Building a Computer for 3D Rendering

Updated on August 8, 2019 in Architecture Tutorials 2019

Update: Personally, I believe building a super fast computer for rendering is outdated.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:

  • Acer Predator
  • Asus ROG
  • Dell Alienware
  • Falcon Mach

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Previous Article (Outdated)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 – 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.

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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?