So, what’s Blender?

Blender is a free jack of all trades 3D animation program. Allowing you to do most things, modeling/sculpting, rigging, animation, rendering, compositing, and game creation.

It is developed by The Blender Foundation and best of all it is free and open-source, so you can download it and set your creative juices loose right now! It has a reputation for having a steep learning curve but recent updates make it easier than ever to use as well as being very powerful in spite of its nonexistent price tag.

You can download Blender for free from Blender’s website.

 

Choosing the best PC for your workflow – Start with the CPU

Blender’s rendering engine is called Cycles and it’s your GPU that will allow Cycles to run faster, however that doesn’t mean you can forget about your CPU. For any simulation of particles, like smoke and water Blender will be turning to your CPU and RAM for support. With that in mind look for a CPU with as many cores as possible, Blender is very talented at splitting up the workload over multiple cores. However just to throw a curveball into the mix if you plan on using features like occlusion processing often, then a higher frequency CPU with less cores will pay dividends. As this feature can only make use of a single core at a time!

Utopia’s pick for best budget CPU for Blender Dec’ 18

AMD Ryzen 1700X

Utopia’s pick for best performance CPU for Blender Dec’ 18

AMD Threadripper 1950X

 

What graphics card is best for Cinema 4D?

Blender supports both CUDA and OpenCL meaning both Nvidia and AMD cards are supported. As per the norm when comparing the ever fast paced progress of graphics cards, almost month to month the recommended cards change!

Going off recent announcements from Blender about version 2.8 as well as RTX support in the Nvidia Optix software addition to their drivers, means that we are expecting to see big benefits coming to RTX card users. We are also keen to see what the new NVLink capabilities of the RTX range will bring as this has in theory the ability to share VRAM across the cards, giving a much larger pool of GPU RAM, allowing larger scenes to be processed with ease.

Currently Quadro Pro cards don’t offer substantial benefits over their consumer counterparts, other than the obvious reliability and long term stability that can be found in pro-grade hardware.

Utopia’s pick for best budget GPU for Blender Dec’ 18

NVIDIA GTX 1060

Utopia’s pick for best performance GPU for Blender Dec’ 18

NVIDIA RTX 2080Ti

 

I’m going to be working in Blender a lot, what else do I need to consider?

Storage can often be overlooked, but is critical to having a good performing workstation. Modern NVMe drive alongside reliable long term storage make for a compelling solution.

Utopia’s pick for best budget Storage for Blender Dec’ 18

250GB SSD + 1TB HDD

Utopia’s pick for best performance CPU for Blender Dec’ 18

1Tb Samsung Pro NVMe + 4TB Seagate HDD

 

I’ve heard Xeon’s are better than Intel Core series CPUs for Blender, is this true?

While certain Xeon chips will help provide faster rendering, the Performance vs Cash (£) means that Intel’s Core series or AMDs chips always end up coming out on top. In short, Xeon chips are not cost effective for Blender workstations in our mind.

 

OK, how much RAM should I choose for my Blender workstation?

8GB of RAM is the minimum required for a fast viewport experience. If you can stretch to 16GB then your will have an even smoother viewport experience. It goes without saying, but if your scenes have millions of vertices included then you will need 16GB or more to have a smooth experience.

 

Will having more than one GPU help reduce render times?

Yes, Blender can take advantage of multiple GPUs. 

 

I still have some questions, where can I go to find out more?

Blender has an incredibly dedicated community who help support the product, check them out here.