How important is CPU for working with Blender?

I’m buying a new computer. From what I’ve seen it appears that most work (viewport, sculpting, rendering) depends more on the GPU than the CPU. Is there any advantage in getting a 12 core CPU rather than an 8 core? I do still images, not animations, and am learning towards using Eevee for most rendering. I expect to be sculpting environment details (rocks etc) not characters.

I think you gave yourself the answer LOL. It’s not that important these days, for such tasks. But if you have the money in 3d more is always better.

CPU is very important for performance in Blender, many tasks depend on it. But if you plan to render in GPU, then single thread performance is more important than very many threads:

What CPU did you plan to buy?
Depending on your budget, AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600X are very good options. For AMD you remember to buy RAM with the highest possible frequency speed you can.

I think I’m going to cop a lot of flak for this, but I no longer have the interest (or expertise) to build my own system, so I’m going for a prebuilt HP Z8 G4 with Xeon 4116 and Quadro P5000. I have been offered same but with 4108 for quite a bit cheaper.

On another note, I read somewhere that it’s possible to disable hyperthreading in some CPUs. Would this improve single thread performance?

If this is the CPU listed in the previous link as Intel Xeon Silver 4116 @ 2.10GHz, it has bad Single thread performance and you will suffer in Blender.
In my opinion, today it makes no sense (for Blender) to buy a computer with a CPU that has Single thread performance with a score below 2.2 points in the previous link.

Disabling hyperthreading does not improve single thread performance, at least in not very old intel CPUs.

About Quadro card, I don’t know if this is the best option for Blender. I think you should open a new thread with the hardware you plan to buy , budget and talking about the kind of work you do in Blender.

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Thanks for this advice, I’ll give it some consideration.

Understandable that you don’t fancy building your own system.

You don’t have to go with a workstation though, especially when you are paying for Xeons and Quadros - both not very interesting choices for using Blender IMO.

I’d back up YAFU in saying that for your purposes single core trumps number of cores and you could refer to that list at Passmark to decide which CPU to go with.
On the GPU side you’ll probably want to fastest Nvidia RTX card your budget can stretch to if you intend to render with it.

With these two items decided upon you can then have a system builder assemble a fitting configuration and have them verify that e.g. the mainboard has all the features and compatibility you desire and the power supply is sufficient, cooling actually fits in the chosen case and so on.

Personally I’ve used and in the past. Ultimately choice of system builder obviously depends a lot on your location. do a lot of performance comparisons that may help as an example of what to shoot for.

For such a high price, oh, you can order a much better WS for Blender. Lots of money thrown away with this HP config. If it has to be a branded WS, then this one or this one would be much better for Blender/Cycles in every aspect, compared with the HPZ8 you concider buying.

Both those systems have RTX2080Ti graphics cards, with 11GB VRAM. I’m after a card with 16GB VRAM. The i9 looks like an improvement over the Xeon Silver 2116 though.

May I ask why?

I believe (although I might be wrong) that viewport performance (on scenes with lots of geo, sculpting, viewport rendering) depend primarily on the graphics card. I’ve had Blender crash trying to load large scenes (lots of hi res textures I think) on my current system GTX 980M. Also I’ve seen in another thread (discussion about Mac) that 16GB VRAM is considered a minimum by pros (not that I’m pro but I hope to be good one day). Also that viewport performance is not improved by multiple cards.

The viewport performance should be fairly better with the 2080ti, and 11gb of Vram are considered more than enough for viewports, even for pros. What you probably mean is the Vram capacity for Cycles RENDERING of large scenes. This is another story, but most Blender users learn to optimize their scenes in terms of Vram usage, and further more, in case the scene is larger than 11gb then hybrid rendering solves the problem, with the usage of the system’s RAM (out of core rendering). The P5000 might have more Vram, but it has almost half of the 2080 ti’s cuda cores (2560 vs 4352), so in rendering it’s performance would be rather underwhelming considering it’s high price (~2000$).
It’s simple. You buy more “hardware” and performance with a 2080 ti, and the Vram limit is easily addressed if it’s necessary.

PS If Vram is the issue and you intend to give 2000$ for a gpu, then go for the Titan RTX with 24gb. This is a far better investment than the P5000 for a Blender/Cycles workflow.

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According to Blender Open Data benchmark:

GeForce RTX 2080 Ti: Median render time= 115.406
Quadro P5000: Median render time= 422.426

RTX 2080 Ti It seems 4 times faster.

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Render time is not an issue for me, except when I’m using Eevee with rendered shading mode in the viewport.

OK, you must decide about vRAM. You will need a lot of vRAM for Eevee only if you need to render very very large output resolutions. I think that 11GB is really enough, but it is your decision because only you know what kind of work you will do in Blender.
About performance in Eevee. Eevee is OpenGL, so I guess gaming cards are also superior to Quadro cards, but I don’t really know about it.

Regarding sculpting and GPU things you say. In Blender sculpting performance it really depends on CPU, not GPU. It is important that your CPU has good Single Thread performance, in addition to acceptable number of threads. i9-9900K is a good option.

and regarding sculpting in Blender, remember that Blender also has its own limitations in terms of the number of vertices it can handle smoothly, no matter how good your hardware is.

Something that can be more important than the cpu and gpu, is ram. You need lots and lots of ram if your doing stuff in blender. Even if your just making sculptings. It’s easy to stay low on ram usage, but for high detailed sculptings more ram is needed.

I found out in the 2.8 beta’s that blender now takes advantage of multicore processing for sculpting. I have not tested that on 2.8.1

This is a longer term decision for me, I don’t need this hardware just yet, so I’ll take a closer look at the optons you have suggested. Thanks for the advice and recommendations. Much appreciated.

OK, TLDR; I should just point out here that Intel’s Xe cards are coming out This Year! :

If you aren’t gonna buy just yet…might be an idea to hold out till this ^ releases.

Can I ask what are the specifications of that laptop?
What is the CPU? How much RAM in the system?

Intel Core [email protected] (Quad core)
GeForce GTX980M