CPU

The Best CPU for 3D Rendering 2021 [Experts Choice]

collection of top rated 3d rendering processors

Multiple Core CPUs from Intel and AMD have been great at tackling 3D software like Blender, Maya, 3DS Max, and Cinema 4D. All of this 3D rendering software relies heavily on multiple core performance. If you are confused to pick the best CPU for 3D rendering, then this buying guide will help you choose the one that falls to your budget.

The Best CPU for 3D Rendering

With Intel & AMD throwing out new chips each month in the market, it is hard to find the most suitable CPU for 3D designing and rendering. Whether you are here to upgrade your current workstation or looking for the right CPU to fit in your current rig, these processors on our list are the best fit for your every need.

The 4 Best CPU for 3D Rendering

Best CPU for 3D Rendering

Here are some of our top picks when it comes to the best 3D rendering processors for the money.

1. Intel Core-i9 9900K | Best Overall 3D Rendering CPU

Best Overall Rendering CPU

Key Specs

  • 8 Cores & 16 Threads
  • Clock speed up to 5 GHz
  • Socket LGA 1151
  • 16 MB Cache
  • Intel UHD 630 Graphics
  • Intel Optane Support


Core i9 9900K is one of the best CPUs to get if you are into 3D Animation or modeling. It comes with 8 cores and 16 threads to take care of intense rendering applications.

The 9900K allows you to overclock all the cores up to 5 GHz. However, in this case, you might need to invest in an aftermarket CPU cooler to take care of the heat. Even at the base speed of 3.6 GHz, this processor is still a beast when it comes to handling 3D animations and intense graphical applications.

In terms of 3D rendering, this CPU performance is way better than the famous Core i7 7700K CPU. We compared this CPU with the highest-ranking processor from the AMD the Ryzen 7 2700X. Even at this point, the higher clock speed of i9 9900K outranked the 2700X in raw 3D development.

One of the most noticeable features that make this CPU worth buying for 3D applications is the Cache. The 9900K comes with 16 MB of L3 cache for faster and efficient processing. Although the 9900K comes at a higher price, it reflects the price you pay for it.

The only downside we have found so far with this high-end CPU is the limited compatibility with Intel 300 chipset. Therefore, you may need to throw away your older motherboard and invest in high-quality motherboards like Z390 if you want more out of this CPU.

2. AMD Ryzen 9 3900X | Most Budget-Friendly CPU for 3D Designers

Most Budget-Friendly CPU for 3D Designers

Key Specs

  • 12 Cores & 24 Threads
  • AM4 Socket
  • Max Speed 4.6 GHz
  • 70 MB Cache
  • CPU Cooler Included

The reason we like the Ryzen CPUs when dealing with CPU-intensive tasks like rendering or encoding is that they are cheaper. Ryzen 9 3900X is one of the most bought processors last year due to its affordable price and up to 12 cores.

The number of cores and the clock speed matter a lot when it comes to rendering 3D animations. The 3900X has more than enough cores to handle any 3D rendering software that is core-hungry. You can boost all the scores up to 4.6 GHz if needed.

Higher cores and clock counts do matte when it comes to faster rendering, but this will also result in more heat dissipation. To solve the problem, AMD has included its own Wraith CPU Cooler in the box.

Another great thing about this CPU is the massive 75 MB of GameCache. Now, this is something meant for the smooth high-end gaming experience, but we will make it count for the performance of our 3D rendering CPU as well.

AMD’s 7-nanometer technology makes this CPU cooler and quiets even at higher clock speeds. And this is something we really miss out on many high-end CPUs from Intel. Lastly, you can install this CPU on any good quality AM4 motherboard to get the most out of it.

If you do not care about spending over $400 for a CPU that is reliable & efficient in 3D designing, we recommend you choose this one.

3. AMD Ryzen 9 3950X | Most Powerful CPU for 3D Animations & Rendering

Powerful CPU for 3D Designing

Key Specs

  • 16 Cores & 32 Threads
  • 4.7 Max Speed
  • 72 MB GameCache
  • PCIe 4.0 for Boosting Graphical Performance

AMD Ryzen 9 3950X is a beast that packs 16 cores to deliver unbeatable performance in gaming, 3D rendering, video, and audio production. Apart from multiple performances, this processor also stands out in single-core performance.

Now, this is a computer that shines out in all aspects if you buy it for creating 3D designs or animation. However, this powerful performance might cost you over $700 to build your next-gen 3D designing machine.

Seriously, it is worth buying this CPU rather than going for an Intel processor with less than half the cores that 3950X carries at this price. And at this point, Intel has to take some serious steps if they want their future mainstream processors to beat the AMD lineup.

The Ryzen 9 3950X is more than enough to last for years before there is any need of upgrading to a new processor for 3D rendering. Surely, abundant cores on this CPU mean it will draw more power which eventually ends up in more heat. As there is no CPU cooler included in the box, you have to buy a third-party CPU cooler to take care of the heat.

4. Intel Core i7-6800K | Cheap CPU for 3D Applications

Cheap CPU for 3D Applications

Key Specs

  • 6 Cores & 12 Threads
  • 3.4 GHz Clock Speed
  • Unlocked for Overclocking
  • Intel Turbo Boost

Well if you are low on budget and need a wallet-friendly CPU to render 3D animations, then nothing is better than the Intel i7 6800K. Although this processor carries the least cores than others on our list, its performance when dealing with 3D rendering software is exceptional.

The Intel 6800K is an excellent CPU for budget builders who do not want to spend more than $300 buying a processor for 3D development. Thank the Intel Turbo Boost Technology, you can get more out of this CPU with just one click.

This CPU easily handles tasks related to 3D modeling, video editing, audio production, and rendering. Though this CPU is unlocked for overclocking, we recommend you not to test it over 4.2 GHz if you want stable performance.

Apart from that this CPU is also good for editing videos, rendering photos, and other useful tasks. For 3D designers, the Intel i7 6800K might save them a few bucks in buying a 4K graphics card or other useful items.

Factors to Look for in a 3D Rendering CPU

It is not only the core count that matters a lot in the 3D rendering but there are also other factors that decide the performance of your CPU. Most of these factors are discussed below

Clock Speed

This is one of the most important factors that decide the performance of a CPU when it comes to design and render 3D tasks. Higher the clock speed of a single core, the faster is the rendering.

Cache

The cache acts like the ram of the processor. Therefore the higher the number faster is the computing power of your CPU. L3 cache carries more value as compared to the L1 and L2. At this point, AMD CPUs are worth praising as they take more combined cache as compared to Intel.

Intel VS AMD in 3D Applications

It is completely up to you to choose the processor that suits your motherboard socket. Intel is good at single-core performance and higher clock speeds, while AMD CPUs are cheaper and carry more cores.

We highly recommend AMD CPUs at this point. Firstly, the 3D rendering software in the market has a minimum clock requirement of less than 3.0 GHz, while most of the AMD CPUs are clocked over the minimum requirement. Secondly, AMD carries more core counts when compared to Intel.

Intel VS AMD Rendering Comparison

According to our experience, Intel stands out when it comes to 3D rendering. However, if we reveal the benchmark tests, you will hardly notice any difference between the rendering performance of Intel and AMD. As rendering is more dependant on the single-core performance of a CPU, Intel holds the top spot in this case.

Ryzen CPUs are way better in video rendering as compared to 3D rendering. This is due to more cores and threads in AMD CPUs. Like you can deal with multiple tasks at the same time.

If you use Maya for creating and animating 3D models, then having an Intel CPU like Core i9 9900K would be a great option. Intel is better in single-core performance, so you will see better results. Some latest versions of Maya, Arnold, V-ray, Keyshot can utilize more cores, in that case, AMD processors will stand out for sure.

3D Modelling & Rendering Software Tested

So we tested all the top CPUs for 3d rendering on our list with professional 3D rendering software like Maya, Cinema 4D, Blender, Modo, and Sculptris. Intel processors were good at handling 3D projects designed in Maya and Cinema 4D. However, Modo Sculptris, V-ray, and some other applications were performing way better with Ryzen CPUs.

Verdict

Finally, these were some of the best CPUs for 3D rendering on our list. We highly recommend going for the Intel i9 9900K or AMD Ryzen 9 3950X as packs more cores and clocks speed.

However, if you are on a budget, you can go for the Ryzen 7 2700X that stands between the sweet spot of price and performance.

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