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

CG Director Author Alex Glawion  by Alex Glawion   ⋮   ⋮   1,014 comments
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PC-Builder: Find The Best Parts For Your PC & Workstation



How does the PC-Builder know what parts are best?

First and foremost, the PC-Builder relies on Benchmarks.

Every Hardware Component available to the PC-Builder Tool, has been put through a Series of popular Benchmarks that tell us exactly how well it performs.

Benchmarks include Cinebench, Geekbench, several GPU & CPU Render Engines such as Octane, Redshift, Vray and real-world Applications Benchmarks for all kinds of Digital Content Creation & CAD Software.

For maximum compatibility we have a lot of hardware specifications and manual testing & experience to source from.

Note: AMD CPUs are currently in the lead in most productivity software. This is reflected in the benchmarks used for the PC-Builder Tool and why AMD CPUs are so often recommended here.

Missing specific Parts / Brands?

We are extending the CGDirector PC Builder constantly. Right now, the best Hardware Components from Asus, MSI, Corsair, Seasonic, be quiet, AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Fractal Design, Samsung, Adata, ASROCK, Western Digital, Seagate, Gigabyte, Noctua, NZXT, Phanteks, Crucial, Fractal Design have been added.

More will follow, after we were able to test them thoroughly, and if we find the parts to be reliable.

Laptop Brands currently include MSI, Asus, Razer, Gigabyte with more to follow soon.

Why is the Budget Min / Max capped?

Minimum and Maximum Budget is purposely capped in the PC-Builder. This is because it would not make sense in getting an even cheaper or even more expensive PC than the suggested range for the selected use-case.

More expensive than the suggested maximum could lower the performance (as the most expensive parts are not necessarily the best for your specific use case) and less expensive than the minimum suggested budget will most likely underwhelm you in your specific use-case experience.

How does the PC-Builder calculate the parts

We assigned a minimum and maximum percentage of the total cost, that a given part is allowed to cost. This is based on our experience in building and using lots and lots of different Computers and Workstations for all kinds of use-cases.

Example GPU-Rendering:

When we select the “Purpose: GPU-Rendering”, the cheapest suggested Build consists of Parts that are very similar in price.

The CPU and GPU, for example, both cost around 200$. So both will have about 25% of the total allowed Budget assigned.

In the maximum GPU-Rendering Build, the 4x 2080Tis cost much more (5196$) than the CPU (1900X – 399$), because, of course, in GPU-Rendering the GPUs are much more important and therefore may use up much more of the total Budget.

In this case, the GPUs use up 70% of the budget and the rest of the parts are comparatively cheap.

This means, the PC-Builder gets assigned a minimumBudget-part-allowed-percentage and maximumBudget-part-allowed-percentage and in-between automatically interpolates depending on the given budget.

Of course, things such, # of GPUs, # of PCIe-Slots on the Mainboard, Power Consumption, Socket matching the Mainboard, and so on, are taken into consideration for maximum compatibility.

As always though, the tool might not be entirely free of errors and we recommend to use it with caution and only use the suggested Parts as a basis for discussion and to build upon.

How are Laptops Recommended?

The Laptop recommendation Tool is much simpler than the PC-Builder Tool, as the Laptops are already pre-built. There are different underlying Benchmarks for every Purpose, that define which Laptop is best within a certain price-range. This can vary slightly, depending on the availability and current price of the Laptops.

This way, the tool always recommends the best performing Laptops for Video Editing or Laptops for Animation for example, even if there might be more expensive Laptops that would ultimately, though, have lower performance.

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.

Join the New CGDirector Forum! Expert Advice & PC-Build Planning with a warm and friendly Community! :)

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!

1014
Comments

Marc

Hey Alex,
very helpful page but I got one question. I am studying architecture and I will need to do much 3d Cad work but also do modeling and rendering buildings or small parts of a city. So I couldn’t really decide which category I had to choose. Which notebook would you recommend? My budget is under 900 euros. I’d really appreciate your help
Thanks and best wishes

Troy

Hi Alex,

Would this build be a good setup to run Rhino6, RhinoGold & Panther3D?

CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=Aq1Ph0y0nme

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3.6GHz 8-Core Processor ($273.99)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Prism Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: MSI B450 Tomahawk MAX ATX AM4 ($223.89)
GPU: AMD Radeon RX 5700XT – Gigabyte Gaming OC ($378.83)
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 C16 ($66.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB NVME M.2 Solid State Drive ($74.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550M 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($119.83)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($109.99)
Total: $1248.51

Thanks Troy
N.B I did place wrong email in last comment sorry.

Hector

Hi Alex, your insight & website are amazing, thank you for putting so much helpful information out there for us.
I am looking to get started with video editing, using Premiere Pro (based on the recommendations I’ve read online). I plan to make compilation videos from the 1080p & lower resolution MP4 concert videos I have, stringing together clips from different videos.
As a total noob I don’t know how much time it takes to edit & render stuff, let alone how that varies on different hardware, so my expectations will of course be different from a pro like you. With that in mind, what price point do you recommend I aim for when building my first pc for video editing?
My aim is to get something fast enough to avoid being totally frustrated by the speed of the editing process, while not going overboard for a newbie. I think I want at least 16GB RAM + an Intel 7th gen processor or equivalent, based on the Premiere system requirements.

Hi Hector,

Thanks for dropping a line and thank you for the kind words!

In your case, I recommend a starting budget of around $1,500. That should be more than enough to get you a build for your video editing tasks. Please see below for specs:

CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=sc1yhdlikme

CPU: Intel i7 9700k 3.6GHz 8-Core Processor ($371.98)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4 ($67.48)
Motherboard: MSI Z390 Gaming Edge AC ATX LGA1151 ($169.98)
GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660TI 6GB – EVGA XC Gaming ($289.99)
Memory: 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 C16 ($66.99)
Storage SSD: Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($118.09)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Crucial P1 1TB, M.2 Solid State Drive ($104.99)
Storage HDD: Seagate BarraCuda Compute 4TB, 3.5″ ($75.23)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550M 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($114.99)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($109.17)

The cost comes up to around $1,488.89 but you can expect a great performance from this build. It comes with a 9th gen i7-970K CPU and 16GB of RAM as you requested so you can expect task responsiveness when you’re doing active work. The build also comes with three (3) storage options but more importantly, you also get the 1TB Crucial P1 NVMe SSD which should add a little speed boost here and there. All in all, this is a good build to start off with and you can just decide later on if you want to upgrade some of the components if you need more power.

Cheers,
Alex

Max

Hi Alex,

Great article!

I have a question tho about using more than one graphic card. I don’t really understand how it works, do you need SLI bridges for it to work or is it just to put it as many graphic cards you want and you’re good to go?

Thanks in advance!
Best, Max

Rose

Hi Alex, thanks so much again for your articles, they are a great help.
I have my build picked out and I wonder if you could help me in deciding if this is the way to go or not – I’m having trouble deciding and its my first ever build and i want to get it right!

Currently this is what I am thinking:
Ryzen 7 3800X processor
Asus B450M-K Motherboard
PowerColor Radeon RX 5700 XT 8GB Dual Fan GDDR6 Graphics Card
ADATA XPG SX8200 Pro 512GB M.2 Gaming Solid State Drive
Corsair 32GB RAM (2×16)
Aerocool 650W lux rgb bronze power supply
Fractal Design Define R5 Black ATX Mid Tower Case

I can get this build for around £1100. However, I started off my search with with the Ryzen 5 3600X in mind and it just sort of spiralled from there – I don’t mind spending the extra money, so long as I’m getting a lot more for it. Before I bite the bullet I am trying to get a more expert opinion…

I am using this machine fairly evenly spread over: video editing (premiere) motion effects (after effects) and 3d (C4D) and I’m getting into using Arnold renderer and I would like to try some of the other external renderers out with time (I’m looking at redshift). It’s for my own work mainly, the emphasis being on a snappy workflow. So, I don’t necessarily need super fast rendering, but more of a balance. But do you think that for the extra money (+£200) spent (between the 3600x and the 3800x) that this is a better buy? Or is there another configuration entirely that I am missing?? Feeling swamped. Thanks in advance!

Rose

Also – just to add – I really want a quiet pc, is it worth the extra £60 on a dark rock pro cooler for the cpu, or is the case enough ?

Ramin

Hey how would you compare a P620 vs a P1000 Quadro GPU for entry level general CAD design stuff. Is it worth the money for the upgrade on a tight budget? I mostly want to start practicing in Autodesk, probably autodcad, inventor and revit maybe some Solidworks too. Nothing serious just a student wanting to pick up some skills and experience to help out my job prospects. Thanks!

Mike Harkins

Alex…
I finally have started by build but I am having 2 big issues…
1… when powering up the Dark Rock Pro 4 makes a noise like the blades are scraping. It goes away in about 10 secs…
2… My USB ports are having issues…. The USB Boot to install the OS works but the mouse and keyboard do not work so I can’t work in the BIOS etc. to set things. I have tried both the back panel ports as well as the front panel ports.

Any ideas?

Sheila

Hi, Alex!

I am looking for a PC build recommendation for daytrading and web design, basically doing webs with WordPress, not the most heavy stuff. I have the pc working practically all the day and many Windows opens with charts and browsers. I would like to have a quiet, well ventilared and stable machine. I don´t have intention to connect more than 3 or 4 monitors -I guess 3 will be-. The resolution will be FHD or 2k at most -I guess FHD for a decent native resolution and no need to scale-. No gaming, so for this purpose I don´t think the graphic card is the most important element of the build. I was thinking in the Ryzen 9 3900X and 32 RAM. but no idea how to mix with the other elemnts properly or which combinations are the best. My Budget is about 1500€.

Thanks in advance, Alex.

Hey Sheila,

Thanks for dropping a line!

€1,500 is around $1,680 and that amount of money can get you a build like the below:

Parts List:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8GHz 12-Core Processor ($413.97)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 ($75.15)
Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming X570-Plus ATX AM4 ($285.00)
GPU: ZOTAC GAMING GeForce RTX 2060 ($329.99)
Memory: 32GB (2 x 16GB) G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4-3600 C16 ($179.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive ($167.19)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550M 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($84.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case ($137.01)

The build will cost you around $1,673.29 but per your request, you get a Ryzen 9 3900X CPU and 32GB of RAM at the heart of your system. This CPU-RAM combination will ensure that you always have a fast and smooth workflow experience. You also get a 1TB NVMe SSD which will help speed things up a bit. All in all, this build can be expected to deliver an excellent performance for what you need it for.

Cheers,
Alex

Mike Harkins

Alex… Do I need the Dark Rock Pro 4 if my CPU AMD Ryzen 9 3900X with Prism LED Cooler? I bought them both… is that possible configure that way?

Michael J

Thanks for all the great info!

I’m trying to figure out the best bang for my buck. I use blender for work and would like a powerful system that can both handle a viewport with millions of vertices and would also like to render animations at optimal speeds. It looks like clock speed is more important than number of cores for cpu in regards to viewport. For gpu, it looks like you guys emphasize number of graphics cards vs power of the cards (to a point). For instance if you had to chose between 3 2070s vs 2 2080 TIs, you go for the 3 2070s. Am I right about that? Is that just the better way to go? I was leaning towards 2 rtx 2080 Tis before reading your recommendations.

Thanks for the help and great write-ups,

Michael

Hi Michael,

You’re right – in terms of viewport, you want to invest in a CPU with high clock speed. As for a multi-GPU setup, it’s not just about the number of cards in the setup. You need to add the CUDA cores of the GPUs you will be using and whichever ends up with the more number of CUDA cores will usually (roughly) deliver the better render performance. In your example, an RTX 2070 has 2,304 CUDA cores so three of these will total 6,912 CUDA cores. On the other hand, an RTX 2080 Ti has 4,352 CUDA cores so a pair of these GPUs will give you 8,704 CUDA cores. In this case, a pair of RTX 2080 Ti GPUs will still outperform a trio of RTX 2070 graphics card. To have a better picture of this, please take a look at this article: https://www.cgdirector.com/octanebench-benchmark-results/

Cheers,
Alex