Best computer for animation: 5 options for 3D animation

You already know that you want to buy a brand new PC for animation, and you’ve had a quick look at our favorite options. We will introduce them to you properly below, but before we do, we want to make sure you know exactly what type of PC you need.

Let’s take a look at some of the things to consider before making your choice.

What Specs Do I Need For Animation?

Whether you’re a budding animator on a quest for your first PC or a pro with years of experience under your belt, this is a question you probably ask yourself: what kind of specs does my future PC need to have?

It’s easy to be led to believe that you need the absolute best of everything, but that is not always the case. However, we freely admit that when it comes to animation, you need to be looking for a really strong computer. Below we will describe the most important components in a pre-built PC.

Processor (CPU)

The processor is the most important part of any PC, be it a gaming computer or an animation powerhouse. During rendering, your CPU is going to be running at 100% for the entire time. On top of that, it needs to be fast in order to not slow you down as you’re working.

The type of CPU will depend on your budget. The latest builds include either an Intel i9 or an AMD Ryzen 9 processor. These CPUs can be overclocked to up to a showstopping 5 GHz. Of course, using this type of processor is not a necessity, but the general rule of thumb is the stronger the better.

Memory (RAM)

As your computer is going to be performing a lot of tasks at once, and all of them rather heavy-duty, we recommend picking a model that has a good amount of RAM. Nearly every modern PC has at least 8 GB, but it’s better to aim higher.

For smooth performance and seamless rendering, you’ll want to look at 16 GB RAM at the minimum, with 24-32 being the recommended amount.

Graphics Card (GPU)

A strong GPU is crucial in an animator’s desktop, especially if you are looking to do 3D animation. The right graphics card will allow your PC to perform tasks such as mapping, modeling, and animation in both 2D and 3D, and it will do so without any issues.

While some pre-built PCs come with integrated graphic cards, all of our recommendations have dedicated GPUs. These are known to be way more powerful and capable of aiding your animation work.

Storage (SSD and HDD)

High-quality animation projects take up a whole lot of space on your hard drive, and this is why you will need quite a bit of storage. Especially if you’re a professional that does a lot of animation, you will find that the more the better is also true for your HDD or SSD space.

An SSD is almost a must these days, as it ensures that your most important programs, including your operating system, run seamlessly and at near-light speed. However, if you don’t want to invest in a massive 1 TB SSD, it’s okay to pick a model with a smaller SSD and a huge HDD.

What Else Do I Need?

The PCs on our list all meet the above recommendations, but a desktop alone will not suffice. As an animator, you will also need to invest in a couple more things to set you off on the right foot.

If the thought of having to empty your wallet is scary, don’t worry. Cheaper options are absolutely possible and well within your reach! Before we discuss the various prices and how they fit within your budget, let’s take a look at what else you’ll need other than just your new beast of a PC.

What Kind of a Budget Do I Need for a Computer for Animation?

No matter if you’re looking for a massive powerhouse or a good starting point, your budget will always play a role in your final decision. When it comes to pre-built PCs, the price difference between different models may be staggering and reach up to thousands of dollars.

If you’re a professional, it’s likely that this will not be your first desktop for animation. For those that perform heavy rendering, especially in 3D, the prices may seem a little steep. However, keep in mind that for every dollar you invest, you are receiving a range of features that stand out from the competition.

On the other hand, if you know you won’t need the absolute best specs on the market, you can still achieve fantastic results without paying for the latest builds.

To make things easier for you, we’ve prepared an approximate price range for different pre-built desktops for animation.

It’s worth noting that some of the top models on the market can cost upwards of $4000. While this certainly is not cheap, don’t forget that you will get an incredible machine in return for your investment, and it will definitely last you years.