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Are you looking to know if your computer can handle 3D projects? Wether you're starting a 3D animation program or you want to make 3D computer graphics at home, this article is for you.
Here are the essential components of a computer required to make 3D graphics efficiently. In this page, we break down each computer component into 3 ranges of prices so that you can aim for your target budget.
- Minimum: the absolute minimal requirements
- Recommended: an optimal balance of price and performance
- Professional: Top of the line recommendation
Take a look at the different sections below, and make sure your computer will be up to the task of creating 3D graphics. The images on the left are the links to each of our article on the topic. Feel free to consult them for more information, when you'll be shopping for computer hardware parts.
CPU / Processor
The processor is used for eveything in 3D creation, so the higher the speed and number of cores, the happier you will be overall. It will be influencial in the speed of the operating system itself, as well as the responsiveness of the 3D software package. But it's also crucial for visual effects simulations, 3D renderings, and all sorts of common 3D operations. A good CPU also has to be coupled with a good motherboard and CPU fan to be optimal.
Minimum: Dual Core, 2.5 Ghz +
Recommended: Quad Core, 3.0 Ghz +
Professional: 2x Dual 8-Core Xeon CPU, 3.0 Ghz +
RAM / Memory
The RAM memory will determine the complexity of the 3D scenes you'll be allowed to create. If you're making a natural landscape or a cityscape environment, you will need a lot of RAM, but if it's like Luxo Jr (the Pixar lamp), it won't be so bad. RAM will also be used when rendering 3D scenes, so it influences the number and complexity of 3D models and textures that can be used in the project.
Symptoms of not having enough RAM include, lag, choppiness, slowness, unresponsiveness, crashes and impossibility to work on complex 3D scenes entierly. If you don't buy a ton of RAM memory right away, at least make sure your motherboard can handle a large expansion later on.
Minimum: 8+ Gb DDR3, 1600 Mhz +, CAS 9 -
Recommended: 24+ Gb DDR3, 2400 Mhz +, CAS 8 -
Professional: 128 Gb DDR4, 3200 Mhz +, CAS 7 -
GPU / Video Card
When choosing a graphics/video card for 3D, you should only go with Nvidia cards. Try to find one with as much CUDA cores as possible to allow real-time the fastest GPU renders. The performance of the videocard will also determine the speed and quality of the real-time preview of your 3D scenes while working. You should never go with a videocard that is 'integrated' with the CPU or chipset.
Minimum: Nvidia GTX 460 +
Recommended: Nvidia 1060 Ti +
Professional: Nvidia Titan V 1080 Ti +
Screen / Monitor
You will want to have 2 screens because it will make increase your productivity so much, you'll never want to go back. Each screen should be at least full HD (1920x1080) so that you can properly see the pictures you'll be making, as others would. A larger screen will be much more comfortable for your eyes, and allow you to view more things at once.
Minimum: 1x LCD 15 inch
Recommended: 2x LED 17 inch +
Professional: 2x OLED 24 inch +
Absolute Minimum Setup:
- Dual Core 2.5 Ghz +
- 8Gb DDR3 1600Mhz Ram
- Nvidia GTX 460
- 1x 15 inch LCD screen
- Quad Core 3.0 Ghz +
- 24 Gb DDR3 2400Mhz Ram
- Nvidia GTX 1060 Ti
- 2x 17 inch LED screen
This is our complete guide on selecting the different components of a good computer for 3D graphics. If you're looking to buy a brand new computer, have a look at our entire selection of articles on computer hardware. You'll find a lot more details about important specifications and tips for buying at optimal price.
Are you looking for complete builds for computer that can produce 3D graphics with ease? We've made a preselection of components for you here. You should know that you often cannot change only one component in a computer without having to change many others.
Go to the 'computer hardware' table of contents:
Guide on Finding the Optimal Computer Components
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