    I have an existing computer that I use for my work. I’m just looking for a computer to run windows and internet. However, when I tried to use the pc builder, it did not give that option

    • Alex Glawion

      Hey Mark,
      The Builder is meant more for creative / visually demanding workloads that professionals are running. Running Windows and Browsing the internet will work on almost any PC, even ones that are considerably cheaper.

      Cheers,
      Alex

  • blu

    Hi Alex,
    thanks so much for all these indepth articles, im newish to blender and its comforting to know there are resources such as yourself. Ive been doing all my rendering on my macbook pro 2021 m1 pro but it severely lacks and i want to take my 3d skills to a professional grade, rendering high detail, abstract animations/images. I was going to buy a laptop for rendering but realistically it seems i should just invest in a pc for longterm gain and want to know whats the best way to proceed. Your pc builder suggested:

    CPU
    Intel Core i5 12600K 3.7GHz 6-Core Processor $277.99
    CPU Cooler
    be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 $89.90
    Motherboard
    ASUS Prime B660-PLUS DDR4 ATX LGA1700 $139.99
    Graphics Card
    AMD Radeon RX 6800XT – XFX Speedster $659.99
    Memory (RAM)
    32GB (2 x 16GB) G.Skill Ripjaws V DDR4-3200 C16 $94.99
    PCIe-SSD
    Seagate FireCuda 530 1TB NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive $119.99
    Power Supply
    Corsair RMx Series RM750x 750W Power Supply $147.29
    Case
    be quiet! Pure Base 600 Black ATX Mid Tower Case

    Alternatively, a friend recommended this, and i would like to know which one you believe is more compatible with my 3d needs:

    AMD Ryzen 7 5700x Nvidia RTX 3080 Gaming PC – G6 Fusion 800 X6
    Case – GameMax F15M ARGB ( No Optical)
    Processor (CPU) – AND Ryzen 9 5900x (12x 3.70/4.8GHz) –
    Motherboard – Asus PRIME X570-P – ATX – £98 00
    Memory – 32GB Kingston Fury DDR4 3200MHz (2x16GB) –
    Graphics – 8GB Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti – HDMI, Displayport –
    M.2 Solid State Drive (Gen 4) – 500Gb ADATA SSD Legend 840 PCle x4 (Up to 5000MB/R,3400 .
    2nd M.2 Solid State Drive (Gen 4) – 1tb ADATA SSD Legend 840 PCle x4 (Up to 5000MB/R,4750MB
    Optical Drive – No Optical Drive
    Power Supply – Corsair 850w RM850 80+ Gold
    Power Supply Cabling – Standard PSU Cables
    Processor Cooling – Standard CPU Cooler
    Case Fans – No Additional Fans

    i do apologise for the length and thank you so much for your time.
    thanks,
    blu

    • Alex Glawion

      Both look like great builds that would tackle about any kind of Blender and 3D related workload you throw at it. I’d certainly go with an Nvidia GPU as most 3D GPU render engines support CUDA and not necessarily OpenCL. Blender does support both but is faster and less error-prone on CUDA / OptiX.

      AMD’s newest CPU gen Ryzen 7000 might be worth a look. Yes it’s a more expensive platform right now, with DDR5 and quite expensive motherboards, BUT you’ll have longer term compatibility down the line as AM5 is here to stay for a few years. If you get a current gen intel or AM4 system, upgrading needs will become difficult down the line.

      Just my 2c.

      Cheers,
      Alex

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