Recommended Hardware for Unreal Engine:
Like most software developers, Unreal maintains a list of system requirements for Unreal Engine that can be used to help ensure the hardware in your system meets their minimum requirements. However, most "system requirements" lists tend to cover only the very basics of what hardware is needed to run the software, not what hardware will actually give the best performance. In addition, these lists are often outdated, list old hardware revisions, or simply contain sub-optimal hardware.
Because of how inconsistent those lists can be, we've taken the time to perform testing to determine what hardware runs Unreal Engine the best. Based on this testing, we have come up with our own list of recommended hardware.
The processor (or CPU) is one of the most important pieces of a Unreal Engine development workstation. While many other parts of the system impact performance to some degree, the CPU is the core piece of hardware that is a part of absolutely anything and everything you do. Based on our extensive CPU testing in Unreal Editor we have narrowed down the hundreds of CPUs available to just the few that are the best choices for developing in the Unreal Editor.
For most users, the Intel Core i7 7820X 8 Core 3.6GHz (4.3/4.5GHz Turbo) is a terrific choice. Due to the major pricing adjustment that occurred with the launch of the "Skylake-X" CPUs, this 8 core CPU is actually slightly more affordable than the previous generation 6 core CPU. In addition, it supports Turbo Boost 3.0 which allows two of the eight cores to run at up to 4.5GHz for tasks that only require the use of one or two cores. This makes it a terrific and balanced CPU for almost everything in Unreal Engine including light baking, compiling, and general work in the editor.
For those that need the best possible performance for heavily threaded tasks like building lighting and compiling the engine from source, we offer a number of high core count CPUs depending on both your budget and the performance you need for these tasks. The Core i9 7900X is roughly 10% faster than the Core i7 7820X for tasks like light baking and compiling while the Core i9 7940X, Core i9 7960X, and Core i9 7980XE will be even faster. Note that these CPUs tend to be slightly slower for most other tasks, however, so we typically only recommend on of these high core count CPUs for users that spend a significant amount of time building lighting or compiling.
Currently, Unreal Engine utilizes the video card solely to display the graphics on the screen. Many applications in other fields have begun using the GPU for other tasks as well, but this has not yet been implemented in the Unreal Editor. Because of this, a faster video card will give you a higher FPS in the viewport or in a stand-alone game, but likely will not improve your productivity in other tasks.
We currently offer three video cards on our Unreal Engine workstations depending on your budget and whether you are planning on developing VR content:
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 8GB - This GPU is our entry level card, but it actually has plenty of power to handle multiple 4K displays without a problem.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 8GB - While this card does not have any more VRAM than the GTX 1070, it is a bit more powerful. This is our entry recommendation if you plan to be developing VR content.
- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11GB - With 11GB of VRAM and terrific performance for the price, the GTX 1080 Ti is one of the best GPUs to use for video game development and our recommendation if you plann on developing VR content. The high amount of VRAM makes it suitable for workstation with three or even four 4K displays and the extra power is great for games that have not been optimized.
The amount of RAM you need is going to depend on your specific project and whether you do RAM-intensive tasks like building lighting. However, as a general rule of thumb we recommend
- 32GB of RAM for most users
- 64GB+ of RAM if you build lighting that takes more than a few hours
Keep in mind that these only basic recommendations and only covers the amount of RAM needed for the Unreal Editor by itself. If you often work with other programs in addition to Unreal at the same time, you may want to have even more RAM in your system as each program will need its own chunk of RAM.
Our systems offer three different types of storage drives depending on your specific needs and requirements:
- Standard SSD (Samsung 850 EVO/Pro) - SSDs are a staple in modern workstations, especially as your primary drive containing the operating system and program installations. They are more expensive than a traditional platter hard drive, but also many times faster allowing you to launch Windows and programs significantly faster. We offer both the Samsung 850 EVO and Pro line of drives with the primary difference being the write endurance. The Pro line is rated for a much higher number of writes making it a better choice if you will often be writing data to the drive.
- PCI-E x4 M.2 NVMe SSD (Samsung 960 Pro) - These drives are about 30% more expensive than a standard SSD, but around five times faster! However, in most cases you will not see much of a performance difference since a modern standard SSD is already so fast that it is rarely a performance bottleneck. However, some projects you will be able to open faster with a NVMe drive which can make them useful as a project drive.
- Traditional Platter Drive (WD Red/Gold) - These drives may be slower than the other drives we offer, but they are much more affordable and available in capacities ranging up to 10TB per drive. While we do not recommend working directly off these drives more than occasionally, they make terrific long-term storage drives. The main difference between the WD Red and Gold drives we offer is that the Red drives are much quieter, but also a bit slower.
We allow for up to four drives to be used in our workstations by default, but we can configure a system with more drives by request. In general, we recommend a two to three hard drive configuration depending on your budget and desired performance and organizational level:
- Primary Drive - OS/Software (SSD) - Includes your operating system and the base Unreal Engine installation. An SSD is highly recommended as it will greatly improve how fast the OS and programs startup, but there is usually not much of a performance benefit to upgrading to a faster NVMe drive.
- Secondary Drive - Project Files (SSD/M.2 NVMe) - If possible, it is a good idea to separate your project files onto a secondary drive. For most users a standard SSD will work fine, but if you work with RAW footage there can be a large performance benefit to using a M.2 NVMe drive.
- Optional Storage Drive (Platter) - For long term storage where the high speed of SSDs is typically not required, a larger traditional platter hard drive is a good choice as they are still much cheaper per GB than SSDs.