Rendering requires lots of processor power, and you should have this at the back of your mind. Perhaps you are planning to build a mini-render farm for a studio, or you’re a freelance artist and you want to build a render PC for your projects, then follow along. In this guide, we show you how to build the best PC for 3D Modeling and Rendering in 2020, together with information on the best 3D rendering software you can get righ now.
- BUDGET AMD RENDER PC BUILD
- MID-RANGE AMD RENDER PC BUILD
- HIGH-END AMD RENDER PC BUILD
- BUDGET INTEL RENDER PC BUILD
- MID-RANGE INTEL RENDER PC BUILD
- HIGH-END INTEL RENDER PC BUILD
- 3D Modeling
- 3D Rendering
- The best Render Solutions available
- GTX vs RTX vs RTX Quadros, which is best for 3D modeling and rendering in 2020?
- Most important components for 3D Render PC
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3D Modeling is the act of utilizing special apps to produce models inside the software using mathematical polygons and quads. The art of 3D modeling has really evolved from the early days of computer graphics and has become mainstream on the PC.
Most 3D Modeling apps offer complete solutions, from modeling to rendering to compositing. Also, some are paid, while there are free ones. Some of the apps include the Autodesk Entertainment Suite which comprises 3D Studio Max, Maya, and Mudbox. Others include Houdini, Lightwave, Cinema 4D, Rhino, Blender, Zbrush, Modo, Sculptris, MakeHuman, and others.
3D modeling apps also allow you to texture and in most cases render out your images. In recent years, hardware manufacturers have had to keep up with new implementations in software, which places great demands on the processing power of hardware components.
If you intend to set up the best PC build for 3D modeling and rendering in 2020, it is recommended to go for the latest components, albeit on your budget. This is because after a few years, the trends in technology would have moved on. It is always better to future-proof your PC build for modeling and rendering, by getting the best available right now.
3D Modeling involves creating, modifying, and manipulating 3-dimensional polygonal mesh objects in real-time using 3D apps like Maya, Blender, or Houdini. This operation actively engages the system CPU, which processes the commands you issue while you work. It doesn’t matter how many cores your CPU has, much of the processing is carried out on a single core or at most 2 cores, while the rest of the cores lie idle.
Your best bet is to go for a higher clocked processor with fewer cores, like a quad-core, if you are mainly going to be modeling on your PC. If you go for a processor with a lot of cores, like a 16-core chip, then you’re not getting value for your money because most of the time those cores are going to be lying around doing nothing.
This is the final output of computer-generated imagery, either in picture format or video. Rendering is a compute-intensive process which usually brings the under-powered computer to its knees. Most rendering techniques utilize the bucket rendering technique, whereby a core is assigned an area in the image to render. Once that core finishes the task, it is assigned another bucket, and so on, until the whole render job is done.
Rendering is usually performed exclusively on the CPU of the PC, but recently, developers of rendering apps have begun coding their solutions to rely on the graphics card of the PC, to render images. This is known as GPU rendering.
This is possible due to the fact that GPUs have become increasingly powerful, and can perform computational tasks as even better than a single CPU. Modern GPUs such as the Quadro RTX have thousands of cores (miniature compute units) which speeds up the rendering procedure significantly. These cards also have great prospects in the future because of their Tensor cores and RT cores.
However, not all render engines are designed to take advantage of the GPU for rendering. Below is a table of the most popular render solutions.
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The best Render Solutions available
Below is a table of the most popular render solutions available with details of supported render hardware.
|RENDER APP||PLATFORM||PRICE||HOST APP||OS|
|3Delight||CPU||Free/$720||3ds Max, Katana, Maya||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Arnold||CPU||$360/year||Maya, Houdini, Cinema 4D, 3ds Max, Katana and Softimage||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Blender||CPU/GPU||Free||Amarath, Ragdoll Tools, Magic UV, Ragdoll Tools||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Clarisse||CPU/GPU||Free / $999||Standalone||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Corona||CPU||$30/month||3ds Max, Cinema4D||Windows|
|Enscape||GPU||$469/year||Revit, SketchUp, Rhino, ArchiCAD||Windows|
|FelixRender||CPU||$160/month||3ds Max, AutoCAD, Rhinoceros||Windows|
|FluidRay||GPU||$14.99 / month||Standalone / SketchUp, Modo, Shade 3D, Rhino||Windows, macOS|
|FurryBall||GPU||$110||Standalone / Maya, Cinema 4D, 3ds Max||Windows|
|Guerilla Render||CPU||Free/$2,000||Maya||Windows, Linux|
|Indigo Render||GPU||$835||3ds Max, Blender, Cinema 4D, iClone, Maya, Revit, SketchUp||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Iray||GPU||$279/year||3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Maya, Rhinoceros||Windows, macOS|
|Lumion||GPU||$1,499||SketchUp, Autodesk Revit, ArchiCAD, Bentley, Allplan, Vectorworks, Rhinoceros, 3ds Max||Windows|
|LuxRender||GPU||Free||3ds Max, Blender, Carrara, Cinema 4D, DAZ Studio, Maya, Poser, SketchUp, XSI||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Marmoset Toolbag||GPU||$189||Standalone||Windows, macOS|
|Maxwell Render||CPU/GPU||$520||3ds Max, ArchiCAD, Cinema 4D, formZ, Maya, Modo, Revit, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, SolidWorks||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Octane Render||GPU||$699||3ds Max, ArchiCAD, AutoCAD, Blender, Carrara, Cinema 4D, DAZ Studio,
Houdini, Inventor, Lightwave, Maya, Modo, Nuke, Poser, Revit, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, Softimage
|Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Redshift||GPU||$500||3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, Softimage||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|RenderMan||CPU||$595||Blender, Houdini, Katana, Maya||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|Thea Render||CPU/GPU||$270||SketchUp, Cinema 4D, Rhino||Windows, macOS, Linux|
|V-Ray||CPU/GPU||$350/year||3ds Max, Blender, Cinema 4D, Maya, Modo, Nuke, Revit, Rhinoceros, SketchUp, Unreal||Windows, macOS, Linux|
GTX vs RTX vs RTX Quadros, which is best for 3D modeling and rendering in 2020?
Now we hear so much about Quadros, with the latest iteration being RTX Quadros. We all know that GTX cards are best for gaming. However, NVIDIA’s latest series of GPUs, the Geforce RTX, offers improved performance in gaming, video editing, and content creation. If budget isn’t a problem, it’s quite tempting to go get a Quadro card and decide to use it for gaming. This is not a wise decision. Quadro cards are quite expensive, designed for high-end GPU computing. In the long run, you’re better off with just a GTX or RTX graphics card for gaming.
So here are a few differences between Quadros and Geforce RTX/GTX cards.
Consumer vs Professional
The new RTX Quadros are designed for professionals in the content creation, media and entertainment industries. They are designed for super-precision computing, handling high volume render workloads, simulation workloads, engineering visualization, and AI/machine learning environments and applications. These kinds of applications demand the kind of precision and output that Quadro cards provide.
On the other hand, RTX and GTX cards are designed for consumers who do everyday computing tasks such as gaming, video editing, compositing, 3D modeling and rendering, and graphic design. These kinds of applications do not demand super-precision professional graphics cards like the Quadros.
Support for Ray Tracing
RTX aka real time ray-tracing, is the latest technology innovation that NVIDIA came up with, targeting the media/entertainment, content creation and engineering visualization industries. Ray tracing is natively supported in RTX Quadros and Geforce RTX cards. However, the GTX cards don’t have native support for ray tracing. The Quadro RTX and Geforce RTX cards are built on the Turing architecture.
Accuracy vs Performance
Quadros are engineered for precision and accuracy in computations. On the other hand, Geforce GTX graphics cards are more commercially inclined, and are most popular for gaming applications. This is because they are designed for higher performance, with higher clock speeds, unlike Quadros which are relatively clocked lower, but excel in sheer computational horsepower.
In terms of computational muscle, Quadros are much more powerful, compared to GTX or RTX cards. The architecture of all of them is just the same, but the difference is in their computation power. Quadros are much more powerful than RTX cards, while RTX cards are more powerful than GTX cards, all things being equal. So if you’re going to build a render PC for massive render jobs, then by all means go for a Quadro, or if your budget isn’t up to it, you can make do with a Geforce RTX card.
Another difference is in the amount of VRAM. Quadros have much more VRAM than RTX cards or GTX cards. This is because such large amounts of RAM are needed for the massive data that Quadros handle. So a Quadro card can come with 24GB of RAM, compared to just 8GB or at most 12GB of RAM for some RTX cards. So, if you are just using your PC for gaming or regular video editing work, then you don’t need 24 or 48GB of RAM offered by the Quadro RTX 8000.
Another advantage is that Quadro cards have ECC (error correction code) incorporated into its VRAM. ECC enables the GPU to detect and correct errors caused by random interference. Regular GTX and RTX cards don’t have ECC memory.
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NVIDIA manufactures the Quadros by itself, whereas GTX and RTX cards are manufactured by third party companies like Asus, Gigabyte, Sapphire, PNY, EVGA, etc. NVIDIA simply supplies them the GPU core. Because of this, NVIDIA is able to offer extended warranty on their Quadro cards, unlike the GTX/RTX cards with shorter warranty from OEM’s.
Quadro cards are tuned and optimized to work better with professional applications. This is because these ISVs run routine tests on Quadros to ensure they perform optimally with their software apps. This ensures the Quadros are certified by ISVs, unlike GTX/RTX cards.
New Processing Cores
The RTX graphics cards are equipped with new features which give them a distinctive edge – RT cores and Tensor cores. Tensor cores are designed for machine learning workflows (running already created and trained machine learning models), and it is reported that Tensor cores drastically speed up AI inferencing for graphics enhancement in Davinci Resolve 15, thereby improving the workflow. However, Adobe has not announced how it will utilize Tensor cores in their mainstream video editing applications such as Premiere, though its Adobe Dimension and Lightroom take advantage of these features.
RT cores are designed to improve ray tracing requirements in 3D rendering and FX applications. While it may not be applicable in Premiere Pro, professionals running ray tracing in rendering apps and compositing apps will find it much useful. RT/Tensor cores hold a lot of promise which will benefit these industries if they are eventually taken advantage of in upcoming updates of major 3D render/content creation apps.
We also think that you should go for an RTX Quadro card because you’re simply future-proofing your 3D rendering workstation. RTX Quadros hold a lot of promise for the architectural and media/entertainment industries. For instance, their latest innovation, native support for ray tracing, drastically improves 3D render workflows.
Actually, many 3D render and content creation apps already support RTX Quadros, though some are in beta development. However, many apps are still not there yet, though this might likely change in a few months.
Here’s a list of Quadro RTX supported apps
|Blackmagic Design||DaVinci Resolve|
|D5 Innovation||D5 Fusion|
|Epic Games||Unreal Engine|
|Siemens||NX RT Studio|
|University of Illinois||VMD|
|Wisp Renderer||Wisp Renderer|
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Most important components for 3D Render PC
As we stated earlier, rendering places a great demand on the PC processor. In fact, rendering time is dictated by the number of cores doing the rendering of individual frames. Most rendering software process render jobs in what is called ‘buckets’, where each core is assigned a bucket to render. Once the core finishes the bucket, it is assigned another bucket to render, and so on.
Just like in video editing, your processor must be a multi-core processor, as many cores as you can afford. Though most renderers are GPU optimized, that is, depend on the GPU, like Octane Render, Furryball, and V-Ray RT, rendering still depends to a large extent on the raw power of your CPU. So, get a powerful processor with as many cores as possible. You won’t regret it.
Your boot drive is an essential part of your PC build for rendering and animation. This is because your operating system needs a fast drive to operate on. After all, your OS houses all your applications, including your 3D apps such as Max or Maya. Now, when making a choice of the boot drive, it is recommended to go for the fastest SSD, or better still go for an NVME M.2 SSD.
Typical NVME drives can push data in the region of 4,000 – 5,000MB/s, which of course is a great advantage when handling rendering or related operations.
Just like video editing, you need lots of storage for your rendered files. Get the largest hard drive you can afford.
You need lots of RAM. At least 16GB of RAM is decent for handling large 3D models and rendering. If you can get 32GB, 64 or 128GB of RAM, great. Of course, that would depend on the amount of RAM your motherboard can comfortably accommodate.
As a matter of fact, you shouldn’t go for a GeForce card for 3D rendering, simply because GeForce cards are not engineered to deliver high-precision graphics performance, like the Quadro or AMD FirePro professional graphics cards. GeForce cards excel in churning out high-frame rates in games and 2D applications. Quadros, on the other hand, are engineered for precision in 3D image processing and computations.
For the best performance, you need a high-end professional graphics card such as the new RTX series or a Quadro on your 3D rendering PC. If you can afford it, go for Nvidia’s Quadro RTX Cards, such as the RTX 2080 Graphics card. This is a premium card from Nvidia featuring 8GB GDDR6 graphics RAM and a 256-bit memory interface for high performance. With a card this good, your rendering will fly.
Alternatively, you can go for an Nvidia Quadro Card, such as the Quadro P4000, although you have the choice of other graphics boards. When you click through to Amazon (see build recommendations above), you are free to pick a Quadro card of your choice by doing a search or looking through similar products.
You absolutely need a professional graphics card to build the best PC build for 3D modeling and rendering in 2020.
3D rendering requires a good color-accurate monitor for keeping track of your work, making sure the colors match. For budget builds, we recommend the 24-Inch Viewsonic Professional Monitor. If you are going to build a high-end animation and rendering PC, then go for the BenQ 27-Inch Photoview Photography Monitor.
For a full list of components for an AMD Threadripper 3D Animation and Render PC build, check out our best 3D Animation and Render Desktop PC Build. Otherwise, follow the recommendations above for other options. Click here to move to the step-by-step guide on how to build your own PC.
It can be quite a herculean task trying to figure out what components for the best PC build for 3D modeling and rendering in 2020 that will give you the best performance for your money, and of course that’s the purpose of this article. I hope you were able to find just what you need, or something close. If you like this article, share it using the buttons below.
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