Desktop or Laptop?

Benefits of a Laptop

  • It doesn’t require any knowledge
  • it is ready to use right out of the box
  • It’s available in every Country
  • It is mobile (more or less depending on the Laptop)
  • It consumes less Energy

Benefits of a Desktop PC

  • Better price to performance ratio.
  • I can build a PC that fits my needing perfectly.
  • It is upgradeable.
  • The cooling is way better. Which allows the hardware to run cooler and quieter. which can be important for extended rendering or simulation sessions. A Laptop can heat up really quickly. which makes him slower.
  • Better performance at a certain point.

Which PC I use

I am currently using a 2021 MacBook Pro 16 Inch with 32 GB or RAM and the M1 Max.

The reason I switched to a MacBook from a Desktop PC with multiple GPUs is, because it is fast enough for what I am doing.

I don’t make complex 3D projects anymore. I use a lot of Photoshop, Midjourney, After Effects, and make simple 3d Projects. And thanks to Denoising and the Apple Denoising Support, I am able to do that. With a lightweight mobile and silent set up.

A MacBook compared to any other Laptop has the benefit of having the Full Performance without a Charger and also has a good enough Trackpad to even work in 3D with that, at least I am capable of doing that. Another thing I really like about it is, that it supports format like .PSD or .PDF out of the box.

On the other hand, Windows Supports almost every Software, which is also the reason I wouldn’t recommend Linux for. 3D Artists even do, it seems like the performance is slightly better in Blender. For example, Character Creator by Reallusion which I also featured in my Article “Character in Blender without modeling” is only available for Windows.

I am currently using a 2021 MacBook Pro 16 Inch with 32 GB or RAM and the M1 Max.

The reason I switched to a MacBook from a Desktop PC with multiple GPUs is, because it is fast enough for what I am doing.

I don’t make complex 3D projects anymore. I use a lot of Photoshop, Midjourney, After Effects, and make simple 3d Projects. And thanks to Denoising and the Apple Denoising Support, I am able to do that. With a lightweight mobile and silent set up.

A MacBook compared to any other Laptop has the benefit of having the Full Performance without a Charger and also has a good enough Trackpad to even work in 3D with that, at least I am capable of doing that. Another thing I really like about it is, that it supports format like .PSD or .PDF out of the box.

On the other hand, Windows Supports almost every Software, which is also the reason I wouldn’t recommend Linux for. 3D Artists even do, it seems like the performance is slightly better in Blender. For example, Character Creator by Reallusion which I also featured in my Article “Character in Blender without modeling” is only available for Windows.

How much RAM do I need in my PC?

The RAM determines how much you can do on the PC at the same time. How much Tabs you can open in the Browser, how many programs you can have opened, or how many/ complex the objects can be In your 3D project. A popular misconception is, that more RAM makes the PC faster, which is only true in some Edge cases.

The minimum that Blender requires is 4 GB, but I would recommend getting at least 16 GB. Personally, I never needed more than 64 GB.

The RAM determines how much you can do on the PC at the same time. How much Tabs you can open in the Browser, how many programs you can have opened, or how many/ complex the objects can be In your 3D project. A popular misconception is, that more RAM makes the PC faster, which is not true.

The minimum that Blender requires is 4 GB, but I would recommend getting at least 16 GB. Personally, I never needed more than 32 GB.

Do I need a GPU to use Blender?

To see anything on the screen, you need to have a GPU in you PC. Most Intel CPUs come with an integrated GPU. But does it make sense to buy a dedicated GPU separately?

When it comes to rendering, no matter if it is Eevee, Cycles or any other Render Engine, Blender can render way faster with GPUs. Some Render Engines like Octane which I mentioned in the article “Every render Engine in Blender” Even requires a GPU to work.

So it absolutely makes sense to get a dedicated GPU. Also, if it is not necessary to run Blender.

When it comes to rendering, no matter if it is Eevee, Cycles or any other Render Engine, Blender can render way faster with GPUs. Some Render Engines like Octane which I mentioned in the article “Every render Engine in Blender” Even requires a GPU to work.

So it absolutely makes sense to get a dedicated GPU. Also, if it is not necessary to run Blender.

Which GPU?

Nvidia or AMD?

When it comes to buying a GPU there is always the question should I buy Nvidia or AMD.

But at least for Blender there isn’t Because Nvidia started to implement Hardware accelerated Ray tracing and since Ray tracing is. What most Render Engines are doing. Nvidia is currently just better. In fact, the best AMD GPU which is the RX 7900 XTX which starts at around $1100 performs worse than the last gen Nvidia RTX 3070TI which starts at around $650 when it comes to rendering.

When it comes to buying a new GPU for your PC, there is always the Question should I go with Nvidia or AMD.

A long time the Answer was simply Nvidia, because of the Optix Technology which allowed them to render way faster.

But now AMD has HID and Apple has Metal.

But still, in every price Category, Nvidia seams to perform better.

If you want to look for a specific GPU or CPU, you can take a look at the Blender Open Data Database.

But what I think is more interesting is, that the best AMD GPU does not perform that much better, as Apple’s M3 Max in the Current MacBook in Blender.

Can I use multiple GPUs for better performance?

Yes, for rendering, 2 (same) GPUs mean roughly 2 times better performance. But you can also use 3 or 4 GPUs. As far I know, the limit is at 32. But I never had more than 4 GPUs in my PC.

You can also use different GPUs. At the same time. But they have to use the same render kernel. For Example, you can’t render with an AMD GPU which uses OpenCL and an Nvidia GPU that uses CUDA at the same time. Also, if you want to render with an OptiX GPU (like the RTX3080) and a GPU that doesn’t support OptiX you can’t use the fast OptiX kernel, and you have to use the slower CUDA kernel.

You could also disable the GPU, that is connected with your monitor so that you always have a fluid interface and can even play games while rendering.

Yes, for rendering, 2 (same) GPUs mean roughly 2 times better performance. But you can also use 3 or 4 GPUs. As far I know, the limit is at 32. But I never had more than 4 GPUs in my PC.

You can also use different GPUs. At the same time. But they have to use the same render kernel. For Example, you can’t render with an AMD GPU which uses OpenCL and an Nvidia GPU that uses CUDA at the same time. Also, if you want to render with an OptiX GPU (like the RTX3080) and a GPU that doesn’t support OptiX you can’t use the fast OptiX kernel, and you have to use the slower CUDA kernel.

You could also disable the GPU, that is connected with your monitor so that you always have a fluid interface and can even play games while rendering.

Which CPU makes sense?

The first instinct would be, to pick the one with the most CPU cores, like an AMD Threadripper or an Intel Xeon. And even do they have the best performance in rendering, GPUs are way better in this regard.

Which means a good CPU is more important for things like simulations or modeling. For which I would recommend CPUs like the latest Intel i9 13xxx, i7 13xxx or i5 13xxx depending on the budget.

The first instinct would be, to pick the one with the most CPU cores, like an AMD Threadripper or an Intel Xeon. And even do they have the best performance in rendering, GPUs are way better in this regard.

Which means a good CPU is more important for things like simulations or modeling. For which I would recommend CPUs like the latest Intel i9 13xxx, i7 13xxx or i5 13xxx depending on the budget.

Powersupply

The Powersupply is a Part of the Computer not a lot of people talk about but when it comes to rendering it can still make a big difference.

The most important thing is not to buy a no name Power supply.

Popular brands are BeQuiet, Corsair, Seasonic, Silverstone, Corsair, MSI, Phanteks, Antec, Sharkoon, Gigabyte…

You definitely should not save too much money at this part since it is related to safety. Especially if you live in a Country with a bad electricity network, since too high voltage can not only kill your PC, it can also kill you in the worst case.

The second most significant thing is, you need a Power supply which supports enough Wattage. Here is a calculator to find out, how much you require.

When it comes to rendering, efficiency can become essential since rendering means using a lot of power over a longer period of time.

To certify the efficiency of a Power supply there is the 80 PLUS certification, the higher the certification the higher the percentage of the energy the power supply pulls out the wall it will pass along to the computer components.

Which can be translated to the higher the 80 PLUS certification, the lower the energy bill will be.

If it makes sense for to buy a Power supply with a higher certification is something you can roughly calculate.

The most important thing is not to buy a no name Power supply.

Popular brands are BeQuiet, Corsair, Seasonic, Silverstone, Corsair, MSI, Phanteks, Antec, Sharkoon, Gigabyte…

You definitely should not save too much money at this part since it is related to safety. Especially if you live in a Country with a bad electricity network, since too high voltage can not only kill your PC, it can also kill you in the worst case.

The second most significant thing is, you need a Power supply which supports enough Wattage. Here is a calculator to find out, how much you require.

When it comes to rendering, efficiency can become essential since rendering means using a lot of power over a longer period of time.

To certify the efficiency of a Power supply there is the 80 PLUS certification, the higher the certification the higher the percentage of the energy the power supply pulls out the wall it will pass along to the computer components.

Which can be translated to the higher the 80 PLUS certification, the lower the energy bill will be.

If it makes sense for to buy a Power supply with a higher certification is something you can roughly calculate.

20% Power usage 50% Power usage 100% Power usage
80 Plus 82% efficiency 85% efficiency 82% efficiency
80 Plus Bronze 85% efficiency 88% efficiency 85% efficiency
80 Plus Silver 87% efficiency 90% efficiency 87% efficiency
80 Plus Gold 90% efficiency 92% efficiency 89% efficiency
80 Plus Platin 92% efficiency 94% efficiency 90% efficiency
80 Plus Titan 94% efficiency 96% efficiency 94% efficiency

Storage

Blender itself doesn’t require a lot of storage. Unliked Video editing Software like Premiere or After Effects, it does not benefit from faster storage or even multiple drives.

But if you are rendering Videos in Blender like I describe it in this Article “Export animations in Blender the professional way” You will have relatively big Video files.

I would recommend getting at least an 1 TB SATA SSD. An M2 or PCIE SSD is great, but has not really an effect on performance.

Blender itself doesn’t require a lot of storage. Unliked Video editing Software like Premiere or After Effects, it does not benefit from faster storage or even multiple drives.

But if you are rendering Videos in Blender like I describe it in this Article “Export animations in Blender the professional way” You will have relatively big Video files.

I would recommend getting at least an 1 TB SATA SSD. An M2 or PCIE SSD is great, but has not really an effect on performance.

Is a Mac a good Choice for Blender

Even do I am using a Mac, I wouldn’t recommend a Mac to anyone who is primarily doing 3D. In most cases a Mac has worse performance, especially, when it comes to things like rendering or any other process in which heavy rendering is done over long periods of time since the cooling in a smaller case is worse.

Also, a lot of 3D Software which can supplement Blender like Character Creator only runs on Windows.

But if 3D is only a Part of what you are doing, and you want something mobile and lightweight, a Mac could be the right choice for you.

Even do I am using a Mac, I wouldn’t recommend a Mac to anyone who is primarily doing 3D. In most cases a Mac has worse performance, especially, when it comes to things like rendering or any other process in which heavy rendering is done over long periods of time since the cooling in a smaller case is worse.

Also, a lot of 3D Software which can supplement Blender like Character Creator only runs on Windows.

But if 3D is only a Part of what you are doing, and you want something mobile and lightweight, a Mac could be the right choice for you.

One Comment

  1. Magic Mark September 11, 2023 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    What questions do you have, when it comes to building a PC for Blender?

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