Building a Computer for 3D Rendering

Building a Computer for 3D Rendering

Updated: February 4, 2014

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Just like all those hardcore gamers, the hunger for processing power is never enough for any architecture student when it comes to 3d rendering. My boss wants to buy the best computer in the market and asked me is Intel Xeon better or Pentium Core 2 Duo? Will a good graphic card speed up the rendering time?

I was speechless for a moment, no one asked me about this before and the truth is, I don’t know. So, like my usual self, I searched on the mountain and in the valleys; neither in the heights nor in the depths… I questioned the scholars and philosophers, but he was beyond their understanding….Well, not really. What I did was simply launch my msn and chat with Mr.J from Metamosaic.com – Ex-lecturer of Limkokwing University.

Q: Which is the best processor for 3D rendering?
A: The most expensive in the market.

Q: Will a good graphic card speed up the rendering time?
A: What is a graphic card?

Q: Are you gay and lonely?
A: Am I?

Okay, was joking about those Q&A thing. I did ask him about processor and graphic cards, now according to him Xeon is better than Pentium and a good graphic card will not speed up the rendering time but speed up the preview time during modeling. So I went and do some research online for more information, and went to my usual favorite computer website – Toms Hardware.

Building a Computer for 3D Rendering

According to the benchmark (kind of old already), Xeon outperform all the other processor and what really make this Xeon so powerful? What is the technology behind it? Xeon is a 64bit processor, and comes with a 16M L3 cache. Pentium on the other hand is 32bit (newer models now comes with 64bit) and spot a 2MB – 4MB L1 and L2 cache. A lot of people are confuse about what makes a processor fast, most the buyers tend to go for faster processing speed thinking that a faster processor means that its better, which turn out to be wrong. Do you know that the current Core 2 Duo has a 1.86 GHz processor but able to out perform a single core 3 GHz processor by 70% and consume 50% less watt.

When it comes to processor, watch out for the FSB (Front Side Bus), 32 bit or 64bit and the L2 cache. Measuring a computer speed by looking at the GHZ is dead. Now we know that Xeon is the better processor for rendering, go and get one if you happen to have the money – and remember that Xeon processor uses a different type of motherboard and might require high end RAM that will further burn a hole in your wallet.

quad core processor graphic nvidia ati

Talk about graphic cards, do you know that they have these workstation CAD graphic cards for CAD operators? A comparison between mainstream graphic cards and workstation cards, let see, graphic cards nowadays are focused on only being clocked higher to give higher fps scores in demanding games, they are designed ground up focusing on direct3d applications like 90% of the games. However workstation graphic cards are clocked slower for stability reason and focus heavily on OpenGL applications. Some of them are optimized and carry special plug-in for 3dsmax and Maya. The bottom line is do you need a USD1000 graphic card just for rendering? If you’re not so sure about these Workstation graphic cards then go and get a SLi graphic card.

I’m not so concern about all these processing speed and so on, you can get the best computer money can buy, the real question is do you have the expertise to fully utilize the equipment?

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39 Comments

  1. Maria
    January 26, 2009

    is this cpu good for rendering???

    type : Intel® Core 2 Extreme Processor X9100
    clock speed : 3.06 GHz
    Front Side Bus : 1066 MHz
    2nd level cache : 6 MB

    Reply
  2. Thomas
    February 18, 2009

    No its got a small cache on the processor but the front side bus is ok. the core 2 extreme should suffice for rendering though.

    Reply
  3. Mauricio Carranco
    March 1, 2009

    The best for 3d rendering:
    Processor: Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition
    Motherboard: Intel DX58SO
    Memory: Kingston KVR1333D3N9K2/4G (This Motherboard support 4 memories. total 16GB)
    Graphic Card: NVIDIA QUADRO FX570
    (This Motherboard support 2 cards. total 4GB).
    Install extra coolers in your CPU.

    Reply
  4. Raymond A Nittolo
    May 22, 2009

    I am looking for a new computer. I am an editor of video content, 3D animator/modeler and graphic artist. Programs I curently use: Pinnacle, Premiere, After Effects, Lightwave 3D and Acid. I would like to move into Avids higher end editing software and other 3D programs. I have been researching my options but have gotten woefully behind on computer tech ie: dual/quad core, L1, extreme, mother boards, 32/64 bit etc. I am looking at Dells computer with L1 processor but have been stuck before with being limited to software/hardware compatability (Matrox)so I am gun shy. Trouble is I am a user with only some tech skills. I need a computer that meets these needs: editing, animation and music creation. A tall order as I am discovering.
    Can you lead me to sites that talk in not to technical language or specific equipment that you can recommend. Of course cost is an issue but have put this off to long and must buy now. Thanks for help.

    Reply
  5. Landazuri
    July 5, 2009

    Thanks a lot for this article, it was really helpful answering my FAQs on rendering/visualization processes: Which are the main components involved in 3D Rendering (not real-time visualization)? Etc.

    I’m an industrial designer focused on product design (advanced surface modelling with Alias software) and high-end photorealistic rendering (i’m currently trying Maxwell render). It’s a shame Core 2 Extreme and Xeon chips arent standard on mobile workstations, so I’ll have to make my best on core 2 duo processors.

    Reply
  6. eliboi
    September 9, 2009

    the more cores doesnt necessarily mean that it will render faster, you also hav to consider the speed say for example 3.0,3.2 etc. 2core cpu with 1.8 ghz speed is just = to 3.6 singl core. the higher the memory the better you can manipulate and the more objects you can put in your 3d. those benchmarks are biassed, ive already tried using intel and amd,(i use mental ray for my renderer) but ive always been having problems with intel, during final rendering where you have to use high settings like setting its indirect illumination to high and applying diffuse bounces,fatal error always occurs on intel processors.

    Reply
  7. Fuzzy0ne
    November 5, 2009

    @eliboi

    I don’t understand what are you talking about?! “2core cpu with 1.8 ghz speed is just = to 3.6 singl core”… What is this? That’s not true.

    My CPU is Core2Quad Q9550 2,83GHz so my processor speed is 2,83×4=11,32GHz? So not true. It’s still 2,83GHz CPU with 4 cores, and each one of them can do some prosesses, and if you working with some rendering program you will notice the diference. Even if you have 1core CPU overclocked at 15Ghz with same arcitecture and bus speed it’s not faster than this C2Q.

    If you want I’ll prove this to you.

    I’m an arcitect, but my hoby are electronics, especially computers, so believe me, I know.

    Peace.

    Reply
  8. umar rauf
    February 17, 2010

    I AM USING INTEL(R) PENTIUM(R) DUAL CPU E2180 @ 2.00GHZ 2.00 GHZ , 2 GB RAM ITS NOT REANDRING FASTER PLZ HELP ME BEST PC FOR RENDRING I AM USING 3DMAX 9 VRAY .

    Reply
  9. mk
    March 30, 2010

    i’m using AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 955 Processor and my OS is windows seven 64 bit,is this cpu and OS usefull for v-ray rendering?

    Reply
  10. Farhad
    April 17, 2010

    Who can help me? I want to buy video card Matrox RT.X2 SD. It will be help me for video or 3D renderings? I’ll wait answer for my question. Thank you.

    Reply
  11. jacquie
    April 20, 2010

    Required Best configuration P.C for operating cad,max,photoshop & revit (Rendring)
    Plz suggest me the best configuration as soon as possible.

    Regards
    Jacquie

    Reply
  12. n8tecrow
    January 11, 2011

    I’m an architecture student looking to purchase a new computer (preferably a Mac product b/c of longevity and durability). I plan to run windows 7 on bootcamp and complete task such as 3d modeling with various software and particularly rendering using Vray. Can anyone recommend specs with what is current on the market today that can help me get this done well??

    Reply
  13. tokwi
    February 22, 2011

    been faceing this prob 4 along time, thanks for this, will provide serious food for thought for future procurement. I have heard of thechies who use more than 4 processors at same time and even seen one dude join two desktops to render in 3ds max but in vain. whats your take on this, otherwise am stack with Archicad and Artlantis for a long time

    Reply
  14. Alex Avang
    March 26, 2011

    Hi,
    I am using Chief Architect x2, I have many problem for ray trace a project, my pc have the following futures,
    1- Processor Intel i5–750(2.66 GHz)
    2- 6 GB DDR3 SD RAM
    3-Windows 7 64 bit
    4- Video Card 1024 GB nVidia Geforce Gt220

    what is the reason and what should I do, if any one can help I will be most appreciate.

    Reply
  15. Zaman
    April 8, 2011

    I am using Intel Desktop Board DP55WG Media Series. My processor is Corei7 and graphics Processor is GEForce Series GT240 and I use 2GB DDR3 RAM. I Want to buy a Render Card for Rendering in 3DS Max Animation for quick Rendering. I feel bore when i want to make a animated video scene.

    Please help me for give information of a Render card, model, price for highest performance.

    Thank you Sir for read my Comment.

    Reply
  16. 3dman
    April 18, 2011

    I currently use the AMD 1090T with 16gbs of DDR3 1600mhz Ram. I dont have any problems with it, I use 3d max 2011 with VRAY and I do this on the daily bases since its my job. I use a Nvidia Graphic Card wich supports 2 monitors but doenst need to be a real expensive one. If you use 3dmax like me ill go with 2 Intel Xeon 5690 with atleast 16gbs of ram. We have one at work and its beastly but the price is not too nice. It will run you about 7 grand but its cheap for what this machine does.

    Reply
  17. Andy
    May 7, 2011

    I am using x3chiefarchitect. I am planning to a new computer. Need help configuring new computer to render 3d drawings with software.

    Reply
  18. Mohammed khan
    May 18, 2011

    Hi
    I am a architectural visualizer
    I am using 3rd max design and vRay 12gb off ram
    I have problem with my graphic card my vCard is fx 1800 and I want to bay new graphic card
    Witch graphic card is the best for me
    Quadro FX
    Or
    Geforce
    I want to go with Quadro FX 5000
    Is this is best for me

    Or geforce is the best

    Help
    Me

    Reply
  19. sad
    May 18, 2011

    I AM USING INTEL(R) PENTIUM(R) DUAL CPU E2180 @ 2.80GHZ 2.80 GHZ , 2 GB RAM ITS NOT REANDRING FASTER PLZ HELP ME BEST PC FOR RENDRING I AM USING 3DMAX 9 VRAY .

    Reply
  20. sathyavel
    July 3, 2011

    I am looking for a new computer. I am an editor of video content, 3D animator/modeler and graphic artist.

    Trouble is I am a user with only some tech skills. I need a computer that meets these needs: editing, animation and music creation. A tall order as I am discovering.
    Can you lead me to sites that talk in not to technical language or specific equipment that you can recommend. Of course cost is an issue but have put this off to long and must buy now. Thanks for help.

    Reply
  21. HARUN D.PATEL
    September 20, 2011

    hi i am architecture and i buying DESKTOP PC for 3D Rendering . ple.help me wich configration pc buy? if i buy i7/intel original 67cl mother board/8 gb ram/ its ok?! if no ple.sugess me – Thanku

    Reply
  22. applause
    December 6, 2011

    I find even my i7 with 12gb ram incredibly slow with even quite simple 3D models and visualisations once the lighting and shadows have become complex

    Reply
  23. SAID
    December 24, 2011

    Hi, i AM 3D Visualiser and buying i7 (2600) 3.40 Mhz, 16 gb RAM DDR3(1333) and Motherboard “intel dh67″ but currently not buy Graphic Card.which graphic card batter for my system???? Plz.. Help Me

    Reply
  24. Srikumar tata
    December 27, 2011

    Hi Guys Im really confusing all these configurations for best rendering computers. What is the best rendering computer to render 3D Architecture or Maya Fluids and Large Scale Real flow Fluids. .Explain easy in order. Processor( i7 or Xeon Which is Best?), supported Mother Board, Ram, HDD, Graphic Card( NVidia Quadro ****:). If Possible Bench Marks results too. .Plz Dnt Confuse.:)

    Reply
  25. manish jaiswal
    December 29, 2011

    Hi,
    I am a 3d modeling,texturing and lighting student,my sistem is. – intel core2 Duo procssor E7400 @2.80GHz 2.80GHz
    and 2 GB ram , NVIDIA Gforce 210 graphic card, i wants to know which sistem requirement are best for me.
    please help and suggest me.

    Reply
  26. anilesh
    December 30, 2011

    hi i am architecture and i buying DESKTOP PC for 3D Rendering . ple.help me wich configration pc buy? if i buy i7/intel original 67cl mother board/8 gb ram/ its ok?! if no ple.sugess me – Thanku

    Reply
  27. oded
    January 4, 2012

    Hi – I’m an industrial design student working in solidworks, rhino 3D, 3DS Max, and Adobe cs5. What computer / processor is the best for opening multiple programs and rendering? Thank you!

    Reply
  28. Glen
    February 14, 2012

    hi everyone have a good day, i wanna ask what is the best of this 2 processors? AMD A8 or Intel Core-i7, what is the CPU’s for 3D animation. . please help me Guys. . tnx and God Bless

    Reply
  29. Oskar
    April 6, 2012

    For laptop graphic cards – check here to see performance benchmarks.

    They obviously they make a huge impact for real time rendering etc.

    Reply
  30. Mark
    April 24, 2012

    I just wanted to say that from my experience no computer is ever fast enough. At work my computer is a levonon d20 with 2 x xeon e5620 processors (hyperthreaded, 16 cores), 24 gigs of ram, and an ati firepro v7800 graphics card. I work on 3 24″ monitors in various programs from autodesk infrastructure. I have been working in 3ds max design 2013 lately… And my computer still doesn’t seem fast enough. Rendering just EATS resources. Hiting go for rendering pins 16 cores at 100%, yet the minutes still tick by slow waiting for something to finish. MY ONE PIECE OF ADVICE IS BUY A NVIDIA QUADRO graphics card if your debating between ati and nvidia! They just work better from my experience. My ati just doesn’t seem to run as smooth as a similar computer with a nvidia quadro 2000.

    Reply
  31. Lauritz
    July 13, 2012

    I run windows 7 on a MAC 8-core, Best of both worlds. The Xeon CPU’s are fantastic for rendering and cause it is a MAC, it’s quiet and cost’s far less than an equivalent PC.With the money you save a nice quadro will do good!

    Reply
  32. farid
    September 22, 2012

    hello.. plez help me.. can i upgarde my pc to be more better.. what can i do to maximum upgrade my pc..?
    now im use intel pentium 4 (3.00ghz), ati x1150 256mb ddr3, ram 3gb ddr2..
    i hope you can help me..
    tq..

    Reply
  33. Yasser gamgoum
    October 28, 2012

    Hi
    I am looking for a new computer. I am an editor of video content, 3D animator/modeler and graphic artist. Programs I curently use: Pinnacle, Premiere, Photoshopcs6, Illustrator cs6 After Effects,3D Max2012 and Acid. I would like to move into Avids higher end editing software and other 3D programs. plz ple.sugess me( I7- AmD- Workstation Intel Dual Xeon) Graphic Card

    Reply
  34. arcStudio
    November 15, 2012

    Now if you want really, really fast rendering is a necessity to have a high-end graphic card. GPU rendering is a nowadays a common feature for renderers , see Vray RT, Octane , Indigo RT, Cycles from Blender, Luxrender, and so on. Processor now is relegated to a second place, to do the control of hardware and software that because graphic cards can render several times faster than processors.

    Reply
    • Ngan Tengyuen
      November 15, 2012

      I think most processors at our disposal today are more than powerful, enough to produce really good quality rendering. I think a good backdrop (http://www.architectural-perspective.com/) will further enhance the overall rendering.

      Reply
  35. suhail
    January 18, 2013

    hi
    am 3d visualizer
    am using 3rd max design 2013 and vRay 2.3
    AMD FX 8350 ,16gb of ram ,asus GTX660ti graphic card but not gud quality

    pls help
    using render settings and increase rendering speed plzzzz help :(

    Reply
    • Ngan Tengyuen
      January 18, 2013

      @suhail

      I suggest network rendering. Linking a few computers to harvest all the processor speed, this can only be done if you own genuine 3D max serial number on all the computers linked together. A high quality rendering will probably take less than 30 minutes if you have 10 computers.

      Reply
  36. vinay kumar
    January 31, 2013

    hi , this is vinaykumar
    i have a laptop lenovog580, i3 processor with 4gb ram ,, and intel onboard grafics , can i use it for architectural rendering ? if no can i upgrade my laptop’s gpu? or to buy a new system, please comment

    Reply
  37. Ravi Pawar
    February 10, 2013

    Hi, I M working on Vray(max & Maya), Zbrush, C4D,realflow so please send me complete machine configuration with Monitor model name.

    My ID : pawarravi.tgf@gmail.com

    Have a nice day.

    Reply

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