If you had $ 2500 to spend on a computer today, what would you focus on?

Looking for advice on which parts of the hardware to max out and to what extent (i.e. “RAM - get at least 32GB but over 128GB is a waste, because XYZ”), as well as any specific recommendations for hardware brands & models (i.e. “you should get the videocard ABC from Brand D, because it had just a ridiculous amount of shader pipelines with triaxial space converters and that’s going to make renders fly”.).

Or an example of a build with specs, that’s focused on 3D and render workflows. I don’t need to do super-high-end rendering, but basic stuff to show concepts to clients, quickly and without annoying myself waiting for things.

Not married to any particular brand or architecture, so Intel vs AMD and other such holy wars aren’t my thing.

I used to be involved in computers, so I’m capable of putting one together, but my market knowledge is 3-4 years out of date, and in this industry that’s a lifetime. I’m swamped with design work, don’t have the energy/brainpower to go on a whole learning quest. So any knowledge shortcuts are mucho appreciated!

You don’t specify, but I surmise that you are looking for a Windows based machine? And, do you need a laptop or Desktop?

This one:

RTX tech on the GPU. For rendering ray tracing on realtime render engines.

Max single core performance possible on the CPU. Consider older models.

Fast SSD. Sketchup blocks while saving or auto saving.

Stylus support. Bigger screen possible with pen input.

Windows - I generally prefer Linux but too much of the software required for my workflow is Windows only / too annoying to make work with Wine or other emulators.

And yes, desktop. For the cost factor and the upgradability.

Some Intel chips in the same price range score a bit higher in the single-thread benchmark I looked at, but the differences are small.

What type of rendering and in which software?

Ultimately that will determine what you need as they all have different requirements and bottlenecks.

For most utility, an Nvidia RTX card of some flavor is the brand to go for.

Processor wise - the needs a slightly different between different software.
SketchUp craves single core/single threaded performance for its cad operations. Realtime renderers can be the same quite often.

Offline renderers such as V-Ray will make use or as many cores/threads as you can throw at them.

That will blow the original poster’s budget. On a quick look, it’s missing 2 essential things: A case and an operating system! And, depending on what original poster already has, keyboard and pointing device.

Intel has the lead now but the AM5 platform will support AMD CPUs at least till 2025. If you get an intel cpu right now the motherboard you buy won’t work with any other generation released in the future. I have a 13700K but I would’ve preferred to get an AMD and have the possibility of upgrade without having to buy a new mobo.

The price is at the end, it’s $17 over the budget without the items you mentioned, o didn’t pick anything else cause a case price depends on the taste of the user and a windows license costs $15, anyways it’s just an hypothetical case o didn’t want to be strict with the budget, just have some fun picking hardware.

This system looks very fine by me. Only the amount of storage could be better imho. I would prefer 1 TB for OS + programs + 4TB for data. Especially for rendering, over time you will build up a large library of textures, materials, 3d models, foliage etc and those are huge (Unreal Engine).

I have been using MSI Gaming series laptops for CAD for the past 18 years and if I had your $2,500 budget I would buy the MSI Raider GE68HX 13VG-047 16" QHD Gaming Laptop. I currently have the GE76 with the RTX3080 and it is awesome but soon I will upgrade to the laptop above.

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I’ll second that. The MSI laptops have been bomber for me. I only use those for travel and sometimes field work. My desktop is also an MSI with an RTX 3090. I’ve had it for I think 4 years now and it has been super reliable. I got it on sale for just under $3K. 128 gb ram, i7 10700K, 1 tb ssd and 2 tb standard. Hooked up to (3) 4K 40" TV’s.