For the purpose of this guide on the best 3D Animation and render desktop build 2021, we will focus our components on a CPU rendering machine build, and is strictly a Threadripper build. For clarity sake, understand that CPU rendering relies heavily on the system CPU, ignoring the graphics card entirely. No matter how fast or powerful your graphics card is, it will have no effect on render times.
Renderers that are CPU based include VRAY, Corona Renderer, Mental Ray and Arnold Renderer. However, if you want to go for GPU rendering, you might want to go for the best GPU for rendering because that’s the trend now. This build features the RTX 2080 Super which is a great performer when it comes to GPU rendering.
You might also want to check out our guide on the best budget gaming PC. Other guides include the best 4K video editing PC Build guide and if you’re into CAD and prefer a laptop, check out our best laptop for Solidworks 2021. You might also check out other guides for custom PC builds. Otherwise, if you are ready, let’s go!
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- Best 3D Animation and Render Desktop Build Parts List
- Hardware priority chart for Best 3D Animation and Render Desktop Build 2020
- Major Components Breakdown
- The Processor
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX Features
- AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX Performance
- A note to Gamers
- Less Expensive AMD Processors for best 3D animation and render desktop
- Other Considerations
- The Motherboard
- CPU Cooler
- Boot and Storage Drives
- Power Supply
- Graphics Card
- Optical Drive
- PC Case
- Installation notes on best 3D Animation and Render Desktop
Best 3D Animation and Render Desktop Build Parts List
Hardware priority chart for Best 3D Animation and Render Desktop Build 2021
From the chart above, you should dedicate the most resources to getting the best multi-core processor your money can buy. This is because animation rendering is CPU intensive. Most Animation renderers like VRay and MentalRay make use of a technique called “bucket rendering”, whereby the application assigns a part of the frame to a core on the CPU die. When the core has finished rendering the image, it is assigned another bucket to render.
This is the reason why we recommend getting the best multi-core CPU available for your best rendering desktop build. The more cores your processor has, the better. This translates to faster processing times. The next in order of importance is a high-end Graphics Card for GPU rendering support. This is because GPU rendering is quite popular and gaining wide acceptance with more and more render engines supporting GPU rendering.
Next is the boot drive and RAM. Both of them share the same level of priority with the Graphics card. A fast SSD drive or better still NVME SSD is indispensable if you want a screaming fast rendering machine. The SSD is the drive that would hold your Windows installation and 3D rendering and modeling apps. As such, ultra-fast application startup times is invaluable. This will save you money on the long run.
A fast SSD enables fast response times and overall enhanced system performance. Finally, you need large amounts of fast RAM for enhanced multitasking. This means you can still do normal computing even when you are rendering a job. You also need a fast hard drive for this build, though it isn’t as important as the boot drive. It is mainly used for file storage.
Major Components Breakdown
Let’s look at the components individually. We start with the processor – The AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX CPU, a true behemoth among its peers.
Before AMD released this powerful CPU, the Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, Intel’s Core i9-7980XE, with 18 cores and 36 threads was the king of consumer multi-core CPU. By all counts, the Threadripper 2990WX is a behemoth of a CPU.
This AMD flagship processor is best suited for highly demanding workloads such as raytrace rendering, scientific research computations, massive data simulation, virtualization as a server machine CPU, or similar usage scenarios. The 2990WX is designed to accelerate massive computation workloads, and in this case, rendering. When paired with appropriate hardware, this CPU will massively speed up your rendering tasks, as it renders whole 8K frames in a few seconds.
Some features of this CPU include:
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX Features
ARCHITECTURE: Pinnacle Ridge
CORE COUNT: 32 cores, 64 threads with SMT
POWER: 250 Watt TDP
BASE/BOOST FREQ: 3.0 – 4.2 GHz
MULTIPLIER STATUS: Unlocked
PCI EXPRESS SUPPORT: 64 Lanes PCIe gen 3.0.
DDR MEMORY SUPPORT: Quad-channel
CACHE MEMORY: Up-to 80 MB L2+L3 Cache
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX Performance
As it stands, this CPU is unbeatable in performance benchmarks. It trounces all consumer multi-core processors in the market right now. It shines in multi-core usage scenarios. However, this chip performs abysmally in single-core usage scenarios such as gaming. You are better off with a six-core CPU such as the Ryzen 5 2600X. Here are benchmark values of various processors tested against the 2990WX processor using VRay as the benchmarking tool.
VRay is a computer graphics image rendering solution developed by Chaos Group. It is a commercial plugin for major 3D apps such as Autodesk 3DS Max, Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D, and others. VRay is useful in the media, entertainment, film and video game production, industrial design, product design, and architecture industries for visualizations and computer graphics design.
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A note to Gamers
If you intend to use this CPU for gaming, think again. You may be throwing away your cash because this CPU performs poorly in single-threaded applications such as gaming. Its single-core performance does not justify the price, and for gaming, it will work worse than a simpler, much cheaper CPU.
This is because most of the cores are lying around doing nothing, while the system utilizes just a few cores. It’s overkill to go for this CPU solely for gaming purposes. If you are not using this for heavy-duty rendering and computation, then don’t buy it. Instead, check out our other build guides for more options.
With this CPU, you can’t be wrong. The only issue is the hefty price tag. If your budget cannot accommodate this beast of a processor, you may want to step down to the less pricey options below:
Less Expensive AMD Processors for best 3D animation and render desktop
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2920X (12-Core/24-Thread) Processor
AMD Ryzen Threadripper 2950X Processor
AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12-Core Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 3600X 6-Core Desktop Processor
AMD Ryzen 7 3800X 8-Core Desktop Processor
This CPU works perfectly with EEC RAM, in case you need to run server applications. Additionally, you should limit the RAM to 2666 MHz and the power at a steady 250 Watts. At this configuration, you don’t need liquid cooling. This is quite impressive because this is a high-end CPU, which in most cases require liquid cooling to keep temps down.
The Noctua air cooler is enough to cool your chip. It should also interest you to note that AMD product warranty does not cover damages caused by overclocking, even when overclocking is enabled via AMD hardware. If you plan to overclock this CPU, have it at the front of your mind.
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This hefty board from MSI is superbly engineered to handle demanding workloads such as that handled by the Threadripper. It supports a maximum of 128GB of RAM, for the most demanding applications. Heck, for that amount of RAM, you can do anything imaginable right now!
The powerful heat sink ensures the PC stays cool during even heavy stress. This board also features Core Boost technology which combines MSI’s premium layout and digital power design for quicker and undistorted current delivery to the CPU at pin-point precision.
This not only supports multi-core CPUs but also creates the right environment for overclocking. This board also features Audio Boost 4 for superior sound quality; this allows you to enjoy studio-grade sound in both stereo and surround. Talk about sound at it’s purest!
For expansion, it features three M.2 ports with Shield Frozr technology for speedy connectivity to SSDs. Other features include USB 3.1 ports, Intel WIFI/Bluetooth module, dual Intel LAN ports, and SPDIF.
This is a solid board that should last a couple of years before you start thinking of an upgrade. And did we mention that it has a beautiful RGB lighting array on the inner IO standoffs! Cool.
Our cooler of choice is the Noctua NH-U14S TR4-SP3 Premium-Grade 140mm CPU Cooler which is specially customized for the AMD TR4/SP3 socket. So be assured that this cooler will satisfactorily cool your CPU. Oh yea. It’s an air cooler.
You might be wondering why the Threadripper doesn’t strictly require liquid cooling like it’s Intel peers such as the high-end i9. Thanks to its ability to max out at 68 degrees Celsius during heavy use, which is truly remarkable for a chip of this caliber.
With six heat pipes, a fin surface area of more than 6000cm² and the large NF-A15 140mm fan, the NH-U14S TR4-SP3 provides a superior level of cooling performance that makes it ideal for the most high-end, enthusiast-grade TR4/SP3 systems.
Boot and Storage Drives
For our storage drive, we chose the good old Barracuda, featuring 8TB of beefy storage space, enough for storing huge media files. When it comes to hard drives, we are spoilt for choices. Well, if you need other options, you can go for the 6TB or 3TB options.
In all, you can’t go wrong with a barracuda. Our SSD of choice is the Samsung 860 EVO 500GB 2.5 Inch SATA III Internal SSD, featuring 500GB of storage, enough for all our applications. Samsung SSDs are preferred for their performance, allowing users to benefit from faster, more fluid communication with the host system.
This boot drive is the Samsung 970 EVO 512GB NVME SSD, a speedy little piece of hardware. The 970 EVO transforms high-end gaming and streamlines graphic-intensive workflows with the new Phoenix controller and Intelligent TurboWrite technology. You can easily achieve sequential read/write speeds of 3,500/2,500 MB/s.
At this kind of speed, transferring large rendered files is a breeze. No need to keep waiting endlessly. This drive also ensures you maximize storage capabilities for storing and rendering large sized 4K videos and 3D data used by the latest applications, that is if you intend to use this drive as a secondary storage drive. The EVO also features the 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB variants for increased storage capabilities.
Our choice power supply for best 3D animation and render desktop is the ROSEWILL Hercules Gaming 80 Plus Gold 1600W Power Supply, a solid power supply that should comfortably handle the power needs of this rig. It is fully modular, which means you can only connect the components you need, without getting messy with cables.
Apart from this, this is a premium power supply that boasts of superior capacitors that deliver clean energy during heavy or light use. A PSU over 1500 Watts is definitely more than you need for this build, but it is good to have room for upgrades and power supplies are the most power-efficient at 50% load.
Finally, it is 80+ Gold rated which means the product meets the minimum specification standards and is backed by a 5-year warranty from Rosewill. What more can you ask for in a power supply?
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This rig can accommodate up to 128GB DDR4 RAM. You might want to limit the speed to 2666MHz because of stability issues. If you run a higher clock speed, you might experience problems running the PC. We choose the speedy LPX from Corsair. Yea… We love Corsair because they make awesome memory chips.
This build definitely requires a GPU rendering capable graphics card, and our choice is the RTX 2080 Super. You can still get the job done with a low-end graphics card, but the problem is you won’t be able to take advantage of GPU rendering.
Our graphics card of choice, the EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB GDDR6 Graphics Card is more than enough for running your rendering and animation software without breaking the bank. This is because GPU rendering is gradually becoming mainstream.
If you render animated short clips or 3D-generated images, you’ll immediately see the difference in performance with this card, compared to the 1080ti.
Some popular renderers that would benefit from this card on our rig include Indigo Render, Iray, Blender, Furryball, Maxwell, Octane, and others. Its ultra-fast 8GB GDDR6 RAM helps to a considerable extent to provide a massive buffer for your render jobs.
Another good thing about this card is the integrated liquid cooling solution which helps to cool this card under load. This card is loaded with powerful features that will enhance your 3D modeling and rendering including real-time Ray tracing, artificial intelligence, and programmable shading.
If you find this card pricey, you can opt for less pricey cards including the 1070 GTX with 1920 Cuda Cores and 8GB VRAM, 1080 GTX with 2560 Cuda Cores and 8GB VRAM, and the GTX 1080 Ti with 3584 Cuda Cores and 11GB VRAM. If you really want a high-end card, you might consider the NVIDIA Quadro P6000, which comes with 24GB of Video RAM.
Every media professional knows you need an optical drive for outputting your media for clients, or for transferring large media files from one workstation to the other. The LG Blu ray optical drive gives you that functionality at a decent price. Whether you are burning video files for previews or demo discs, it’s got you covered. However, this is optional as you may not need this component because of the digital delivery option for media.
Our display of choice, the 27-inch EIZO CG277-BK ColorEdge, a wide-Gamut LED IPS display featuring built-in color calibration sensor for professional photography, design, print, and post-production.
This monitor is well-engineered for color reproduction, featuring a 2560×1440 resolution, and, did we mention this, it’s quite easy on the eyes. It’s a monitor that is well worth the money, notwithstanding the hefty price tag.
The Dark Base Pro 900 is a superbly engineered case and we love it. You should too. It features a ton of features, apart from its sleek design and looks. We chose it because of its expandability options and the value it offers.
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Installation notes on best 3D Animation and Render Desktop
Installing this build shouldn’t be a problem at all, just don’t throw away your user install manuals. Otherwise, install hardware in this order: Motherboard, CPU, RAM, Storage, Graphics card, and other components. Alternatively, follow our step by step guide on how to build a PC here.
Install Windows and watch this beast of a processor rip through compute-intensive applications such as rendering, scientific simulations, virtualization, and other processor-intensive tasks. Our best 3D Animation and render desktop build 2021 guide is complete.
If you are into laptops and want the best machine for rendering, we recommend this guide on choosing the best laptop for Solidworks and engineering design workloads.
Gamers will also find our guide on the best gaming PC build for all budgets quite useful. For Graphic Design and publishing professionals, we’ve got the ultimate guide to building a graphic design machine. Thanks for checking it out, and don’t forget to drop your comments in the comment section below.
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My passion for PC hardware is my greatest motivation. I love technology and how it can make life easier and less complicated! When I’m not tinkering with hardware, I’m reading. I love to travel and I usually can’t wait to sit down on my PC to work.
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