Before you move on and pick the best computer for 3D animation work, it’s important to know about the hardware that is responsible for handling 3D tasks. After all, you are building a desktop to take care of intense 3D workloads in real-time. So, the most important factor to consider at this point is your CPU (Processor).
Quick Shopping Tips 3D Modelling & Rendering Workstations
Apart from the input that you feed into a 3D animation software, there are some tasks like simulation, texture baking, and encoding that are highly dependent on the power of your CPU. In a desktop that is meant for creating 3D animations, you’ll need a CPU with extremely fast cores as compared to more cores.
The tasks that are involved in exporting 2D or 3D animation are handled by a single core at a time. So, opting for a computer with more cores doesn’t make sense here. The alternative is to choose a workstation that comes with a higher clock speed on each core.
Most people who are new to animation design think that a graphics card is the most vital part of a 3D workstation. Yes, it is, but up to some extent, the first one is still your CPU.
The need for a reliable GPU matters when it comes to OpenGL tasks like SSAO, Anti-Aliasing, Realtime Shadows, Anisotropic Filtering, etc.
Both the AMD & Nvidia are best for handling 3D animation, however, Nvidia takes a slight edge over AMD when it comes to GPU rendering.
And then comes the Ram, how much do you really need for a 3D animation computer? The thing is, there isn’t any impact on your 3D rendering performance even if you have a lower amount of ram. So, buying an expensive ram module with optimal CAS latency will not give you an edge in 2D or 3D rendering.
However, make sure you have enough ram to prevent your system from crashing or freezing during heavy workloads. 8GB is the bare minimum to have in a 3D workstation, but 16GB is what we highly recommend.
The Best Computer for 3D Animation Workloads
As now you are well aware of what to look for in a computer for 3d animation rendering, here are some of the top picks to consider from our side:
Skytech Archangel – The Best Overall PC for Creating Animations
CPU: Ryzen 5 3600 3.6GHz | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 6GB | Ram: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 500GB SSD
Reasons to Buy:
- Higher clock speed & single-core performance
- Reliable graphics card from Nvidia
- 3 powerful case fans
- RGB Aesthetics
The Skytech prebuilt computer is not only ideal for gaming, but they also deliver optimal performance in 3D animation as well. Apart from its aesthetical looks, this computer is packed with AMD’s top-rated Ryzen 5 3600 CPU that can be overclocked up to 4.2 GHz on the stock cooler.
The Ryxen 5 3600 is a six cores processor with 12 threads, however, it’s not the cores count that we are interested in. The thing that matters is the higher clock speed, and that truly is what the Ryzen 5 3600 has to offer here.
Also, there’s an Nvidia GTX 1660 graphics card with 6GB of RAM for dealing with OpenGL tasks if you want. Now, the GTX 1660 is the best of all GPUs for rendering stuff, but it’s good enough to deal with any GPU rendering that you throw on it.
Moreover, you get your hand on the 8GB DDR4 ram clocked at 3000 MHz along with heat spreaders for efficient heat dissipation. This makes one thing clear, you won’t need to install more memory on this computer as long you stick with 3D creation.
If we talk about the storage, then there’s a 500GB SSD on this computer to install multiple 3D software. In case you feel like having more disk space, you can swap a 500GB SSD with a 1TB or 2TB drive. Also, there are 3x DisplayPort and 1x HDMI video output ports for adding multiple monitors to this desktop.
The Skytech Archangel comes with plenty of I/O options as well. There are 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, 4x USB 3.2 Gen1 ports to transfer your data. Lastly, the setup is packed inside a sleek and clean white PC case with 3 powerful RGB ring fans to facilitate maximum airflow.
Where most 3D artists are preferring PCs with RGB lights all-over, this is the computer that can add more style to your 3D studio as well.
iBUYPOWER Desktop Element 9260 – A Great Desktop for 3D Animators
CPU: Intel Core i7-9700F 3.0 GHz | GPU: Nvidia GTX 1660 Ti 6GB | Ram: 16GB DDR4 | Storage: 240 SSD + 1TB HDD
Reasons to Buy:
- Ideal in content creation workloads
- Price to performance ratio
- Solid design
- Excellent thermodynamics
The iBUYPOWER Desktop Element 9260 is no doubt one of the most powerful options for content creation right now. Not only this computer holds faster single-core performance processors but also a strong graphics card.
For 3D animation artists, this desktop is packed with the Core i7 9700F CPU clocked at 3GHz with a TurboBoost up to 4.7 GHz. Now, this is some serious amount of power if we compare it with an AMD Ryzen 5 3600 CPU.
Also, the iBUYPOWER comes with a GTX 1660 Ti graphics card. This is the improved version of the normal GTX 1660 that comes in the Skytech Archangel PC that we’ve reviewed above.
However, for 3D animators, it’s hard to differentiate between the performance of a GTX 1660 & GTX 1660 Ti when it comes to 3D rendering. But you can expect a Ti version to complete the GPU rendering stuff in less time as compared to a non-Ti version.
Aside from a faster CPU and GPU, you get 16GB of DDR4 ram installed on this computer. Now, this is the right amount of ram to have on your animation computer if you need serious performance.
Moving down to the disk, you’ll get 1TB of HDD and 256GB of SSD space to install your 3D animation tools and application. As HDDs are becoming a thing of the past, it looks a bit weird to find a 1TB HDD on such a higher-priced prebuilt workstation. But SSDs are cheaper now, you can get one and replace it with the HDD to get going.
All in all, the iBUYPOWER really shows up as a powerhouse of content creation. You can edit videos and create animations on this prebuilt machine without any hassle. It has a decent number of I/O and video output options if you are working in a studio.
On top of all, the 3 powerful RGB case fans at the front add stunning looks while taking care of the massive heat inside the case. Also, there’s plenty of headroom to upgrade this PC in the near future. What else do you need eh!
OMEN by HP Obelisk – Extreme Performance PC for Professional 3D Artists
CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K 3.6 GHz | GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 SUPER 8 GB | Ram: 32GB HyperX DDR4 | Storage: 1TB NVMe SSD
Reasons to Buy:
- High-end performance in 3D workloads
- Powerful CPU and GPU
- NVMe SSD
If you really don’t care about the budget and need the best-of-all computer for 3D animation, then here we have the HP Omen Obelisk for you. This is more of a gaming desktop, but you can get extreme 2D and 3D graphical workload out of it.
The HP Omen Obelisk comes is armoured with the most powerful CPU in the 9th Generation, the Core i9 9900K. Clocked at 3.6 GHz, this CPU is made to tackle the toughest tasks in the animation or gaming industry.
Also, the Core i9 9900K is one of those CPUs that has given a tough time to Ryzen 7 and 9 CPUs in content creation. Also, you can overclock Core i9 9900K to get the most performance out of it.
The next lethal weapon that the Hp Omen Obelisk holds is the Nvidia RTX 2080 Super graphics card with 8GB of GDDR6 memory. 3D artists or professionals who are highly dependent on the CPU and GPU side of 3D rendering can get the most out of this lethal combination.
This desktop is equipped with 32GB of HyperX DDR4 ram for optimal performance. For most users out there, having a 32GB ram on your PC is simply overkill. But if we look at it from the other side, then having such a higher amount of ram makes your PC future-proof in 3D content creation.
Also, this PC is equipped with 1TB of NVMe SSD which looks a bit less as compared to the higher price tag. However, you can easily find a cheaper SSD in the market to expand your storage space.
Keeping in mind the current specs of HP Omen Obelisk, we might say that this computer is best for GPU-accelerated software like D5 Render, Lumion, Octane, Redshift, etc.
So, if you are more dependent on the GPU accelerated 3D effects, only then go for this computer. Otherwise, the Skytech and iBUYPOWER deliver the same performance as the Omen Obelisk when it comes to CPU dependent 3D tasks.
Finally, the HP Omen Obelisk (this is what we say it) packs a tremendous amount of power to tackle the toughest 3D rendering tasks. It comes with a decent transparent PC case on one side that shows the glory of all the components in a reddish haze.
You can also control the RGB lights using the Omen Command Center software and customize them the way you want. A high-end desktop that comes with plenty of I/O options and room for upgrade.
Apple iMac Pro – The Choice of Content Creators
CPU: Intel Xeon W 3.8 GHz | GPU: Radeon Pro Vega 56 | Ram: 32GB DDR4 | Storage: 1TB SSD
Reasons to Buy:
- Retina 5K Display
- Smooth performance in 3D animation, 3D modelling, Video Editing
- Convenient & reliable
The iMac still remains the foremost part of every 3D and video editing studio. The Apple iMac packs everything you need for 3D content creation on a single platform.
Yes, there are demerits of having an Apple computer on your desk, one of which is no room for upgrade. But when it comes to editing or creating content, there’s no parallel to an Apple iMac.
Upon the first look at this computer, you’ll be welcomed by the 27-inch Retina display. Now, this is one of the most demanding screens in the industry if you want to zoom into minor details of your 3D workload.
But the real thing is the performance, and iMac really lets you down when it comes to rendering complex 3D scenarios.
The Intel Xeon W clocked at 3.8 GHz takes care of intense CPU dependant tasks efficiently. And with Radeon Pro Vega 6 built-in GPU, you can easily add GPU-accelerated effects to your projects.
Also, there’s 32Gb of DDR4 ram to keep the system stable and working while dealing with multiple tasks at the same time.
If you are shifting from a Windows PC to an iMac, you’ll have a little trouble adjusting the interface. But once you get used to it, you’ll always prefer working on an Apple computer for creating 3D animations.
Especially, when it comes to retouching your 3D projects on Maya and Blender, you’ll find it a lot easier on an iMac as compared to a Windows PC.
Acer Aspire TC-390 – Budget-Friendly Workstation for 3D Content Creators
CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3200G 3.6 GHz | GPU: AMD Radeon Vega 8 Graphics | Ram: 8GB DDR4 | Storage: 512GB NVMe SSD
Reasons to Buy:
- Affordable price
- Faster storage drive
- Plenty of I/O ports
The Acer Aspire TC-390 is an ideal desktop for people who have just entered the world of 3D animation. From learning new skills to becoming a professional 3D animator, this desktop is packed with enough resources to let you through all of that.
With a clock speed of 3.6 GHz on each of its four cores, the Ryzen 3 3200G has enough juice to let you learn and create the basic animations.
The Ryzen Ryzen 3 3200G is basically an APU, which means there’s a built-in graphics chip (Radeon Vega 8) inside this CPU. So there’s no need to buy a separate GPU for this desktop until as long as you are dependent on CPU-intensive tasks.
Also, this PC has 210W watts of power supply, so updating your GPU will need you to upgrade your PSU as well. So, we recommend you stick with the built-in GPU for now.
For quickly accessing the files, you’ll get 8GB of DDR4 memory clocked at 2666 MHz. Moreover, for saving large files and projects, there’s a Western Digital 512GB NVMe drive installed on this computer.
For an entry-level 3D animation desktop, this much storage space is enough. However, if you need more space, then you can add another SSD drive as well.
There isn’t plenty of room inside this PC for an upgrade, but you can go with it until you’ve learned enough of 3D animations. On top of all, this computer is way cheaper than the others on our list.
Final Words & Recommendation
There are a lot of prebuilt PCs on the market which makes it difficult to choose the one that falls your needs. Computers that are meant for 3D animation workload have to be equipped with a powerful CPU. For high-end 3D rendering, we suggest you go with HP Omen Obelisk. This desktop comes with a faster CPU and graphics card to meet your every demand in 3D content creation.
Which is Better for Animations? Intel or AMD
As far as the 3D animations are concerned, both Intel and AMD show ideal performance in it. However, the Intel CPUs are highly preferred by 3D creators for their better single-core performance.
At the same time, Intel CPUs that come with default higher clock speed is expensive. AMD on other hand makes cheaper processors with higher clock count and cores.
Intel’s CPUs are highly recommended for their unbeatable gaming performance, whereas AMD takes advantage of its more cores to handle multiple workloads.
Which operating system is ideal for creating 3D animations?
If we look at the popular animation creators like Pixar and Disney, these all rely on Linux operating system. It is because Linux is more powerful and customizable, and can be adjusted to get the most out of the computing resources.
Which is better for animation, laptop or desktop?
Modern-day laptops are packed with high-end components just like high-end desktops, so editing and rendering animations on a notebook is not a big deal these days. But there are some features that you miss out on on a laptop, for example, a big screen and room for upgrade.
Desktop computers on the other hand give you more headroom for connecting 4K and even 6K monitors for retouching animations in high detail. Moreover, there is enough room in desktops for expanding storage and ram.
Which graphics cards are best for animation?
When it comes to building workstations PCs, especially the ones meant to deal with animation or video editing workloads, then Nvidia’s RTX or Quadro Series tops the list. For animation workloads, it’s better to go with GPUs that are capable of scaling the resolution up to 4K.
A GPU with 6GB of video memory is the bare minimum for an animation workload PC. However, 8GB or 12GB GPU will surely make your PC future-proof for at least some years.