Help me build a Blender box

Hi, I was planning on buying parts to build a new computer, it will be for Blender, but gaming too. I have three questions:

1 - My original plan was to get a 3770K as I was after a powerful CPU to decrease render time. But I recently decided that GPU rendering seems like the way to go. So I wouldn’t need such a powerful CPU right? I could save some money and put it towards a video card right?

2 - Also what makes a video card good for GPU rendering? I currently have a GTX460SE and was planning on buying a GT640 (4GB) specifically for GPU rendering. It has 4x more memory and more cuda cores. Does that make it better at GPU rendering than the 460SE?

3 - Also, instead of buying the gt640 I might buy a good gaming card to replace my 460. Do you guys know any nvidia cards that are excellent value for money, great gaming cards, great for gpu rendering and has at the very least 4gb of memory. I’m uncertain as to which would be the best strategy, buy one card for gaming and one card for rendering, or get one card that does both. I want to spend around £150 ($200) on the card.


Hi !

Regarding question 1. Yes you could save money by buying a quadcore from intel like the i5 or an 8 core from AMD like the 8350 and invest more in a good second hand GPU like the GTX 580 ( top best for cycles rendering currently ) but that will limit your scenes to a maximum total of 3 GB vram that the card has.

Regarding 2. There is a sweet spot that everyone seems to like to hit. If you buy faster than CPU - GPU card but lower than 3 GB you will find yourself very limited. If you get a 4GB card like the GTX 680 you will find that it’s slower than a GTX 580 but a lot more expensive. So as it currently stands kepler is to be avoided unless you need it for gaming but GTX 580 is good for that too. You should avoid anything from nVidia that is name labeled under " something 70 " like 560 660 etc. You might also want to document yourself further on that. There is a lot of material on the forum regarding this hot topic. Use the search function and do some digging.

Regarding point number 3. Until you get certain about hibrid gaming rendering I would advise you to stay your hand from making any purchases. If you want a good balance between gaming/rendering you might want to check the 660ti and hope you find a good second hand as a new one costs more than 200$. If you want more rendering then go for a GTX 580.

Anyway whatever your choice regarding gaming is you should ask yourself what kind of scenes do you want to render. If it’s just cubes and suzanes and playing around testing then you are pretty much safe with anything like 560ti 570 580 660 660ti 670 680 second hand.

If you think about getting serious then you might want to not invest in a powerful GPU at all and just go for a very good CPU. It all varies depending on total budget and there are many things to consider like overclocking,power consumption, build quality, personal experience, future demands etc. So think about what you need and inform yourself. Make some total component suggestions and see how you stand with total price and try to balance it all out. Good luck !


To point it out a last time, the latest AMD are not octacores, they are more less 4 dualcores (actually they are neither of it per definition), which makes a considerable difference in the way they work. The problem is, that most people have no idea about VLSI, which the abbreviation most likely just proofs :smiley: nor processor design/architecture.
Just like AMD names them, “Clustered Integer Cores” or “Modules” is fine. The problem are the people that read just “core”, and imply a native “core”, or just imply amount of “threads” equals amount of “cores” in the windows task manager.

Anyways, you could just wait a bit, with some luck Intel CPUs will drop in price again, as they’re about to launch their 8, 12 and 15 core CPUs. But I doubt it will be a noticeable drop in price. Unfortunately Intel knows they’re ahead of AMD and can charge for their CPUs.
And there’s a reason why AMD want’s to retire from the regular consumer CPU market and focus on APUs and server CPUs.

However, today should be a big announcement from AMD, I am already curious what it’s going to be.

Personally I’d recommend to get a Ci5 at the moment, best value for gaming and rendering and easy to overclock. A Ci7 obviously would be faster, but the performance gain does not grow linear anymore with the price. So it’s little more performance for a lot more money.

Always consider what you are going to use your CPU for. In this forum are many advocating to buy Intel only, or to buy AMD only.
It depends on the utilization of the CPU, if it’s a rendernode, a workstation, or if you game as well on it. There’s a CPU for everyone, but not every CPU satisfies all needs… just like with software :wink:


I’d either get a 570/580 with as much memory as possible, or go for the 600 series. It can’t stay slow (slower than the 500 series) forever in CUDA (at least I hope), and it’s just great for gaming.

For some of the machines in the studio we got some GTX 660 TI, because we needed more rendernodes right away (really like “Now!”) to hit a deadline, and those where the only ones reasonable priced and available on site.
For gaming, very fast, for rendering decent. A nice balance between those too and reasonably priced. Actually the first x60 series I’d recommend (although the 560 was quite nice too). Usually I advocate the x70 series, as they are neither the most expensive, nor the ones with drawbacks to lower cost (slower memory, smaller memory bus, noticeable lower clocks, drastic lack of CUDA cores…)

Then again, the more money you pay, the faster it becomes.

You have to do some math, how much money each GFLOP costs, and how many Watts each GFLOP burns.
Get the one with the most value for you, the best price to performance ratio and the most amount of VRAM. Easy as pie.

Thanks guys, you’ve been a real help. I’ve decided to go for an I5 and get a 580!

Not a bad choice ! Tell us how that went !

I spoke too soon, I decided on a 3gb 580 before even looking at the prices. They are way too expensive, I’m looking to spend about half that.

The memory size is really the main thing, I think I might go back to my original idea of a GT640, it might be slow but it has 4gb. From what I can tell the good gaming cards that have 3gb or more (even 2gb really) seem to get extremely expensive.

So a GT640 plus a decent gaming card of about £150 ($200) seem to be the only viable option.

Unless of course anyone has any other suggestions that I can look into?


Simply put the GT640 is complete garbage, and an additional gaming card for 200USD?

A used GTX580 costs 250-300 Euro. That’s your range? You don’t buy a new GTX580, they are not produced anymore and ridiculously expensive.

If you have to have a new card, get a GTX 660 Ti 2GB or 3GB. Decent with CUDA, good for gaming. Costs 270 Euro new.

If I had to buy a computer today good for Gaming and Blender, I’d get a Ci5-3570K and a ASUS GTX 660Ti DirectCU II and 16GB DDR3.

Do note that using the CPU to render means that you can create bigger scenes (much bigger in cases where you have 16 gigs of RAM or more).

I will also note that getting the i5 instead of the i7 will mean that you will get lower performance in other apps. that use multi-core processing, but not the GPU. There are also functions in Blender that do the same thing and yet do not use the GPU.

Finally, if you get a powerful GPU to use for rendering, do note that you will need a box with an efficient way to keep itself cool, GPU’s are known to be proverbial space heaters when going full blast and not accounting for that could fry your hardware.

Thanks for this info, I need to think about this more before making a decision.