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

CG Director Author Alex  by Alex   ⋮   ⋮   717 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!

717
Comments

Andrzej

Hi Alex,
I am running through so many sites and still not decided.
I have built few computers in the past.
This time I want to build it specially for flight simulator , namely X-Plane.
I have seen these builds here and I am having a hard time what category would flight simulator fall in?
I have looked but I can not decide which one would that be.
Thank you!

Hi Andrzej,

Thanks for asking!

X-Plane makes serious demands on the CPU and can be graphically intense so we need a CPU with a balanced feature set (high core count AND high clock speed) and higher-tiered CPU to ensure that the program runs well.

I put together a $1,500 build that can surely run X-Plane. Below are its specs:

Parts List:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3800X 3.9GHz 8-Core Processor ($339.99)
CPU Cooler: AMD Wraith Prism Cooler (Included with CPU) (-)
Motherboard: ASUS TUF Gaming x570-Plus (Wifi) ATX AM4 ($182.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2070 8GB – MSI Gaming ($464.49)
Memory: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-3200 CL16 ($144.99)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO PLUS 500GB M.2 Solid State Drive ($115.80)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($67.99)
Case: Phanteks Enthoo Pro ATX Full Tower Case ($110.44)

The total of the build comes up to around $1,426.69 but with a Ryzen 7 3800X CPU working together with 32GB of RAM and an RTX 2070 graphics card at the heart of your system, you can be sure this build is more than capable of handling X-Plane.

Cheers,
Alex

Andrzej

Hi Alex,

First of all thank you VERY much for a reply, I was not expecting it so fast as so detailed.

I have to admit I feel guilty of taking your time as I just realised that my question was not properly made (your answer addressed it perfectly though)
I was not expecting to have a total build, but rather idea what X-Plane would fit as far as these example build calculated automatically on the website.

There are four main factors I failed to mention.
– My budget is around $3500 plus
– I would rather build around Intel Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor
– I would like mobo to be able to handle future (if possible) system enhancements
– This one is funny, but I do not care about having 5G Wifi on mobo (I actually use cable connection in my setup using Airplane Mode)

Alex, if you would be so kind and just get me couple examples of mobo-processor-memory sets I would be very happy.
I can pick all other components myself but these three I would like to make sure are working well together.

I am sorry for formulating my question so silly initially…. and that you again for your help.

Will be looking for your additional expert advice.

Have a great weekend!

Angelo

Hi Alex,

Good day! If you wouldn’t mind, I would like some of your insights for this build that I’m planning.
I’m aiming to use it for 3D modeling, rendering works & walkthroughs with a little gaming on the side.

User: Designer, Architect (just starting out)
Budget: $1200 – $1500

CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X 3.6 GHz 8-Core Processor
Cooler: NZXT Kraken X62 Rev 2 98.17 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler
MOBO:: MSI B450 TOMAHAWK MAX ATX AM4 Motherboard
RAM: Team T-Force Night Hawk RGB 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
Storage: Crucial P1 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive
GPU: MSI GeForce RTX 2060 SUPER 8 GB ARMOR OC Video Card
Case: NZXT H510 Elite ATX Mid Tower Case
PSU: Corsair RM (2019) 750 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply

Current price: $1531

Insights about: Bottlenecks, futureproof ideas, alternative parts, suggestions

Thank you for your time!

Best regards,

Angelo

Jesse

How do I change specific specs to check Compatibility (example: change recommended case to a bigger case and check Compatibility)

Chris

Hi there Alex. I am planning to buy a new PC. The current setup is more than 8 years old so time has come to make a change. I am a student of architecture 3D modeling and making visualizations. Here´s what has been on my mind (the prices are in euro, I´m from Slovakia):

CPU: AMD RYZEN Threadripper 2950X – 824,90 €
CPU Cooler: NOCTUA NH-D15 – 92,90 €
Motherboard: GIGABYTE X399 AORUS PRO – 338,90 €
Graphics Card: I have a GeForce GTX 1060 6GB (I am planing an upgrade in the future but for now it´s ok)
Memory (RAM): Corsair 64 GB KIT DDR4 3200 MHz CL16 Vengeance LPX – 315,90 €
Storage SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 1 TB – 183,90 €
HDD: Seagate IronWolf 8TB – 251,90 €
Power Supply: (Here I´m need of your help)
Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Titanium Big Tower Case – 147,90 €

Here´s the list of Software I use for 3D modeling: Sketchup, Blender, (learning 3DSmax), Revit
Here´s the list of Software I use for making visualization: Corona, Vray, Lumion 9

Here is when I need your opinion and your help. My goal is to achieve the best compatibility, power and speed between the components listed above. If you think of anything with better compatibility I´m pleased to hear it. The budget is 2000€ for this project. Thank you for your help in advance

Rodrigo U.

Hi Alex,

I’m on the verge of getting a new workstation to edit with Premiere Pro and some occasional After Effects (which require the use of Photoshop and/or Illustrator, since it’s usually Motion Graphics projects). I’ve been squeezing an old 2015 MacBook Air for all its worth–and the poor thing has been a hard worker–but I think its time has come: every single thing I do requires renders and scrubbing is a pain. The time I’m losing, converted to money, definitely outweighs investing in a new machine.

I am thinking of heading into PC territory; it’s considerably cheaper than going for an equivalent Mac. The budget I have is on the ballpark of 2000, and using your handy PC-builder tool I came up with this:

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8GHz 12-Core Processor ($469.99)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 AM4 ($89.90)
Motherboard: MSI MPG x570 Gaming Pro Carbon Wifi ATX AM4 ($229.99)
GPU: NVIDIA RTX 2060 6GB – MSI Gaming ($359.99)
Memory: 32GB (2 x 16GB) Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4-2666 CL16 ($129.99)
Storage SSD: Samsung 860 EVO 1TB 2.5″ Solid State Drive ($148.93)
Storage PCIe-SSD: Samsung 970 EVO 1TB M.2 Solid State Drive ($168.99)
Storage HDD: Seagate BarraCuda Compute 4TB, 3.5″ ($89.99)
Power Supply: Corsair CX Series CX550 550W ATX 2.4 Power Supply ($67.99)
Case: Fractal Design Define XL R2 Titanium Big Tower Case ($143.93)
Total: $1899.69

Two things to consider: I think I would spend the extra $170 to get a second M.2 SSD for cache and previews and leave the first one for footage and projects. With the short turnarounds I usually get, I think it’s faster to just render everything to a second drive instead of creating proxies and storing them next to the footage, but that might just be the (wrong) pipeline I’m used to because of my old little Mac.
The other thing is that, as the business grows, I’d love to expand this workstation, mainly getting more RAM and a beefier CPU, maybe in a year or so (also, I’m thinking of venturing into audio recording and editing with ProTools; but I’m assuming any workstation that can handle video editing can easily handle audio, as long as you have a good external IO interface).

Any thoughts on my setup and conditions?

And let me restate, as everyone already has, what a wonderful job you’ve done with this website and its tools. The info one gets here really is priceless. We all appreciate your effort!

Thanks,

Rodrigo.

Kitt

Hey Alex,

I’ve recently been searching for a laptop, as my old one of a few years was damaged by a power surge.

I plan to use my laptop for multiple things, from streaming music and movies to photo/video editing to 3D modelling and rendering.

I want to be able to use Adobe Creative programs (i.e. Photoshop, Illustrator, Premiere). Also, CLO 3D, 3D-modeling programs (Maya, Blender, SketchUp), and Unity and Unreal gaming engines. It’s important that I’m able to render models and preview scenes as I create animations, as well as render gaming scenes with ease.

I’d love my laptop to have more than enough CPU & GPU power to handle all these programs, at least 16GB RAM or more, and an SSD capability. (1TB preferred or the ability to upgrade my SSD to this.)

I don’t want to spend more than about $2000(USD).

(I’ve scoured the net and looked at many different brands but I’m still unsure of what I should get.)

Do you have any suggestions?

P.S. A built-in webcam is a must-have for me. A number pad would be great but I could do without.

Thanks!

Hey Kitt,

Thanks for dropping a line!

I was looking to recommend the 2019 model of the Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop which goes for around $1,799.99 but this particular laptop only has a 512GB SSD and an RTX 2060 GPU. Now, if you are willing to spend a hundred bucks more, you can opt to get the more powerful 2019 model of the Asus ROG Strix Scar III which can be had for $2,099.99. Below are the specs of the Asus laptop:

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.60GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070 8GB
Memory(RAM) 16GB DDR4-2666
SSD 1TB PCIe Nvme Solid State Drive
HDD –
Weight 2.5 kg (~5.5pounds)
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

As mentioned earlier, the 2019 model of the Asus ROG Strix Scar III is available for around $2,099.99 but this particular laptop not only comes with a 6-core i7-9750H processor that will help with your CPU rendering tasks but it also features a higher-tiered RTX 2070 GPU under the hood. The RTX 2070 GPU supports CUDA core acceleration and should deliver a better GPU rendering performance in case you plan on using the GPU render engines. It also comes with a 1TB PCIe NVMe SSD and 16GB of RAM.

By the way, this particular laptop doesn’t have a built-in webcam but I think it’s an acceptable compromise given its price to performance ratio. And besides, you can easily buy an external webcam for that matter. Other than that, 2019 model of the Asus ROG Strix Scar III is an excellent option for your use case scenario.

Cheers,
Alex

Kitt

Hey Alex,

Thanks for the in-depth reply! I actually looked at the Asus ROG laptops and, you’re right, I could just buy an external webcam.

I’m also wondering if I should get a more “budget-friendly” laptop that could still play in all those programs and eventually get a desktop that would be extremely capable without having to spend $2000 on one laptop?
(I’m aware $2000 could give me an amazing desktop but I still need a laptop first.)

Do you have any suggestions of laptops in the $1200-1300 range?

(2nd) I could just repair my old laptop (for a few hundred $$) but I didn’t think pouring more money into it would be worth it, considering it’s a few years old now but (*shrug*).

My Old Laptop Specs:

HP Envy x360 (m6-w105dx) Convertible

2.5GHz 6th generation Intel Core i7-6500U with turbo boost up to 3.1GHz Dual Core
Memory: 8GB DDR3L SDRAM (1 DIMM)
Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce 930M Graphics
1TB 5400RPM hard drive

I’m not sure if i should split my resources, buy a cheaper laptop and custom make a great desktop later?

Hey Kitt,

You are right – repairing your old HP Envy x360 may not be worth it. You may end up pouring money into it and still end up not having a laptop with enough power to run the software you need to use.

You also have the option of splitting your resources, as you put it. You can get a decent laptop in the $1,200-$1,300 price range and use it for the time being while you save up to build more powerful and higher-specced desktop later on.

If you go for that cheaper laptop option, I suggest that you check out the 2019 model of the Lenovo Legion Y540. It’s priced at $1,309.00 and below are its specs:

CPU Intel Core i7-9750H 2.60GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 4GB
Memory(RAM) 32GB DDR4-2400
SSD 512GB PCIe Solid State Drive
HDD 1TB Hard Disk Drive
Weight 3.1 kg (~6.82pounds)
Display 17.3″, 1920×1080

It has the same i7-9750H CPU as the 2019 model of the Asus ROG Strix Scar III I previously recommended but it does come with twice the RAM at 32GB. It also comes with a 512GB SSD and a 1TB HDD. In terms of GPU, the Lenovo Legion Y540 comes with a lower-tiered GTX 1650 GPU but that’s pretty understandable given it’s affordable price. All in all, you’d find it hard to get a laptop with the same specs as the 2019 model of the Lenovo Legion Y540 at this price point.

Cheers,
Alex

Kitt

I think that’s the route I’ll take. Thanks for all your help Alex! 🙂

trence

I have about 750 to 800 budget for a laptop, I’d like to have run something like Maya, Houdini, or Cinema 4D. If it’s possible to get one of the “budget” gaming laptops could you recommend one?

thanks.

Hi trence,

Thanks for asking!

Your budget of $800 can actually get you one of the “budget” gaming laptops such as the Dell G5 Gaming Notebook G5587-7037RED-PUS which is currently available at around $788.00. Below are the specs of the said laptop:

CPU Intel Core i7-8750H 2.20GHz 6-Core Processor
Graphics Card NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Ti 4GB
Memory(RAM) 8GB DDR4-2666
SSD 128GB Solid State Drive
HDD 1TB Hard Disk Drive
Weight 2.8 kg (~6.16pounds)
Display 15.6″, 1920×1080

For it’s price of $788.00, the Dell G5 Gaming Notebook G5587-7037RED-PUS is actually a good buy. It has decent hardware under the hood like the i7-8750H CPU, 8GB of RAM, and GTX 1050 Ti GPU which will all work together to give you a decent performance when running your Maya, Houdini, or Cinema 4D applications.

Cheers,
Alex

Lucas Burruel

Hi Alex,
I’m building a workstation for Cinema4d/Octane and want to stay around ~$3500 for the initial build. I plan to add another 32gb of ram and another 2080ti in the future. I’m wondering if there is a better CPU option since rendering will be taken care of on the GPUs, are the extra CPU cores still beneficial? I still have about ~$800 more in my budget, what do you think would be the biggest area of improvement? I’d like this to be somewhat futureproof as well. Thank you!

CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 3.8 GHz 12-Core Processor ($483.98)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H100i RGB PLATINUM 75 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($159.49)
Motherboard: Asus Pro WS X570-ACE ATX AM4 Motherboard ($383.98)
Memory: Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB 32 GB (2 x 16 GB) DDR4-3200 Memory
Storage: Corsair MP600 Force Series Gen4 1 TB M.2-2280 NVME Solid State Drive ($209.99)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Ti 11 GB Black Video Card (2-Way SLI) ($1106.98)
Case: Fractal Design Define S2 Blackout ATX Mid Tower Case ($154.99)
Power Supply: EVGA SuperNOVA G3 850 W 80+ Gold Certified Fully Modular ATX Power Supply ($149.99)

Total:$2720.87

Paul

Which best site recommended to buy the parts?

ALAA

Hello Alex,

I contact you before and you recommend this for CLO3D.

– GPU w 2080 TI 11 GB x2
– CPU we want: i9-9900X.
– Motherboard: with at least 4 PCIe slots that are at least 2 slots apart.

We working to get this recommendation above but our IT contact dell and bring the different spec
see below

Dell Precision 7920 Tower
3 TB SSDs, Dual Intel Xeon Gold 6244 3.6GHz, 4.4GHz Turbo, 8C, CPUs, 128 GB DDR4 RAM
Tower 1: Dual RTX 5000 Graphics cards with NV-Link Bridge
Tower 2: Dual RTX 6000 Graphics cards with NV-Link Bridge

There is a problem in both towers, Freezing OR NOT FUNCTION as expected not a big improvement.

I want to talk with my boss to go back to the spec you recommend but I want you to check this spec and add your note why there is a problem with both GPU and CPU?

Also for the recommendation, you request early is their motherboard you recommend that fit X2 card 2080ti 11GB.

Please advise.

Thank you so much!
Alaa