New 3D Animation Student Need Help with Tech Specs for Computer

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  08 August 2017
New 3D Animation Student Need Help with Tech Specs for Computer

Hi all,
I am going to school for 3D animation, and I am setting up a home studio/study room to practice while not on campus. I am not all that savvy with tech specs, so I'm hoping to get some help/support from the community. I know that Maya requires a minimum 4 GB and recommended 8 GB ram, and same for Pixar's Renderman software. I will also be training with Adobe CS products. I am looking at getting an iMac, and the specifications that I am considering are below.

Suggestions I'm looking for are things like - should I sacrifice RAM in order to upgrade other aspects such as SSD? Is the processor and graphics card sufficient for 3D animation and rendering?

Specs for iMac I am looking at:
27 Inch Monitor,
3.4 GHz quad-core 7th-generation Intel Core i5 Processor, turbo boost up to 3.8 GHz,
16 GB 2400 MHz DDR4,
1TB Fusion Drive,
Radeon Pro 570 with 4GH video memory,
Two Thunderbolt 3 ports,
Retina 5K 5120 by 2880 P3 display,
Magic Mouse 2

The amount that this comes out to is pretty much the ceiling that I will be able to pay for a computer, so I can't upgrade one feature without downgrading another. It has been daunting trying to scan forums to figure out if the specs I have chosen will be "good" for the type of software I will be running. The computer will only be used for 3d modeling, graphics, and animation. I will not be doing much else at all, just a workhorse computer. I will also be using a Wacom Cintiq 13HD with the machine.

Thank you for any and all help.
  08 August 2017
Originally Posted by mechanicalbard: I am going to school for 3D animation... I am looking at getting an iMac, and the specifications that I am considering are below.

Pretty much nobody uses Mac for 3D work. They're simply too slow. It doesn't matter how much money you throw at the problem because they don't make any products to compete in that arena. You'd be much better off putting the same money towards anything else that isn't a Mac. If you'd like suggestions that are not Mac let me know, I'm happy to help.
  08 August 2017
That iMac is way overpriced and underpowered (for the money) for Maya/Renderman/Photoshop. You don't really need a workhorse computer for animation - until it's time to render the animation, anyway. And Photoshop can get by on any modern computer pretty well. Heck, I'm running Maya and PS on my old A8 4-core with 8GB of RAM, GTX 750Ti, attached to an old Panasonic plasma TV in my living room, for content creation and animation setups. I render on my three 8-core Piledrivers, but it's much more relaxing to model and texture on a huge screen, sitting on my couch. That entire TV-PC cost around $350. The TV was another $350, so for less than $700 I'm doing just fine, plus gaming is great on a plasma.

But that's not what you're looking for. Just saying, any computer CAN do Maya and Photoshop, but if you're looking to spend thousands on an outdated Mac, you're wasting your own money and time.

On the cheap end, go with a Ryzen 1500 setup, 16GB RAM, pair of decent monitors, and a GTX 1050 or so for graphics. ~$500 before the monitors.

On the higher end, go with a Ryzen 1700, 32GB RAM, pair of decent monitors, and a GTX 1070. ~$800 before the monitors.

For rendering right now there's really no viable reason to go with an Intel chip. AMD has (ahem) rendered them obsolete for modern hardware, for now.
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