Workstation for 3-D Design and Rendering

Here's the build I'm considering:

Base Program Requirements - Specifications Reference Developers Website:
These are the most taxing programs I'd run on this workstation. 

  • GPU: 8 GB or more
  • RAM: 32 GB or More
  • Hard Drive: SATA3 SSD or NVME m.2 storage

V-RAY Rhino:
  • CPU:1st Gen Intel® Core™ or compatible processor with SSE4.2 support (x64).
  • RAM:4 GB RAM and 4 GB swap minimum – recommended 8 GB or more RAM, 8 GB or more swap file.
  • Hard Disk Space: Minimum 2GB, Recommended 12GB (includes additional downloadable content)
  • Supported GPU: Maxwell-, Pascal-, Volta-, Turing- and Ampere- based NVIDIA card(s) with with latest recommended video driver (for both CUDA and RTX - enabled cards) V-Ray Vision requires a Graphic card with DirectX 11 or DirectX 12 and Shader Model 5.0 capabilities

V-RAY Revit: 
  • CPU: Single- or Multi-Core Intel® Pentium®, Xeon®, or i-Series processor or AMD® equivalent with SSE2 technology. Highest affordable CPU speed rating recommended.
  • RAM: 8 GB RAM and 8 GB swap minimum

Rhino6 w/Grasshopper: 
  • Rhino and Grasshopper are CPU driven but they rely almost entirely on clock speed rather core count. Multi GPU?

Revit 2021: 
  • CPU: Single- or Multi-Core Intel®, Xeon®, or i-Series processor or AMD® equivalent with SSE2 technology. Highest affordable CPU speed rating recommended. Autodesk® Revit® software products use multiple cores for many tasks.
  • RAM: 16 GB RAM. Usually sufficient for a typical editing session for a single model up to approximately 300 MB on disk. This estimate is based on internal testing and customer reports. Individual models will vary in their use of computer resources and performance characteristics. Models created in previous versions of Revit software products may require more available memory for the one-time upgrade process.
  • "Video Adapter": DirectX 11 capable graphics card with Shader Model 5 and a minimum of 4GB of video memory.
  • Disk Space: 30 GB free disk space. 10,000+ RPM HardDrive (for Point Cloud interactions) or Solid State Drive

Will occasionally be running: AutoCad 2021, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Premiere Pro, Sketchup Pro, Microsoft Suite. 


Questions and explanations for the parts I am considering:

  1. CPU: AMD - Ryzen 9 3950X Matisse 3.5GHz 16-Core AM4 Boxed Processor - Also considering the zen9 3900XT - For Rhino: If I just wanted to improve performance on Rhino6 w/Grasshopper what would part/cpu be? I dont game at all. This is purely a workstation so I've been trying to max more core count while not breaking the budget. 
  2. GPU: I would like to stay less than $1,000 if I can. Needs to be a minimum of 8GB. Overclocking is not as important. This is my most flexible item in terms of budget. Is the AMD Radeon RX 6800 overkill and worth it? Thinking single GPU for now? - Also see "video adapter" in Revit's specifications above. What does that requirement mean? I want to run a minimum of 3 monitors. Considering NVIDIA, GeForce, AMD Radeon. I've heard that NVIDIA works really well for certain software but if you have an issue with anything support doesn't provide for NVIDIA products. GeForce and AMD Radeon have lesser reputations (as far as my amateurism knows) so I'm more skeptical about spending the money on these brands. I realize I'll likely have to wait for these to come back into stock. 
  3. Motherboard: I don't really understand how to pick a motherboard. I'm mainly looking for something with built in wifi and LAN connection. Need an optical reader - can be external.
  4. Ram: Whats the difference between dual and quad channel from a workstation perspective?
  5. Case: Again best advice. Focus on airflow and ease of access to work on it and clean it.
  6. CPU Cooling: Considering liquid cooling. I'll need guidance on everything. Not intimidated by watercooling installation or maintenance. But need help with heatsinks vrs water cooling, and thermal compounds (and application).
I'm currently "upgrading" from this:
1st Gen 2nd Tier Microsoft Surface Studio. It has its perks as a touch screen but it was already a little lacking when I bought it in 2017. I need something I can upgrade.
With this as a second monitor: 
LG 27UK650-W 27 Inch 4K UHD IPS LED Monitor with HDR 10 and Adjustable Stand
This will be a built-from-scratch new system. In addition to its internal components I'm getting a new mouse, keyboard, 1-2 28inch-ish 4K monitors. Trying to keep the total under $3,000


  • StormSniper_
    StormSniper_ ✭✭
    5 Likes First Comment Name Dropper
    edited December 2020
    I would make these changes:
    Go with a Zen 3 5700x or 5900x/5950x. These are the best CPUs from AMD, until you hit threadripper, which I would reccomend, which is the best rendering CPU.

  • StormSniper_
    If you want a really good cooler, you should go Custom. This way, you can add multiple radiators.
  • StormSniper_
    For Water Cooling, it is pretty easy to do. Thermal Paste is very easy, just put a dot and done. Water Transfers Heat Better, so it is WAY Better. Air Cooling can be big, and if not enough airflow is given, it will not work. Water Cooling, meanwhile, you can have it take its own air or use the air in the case.
  • @StormSniper_
    I've since updated my build to:

    Most of what I'll be rendering with will be utilizing my GPU. My workload is as follows: CPU intensive for rhino grasshopper. Then CPU Intensive for modeling in Revit. Then CPU GPU mixed for basic skin rendering in Revit. Then GPU intensive for rendering in Lumion10 or V-Ray. You can render with V-ray with your CPU but its slow. I appreciate 5000 series recommendation. However I think that the 5000 series ventures a little higher end than the type of work I'll be doing in the next 3-5 years. I want the extra 4 cores over the newer gen. cpu. Since the mhz of the cores only really matters for grasshopper applications and the number of cores/threads is what matters for pretty much all other cpu based applications the 3950x makes more sense to me. Revit modeling is core driven and, outside of rendering, that is the program I spend the most time with for work. Even if it is pricey and last gen, the 3950x's performance is solid. The motherboard I have picked out should accept newer gen AMD hardware for when I upgrade down the line so I feel solid there. 

    I didn't go custom for my cooler. Too expensive and honestly I dont really care how ugly this thing might end up being. Performance over aesthetic is the name of the game. If you look at the new build it should include the Thermaltake - Core P3 Tempered Glass ATX Mid-Tower Computer Case - Black which is an open air case. That combined with the Corsair Hydro Series H100i PRO RGB Liquid CPU Cooler should be sufficient.

    The only benefit I've been able to find with using a closed in terms of airflow is the fact that it forces airflow on to parts of the motherboard that might otherwise not get exposed to active airflow in an open air case like the Thermaltake I have selected. I don't plan on overclocking. The performance I need has to be based in consistency not bursts. 

    Let me know what you think. Agree, disagree, new idea entirely, whatever. I appreciate the feedback my friend! Glad to get the chance to talk it over. 
  • StormSniper_
    No problems with this, assuming you have the parts. 
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