Finding the right PC specs for 3D rendering work can be really challenging. This is why we’ve decided to give you this simple guide that can help you make the most out of your budget.
To be able to make proper 3D renders you will need to have an adequate PC. Sadly, there is no way around this, and no matter how good you might be at rendering, you can’t get the most out of it without a good workstation.
Of course, you can work on your rendering skills and bring them to a certain level, but to do this professionally, you will need a purpose-built device. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that having a powerful computer alone would make your renders amazing.
It’s important to put in the necessary work and learn how to bring your 3D renders to a high level of realism. This takes years of practice and only after you’ve done that can you make the most of a good computer for even better rendering.
Not all PCs are the same
The first thing you need to understand is that not all PCs are the same. This also means that they aren’t meant to be used for the same things. Simply put, you might have two different PC configurations that have the same specs, but they will perform differently for various tasks.
This is very important to remember because many people think that gaming, modeling, and rendering PCs are all the same and that only specs make the difference. Well, this is simply not true, and if you get a modeling PC to use for your 3D rendering work, you will just end up with an underperforming device.
Games, 3D rendering, and modeling software all use computer hardware differently. This is why you need to look for components that are made for rendering work. Additionally, many hardware options are specifically designed to be used by a certain rendering software and to give an even better performance.
The difference between GPU and CPU rendering
It’s important to understand that there are two types of 3D rendering you can do on your computer. You can do CPU (central processing unit) rendering, or GPU (graphics processing unit) rendering. As you might have guessed, the major difference between these two is which part of the PC is used for rendering.
However, this is a crucial thing that you need to know. Think about the rendering software you plan on using and see whether it’s CPU or GPU based. You should also bear in mind that CPU rendering is the standard at the moment and most of the 3D software today has a CPU rendering engine.
You will have to learn which rendering software comes with a GPU engine because not all of them support this kind of operation. Even though CPU rendering is far ahead of GPU, there have been tremendous improvements – GPU engines are quite faster, and they usually offer interactive previews.
CPU rendering advantages
● Can handle more complex tasks
Compared to GPU performance, CPUs can handle more complex tasks. GPU is designed to process a large amount of data focused on a single operation. This means that the GPU utilizes all its potential when all the cores work on the same operation.
However, when processing several different tasks, GPUs struggle with syncing them together. This is where CPUs excel, and it’s very important in processing large and complex 3D scenes.
● More memory
Even the best GPUs today have up to 12GB of memory. However, even if you add multiple GPUs to your device, their memories don’t stack. If you are doing something too demanding for your GPU, it could easily cause your whole system to crash, and you’ll end up losing your work.
On the other hand, computer system memory can go from 8 GB and up to 64 GB. Even if you are able to put too much strain on your CPU, the worst outcome is slower performance.
● Precise performance
The biggest reason why CPU is the standard in 3D rendering is simply that it has far greater overall quality than GPU. If you want your renders to be precise and your output quality to have the highest standards, then CPU rendering is the best choice.
GPU rendering advantages
As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to speed GPUs outperform CPUs. This is because GPUs have a lot more core processors. GPU rendering is around five times faster, and if you are looking for speed, this is an obvious choice.
● All-in-one solutions
Unlike with CPU rendering, GPUs don’t require you to purchase the most expensive computers to do high-quality work. GPU allows you to use a single 3D software for all challenging rendering areas such as glossy reflection and depth of field. Simply put, GPU allows you to create high-quality renders at a lower cost.
● GPU is improving very fast
Even though CPU is the reigning champion at the moment, this could change really soon. GPUs are getting better and better each year, and it’s only a matter of time before new technologies solve their current limitations.
Our top PC builds for 3D rendering
So let’s get what’s important. Bellow this text, you can find some of the best PC builds we picked out for you depending on your budget and needs. Bear in mind that these specs are most suitable for using software like Blender, Cinema 4D, Maya, Modo, and other similar tools.
This is a budget option that has a cheap case while giving you the exceptional performance of Intel’s older CPU’s. It even has an SSD drive, as 3D rendering software can benefit a lot from running on it.
Specs: Intel G4620 CPU, Gigabyte Ga-B250M motherboard, GTX 1050 Ti GPU, DDR4 8GB RAM, Vivo V00 case, 120GB PNY SSD, and 1TB HDD. The approximate price for this kind of build is around $700.
This build is designed to give you greater capabilities without breaking the bank. It comes with a much better CPU and has a large enough SSD storage that can also be used for storing projects.
Specs: Intel i5-9600K CPU, GTX 1060 6GB GPU, MSI Z390-A motherboard, DDR4 16GB RAM, 2TB HDD, MX500 SSD 250GB, and NZXT S340 Case. Price around $1200.
This is a professional option that can handle some of the most difficult projects. You really don’t need anything better to deliver quality results your clients will love. This is the best purchase you can make without going deep into expensive territory.
Specs: Intel i9-9900K CPU, RTX 2080 GPU, Z390 Aorus Pro motherboard, DDR4-3200 Quad Channel 32 GB RAM, Samsung 970 EVO 1TB SSD, 2x HGST HDD with 4TB, and Enthoo Evolv case. The estimated price for this build is around $2000.
Choosing individual hardware
Graphics processing unit
Your graphics processing unit is vital to the speed of rendering. When it comes to choosing brands, the best option to go with is Nvidia. Nvidia’s CUDA graphic rendering simply offers the best performance and is available for all their cards. Some of the best Nvidia cards you can go with are:
● RTX 2080
● RTX 2070
● RTX 2060
● GTX 1080
● GTX 1070
Central processing unit
Even though their importance has dropped in the past couple of years, CPUs are still very important for 3D rendering. The two most popular CPU brands to choose from are AMD and Intel. If you are looking for quality single-threaded performance, go with Intel.
On the other hand, AMD CPUs are better for multi-threaded operations. Best CPUs to choose from:
● AMD Ryzen 2700X
● Intel i9 9900K
● Intel i7 9700K
● AMD Ryzen R5 2600
RAM isn’t the most important component for your rendering work, but it still matters. However, as 3D rendering software solutions are getting more sophisticated each day, they require more RAM. To make sure that you have smooth operation while working on your project, make sure that you have at least 8GB of DDR4 RAM memory.
What’s even better is the fact that if you do start experiencing slow performance, you can always add more RAM to your slots or replace them with new ones. RAM memory is very inexpensive, and you can change it easily.
Storage is important, and your needs might range depending on the size of projects, as well as your work methods. However, 1TB can do the job just fine. If you really have to, you can get 2TB HDD. The important thing to consider is getting an additional SATA SSD, as it will give you a serious speed boost that you will notice instantly.
These are some of the most important things you simply must consider when getting a 3D rendering workhouse. Don’t go all out straight away, consider your current needs, and get a PC that will help you do the job properly. When your needs and skill increase, you can then invest in something more expensive.