PC BUILDS

(March 2019)
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Apparently I know a lot about PC parts and PC building. Although, I would never claim to be an absolute master at all things PC, and everything I know is entirely googleable, so really and truly – don’t take my word for it. I cannot stress enough, do your own research. Building a PC is very personal, and only you really know the work you do and by extension, the parts you need.

The builds on this page are intended to act as a guide of sorts, as *most* PC building sites and information revolve almost exclusively around gaming, and to a much lesser extent, video content creation for youtubers. While there is some overlap between those aforementioned workloads and 3D content creation, I thought it would be nice to have a couple builds specifically catered to what you might need at different stages in your 3D content creation career.

DISCLOSURES

I HAVE NOT PERSONALLY BUILT ANY OF THE COMPUTERS LISTED ON THIS PAGE.

Because I’m not made of money. Therefore, I can’t be held responsible if something doesn’t fit the way it should, or if a cable isn’t long enough or anything along those lines. I know enough about computers to know that all the parts are compatible and there shouldn’t be any problems, and I’ve built many computers myself… but I’m also not a wizard. If you do find a problem with any of the builds on this page, contact me immediately and I’ll recommend a different config so others don’t run into the same problem. If I can figure out a way to monetize this page (more than the Amazon affiliate links I’m using) that would allow me to have an operating budget for buying and testing rigs – I would love to. It would be great to make sure that the parts listed here perform the way they should and are easy for you all to work with, even as a first time PC builder. But for now, alas, that is not the case.

FULL BUILD PAGES INCLUDE ADDITIONAL PRICING REGIONS, backup parts & UPGRADE/DOWNGRADE OPTIONS

As the title says. I got a few comments that parts I selected were not always available, and some people wanted additional regions, so in order not to clutter this page too much, every build now has it’s own page where additional parts, upgrade and downgrade options and additional pricing regions can live. 

I AM USING AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKS TO GET SOME KICKBACK FROM YOUR PURCHASES, and the prices change.

*GASP* its true. All of the links on this page, along with others scattered throughout the comments on each build, contain amazon affiliate links to the parts and accessories I recommend.  Keeping these builds current takes time and effort, and it’d be nice if I got some of the credit instead of pushing everyone over to PC Part Picker and having them get your affiliate kickback. Also – the prices/availability of each part fluctuate depending on if its available, from which seller, etc. So if you use the Amazon cart button and don’t get the same number I have – feel free to let me know.  Just be cool.

The Amazon Affiliates program doesn’t make any of the parts more expensive in any way, and I do have PC Part Picker lists for anyone who wishes to price and buy parts outside of Amazon. You can save a few hundred dollars in some cases by buying from different stores. Honestly, I don’t expect to make much off this venture, and if you disagree with me using affiliate links, I understand. Feel free to delete the affiliate tag, or do your own searches for the parts I list.

THESE LISTS ARE GUIDES. DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH.

I cannot say this enough. These are just guides. Feel free to buy different parts, or a Dell with similar specs. That’s why in the actual text on this page, other than the processor – there are no branded or specific parts. Only the generic names for you to use as jumping of point if you like. This is just one dude’s opinion on what makes a good build for you, and even then, its pretty generic fare. Some of the choices may seem ‘controversial’ (mostly revolving around the Intel and AMD selections) – so feel free to disregard my recommendation and purchase your platform of choice. There is a tonne of room for interpretation and change between each of these builds. You know the work you do best, and tailoring a PC to what you need is one of greatest strengths of doing this process yourself. But if you have no idea where to start and just want a solid, reliable build – then soldier on my apprentice.


THE DOLLAR MENU BUILD

You’re just starting out and have no money. This is what you get. Too expensive? Eat from the dollar menu, don’t go out to the bar for a couple weeks and save ’til you have enough for this.


PRICE BRACKET

$1100 - $1300 USD


FULL BUILD PAGE
THE PARTS
CPUIntel Core i7 8700CDN ($)USD ($)
CPU COOLERIncluded
GRAPHICS CARDNvidia Geforce GTX 2060 6GBCDN ($)USD ($)
MEMORY16GB - DDR4 2666CDN ($)USD ($)
STORAGE - BOOT250 GB - SATA SSDCDN ($)USD ($)
STORAGE - FILES2TB - HDD 7200 RPMCDN ($)USD($)
MOTHERBOARDZ390 Micro ATX MotherboardCDN($)USD($)
POWER SUPPLY500 W - Semi Modular - 80+ BronzeCDN($)USD($)
CASEMicro ATX Compact CaseCDN($)USD($)
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pc part picker list

Cinebench R15

Single Thread: 194
Multi Thread : 1411

Octanebench 4.0

Average: 165.88
Maximum: 182.41
RTX Projected*: 412

Full build page
AMAZON CART (CA)
AMAZON CART (US)
PC PART PICKER LIST

Cinebench R15

Single Core: 194
MultiCore : 1411

Octanebench 4.0

Average: 84.59
Maximum: 102.47

WHY I CHOSE THESE PARTS

Intel’s solid all-round performance continues to gets the shout in this lower-end category, where you’re likely using your PC for more than just 3D content creation. The newer, more expensive 9th series chips eschew the hyperthreading present in this 8th Generation chip, in preference for more cores. Thus the 9700k’s advantage is shaved to lower margins – so by extension, the choice continues to be Intel’s 8700 for this lowest recommended build tier. If stock becomes scarce, the 8700k, and then the 9700k are the recommended upgrade options for this tier. (See the full page build for more options on every part).

The newer (and more expensive) RTX 2060 replaces the older 1060 6GB from The Ramen Build. The Octane Bench improvement is significant enough to warrant the upgrade, even though the base MSRP is higher. It’s offset by the lowering in price of the i7 8700 however, so the overall price of the build remains roughly the same. The newly announced GTX 1660Ti doesnt change the recommendation – the 2060 is still preferred at this price point for rendering applications.

Because the recommendation remains the i7 8700, which is not overclockable – If you chose one of the upgrade options (that are overclockable) you’ll also need to pickup a CPU cooler as the overclockable version of this intel chip (and the 9th Gen series upgrade) does not come with one.

The choice of an ATX Z390 motherboard, (even with a locked CPU) is to allow for the possibility to upgrade to a ninth series processor if necessary, as well as use dual graphics cards for future GPU rendering – an option not allowed on a cheaper chipset or older generation motherboard. Although you might consider upgrading to a 750 watt Power Supply If you know you’re going to go Dual GPU in the future.

 Finally, You’ll also need an Operating System. I’ve linked to one, but chances are if you’re a student you can get one for much cheaper from your academic institution.


THE NEOPHYTE BUILD

You know your way around Cinema4D, and you’re ready to take it to the next level. You have an income, maybe you’ve even booked a couple gigs, or you just read The Freelance Manifesto and you’re confident and ready to jump. This build is for you.


PRICE BRACKET

$2200 - $2400 USD


full build page
THE PARTS
CPUIntel Core i9-9900kCDN($)USD($)
CPU COOLER240mm Liquid CoolerCDN($)USD($)
GRAPHICS CARDGeforce RTX 2080CDN($)USD($)
MEMORY32GB DDR4-3200CDN($)USD($)
STORAGE - BOOT500GB SATA SSDCDN($)USD($)
STORAGE - FILES4 TB 3.5" HDD 7200RPMCDN($)USD($)
MOTHERBOARDZ390 ATX MotherboardCDN($)USD($)
POWER SUPPLY750 W - Fully Modular - 80+ GoldCDN($)USD($)
CASEATX Mid Tower CaseCDN($)USD($)
OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 10 Pro USBCDN($)USD($)
Amazon cart (CA)
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pc part picker list

Cinebench R15

Single Thread: 215
Multi Thread : 1995

Octanebench 4.0

Average: 225.44
Maximum: 256.08
RTX Projected: 460

AMAZON CART (CA)
AMAZON CART (US)
PC PART PICKER LIST

Cinebench R15

Single Core: 215
MultiCore : 1995

Octanebench 4.0

Average: 225.44
Maximum: 256.08
RTX Projected: 460

WHY I CHOSE THESE PARTS

Intel strikes back in this tier, taking the pick from the previous AMD 2700x. That may change once the AMD 3000 series comes out – and If you as an artist are interested in a guaranteed upgrade path, the AMD chip and motherboard is still a recommended combination for that use-case. But as of right now – the 9900k is the better choice in this price tier, delivering better single and multithreaded numbers (as well as better simulation times) at a pricepoint that fits within this tier. 

That being said – there are reports that most motherboard manufacturers are running the 9900k out-of-spec. In essence, the boards by default are ‘overclocking’ the chip, pumping it with more voltage to run faster and hit clock frequency targets as opposed to operating within Intel’s Thermal Design Power for the chip. As such – instead of asking you to enter the BIOS of your new PC and twiddle with the settings to make the chip run within the TDP, I’ve opted to equip the build with a cooler powerful enough to handle the extra heat that the default behaviour generates. 

As with the new lowest end Dollar Menu Build – this build features one of nVidia’s new RTX graphics cards. While I do believe buying fewer faster graphics cards is preferable to more slower ones in the long run – recommending the 2080Ti is a bit much for this pricepoint. As such, a 2080 is recommended here, but if your wallet permits you to upgrade, I would recommend it. 

Everything else is fairly similar to the Filthy Casual Build that the Neophyte build replaces, including a motherboard with integrated AC wifi and bluetooth, a 500GB boot SSD and a slight bump to a 4TB spinning disk for files. 

See the full build page for more upgrade, downgrade or alternative options of parts in the event the top choice parts in this list are out of stock, or you would like cheaper or more expensive options. 


THE TWIN SNAKES BUILDS

You’re a serious artist. You’re booked right now, making money doing this, which makes you a professional. This build isn’t just a computer, its an investment in your business – that you amortize year over year with some tax wizardry to help swallow the pricetag.


PRICE BRACKET

$4300 - $4600 USD


THE PARTS

SOLID SNAKE

For general heavylifting and CPU intensive tasks

full build page
CPUAMD Threadripper 2950XCDN($)USD($)
CPU COOLERHigh-End TR4 Air CoolerCDN($)USD($)
MOTHERBOARDX399 ATX MotherboardCDN($)USD($)

LIQUID SNAKE

For heavier simulation, particle work and houdini

Full build page
CPUIntel Core i9 9900XCDN($)USD($)
CPU COOLER280mm Liquid Cooler CDN($)USD($)
MOTHERBOARDX299 eATX MotherboardCDN($)USD($)
GRAPHICS CARDGeforce RTX 2080TiCDN($)USD($)
MEMORY64GB DDR4-3200 (4 x 16)CDN($)USD($)
STORAGE - BOOT1TB NVMe SSDCDN($)USD($)
STORAGE - CACHE1TB NVMe SSDCDN($)USD($)
STORAGE - FILES4 TB 3.5" HDD 7200RPMCDN($)USD($)
POWER SUPPLY1600 W - Fully Modular -CDN($)USD($)
CASEATX Tower CaseCDN($)USD($)
OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 10 Pro USBCDN($)USD($)
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pc part picker list
pc part picker list

Cinebench R15

Single Thread: 176
Multi Thread: 3225

Octanebench 4.0

Average: 303.45
Maximum: 345.39
RTX Projected: 869.31

Cinebench R15

Single Thread: 197
Multi Thread: 2274

Octanebench 4.0

Average: 303.45
Maximum: 345.39
RTX Projected: 869.31

THE SOLID SNAKE BUILD

For general heavylifting and CPU intensive tasks
AMAZON CART (CA)
AMAZON CART (US)
PC PART PICKER LIST

Cinebench R15

Single Core: 176
MultiCore : 3225

Octanebench 4.0

Average: 303.45
Maximum: 345.39
RTX Projected: 869.31

THE LIQUID SNAKE BUILD

For heavier simulation, particle work and houdini
AMAZON CART (CA)
AMAZON CART (US)
PC PART PICKER LIST

Cinebench R15

Single Core: 197
MultiCore : 2274

Octanebench 4.0

Average: 303.45
Maximum: 345.39
RTX Projected: 869.31

WHY I CHOSE THESE PARTS

The most popular build tier is also the most difficult to make – but by this point in your career you should have a pretty good grasp on what it is you do, or where you want to go. As such, the more generalists should opt for the Solid Snake, powered by the 2950x, just like the Auteur build it replaces. The price bracket actually allows for the upgrade to the 2970WX, but this top end chip (and the 2990WX above it) continue to have idiosyncrasies in general applications due to the ludicrously high core counts. Only multi-threaded CPU rendering seem to enjoy it. As such, the AMD recommendation continues to be the 2950x, which will deadlift the shit out of most 3D content creation tasks. I’ve also opted for a high end air cooler, due to some troubling reports about the Enermax liquid cooler previously recommended. It’s performance does not leave you wanting and will more than adequately cool the massive Threadripper die, while still leaving a bit of room for overclocking.

If you are more houdini-leaning, or find yourself constantly using Cinema4D as a vehicle for XParticles, opt for the Liquid Snake variant. These simulation heavy apps favour the intel platform. I’m still trying to pinpoint exactly why, as the percentage difference in XP sim speeds go beyond thier Cinebench single-thread scores. As I lack a proper testbench and time to deep-dive on the subject, I can only present the results ‘as-is’ and make a recommendation for you based on them. 

Another difficult recommendation is the single 2080Ti which replaces the dual 1080Tis in the Auteur Build. The main reasoning for this choice was at this price point, I expect GPU expansion up to 4 GPUs. As such – the recommendation for a single faster GPU vs 2 slower ones was made as PCIe slots are at a much higher premium than graphics cards. That being said, dual 2080s are a better option if you value performance per dollar metrics, and you’ll get roughly the same render performance as the twin 1080Tis this build tier used to feature – while also getting the reported 2.75x (approx) bump in render speed once RTX acceleration comes to GPU render engines. 

Many other things remain the same as the Auteur Build. Again – the 1600w Power supply recommended is absolute overkill to multiple magnitudes for the single 2080Ti in the build – its selected again specifically because I expect at this price point for the build to be expanded to 4 GPUs. This 1600w PSU covers that expansion, rather than recommending a more appropriate PSU, and then needing to buy a new one if you expand beyond 2-3 GPUs.  If you dont think you’ll hit 4 GPUs, check the full build page for downgrade recommendations. 


THE MONEYBAGS BUILD

You want the best. Money is no object.


PRICE BRACKET

$10,000 - $11,000 USD


Full Build Page
THE PARTS
CPUIntel Core i9 9980XECDN($)USD($)
CPU COOLER280 mm All-In-One Liquid CoolerCDN($)USD($)
GRAPHICS CARDGeForce RTX 2080TiCDN($)USD($)
GRAPHICS CARDGeForce RTX 2080TiCDN($)USD($)
GRAPHICS CARDGeForce RTX 2080TiCDN($)USD($)
GRAPHICS CARDGeForce RTX 2080TiCDN($)USD($)
MEMORY128 GB DDR4-3200CDN($)USD($)
STORAGE - BOOT1TB NVMe SSDCDN($)USD($)
STORAGE - CACHE1TB NVMe SSDCDN($)USD($)
STORAGE - FILES6TB - 3.5" Hard Disk 7200RPMCDN($)USD($)
STORAGE - FILES6TB - 3.5" Hard Disk 7200RPMCDN($)USD($)
MOTHERBOARDX299 EATX MotherboardCDN($)USD($)
POWER SUPPLY1600 W - Fully Modular - 80+ TitaniumCDN($)USD($)
CASE ATX Full Tower CaseCDN($)USD($)
OPERATING SYSTEMWindows 10 ProCDN($)USD($)
amazon cart (ca)
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pc part picker list

Cinebench R15

Single Thread: 196
Multi Thread: 3646

Octanebench 4.0

Average: 1190
RTX Projected: 3215

amazon cart (ca)
amazon cart (us)
PC PART PICKER LIST

Cinebench R15

Single Core: 196
MultiCore : 3646

Octanebench 4.0

Average: 1190
RTX Projected: 3215

WHY I CHOSE THESE PARTS

In the same vein as the Eejiot build that preceded it, the Moneybags build is for people who want the best stuff and the most things – within reason. 

The ‘within reason’ comes in at the choice of the quad 2080Ti’s. The “best stuff” would actually feature 4 of the king-of-the-hill RTX Titan, which would encompass the entire budget of this price bracket in only graphics cards. However, in good conscience I cannot recommend quad Titans. Besides ballooning the price bracket, the Titan is only available in the “Founder’s Edition” open-air vapour chamber cooler. This cooling design excels in single and dual card setups, but start falling woefully short in triple and quad setups, as the fans require space between cards for higher airflow – both for intake and exhaust. Blower or Hybrid style cards that are available on the 2080Ti and recommended here are strongly preferred for triple and quad setups. Even though blower style coolers can be loud, they’re specifically designed to perform in lower airflow situations. By extension, these cards perform better in triple and quad setups. 

Much of the build then remains the same, with the newer 9980XE taking over for the older 7980XE, for the same reasons. The AMD 2990WX like the 2970WX mentioned earlier, continue to display performance idiosyncrasies in lower-threaded applications. Not enough for users of the 2990WX to worry (especially if all youre using it for is rendering), but enough for the 9980XE to be recommended over it in this price tier.

It retains the 128GB of RAM for the After Effects (still wont RAM preview though) and Nuke users who demand oceans of RAM.  Two of Samsung’s fastest and biggest NVMe SSD’s act as Boot and cache drives, while dual 6TB drives act as file storage and backup (in RAID 1 for redundancy).

The EATX motherboard recommendation was swapped out for one that included wifi, bluetooth and other wireless connectivity. However, it does not feature the 7 physical 16x PCIE slots of the Eejiot build. I felt a better feature set trumped the possibility of needing 7 16x PCIe slots – If you’re building a 7 GPU machine, you know what you’re doing, as you’ll be custom water-cooling, and probably don’t necessarily need this build list. Still, its included as an option on the full build page for the uber-adventurous. 

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