Do I need a new computer for rendering and modeling?
Most computers could handle simple 3D tasks and if you’re still exploring a career in animation, there’s no need to buy a new computer for rendering and modeling. If you’re getting deeper into rendering or 3D modeling but you don’t have the budget for a new computer, you can always upgrade the components later on to complete more projects.
Can I do this from my laptop?
Yes, you can use a laptop for rendering and 3D modeling but the process will take a long, long time to complete. This goes especially for scenes that require complex lighting and many polygons.
Realistically, you cannot work properly if your laptop lacks the features needed to complete complex modeling and/or rendering. It’s also worth noting that 3D modeling and rendering use a computer differently. But as long as your laptop is capable of handling simple 3D tasks, you can use it for basic modeling.
A laptop with enough processing power, a good graphics card, and a suitable system memory should be enough for rendering. For 3D modeling, you’ll need a laptop with superior clock speed.
Can I do this from my Mac?
Yes, 3D modeling and rendering are possible on a MAC computer. But, there are some limitations in terms of what you can do using this computer. Thankfully, the majority of software like Maya, Nuke, Houdini, etc., are compatible with MAC OS. But the downside is that you cannot take advantage of newer GPU renderers. Also, some software applications do not have a MAC equivalent, like Katana.
If I decide that a new computer is best, what should I do?
Before buying a new computer for rendering and modeling, you have to do your research so you’ll get the best specs for the money! Get to know the minimal and optimal specs for 3D modeling or rendering then base your options on these factors. For example, if you need a PC that could handle 3D tasks quickly, opt for a computer with a fast processor, a good graphics card, and as much RAM as you can afford.
Prioritize on the processor first and the RAM and graphics card later. The RAM and graphics card could be upgraded later on.
One of the best processors in the market right now is the AMD Ryzen™.
Low tier: AMD Ryzen 3600X (12 threads)
Mid-tier: Ryzen™ 3700 or 3800x (16 thread)
High tier: AMD Ryzen™ 3900x (24thread) or 3950x (32 thread)
One of the best options for graphics cards is the NVidia RTX line. The graphics cards from the RTX line are expensive but the performance and quality are exceptional so they’re worth the investment.
Base tier: RTX 2060 Super
Mid-tier: RTX 2070 Super
High tier: RTX 2080 Super
For 3D artists, a 32 GB of RAM is great but if you’re working on high-poly meshes or complex objects, go for 64GB of RAM.
What is the cheapest computer I can buy to do 3D work?
Building a computer is your best bet if you’re looking for a cheap yet feature-rich PC. You can spend under $1000 for the parts and hand-pick the components yourself. If you’re planning on building a PC yourself for the first time, watch lots of tutorials. Here are our recommendations:
If you’d rather let an expert handle the PC building, there are companies that offer customization services. All you have to do is to pick the parts that you want and they’ll take care of the rest. Of course, this option is more expensive compared to building the PC yourself.
DIY PC Resources
What about a laptop? Are there good laptops out there?
You don’t have to get the most expensive laptop for handling rendering and modeling work. In fact, any laptop that meets the minimum requirements of any animation software you want to use can be used for 3D modeling and rendering.
The key here is to find a laptop that has the features you need to make rendering and modeling faster and more efficient. Gaming laptops, in particular, make a good laptop for modeling. Here are some of the best laptops for rendering and modeling:
Acer Predator Helios 300 Gaming Laptop $1,129.99
ROG Zephyrus G15 $1,360.00
Gigabyte AERO 15 OLED $1,740
MSI P65 Creator $1,899.00
Because laptops are portable devices with powerful components, expect to pay more than $1000.
What would be a good mid-level machine?
Under $700 (AMD)
$2000 and above (Intel)
My last name is Kardashian and money is not a problem. What should I get?
If you’ve got deep pockets then we highly recommend hiring a company that could handpick the best components money could buy and build the workstation for you as well. But if you’d like a ready-to-use computer for rendering and modeling and you don’t mind the eye-watering price tags, here are some of our recommendations:
OMEN by HP Obelisk $1,852.81
iBuyPower Pro Gaming PC $2,149.99
Alienware Aurora R6 $2,499.11
Corsair One i164 $5,549.00
Apple MacBook Pro $2,149.00
Microsoft Surface Book 2 $2,298.00
ASUS ProArt StudioBook Pro $2,999.00
Razer Blade 15 Gaming Laptop $2,299.99
And there you have it, some of our recos for rendering and modeling PCs! Our final advice is to be smart about the kind of computer or computer that you will get to get the most value out of your money. A new computer, after all, is not cheap especially if you’re getting a pre-built computer or a laptop.
For an in-depth look at the best computers for 3D modeling and rendering, here’s our guide.