What’s the Best PC For Adobe CC, or the best PC for Cinema 4D? What’s the best hardware for… ? What is the best GPU for… ?

These are some of the most asked questions, via email, phone, or in the forums. What’s the short answer? Your main application and budget are the most important factors in determining what configuration is best for you.

Truth is you probably have 2-3+ primary applications. Also, a dominant trend among leading pro media software makers is GPU acceleration – which makes this component a good place for an upgrade. But there are different needs and strengths for different applications. If your app is core driven you probably know this and you should go Xeon (i-X) or dual Xeon (i-X2) if you can afford it. And there are instances where dual Xeon is totally unnecessary.

So let’s provide three choices: A budget model, a model that maximizes price for performance, and the Undisputed Heavyweight Champ.

The Best PC for Adobe CC:

If Adobe CC (primarily Premiere Pro, After Effects and Photoshop) is 90% of what you do, here are best choices by budget:

Budget: i7-X, 5820K, 32GB RAM and GTX 970 Superclocked. Done.
Best Upgrade: Add a second GTX 970
If you have budget room here, go with 64GB RAM and 2 x GTX 980.

Maximum Price for Performance: i7-X, 5960X, 64GB RAM and 2 x GTX Titan Black

Heavyweight Champ: i-X2, DUAL E5-2687W v3 (20 cores), 128GB RAM, 12GB Quadro K6000
Best Upgrade: Add a second Quadro K6000

The Heavyweight Champ above is very similar to what David Fincher used in his 6K workflow for Gone Girl, with FusionIO and SolarFlare cards added (though two of his rigs had K5200 cards onboard, also a terrific GPU with 8GB VRAM). A high clock for your Xeons in CC is important – it makes for better performance. Frankly the new v3 14-18 core Xeons are not good values in a Adobe CC-centric workflow, and, if Premiere Pro CC is really all you’re up to 80-90% of the time you do not need Xeon / dual Xeon.

Best PC for DaVinci Resolve:

NOTE: If you are working with up to 4k resolutions, 4GB VRAM is OK, but we advise 6GB VRAM – this means GTX Titan Black, Quadro K5200 or Quadro K6000, FirePro W8100 or FirePro W9100.

Budget: i7-X, 5930K, 64GB RAM and 2 x GTX 970 Superclocked
If you have some additional space in your budget make it 2 x GTX 980.

Maximum Price for Performance: i7-X, 5960X, 64GB RAM and 2 x GTX Titan Black

Heavyweight Champ: i-X2, DUAL E5-2687W v3, 128GB RAM, 3-4 x GTX Titan Black

If DaVinci is part of a mostly otherwise Adobe CC workflow, you’ll choose somewhere in between with at least 2 GPUs. If you want 3+ GPUs onboard, you need a 14-18 core i-X, or dual Xeon i-X2 (or comparably HP Z840 or Boxx APEXX 4 7901 if you prefer) – a single i7 5960X simply does not push enough data for 3+ cards. Also with 3 GTX Titan Black, this just leaves 1 PCIe slot left for a single or double-wide PCIe card on the i-X2 like a Decklink, Thunderbolt, Fibre channel, Mellanox ConnectX Infiniband, etc.

If # of cores are most important, the PC for Cinema 4D (and apps like ZBrush etc.) are:

Budget: i7-X, 5960X, 64GB RAM

Heavyweight Champ: i-X2, DUAL E5-2699 v3 (36 cores)

Wait, which GPU? This is where it gets interesting.

If you use Octane Render for your render engine, it simpifies things, but it’s not mandatory. Some don’t like it, and in many ways it is the best there is. It’s incredibly powerful. It’s also optimized for GeForce cards making it nice on the pocketbook – the i7-X 5960X with 2 x GTX Titan Black will get you real time performance in all but the most demanding scenarios at a great price. For 3+ GTX Titan Black, which WILL get you real time performance in any scenario we have seen, but you’ll need the 14-18 core i-X, or better, 20+ core i-X2 to push adequate data to them.

Octane Optimized – C4D, Maya, 3dsMax, ZBrush etc:

Budget: i7-X, 5960X, 64GB RAM, 2 GTX Titan Black

Maximum Price for Performance: i-X2, DUAL E5-2687W v3, 128GB RAM, 3 GTX Titan Black

Heavyweight Champ: i-X2, DUAL E5-2699 v3 (36 cores), 128GB RAM, 4 GTX Titan Black

You do not need more than 128GB RAM – but if you think you do we can install 32GB Modules leaving you 4 avail slots for additional RAM later. If you do not use Octane, your primary core-based app and the render method you use will drive your GPU choice.

A fast OS and media drive(s) are absolutely key as well. Unless you are going to RAID traditional HDDs, SSDs RAIDed or not, M.2 and NVMe (Fusion IO, Intel P3600 and Intel P3700) are best for stutter-free read/write performance.

Bottom line? The i7-X 5960X with 64GB RAM and 2 x GTX Titan Black can bat cleanup on most any pro media team roster. It brings together the best of many things in one place at a good price. If you want the very best performance available, 3-4 GPUs in a dual Xeon is the best choice.

BTW: You can go FirePro with the above configurations as well with very good results (NOT with Octane however which is CUDA based). The FirePro W8100, FirePro W9100 and FirePro W7000 are excellent cards. That said we do yet find NVIDIA cards more stable (better drivers), and have found that CPU performance is slightly better with NVIDIA cards onboard.

QUESTION: What three benchmark tests with which media do you most want to see? Let us know what you’d like to see and we’ll try to include it. We’ll also send out an email to all those who’d like to participate, or sign up for our list via our Free Configuration Page or Signup Page.