Building a Computer for 3D Rendering

Building a Computer for 3D Rendering

Updated On January 19, 2016    |     Category: Home » Architecture Tutorials

Update: Personally, I believe building a super fast computer for rendering is outdated. Today’s computing power is more than enough to render a really good rendering. Think about it, if 3D artists are able to create awesome realistic 3D rendering 10 years ago, what about today’s computing powers at your disposable? I prefer buying a ready made gaming station, here are 5 gaming desktop:

Not all desktops are made to perform the same, obviously the more RAM and processing speed the faster it is. Here are a few technical items you will have to look out:

  • Dual or Quad Graphic Cards, avoid Single Graphic Card.
  • If possible, go for dual channel 16GB or 32GB RAM. Avoid single channel RAM.
  • Processor is now used to run the application, but rendering with 4 graphic card is the way to render now.
  • Use SSD Hard Disk, avoid SATA Hard Disk. SSD is way faster.

dual graphic card

Previous Article (Outdated)

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?



52 Comments

  1. Gravatar
    Maria [ Reply ]

    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

  2. Gravatar
    Thomas [ Reply ]

    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.

  3. Gravatar
    Mauricio Carranco [ Reply ]

    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.

  4. Gravatar
    Raymond A Nittolo [ Reply ]

    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.

  5. Gravatar
    Landazuri [ Reply ]

    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.

  6. Gravatar
    eliboi [ Reply ]

    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.

  7. Gravatar
    Fuzzy0ne [ Reply ]

    @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.

    • Gravatar
      Jaseem [ Reply ]

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

      • Gravatar
        Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

        If you want to build a rig for AutoCAD, 3D Max and other rendering software, Nvidia Quadro graphic card is the best. Here is the official website – http://www.nvidia.com/object/autodesk-design-suite.html

        I do not think you can purchase this from a normal retailer, you probably have to order it from a distributor. This is not you everyday average graphic card for games.

  8. Gravatar
    umar rauf [ Reply ]

    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 .

  9. Gravatar
    mk [ Reply ]

    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?

  10. Gravatar
    Farhad [ Reply ]

    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.

  11. Gravatar
    jacquie [ Reply ]

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

    Regards
    Jacquie

  12. Gravatar
    n8tecrow [ Reply ]

    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??

  13. Gravatar
    tokwi [ Reply ]

    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

  14. Gravatar
    Alex Avang [ Reply ]

    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.

  15. Gravatar
    Zaman [ Reply ]

    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.

  16. Gravatar
    3dman [ Reply ]

    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.

  17. Gravatar
    Andy [ Reply ]

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

  18. Gravatar
    Mohammed khan [ Reply ]

    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

  19. Gravatar
    sad [ Reply ]

    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 .

  20. Gravatar
    sathyavel [ Reply ]

    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.

  21. Gravatar
    HARUN D.PATEL [ Reply ]

    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

  22. Gravatar
    applause [ Reply ]

    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

  23. Gravatar
    SAID [ Reply ]

    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

  24. Gravatar
    Srikumar tata [ Reply ]

    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.:)

  25. Gravatar
    manish jaiswal [ Reply ]

    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.

  26. Gravatar
    anilesh [ Reply ]

    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

  27. Gravatar
    oded [ Reply ]

    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!

  28. Gravatar
    Glen [ Reply ]

    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

  29. Gravatar
    Oskar [ Reply ]

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

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

  30. Gravatar
    Mark [ Reply ]

    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.

  31. Gravatar
    Lauritz [ Reply ]

    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!

  32. Gravatar
    farid [ Reply ]

    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..

  33. Gravatar
    Yasser gamgoum [ Reply ]

    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

  34. Gravatar
    arcStudio [ Reply ]

    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.

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      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.

  35. Gravatar
    suhail [ Reply ]

    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 :(

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      @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.

  36. Gravatar
    vinay kumar [ Reply ]

    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

  37. Gravatar
    Ravi Pawar [ Reply ]

    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.

  38. Gravatar
    rafi [ Reply ]

    can you help me in choosing a processor fro rendering

    which is best

    amd fx or intel I5 3570k

    • Gravatar
      Tengyuen Ngan [ Reply ]

      I thought AMD FX is a graphic card while Intel i5 is a processor. how to compare?
      If you are unsure, you can always go for Dell’s precision towers. – http://www.dell.com/my/business/p/precision-desktops

      Am not recommending Dell, but any workstation build for graphics will do.
      I believe processing power is over killed in today’s computing environment.

  39. Gravatar
    Kunal Ramani [ Reply ]

    hello sir,
    I want best rendering PC for 3d max
    what about think this system
    intel xeon E5 2667 v3 ( 3.3 GHT )
    Nvidia quadra 5 GB
    which board support for E5 2667 v3
    SSD 256 GB
    DDR5 32 GB

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      Why not buy Alienware Area 51? It comes with 3 Graphic Card. The good thing with branded PC is stability, whereas custom white box if build incorrectly will have stability issues if the various components do not work seamlessly.

  40. Gravatar
    Anirudha A H [ Reply ]

    Hi! I am Anirudha, a motion designer from Belgaum.
    I am planning on buying a powerful workstation with faster rendering and which is best suitable for software like Maya, Cinema 4d, Adobe Creative Suite, 3DS Max.
    I have a budget of 1 lakh to 1.5lakh ($2000 to $2400) which includes the entire setup (2 monitors, keyboard, mouse etc). Please help me with the best configuration possible within the above budget. I greatly appreciate your help. Looking forward.

    Thanks

    • Gravatar
      Johnson [ Reply ]

      Motherboard LGA 2011(AsROCK Z99 W/S) – 25000
      Processor (XEON-E5 2600) – 35000
      Graphics Card QUADRO-2200 – 32000
      Cabinate – 3000
      SSD SAMSUNG 850 PRO (256 GB) – 8000
      Corsair RM750 750 Watts PSU – 8000
      Corsair H100i Cooler – 8000
      Corsair Vengeance 4 X 8GB – 16000
      Monitor x 2 – 17000
      2 X 1TB Hard Disk – 7000
      RAID BOARD – 400
      Wireless Card – 800
      UPS 1 KVA – 5000
      Thermal Grease – 200
      Keyboard – 800
      Mouse+Pad – 600
      Extension Board – 1000
      DVD Drive – 1000
      Card Reader Inbuild – 800
      TOTAL = 165000 approx.(Indian Rupee)

  41. Gravatar
    Kyle [ Reply ]

    Why has anyone not commented on the fact that rendering is CPU based and not GPU based. Buying a beefy graphics cards and expecting your renders time to decrease would be as useful as installing a 2000w sound system in your car expecting your car to go faster. THE MORE CORES THE BETTER. Each core has two threads, each thread is another render bucket. The more buckets, the faster the lower the render times. A faster quad core could easily render slower than a slower speed 8 core Xeon. Sorry, just has to throw that out there…

    • Gravatar
      Dr. Render [ Reply ]

      Rendering is CPU based. The more cores and casche memory you have in the CPU is where you should spend your money. Exept if you use a GPU rendering software like Octane, Furryball and so on, then you would want as many graphic cards as possible on your rig.

      Top of the line PC’s at the moment (2015) is HP Z840 with the Xeon E5-2699 v3 (2.3 GHz, 45 MB cache, 18 cores) and 2 terra byte. These specs are priced beyond 10.000 USD.
      The HP Z800 price starts at 2400 USD.

      Note the 45 MB cache in the CPU! (don’t confuse CPU cache memory with the ordinary memory).

      • Gravatar
        Dr. Render [ Reply ]

        I forgot to write the 2 terra byte was MEMORY hehe… insane specs!

  42. Gravatar
    ravi [ Reply ]

    he i need a higher system confrgetion which is help to render in high speed.pls help me.

    • Gravatar
      Ngan Tengyuen [ Reply ]

      Get a motherboard that supports SLi system and buy 3 high end graphic cards.

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