CPU vs. RAM vs. GPU vs.

I’m still trying to figure out how to upgrade my gear, and honestly, for running Blender, where should I put my money? Is the CPU the most important part, or the RAM? Is a powerful graphics card better than a lot of RAM? Does Blender even use GPU well? Is there a guidewith some good comparison tables? I’m losing my mind here…

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I’ve found that good upgrade advice begins with identifying “bottlenecks” in your current hardware. Also, depending on your situation, buying an entirely new workstation might be the best way to go.

So, what are you running? What sort of CPU, RAM, GPU, etc? Is it a coffee maker or are you just a year or two behind the middle of the curve? How comfortable are you with opening up your system and monkeying around with stuff?

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User @Grzesiek put up a quite handy table that serves as a good first orientation point.
Hardware guidance - post for thouse who seek info on what to get - dated Sept 3th 2019
reading that and answering @markholley 's questions we are of half the way.

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Thanks for the refrence.

I hope this post of mine wold be a “central” guidance if I get all the needed details, so anyone who has more technical details on what aspects of blender require what, feel free to post there and I’ll keep updating the post.


I think that your guide should be pinned for immediate access and reference. I would vote for that. Going down in the list of threads doesn’t make it so helpful. New members, or members that haven’t seen in so far, won’t know it exists.

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@markholley Actually, no real bottleneck to speak of, but I’m still on 2.79 and since my secondary rig went poof during flood damage, I’m looking at a full upgrade. Also, I mainly do previz and presentations for people, so not a heavy burden. But I’m aiming to do some film work and need to know my best bets for that.

@chalybeum @Grzesiek Good table! However, I still need to weigh the value of adding RAM versus GPU or better CPU. And I still do work with 2.79’s internal renderer, how does it fit into everything?

It still depends on the basis you want to build of. For instance:
If you are on a new system like a Ryzen, you can get some OOOooomph by providing it with the right RAM speed. And then there is always that usecase thing.
Now you already said you want to work with Blender internal from 2.79. In my opinion it’d be wise to invest in CPU and RAM power, since that are the areas the combi of 2.7x and BI benefit the most of.
If you want to be somewhat future proof and are planning to get into Eevee some time soon, you can’t leave the GPU out of the equation.
I get from your writing you are a professional. Based on that it all comes down to your ability to transfer hardware cost to your customers. Then there is no (theoretical) limit.


Internal only uses CPU, so having a nice card wont get you anything in BI.
What is current setup hardware wise?

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Believe it or not, I’ve managed fine for years with an 8GB 2.7GHz laptop. Previz etc. doesn’t demand much… Plus a few different desktops for bulk jobs…

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Ah, the dream!

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I find it really hard to give you any advice on what you have written so far.
What is currently limiting you?
Are you looking for a desktop or a laptop?
Do you intend to keep on using BI or want to try other software?
If so, which software?

Based on the information you provided, you need a 64-core Epyc Cpu, 256GB RAM at 4Ghz, and a double Titan RTX.

Jokes aside, if you don’t write about your use case and your budget, nobody will say anything useful.

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My only concern right now is to create a Blender work horse, nothing else. I will likely keep doing smaller files on my trusty laptop (the one that survived the flooding), but I would like something for handling full and heavy scenes, and for better / faster rendering, both Blender internal (still mainly, due to work) and Cycles (secondarily, in part for testing the benefits of Cycles over Internal). I have no bottleneck or limits weighing me down presently (my old 8GB laptop does surprisingly well!), I just want overall ‘better’ tools. The budget isn’t fixed, I am looking at what to focus on (RAM over CPU? GPU over RAM?), not the absolute max I can get. Because if I have the money, I can always get more. #Capitalism
It’s just a question of what does most for the Blender experience, RAM, GPU, CPU, lightning stripes on the side, anything. If I go big, desktop, but if I can get enough for my hard earned cash, I may spring for a mean laptop…

EDIT: If it matters, my goal is to expand from doing basic previz and presentation material to doing some actual indie movie animation. Nothing amazing, just something that ‘looks nice’, i.e. not like animated clipart on a board meeting projector.

Ok, so average system.

Ryzen 3900x
32GB of ddr4 3600mhz
RTX 2080/2080ti
nvme storage (fast boot drive + intel 660p 1TB additional storage)

that woudl be a very good rounded system. Unless you wish to wait and get the 3950x or future threadripper (zen2 base). or dual GPU setup for extra rendering (though only Cycles and only final render, no view port speed up)


Honestly, on the topic of budget considerate performance machines, those used threadrippers I’ve seen going for as low as 200 for a 12 core 3.x ghz processor. (and at this point many of them for new at that price) They do run a little hot but they do make nice little render machines.

I agree with your system guidelines except for this specific ssd. It has a superb gb/$ ratio, but the reviews show that its quality and endurance (especially the endurance) are below average. It’s OK for light gaming rigs or everyday use, but I wouldn’t trust it for heavier (professional) workloads and large file reads/writes.
A good solution overall is the Corsair MP510 960gb. It has almost 10 times greater endurance compared to the Intel 660p, and the price is quite good for what you get.


Can i ask you guys about this laptop ? Will this be good for modeling, rendering archviz in cycles and sculpting ? According to the Asus spec it also has 99% sRGB colour palet covered. My budget is +/- 1000$

No killer machine, but it will do what you want. Just be aware, that the GPU might be limiting your rendering capabilities. Both in speed and scene complexity. Depending on the type of quality you aim for with your archviz be prepared for long render times and therefore a lot of heat. Something laptops in general have issues with.

Does 2.79 utillize GPUs well? I seem to remember that was a big deal about 2.8…

It depends. GPU acceleration in rendering with Cycles is a big thing in 2.79. In regards to overall program operations, they are mainly CPU driven. But there is not much change with 2.80. Except for Eevee of course, but there we are back in the rendering camp.
The real ‘thing’ about GPU in 2.80 is dropping support for cards with old OpenGL standards.