Like most software developers, Maxon maintains a list of system requirements for Cinema 4D that can be used to help ensure the hardware in your system will work with their software. However, this "system requirements" list only covers the very basics of what hardware is needed to run the software, not what hardware will actually give the best performance. Because of how inconsistent those lists can be, we've taken the time to perform testing to determine what hardware run Cinema 4D the best. Based on this testing, we have come up with our own list of recommended hardware for Cinema 4D.
When it comes to CPUs there are two main specifications that define the capability of a CPU:
- The frequency directly affects how many operations a single CPU core can complete in a second (how fast it is).
- The number of cores is how many physical cores there are within a CPU (how many operations it can run simultaneously).
Whether a high frequency or high core count CPU is better depends on how well a program is designed to take advantage of multiple CPU cores (often referred to as multi-threading).
The majority of design tasks in Cinema 4D (including creating, modifying, and animating 3D models) is only able to utilize a single CPU core which makes a high frequency CPU - regardless of the core count - an ideal choice for these tasks. Because of this, our Design & Animation workstation comes with an Intel Core i7 7700K CPU capable of speeds of up to 4.2GHz.
However, the rendering capabilities built into Cinema 4D - along with other CPU-based rendering engines likes Arnold, Mental Ray, V-Ray, and Keyshot - are very efficient at utilizing a high number of cores. In fact, most of these engines scale almost perfectly which makes a CPU with twice the number of cores nearly twice as fast.
Video Card (GPU)
When creating, editing, and animating models in Cinema 4D, the video card is a large part of how many frames per second (FPS) the viewport is able to display the model at. A higher FPS will result in a smoother and overall better experience when rotating, zooming, or panning around the model you are working on. In general, 30 FPS is considered a minimum acceptable framerate, while 60 FPS is ideal.
While GeForce cards can work well in Cinema 4D, NVIDIA typically recommends using Quadro cards in professional applications. Because of this, our recommended systems both default to NVIDIA Quadro video cards. However, for the times when using a GeForce card makes more sense, such as game development using the Unity or Unreal game engine, we do list GeForce options as well.
While the exact amount of RAM you need is going to depend on your particular projects, for Cinema 4D we generally recommend a minimum of 16GB. Very complex scenes may need up to 32GB of RAM, although it is rare for Cinema 4D to require more than 32GB.
In extreme cases, if you will be doing a large amount of complex, high resolution rendering, you may need 64GB or even more RAM.
Storage (Hard Drives)
With the falling costs associated with SSDs, we almost always recommend using an SSD for the primary drive that will host your OS and the installation of Cinema 4D itself. The high speed of SSDs allows your system to boot, launch applications, and load files many times faster than any traditional hard drive. If your budget allows, it is also a very good idea to have a second SSD that can be used to store your active projects to further decrease load and save times.
Since SSDs are still more expensive than traditional drives per GB, for long term storage we recommend using a traditional hard drive (or two if you need even more storage!). Using a SSD can be useful in some situations, but most of the time the high performance of an SSD is simply not required for a storage drive.