The best computers for animation available on the market.
If you want to install resource-consuming software to create animation, you will need to buy a PC with advanced specifications. To find the best computer for animation and other advanced tasks, such as 2D and 3D rendering, you need to learn more about the main features you should pay attention to. Make sure to pick a PC with a powerful processor, impressive storage capacity, a lot of RAM and a decent GPU. If you are going to build it yourself, it might prove to be quite difficult, which is why it’s better to consider the best models available on the market first.
You won’t face any difficulties when trying to choose a computer for regular tasks. However, 2D and 3D animation require a far more powerful computer fitted with a high-end GPU, recent CPU and more than 4 GB of RAM. I have compiled this list of the most popular computers for animators that allow you to solve several tasks at once and can run advanced software.
CPU: Intel i7-10700KF | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 Super 8GB | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1512GB | Weight: 30.42 pound
Dell has released one of the best models for professionals who need to use good animation software to work on their projects. While the Alienware Aurora R11 is marketed for gamers, it can be used as a reliable PC for animation tasks as well.
If you need a high-end GPU for your projects, you will appreciate that this computer can be fitted with the Nvidia RTX 2080 Super and other powerful graphics cards.
CPU: Intel 8-Core i9-9900K | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050Ti | RAM: 64GB | Storage: 3000GB | Weight: 22.0 pound
When Dell released an upgraded version of the XPS 8930 Tower, it didn’t change its design significantly as it was already pretty remarkable. However, the upgraded version has matte and glossy finishes, which makes this XPS Tower Special Edition PC even more stylish. The computer comes in silver color and is fitted with an Intel Core i9-9900K CPU.
Thanks to it, this PC can handle advanced tasks even more quickly than before. Just like the earlier model, it features a compact design and allows for expansion, which will be a decisive factor for those who are looking for an upgradeable PC. It’s a perfect solution for those who are looking for a mid-range animation PC that can cope with challenging tasks easily.
CPU: Intel Core i9-9900K | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 SUPER 8 GB | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 1000GB | Weight: 10.14 pound
If you want to use 3D rendering software, you will be impressed with the Obelisk computer as it delivers powerful performance and can cope with any challenging task easily. It won’t take up a lot of space on your desk thanks to its small form factor. The PC measures 17.1x6.5x14.1 inches and has a MicroATX design.
While the shape of its case is pretty standard, it’s deeper and narrower than most similar models, which is great for those who don’t have much free space. An earlier version of this PC had the same tower, however, its specifications were different. If you have plenty of space, you can also opt for the Maingear Vybe. It’s measured at 18.6x8.6x17.9 inches.
CPU: Intel Core i7-9700F | GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti | RAM: 16GB | Storage: 1240GB | Weight: 36.4 pound
The iBUYPOWER is a reliable computer for animation work that comes with an Intel processor and a set of pro-level specs. It’s perfectly suitable for all resource-consuming tasks, such as gaming, animation, content creation, etc.
Thanks to Intel’s 9th Gen i7-9700F CPU and an NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti GPU, it can handle any task you throw at it. Besides, the computer has 16 GB of RAM which will suffice for most animation projects. Featuring a speedy 240 GB SSD and 1 TB HDD, it has plenty of storage for your sample libraries and other files.
CPU: Xeon W | GPU: AMD Radeon Pro Vega 56 | RAM: 32GB | Storage: 1000GB | Weight: 41.2 pound
If you aren’t satisfied with simple solutions and are looking for the best computer for graphic design and animation that can beat all its counterparts when it comes to performance, you will enjoy using the new iMac Pro. While it comes without any revolutionary upgrades and might seem too expensive for most users, it’s well worth its price.
This all-in-one computer is painted in the Space Gray color, which makes it seem a bit darker than other models. However, the overall design remained virtually unchanged since it was pretty impressive from the start. Another advantage is its 27-inch 5K display that delivers unprecedented image quality. An aluminum chassis is pretty sleek. The computer has a pair of speakers that produce stereo sound and a reliable power supply.
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You can’t do without a good processor when working on animation projects. If your processor is rather slow, it will be running at 100% during rendering. It might result in overheating and performance drops. To avoid this, you need to find a decent CPU. Your final choice will largely depend on how much you are going to spend. The recent computers might feature an Intel i9 or an AMD Ryzen 9 CPUs. You can overclock both of them to 5 GHz. While there is no need to buy the most expensive processor available, powerful CPUs will give your computer a noticeable performance boost.
If you need to use your PC for multitasking, you can speed up its performance by upgrading its RAM. Most new models come with 8 GB of RAM or more, which will suffice for basic tasks. However, you might need to buy a PC with at least 16 GB of RAM for rendering and various computer animation projects. If you are serious about animation, it’s better to purchase a pre-built PC with 24-32 GB of RAM.
For those who want to create 3D animation, a good graphics card is a must. Thanks to it, your computer can solve various tasks without any performance drops. For instance, you can use it for mapping, modeling, creating 2D and 3D animations. There are some cheap pre-built computers that are fitted with integrated GPUs, however, all the options on this list feature dedicated GPUs. They deliver powerful performance and can handle even the most challenging tasks with ease.
Since you will need to use a lot of storage space on your computer to create animations, it’s better to choose a model with a capacious hard drive. It’s especially crucial for pro-level animators who work on many projects at once. For more effective work, you need to buy a computer fitted with an HDD and SSD. While the latter will help you access your files more quickly and allow your OS to boot up in no time, the former is more affordable and have better storage capacity. I recommend you to choose a large HDD and a smaller SSD.
I included in this list only the options that meet the basic requirements. However, you will need to pay attention to other things besides hardware specifications. Even if you don’t have loads of cash laying around, you can still purchase everything you need for solving animation tasks. Read on to learn more about extra options that will come in handy for every professional animator.
An animating tablet. Such a device will facilitate your workflow, as with it you can work on your projects more effectively. You can find plenty of affordable, mid-range and pro-level models on the market that come at different price ranges. If you have a budget PC, it’s recommended to purchase a less expensive tablet as well since you will hardly be able to use it for more advanced tasks.
Operating system. You can use any of the popular operating systems since Windows, macOS and Linux can run most programs used by animators. I advise you to pick an option that suits your needs best.
Dual monitors. If you are an animator, you can hardly avoid buying an extra screen. If your budget is not limited, it might be better to purchase two IPS monitors as they produce rich and vibrant colors.
Whether you want to purchase an affordable computer released by one of the lesser-known brands or plan to buy an expensive high-end PC, you need to think about your budget. When selecting a pre-built computer, you will notice that the prices on the most popular models reach up thousands of bucks.
If you create animations on a pro-level, you, probably, already have a desktop computer but want to buy a more powerful model for advanced rendering tasks. Unfortunately, PCs that allow for creating 3D animation come at hefty prices. Despite this, it might be worth investing more to avoid future upgrades and ensure that your computer will cope with any task.
If you don’t want to shell out all your money on the best computer for animation, you can still buy a less expensive PC with a decent set of specs.
To facilitate your choice, I have created a guide that will help you decide how much you need to spend on your new computer depending on your needs.
Low-end PC for animation - $600-1000
Low-end PC for 3D animation - $750-1200
Mid-range PC for animation (2D and 3D) - $1200-1800
High-end PC for animation (2D and 3D) - $2000+
If you are ready to spend even more, you can find pretty impressive computers on the market that cost about $4000. For most users, such options will be too expensive, however, it’s worth remembering that these models will serve you for years to come.
If you need to buy a new graphics card for gaming, take a closer look at NVIDIA or AMD GPUs. As for other tasks, you don’t need to buy a powerful graphics card for creating animation unless you want to edit 4K videos.
Nothing prevents you from using your laptop for creating animations. However, some specifications will make it easier for you to solve complex tasks. Your laptop should also meet animation software requirements.
While for some tasks you won’t need to use a lot of RAM, it’s advisable to have at least 16 GB of RAM to run Maya. Some difficult scenes might require 32 GB of RAM. The good thing is that you will hardly ever need more than 32 GB.
Yes, you can do it provided your hardware is advanced enough. Otherwise, you will face some performance issues, which will prevent you from solving more resource-demanding tasks that require a high-end CPU and graphics card.