Deciding which (affordable) CPU + GPU to purchase

Hi!

I have decided to invest in new hardware, but am getting very confused by all the benchmarks and reviews that can be found online.

As a GPU, it looks like the GeForce RTX 3070 ti performs reasonably well for its cost.

I am focussing on Intel i7 and Ryzen 7 as those seem to be a reasonable balance between (my) budget and performance.

However, this article pins the i7 as a winner (https://www.cgdirector.com/best-cpu-for-rendering/#Does_the_CPU_affect_GPU_rendering_performance) where as this thread considered the Ryzen 7 a winner (https://qr.ae/prPez4).

Who has experience with either of these CPU’s and can share their experiences?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Cheers, Babs

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——— I’m gonna give a general answer, I don’t know the specifics of the CPUs you’re talking about, but in general :

SketchUp only uses a single core to work, so a high clock rate is more important than a high number of cores, for sketchup (different for other softwares)

As of Intel or Ryzen, I’m pretty sure I read a few times Intel cores were better optimized for mono thread actions.

but talking about sketchup, the difference between two high end comparable processors is negligible. you have some softwares that will be specifically optimized for some hardwares (Vray is designed to work with Nvidia graphics cards, not other brands), but it’s not SU’s case.

EDIT : also, the Quora thread is one year old. In the intro, the poster explains that you can’t compare CPU without knowing their year and specifics. Maybe a year ago, the ryzen was better. maybe now it’s not anymore. And keep in mind that for any couple of similar hardwares, you’ll find articles promoting both sides.

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For SketchUp use, I would say that you would probably be quite happy with any of the first screenful of CPUs in this listing:

Other considerations depend on what other things besides SketchUp you plan to do with your computer. SketchUp uses a single processor core, but, for instance, rendering applications can use all that you give them. Your choice of GPU sounds OK too - some renderers like V-Ray and Enscape can also take advantage of that for their number-crunching. Otherwise SketchUp can very well make do with a medium range graphics card, as an ultracool whizbang model would probably spend its time waiting for data from the CPU.

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Those are very helpful replies, thank you! As I read it, it doesnt make a whole bunch of difference between the two cpu’s. The ryzen I’m looking at is 3.8Ghz where as the i7 is 3.4. Given your comments (and provided I understood correctly), the ryzen should perform slightly better in SU but both are very good and the performance difference possibly not really noticeable.

In VRay, the gpu will also benefit from a fast core as it might feed the gpu a bit faster.

How does DDR4 vs DDR5 factor into this, have you got any experience with those?

Hi @babsgosgens,

I am on the same boat so to speak with finding the right laptop that will enable me to transition into rendering.
From my researches so far, I’ve gathered that capable GPU is what is really needed for rendering projects versus CPUs. As for which AMD/Nvidia GPUs. I’ve read that the higher CUDA cores = faster rendering times. In this case, the RTX series (over 3070 with 8GB) seems ideal.
However, also keep in mind that the TGP (power directed into GPU) rating of some laptops aren’t high enough to squeeze out it’s full capable performance (sub 120w).
As an example, the Asus Creator laptop tops out at 100W TGP for its RTX 3060 6GB GPU. I was tempted to purchase this, but the GPU and its low TGP made it’s way out of my short list.

As for the DDR4 vs DDR5. I think (as far as I’m aware), at this time of post; it’s all about cost per performance.
Ideally, you’d get a machine that can fully utilise its max speeds. Storage, RAM, GPU, CPU. All working in respective synergy to maximum throughput.
But I found that to get the ideal set up, I would have to go the desktop route. Of which is not ideal for my current situation.

I hope it was helpful.

Oh, Intel runs hotter vs Ryzen chips. Also I also think that the i7 chips have more cores, and threads vs Ryzens 8C/14T?

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Thank you for your reply. Your arguments support my findings 100%.

As for desktop vs laptop, I would argue that a (reasonably prized) laptop will not perform anywhere near as good as a desktop. In addition, in my experience a self built desktop will always be more affordable than anything prebuilt.

I spent most of today researching CPU’s and GPU’s and I have narrowed it down to these possible setups. I took into account the hardware requirements for both SU and Vray and my workflow.

From what I have learned, SU benefits most from a CPU with high clock speeds. The way I see it, the motherboard, the RAM and the storage can influence the data throughput so these matter as well. Though SU itself may not benefit from having multiple cores, the GPU will run smoother for it when it receives its data timely.

I expect that my workflow ratio SU/Vray will be somewhere around 70/30. With that in mind, I am inclined to lean toward a fast CPU and compensate the spending for a ‘beefier’ CPU with a simpler GPU – if only to start out. The GPU can be exchanged easily over time as budget allows. Should push come to shove, I can always rely on the Chaos cloud render when needed.

Intel i7 or Intel i9
Based on various accounts and benchmarks, it seems to me that the Intel 13th gen series outperforms comparable Ryzen CPU’s. I am leaning toward either the Intel i7 13700 or the i7 13900. Given that my current machine is a 2017 MacBook Pro 3.1GHz 4-core i7, I think I should go for the i9 since I don’t run SU all that smoothly on this laptop.

DDR4 or DDR5
I have read various accounts that DDR5 ram is not yet worth the extra spending but since it is a lot faster than DDR4 and given the single threadedness of SU I would expect a DDR5 setup to outperform DDR4 for SU – and be more future proof. 2x32 MB to start…

M.2 NVMe SSD
The faster data can be accessed and processed, the better. Right? So I am likely going for an NVMe SSD. 1TB to start off, but a friend of mine pointed out that a RAID setup would even be faster. However, given a read/write speed of 7300/6000 MB/s (for the one I chose) I doubt that it would be worth the extra spending of around € 150.

GeForce RTX ???
Now, the GPU. That one gives me the biggest headache. Not taking into account the cost of a GPU, the difference in cost between an i7 DDR4 (± € 1400) and an i9 DDR5 (± € 1750) setup is around € 350. i7 DDR5 and i9 DDR4 are comparable in cost and sit neatly in between (± € 1500 - € 1600).

I have looked at the 3070 (ti) and 3080 (ti). Anything above that (either the 3090 or the newer 40## series) is really above what I want to spend.

Currently, I am still torn between choosing the i9 DDR5 with a 3070 ti card at 6144 CUDA cores/8GB (± € 2400), or the i7 DDR 5 with a 3080 ti at 10240 CUDA Cores/12GB (± € 2500). Or just go for the i9 with a 3080 ti at ± € 2900 :neutral_face:

What are your thoughts?
I am really hoping that you guys can give your 2 cts on this, which setup would you advice?

Thanks for reading this all the way to the end!

Cheers, Babs

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Is a 1TB SSD enough for your storage requirements? If not - why not consider a 500GB SSD with a 2TB HDD to save some money.

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@kevin58 for the long run, it will definitely not be sufficient. But i’m currently working on 2 or 3 smaller projects at a time and i have a spare ssd i can use for now. The motherboard i am considering can house multiple M.2 storage devices so I am thinking of adding on over time.

@babsgosgens, Am I correct in saying that you’re in the market to purchase & build your own PC? For some reason I thought you were after a laptop. :man_facepalming:

DDR4 for days, and money left for beer/wine/kambucha
DDR4 is what I would go with for now. The price of DD5 with what it offers hasn’t hit the sweet spot yet. DDR4 is more affordable, just get ones that run faster than 2400Mhz; ideally 3200Mhz plus.

Intel i7 vs i9 the brain wars
How much ram is your MBP at? Could it be that the MBP bottlenecked the project ‘smoothness’ due to the high poly SU file? Only 4 Cores, sub 2400mhz RAMS. Just something to think about, anyways…

i7 or the i9 of the 13th generation (Gen) is good, no great. However, if comparing with previous 12th Gen models. How much more are we talking here. Not really much of a difference performance per dollar/cost ratio. In fact, the 12th Gen i7 12700K fares better in this regard. The only real reason I’d opt for the 13th Gen is due to its’ higher number of Cores in 2023.

If you’re talking about 12th Gen i7s/i9s. Get the ones with K designators. Allows for unlocked multi (to allow for overclocking).
Higher the number of Cores/Threads + Base CPU speed = Sweetspot.
Bare in mind, the more cores there are tendency for single core speeds drops.

The stomach (M.2 NVMe SSD)
This by far is the easiest part of the body to choose. Opt for fairy fast R/W speeds, with max TBs. I’d get 1 for OS, and bits and use another for using it as a large ‘RAM drive’, and storing files other than OS. Samsung for me is the ultimate go to, great for the biome. :slight_smile:

RTX the sugar of diets, can’t live with it nor without.
Given your choices that you’ve pointed out. I’d be swayed to the i7 DDR5 3080Ti (2500). The 100 Euros is nothing, if you consider the CUDA core differences 6144 vs 10240. That’s nearly double! nearly halve your rendering time (if going off of the pure numbers alone), work is meant to give you freedom (or the illusion of it) :wink:

Honestly, though. I don’t know what you’ll need beyond the current Gen i7s. They will perform much faster than your MBP (you’ll notice the difference). Going for the i9, is just over-kill for SU/Rendering.
Use that extra 400 euros for extra SSD or RAM or a pretty mouse pad or blood sugar test kit (Yes, I’m a recent health optimisation adoptee. :space_invader:).

Hope this helps!

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Indeed. A laptop is far more expensive over a pc, and i still have my mbp for mobility. Also, I use my hubby’s ipad pro on occasion, SU on an ipad really impresses people :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Its definitely old in terms of computer age. I dont know the specifics of that machine but it doent cope with SU all that great. It’s a high end laptop in its range and does great in psd but is not great for modelling. I keep an eye on my polygons and textures and i purge regularly. It has 16GB ram and the key reason for me replacing it is the inability to upgrade. That line of laptops is shut tight ugh.

True. I’ll post some numbers in a bit, might help others too!

I did opt for those. I have no experience with overclocking (long time forever mac user here, I am in purgatory here lol). you’re saying overclocking would significantly improve performance for both SU and Vray?

I noticed the motherboard had a spec called dualchannel. From what I understand it will process 2 cores simultaneously? I could imagine that being good for SU? Again, noob here :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I am very greatful for your replies, its really helping me come to grips with this topic.

I will run up some numbers and specs and post my (semi?) final rig and I’m hoping you’ll make another comment on it :relaxed: For now, it looks like i7+3080ti will be the winner.

Thanks much!!

Kudos!! Health is key :blush:

Below are the setups I have been researching. Prices are rounded for ease of read. All setups would be rigged with the 3080ti. Additional spendings for casing, power, cooling and storage would probably be around € 500. Still figuring out what fits and is bare minimum for the next 2 years or so.

  • there is a difference of around € 350 between i7 D4 and i9 D5
  • i7 D5 and i9 D4 sit at a comparable price range
  • upgrading to i9 D5 would be around € 150

Would you still think that investing in anything above the i7 DDR4 is wasted money? Would investing in more expensive cooling be worth while instead and would that affect performance?

Intel i7 13700K 3.4GZ (5.4 GHz)
	- 16 Cores (8P + 8E)
DDR4 3200MHz 64GB RAM 
	- 2 x 32GB
	- CAS Latency 16
MSI Pro Z790-P D4 Motherboard
	- ATX
	- Max clock speed support 5333MHz
	- LAN, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3
	- 4 M.2 slots

€ 900

Intel i7 13700K 3.4GZ (5.4 GHz)
	- 16 Cores (8P + 8E)
DDR5 4800MHz 64GB RAM 
	- 2 x 32GB
	- CAS Latency 40
MSI Pro Z790-P D5 Motherboard
	- ATX
	- Max clock speed support 7000MHz
	- LAN, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3
	- 4 M.2 slots

€ 1,100

Intel i9 13900K 3.0GZ (5.8 GHz)
	- 24 Cores (8P + 16E)
DDR5 4800MHz 64GB RAM 
	- 2 x 32GB
	- CAS Latency 40
MSI Pro Z790-P D5 Motherboard
	- ATX
	- Max clock speed support 7000MHz
	- LAN, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3
	- 4 M.2 slots

€ 1,100

Intel i9 13900K 3.0GZ (5.8 GHz)
	- 24 Cores (8P + 16E)
DDR5 4800MHz 64GB RAM 
	- 2 x 32GB
	- CAS Latency 40
MSI Pro Z790-P D5 Motherboard
	- ATX
	- Max clock speed support 7000MHz
	- LAN, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3
	- 4 M.2 slots

€ 1250

For the I7 and I9 debate

The 13th gen I9 is a litter faster for SketchUp type things (both are great!) but is around 25-30% faster for multi-core type things (V-Ray) so you will see a reduction in time rendering with the i9.

The 3080 isn’t really needed for SketchUp, but again it can be utilised by V-Ray.

Current DDR5 won’t really offer any tangible benefit for rendering over DDR4 and I doubt SketchUp will feel it either.

I’d do the I9 + DD4 right now.

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Personally, I would build this on an Asrock Z790 Taichi.

A 2 TB m.2 drive is $160. Don’t cheap out on storage OR ram.

To OP: Start here…
12th gen or better i7
32 gb or DDR5
2 TB m.2 ssd
30xx series RTX or better

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Thanks! Can you elaborate, this is quite a bit more expensive so what makes it worth it?

I’ll give that some more thoughts, but the 2TB I have seen here are way over 200 euro. Are you talking about similar speed drives?

Thanks!

That is my expectation as well. All things help I guess. Considering its about the same pricepoint as the i7 ddr5 it makes sense. What drives me mad is that the ddr5 upgrade is then only a it bit more expensive but the ram clockspeed is significant (3200MHz vs 4800MHz). It’s so weird that this makes little to no difference? :biting_lip:

That 200 euro drive is probably a bit faster as it’s a bit more expensive as to the cheaper USD based drive.
This is what I based my “$160 M.2 drive” comment on…

It’s a good drive but not current edge (Gen 3 vs Gen 4).

I think it get’s kinda complicated as the numbers aren’t direcctly comparable, but it might just be as simple as the programs not needing to move things in and out of the memory often or there being other bottlenecks that affect the system before the memory becomes a problem.

One thing to bear in mind that the motherboards are usually one or the other, so if you go for DDR4 now, then you will also need to upgrade your motherboard in future in order to go for DD5 - as it gets cheaper and faster.

That is perhaps a good argument to just swallow the extra 150 and then you don’t need to worry about it

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