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

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex   ⋮   ⋮   780 comments
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PC-Builder: Find The Best Parts For Your PC & Workstation

The CGDirector PC-Builder helps you find the best Computer and Workstation Parts for your specific use case and available budget, by recommending highly compatible and best-performing hardware:

PC-Builder


 

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.

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!

780
Comments

Wes in Texas

Looking at building/buying a PC for my daughter who is an animation student at SCAD. I have built one PC before, but was a long time ago and I am very much a beginner.

Couple of questions. If we build, do the parts themselves have warranties, or we better off buy-in a prebuilt computer? Is so do you have a website that you would suggest ?

Second, is the Nvidia 2080 ti 11g needed? Would the 2080 8g be enough.

Her longterm goal is to go into Previz and she is currently getting deep into her animation classes.

I am a clueless dad trying to help my daughter. I don’t mind spending the money as long as it is worth it.

Wes

Wes

Hello!

I just stumbled across the site (and a few articles) this morning. Everything has been very, very helpful.

The reason for my interest is that I just purchased a more advanced camera, and I need to be able to edit 10-bit (or 12-bit) footage for work projects. I’m basically trying to build something that will handle larger video files for $1500 or less, and I’m trying to get the best bang for my buck.

Here’s what the machine kicked out for me.
CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X
Motherboard: ASUS Prime X570-P ATX AM4
Graphics Card: NVIDIA GTX 1660TI 6GB – EVGA XC Gaming
RAM: 16GB (2 x 8GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16
Storage SSD: Crucial MX500 1TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
PCle-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 500GB M.2 Solid State Drive
HDD: Seagate BarraCuda Compute 4TB, 3.5″
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case

So, I guess my question is, will this rig handle 10-bit files reasonably well? If I was going to purchase this today, I’d probably spring for 32GB of RAM and 2 of the Samsung 970 EVO PLUS SSD drives…if that seems silly, please let me know. It’s been about 8 years since I’ve built a PC and things have changed!

Thanks in advance, you’ve already been a great resource!

Christopher Bonnier Pitts

OK, I have read through your articles a couple of times – a lot to ingest – and wandered various sources and have come up with an idea for a long overdue machine.
A couple of things you advise I want to be sure I have right::
1) no need for huge RAM like 128 as the 4 x 32 will and up slowing down Premiere, so 2x 32 or 16 is fine but 3600 is best.
2) AMD is going to release some beast chip this October so anything I get now (4/2020) if I want to be able to upgrade over the next few years, needs to be able to handle it.

So here is a build a fellow editor created (evidently it has all kinds of light which I care squat about) but this seems like a $4200 machine that should be able to handle red footage and 4-6K footage in multicam edits like a walk in the park. It has 128GB Ram which can be replaced with less RAM and 2 slots.

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X ($749)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H115i RGB Platinum AIO Liquid CPU Cooler ($147)  or  CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 280mm ($174.98)
Motherboard: MSI MEG X570 ACE ($357)
Video Card: ASUS GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB ($769)
RAM: 128GB Corsair Vengeance RGB PRO DDR4 3200 ($609) or CORSAIR Vengeance LPX 128GB (4 x 32GB) 288-Pin DDR4 SDRAM DDR4 3600 (PC4 28800) Desktop Memory Model CMK128GX4M4D3600C18 ($700)
SSD #1 (OS): Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 1TB ($229)
SSD #2 (Projects): Gigabyte AORUS NVMe Gen4 M.2 2TB ($419)
Large Internal HDD: Western Digital Gold 10TB Enterprise Class ($316)
Large External HDD: Seagate Expansion 10TB External HDD ($179)
Power Supply: EVGA 80+ Gold 1000W ($189)
Case: Corsair Obsidian Series 750D Full Tower ($168)

Zoe

Hi Alex, thank you so much for all these useful in formation! Really appreciate!

Paul Nelson

Hello,

My sister has tasked me with finding her a computer that will fun the following software:

-Maya
-Abobe Photoshop
-Adobe Illustrator
-Adobe After Effects
-Renderman
-Blender

She is trying to get hired at Pixar and needs to make them a portfolio. She is passionate about 3D Modeling and animation.

She is a big Apple person but a new iMac Pro is $5000,00, I can t afford that. If I build a computer can I use a Mac OS? Is there a company that will build one for me using Mac OS? Should we abandon the Mac OS?

I know enough about computers to be dangerous, just trying to help my sis.

Any suggestions?

Hey Paul,

Thanks for asking!

First off, if I may ask, how much is your budget?

Macs are very expensive and that’s exactly the reason why I don’t recommend them. In fact, you can build a Windows-based PC for a lot less and yet get better performance than a more expansive Mac for that matter.

As for building a computer using Mac OS, it’s called Hackintosh and I have to admit that I’m not very familiar with the process. It’s a little complicated and basically makes you jump through a lot of hoops before you can get Mac OS running on your assembled PC.

Now, if you decide to go for a Windows-based PC, below is a build that costs less than half the price but I can assure you will perform better than an iMac Pro. Below are the specs:

CGDirector.com Parts List: https://www.cgdirector.com/pc-builder/?=Db1Fb0c0hhb

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 3.5GHz 16-Core Processor ($737.99)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 AM4 ($86.46)
Motherboard: ASUS Prime X570-P ATX AM4 ($144.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB – MSI Gaming X Trio ($749.99)
Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 CL16 ($282.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive ($199.45)
Power Supply: Seasonic Focus Plus Gold 650W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($122.99)
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case ($78.42)
The total comes up to around $2403.28 but this build is designed for 3D modeling and animation. It has a Ryzen 9 3950X CPU working with a whopping 64GB of RAM (twice the RAM of the iMac Pro) so you can expect task responsiveness when you’re working actively inside the software. In addition to that, the build comes with an RTX 2080 Super graphics card with support for CUDA core acceleration. This will come in handy and deliver a better render performance in case you need to use the GPU render engines. All in all, this is a high-end build at less than half the price of an iMac Pro and it’s more than powerful enough to handle whatever 3D modeling and animation task you throw at it.

Cheers,
Alex

Tavia

Hi, I’m trying to build a PC that would work for both Video Editing (primarily) and some graphics/VFX work (Adobe, Nuke). Just looking for the basics at the moment, but I’d like for the machine to be expandable if I need to add more RAM or HDs in the future. Does this build work?

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8GHz 12-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 AM4
Motherboard: MSI MPG x570 Gaming Pro Carbon Wifi ATX AM4
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB – MSI Gaming X Trio
Memory: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16
Storage SSD: Crucial MX500 2TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive
Power Supply: Seasonic Focus Plus Gold 650W ATX 2.4 Power Supply
Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Titanium Big Tower Case

Hey Tavia,

Thanks for dropping a line!

Your chosen components are all excellent! From the CPU-RAM-GPU combination to your dual SSD storage options and all others, it’s just so good I wouldn’t change anything on your list.

In terms of future expansion, no issues with this as well. Your MSI MPG X570 Gaming Pro Carbon WIFI has 4 DIMM slots so you can add two more RAM sticks in the future as long as they are the same model as the Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 in your list. In terms of storage expansion, your motherboard has two (2) M.2 SSD slots so you can add another M.2 SSD in the future. In addition to that, your motherboard also has more than enough SATA slots in case you plan on adding conventional hard drives. No issues on HDD expansion in terms of your case because the Fractal Design Define XL R2 Titanium has two drive bays that will allow you to add up to eight (8) 3.5-inch HDDs.

All in all, you have a great list of components. No need to change anything on that so go for it and happy building!

Cheers,
Alex

Tavia

Fantastic! Thank you for your feedback!

Davide

Hey, I’m looking for a very low budget configuration for 3d sculpting and modeling. From the information I got, the most important hardware in this Kind of work is an high clock speed cpu. So, my question is: with a Ryzen 2600 will be there any difference in performance between the sapphire rx570 and the rx580? Is it worth to pay 30$ more for the rx580? Thank You

Hi Davide,

Thanks for asking!

There will always be a performance difference between the RX 570 and RX 580 but I don’t think it will be too big to be a game-changer so to speak. In my case however, I tend to recommend getting the higher-tiered component especially if you have the means for it in order to make your build more future-proof, so to speak.

Be aware though that AMD GPUs like the RX series only support OpenCL and not CUDA. So, if you plan on using the GPU render engines, you might want to look at the NVIDIA GTX/RTX GPUs because these graphics card support CUDA core acceleration and pretty much deliver better performance compared to their AMD counterparts. If you won’t be using the GPU render engines, then the RX 580 will do just fine.

Cheers,
Alex

Svet Nikolov

Dear Alex,

Before anything thank you for what you are doing, all the articles and information are really helpful!
I am looking for advice on building a pc and I would really appreciate any suggestions and ideas.
I am going to use this build for both work and gaming. 60% of the time I would use it for work and 40% for gaming. From the 60% of work – 30% will be rendering Octane/Redshift, the other 30% – After Effects and Photoshop. My budget is around $4500. I am thinking of something with 2 x 2080 ti GPUs.
Can you please suggest what CPU, MB, RAM, what type of cooling would you choose if you were building this machine for the same purposes? I am asking about all the parts in a pc, including SSD, power supply, case, etc and I would really appreciate it if you help me in the configuration of this build.

Thanks a lot and keep up the good work!
Svet

Svet Nikolov

As a side note, I could start with 1 x 2080 ti with the same budget in order to invest in other parts and later add the second 2080 ti.
P.S. I have peripheral accessories and a monitor.

Rin

Hi! I love the useful information you have up, it really helped inform me on what to build. I’m currently trying to build a PC for animation (still a student but planning to go ‘all out’ for the future!) and I’m hoping to get a bit more guidance. I have a surface book 2 which works okay with Maya but it’s getting harder to load up references of rigs without crashing the whole software, which is why I decided it’s time to finally get a PC that’ll run smoothly. Along with animating, I’d like to still game on the pc. What I have on mind right now is;

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3950X 3.5GHz 16-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 AM4 ($84.84)
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite ATX AM4
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2080 SUPER 8GB – MSI Gaming X Trio
Memory: 64GB (4 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive
Power Supply: Corsair RMx Series RM650x 650W ATX 2.4 Power Supply
Case: Corsair Carbide Series 275Q ATX Mid Tower Case

I’m learning to build my own PC but feel a bit hopeless right now lol. I know it’s better to get 2 separate rams and I’m also considering a water cooling system too? Sorry for rambling on, any thoughts on what to change/improve?

Hey Rin,

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

Your list of components actually look great for a build dedicated for animation and gaming! In fact, I wouldn’t change a single thing on your chosen components.

You are right – Ryzen CPUs love RAM in dual channel configuration but unless you can find a 64GB kit in a 2 x 32GB configuration (which are hard to come by), having 4 x 16GB sticks for a whopping 64GB of RAM will do just fine. If you are intent on using a water cooling system, you can find good options from Corsair (Corsair H115i RGB Platinum), EVGA (EVGA CLC 240), and Cooler Master (Cooler Master MasterLiquid ML360R).

You said you’re learning to build your own PC, right? That being the case, please check this article out as it will definitely help you: https://www.cgdirector.com/how-to-build-a-pc/

Cheers,
Alex

Rin

Thank you Alex! I really appreciate the answer. I decided to stick with what I mentioned and hopefully get those parts soon before it gets too hard for things to get delivered haha. Also yes I’ve checked that article out, it’s definitely going to be helpful when putting all the components together. Have a nice day and stay safe, thank you again!

Jonatan Rosengren Drake

Hi, and thank you for a great site with lots of valuable information!
I am working on a Mac right now but would like to build a future proof high performance pc for C4D work and rendering with Arnold. I also work in Photoshop and sometimes in Premiere. I would like to have the possibility to switch over to GPU rendering in the future if necessary.
This is my first pc build so lots of new information for me and I would really appreciate your expertise here.

This is the build I have in mind:

CPU: AMD Threadripper 3960X 3.8 GHz 24-Core Processor
CPU Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 Liquid CPU Cooler
Motherboard: ASRock TRX40 Creator ATX sTRX4 Motherboard
Memory: G.Skill Trident Z Neo 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) DDR4-3600 (F4-3600C16Q-64GTZNC)
Storage: Samsung 970 Evo 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
Storage: Samsung 860 EVO Series MZ-N6E2T0BW 2TB
Storage: Seagate Barracuda 4TB
Video Card: GeForce RTX 2070 SUPER 8 GB
Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 (Black Pearl) ATX Full Tower Case
Power Supply: Corsair RM (2019) 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply

A few comments:
Memory: I was looking at G.Skill Ripjaws V 64 GB (4 x 16 GB) DDR4-3600 (F4-3600C16Q-64GVKC), but they are the same price here now as the Trident Neo so then I guess the Neo is better.
Neither of these are on the QVL of the MoBo but the MoBo is on the QVL of the RAM on the G. Skill site so I hope that means they work.

Video Card: I understand a blower type card is necessary if in the future I want to stack 3-4 of them. Right now the cheapest blower style 2070 super (or 2070) is $180 more than the open air version here. Maybe I just buy a cheap open air and IF I want to stack in the future I sell it and buy new GPUs.
I can get a used MSI GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Aero OC blower style for even cheaper – is that a viable option?

Storage:
I am not sure how to set it up. Separate scratch disk? Do I need two SSDs or is it overkill?

Power supply: If I expand with more GPUs in the future I have to buy a new PSU, maybe just buy a big one from the start?

Thank you and sorry for the very long post!

Jonatan