The Best Computers for Rendering in 2020: Laptops & Desktops


by user

February 19, 2020

Buying a new computer is a big decision for anyone, but when it comes to graphic intensive processing, it’s a choice that’s all the more difficult to make. At the end of the day, a desktop is always better for rendering and modeling. But for many, the portability and lower price that a laptop provides are essential for professionals on a budget. Whether you’re looking for a laptop or desktop for improving your workflow, we have you covered! Keep reading as we compare the best rendering workstations on the market in 2020.

  • Price
  • CPU
  • RAM and storage capability
  • Weight
  • GPU

Keep reading to find out which laptops made our list and which are best suited for your processing needs!

A Note about GPU vs. CPU

When producing VFX or 3D animation, you might assume the graphics card is the most important component, but actually the CPU and its processing power are, simply due to the amount of calculations that go into this kind of work. Shader effects, volumetric lighting, rigging and keyframe rendering are just a few of the processes that are necessary to make a final animation.

Where the CPU struggles, however, the GPU picks up the slack. When the CPU can’t do the job alone, the GPU helps calculate all of the processes to help display the final result — the render.

Rest assured, all of the computers on our list house some of the most powerful CPUs and GPUs available today.

Today’s Best Laptops for Rendering

If you’re looking for a laptop to make your work come to life, there are a few important factors you should consider.

  • Price
  • CPU
  • RAM and storage capability
  • Weight
  • GPU

So which laptops are the best choices for rendering in 2020? Below are our top six picks!

(Note: All prices below are accurate as of the date of publication.)

Laptop Price CPU RAM Storage Weight GPU
Acer Predator Triton 700 $1,732 Intel Core i7-7700HQ 32GB DDR4 RAM 512GB SS hard drive 5.7 lbs. GTX 1080
HP Omen X $2,499 Intel i7-7820HK 16GB DDR4 RAM 256GB SSD + secondary 1TB hard drive 10.3 lbs. GTX 1080
ASUS ROG G703 17.3″ $2,649 Intel i9-8950HK 32GB DDR4 RAM Dual 256GB SSD drive set + 2TB hybrid SS hard drive 10.7 lbs. GTX 1080
HP Omen $1,381 Intel i7-9750H 16GB DDR4 RAM 256GB SSD + secondary 1TB hard drive 5.34 lbs. RTX 2080
MSI GT76 TITAN DT $3,649 Intel i9-9900K 64GB DDR4 RAM Dual 1TB NVME SS hard drives + secondary 2TB hard drive 9.2 lbs. RTX 2080
ASUS ROG G703GX $3,300 Intel i9-9980HK 32GB DD4 RAM Dual 512GB NVME SSD hard drives 10.2 lbs. RTX 2080

Acer Predator Triton 700

Why You Should Consider: Budget price

Price: $1,732

Weight: 5.7 lbs.

Specs:

  • Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU
  • 120Hz/IPS/G-Sync
  • 1920×1080 Screen
  • 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU

For starters, the Predator Triton is an affordable machine that can hold its own. It comes with an Intel Core i7-7700HQ CPU and 32GB of DDR4 memory with a 512GB SS hard drive. In fact, it’s the cheapest price you’ll find for a GTX 1080 laptop. Its main weakness is its display size, which is limited to 120Hz 1080P definition, but is presented on a 15.6″ inch screen. It’s not top of the line, but at an affordable price, it’s an impressive offering that can definitely get the job done.

HP Omen X

Why You Should Consider: Great value

Price: $2,499

Weight: 10.3 lbs.

Specs:

  • Intel i7-7820HK CPU
  • 120Hz/IPS/G-Sync
  • 1920×1080 Screen
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU

The HP Omen X offers great value considering the amount of processing power it has. Under the hood, it carries a much more powerful Intel Core i7-7820HK CPU, 16GB of DDR4 memory, a 256GB SSD as well as a secondary 1TB hard drive. It also has a larger display than the Predator with a 17.3″ inch screen, 1080P IPS definition and G-Sync Technology. While the price tag is higher than the Acer Predator, it offers a smoother experience and will be able to perform processor-heavy tasks and store much more data.

ASUS ROG G703 17.3″

Why You Should Consider: High performance

Price: $2,649

Weight: 10.7 lbs.

Specs:

  • Intel i9-8950HK CPU
  • 144Hz/IPS/G-Sync
  • 1920×1080 Screen
  • 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU

Hands down, the ASUS ROG G703 is the best on this list featuring the NVIDIA GTX 1080 graphics card. The specs on this workstation outclass both the Acer Predator and the HP Omen X in processing power and display performance. It has a 17.3″ inch screen with 1080P IPS definition like the Omen, but with a 144Hz refresh rate. That’s where the similarities end. For storage, it commands a dual 256GB SSD drive set as well as a 2TB hybrid SS hard drive. That’s a lot of storage space!

Inside is an improved Intel Core i9-8950HK processor and 32GB of DDR4 RAM — it’s indeed a powerful machine. However, with this amount of power comes a heavy price tag. Speaking of “heavy,” it’s also the heaviest option on this list weighing in at 10.7 pounds, making portability questionable.

If you have the money and want the best possible workstation that will perform beyond expectations, this is the machine you’ve been waiting for.

HP Omen

Why You Should Consider: Budget price

Price: $1,381

Weight: 5.34 lbs.

Specs:

  • Intel i7-9750H CPU
  • 144Hz/IPS Panel
  • 1920×1080 Screen
  • 16GB DDR4 RAM
  • NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU

The HP Omen is a great choice if you want a good machine with impressive features but you’re on a budget. While you save money, you also sacrifice specs like storage space and G-Sync Technology.

It comes equipped with an Intel Core i7-9750H processor, 16GB of DDR4 memory, a single 256GB SSD with a secondary 1TB hard drive. It also has a 144Hz 1080P 17.3″ display, which is quite exceptional given its price.

MSI GT76 TITAN DT

 

Why You Should Consider: High performance

Price: $3,649

Weight: 9.2 lbs.

Specs:

  • Intel i9-9900K CPU
  • 240Hz/IPS
  • 1920×1080 Screen
  • 64GB DDR4 RAM
  • NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU

The MSI GT76 TITAN DT is on the other end of the spectrum compared to the HP Omen. This behemoth is not your average laptop. Though not the heaviest machine on our list, it’s a massive, desktop-replacing workhorse meant for the most dedicated and serious of users as it boasts some amazing specs and a hefty price tag.

It commands an Intel Core i9-9900HK processor, dual 1TB NVME SS hard drives and a secondary 2TB hard drive, as well as a 1080P 17.3″ inch display with a 240Hz refresh rate. It definitely has the best CPU and a massive amount of memory and storage.

The TITAN’s weight and lack of portability is its main flaw, but if you can overlook that and its higher price, this is the most powerful system that money can buy.

ASUS ROG G703GX

Why You Should Consider: Best value

Price: $3,300

Weight: 10.2 lbs.

Specs:

  • Intel i9-9980HK CPU
  • 144Hz/IPS/G-Sync
  • 1920×1080 Screen
  • 32GB DD4 RAM
  • NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU

Once again, the ASUS ROG series comes out on top with this all-purpose workstation. The ASUS series is the best overall, especially when price is a factor. Falling just short of the TITAN’s processor, the G703GX helms an Intel Core i9-9980HK along with 32GB of DDR4 memory, as well as dual 512GB NVME SSD hard drives. The screen is a 17.3″ inch 1080P 144Hz display and comes with G-Sync Technology, a spec that the TITAN lacks.

Compared with other entries on our list, this machine is a more all-around, comprehensive laptop, providing everything you need for graphic intensive processing.

Today’s Best Desktops for Rendering

Though there are many who prefer the portability and economic pricing of a laptop for rendering, studios, professional freelancers, and independent artists are usually looking for more in their workstation than what a laptop can realistically provide.

In these cases, a desktop is the best solution. Because they are meant to be stationary, they don’t have the issue of being carried around nor do they have the limitations of weight or size. This freedom allows for more horsepower under the hood. In most cases, it’s also easier to customize and upgrade a desktop’s internal hardware.

The downside of buying a desktop for rendering is the initial cost, but if you are looking for the fastest, most powerful machine to take your 3D modeling to the next level, owning a desktop is definitely worth the investment. So which are the best choices for rendering in 2020? Check out our top five picks below!

(Note: All prices below are accurate as of the date of publication.)

Desktop Price CPU RAM Storage GPU
Lenovo Yoga A940 $2,099 Intel Core i7-8700 32GB DDR4 1TB RPM HDD + 256GB NVMe SSD AMD Radeon RX 560
Microsoft Surface Studio 2 $4,799 Intel Core i7-7820HQ 16GB or 32GB DDR4 1TB – 2TB SSD NVIDIA GTX 1080
Corsair One Pro $5,699 Intel Core i9-9920X 32GB DDR4 960GB SSD, 2TB HDD NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti
BIZON G2000 $6,390 Intel Core i9-9980XE 128GB DDR4 1TB PCIe SSD + 8TB HDD x2 NVIDIA RTX 2080
Acer Predator Orion 9000 $6,686 Intel Core i9-9980XE 64GB DDR4 512GB SSD + 2TB HDD NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti

Lenovo Yoga A940

Why You Should Consider: All-in-one budget price

Price: $2,099

Specs:

  • Intel Core i7-8700 CPU
  • 27” 4K UHD Touchscreen
  • 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • AMD Radeon RX 560 GPU
  • Dimensions: 635.76 x 475.23 x 227.58 mm

Most desktops are stand-alone machines, which means monitors usually are a secondary expense. However, this awesome workstation from Lenovo takes the designer’s needs into consideration. The Yoga desktop comes complete with an attached 27” 4K UHD tilting touchscreen that offers pen support for digital artists.

Its CPU core is from the Intel i7 series, meaning its integrated graphics system guarantees speed and power. This particular machine doesn’t use NVIDIA, but AMD for its GPU processing. The Radeon RX 560 is used in gaming computers which means it has an impressive display and robust refresh rate when rendering in real time. This is the least expensive machine on this list, so it’s quite the deal if you’re looking for something powerful on a budget.

Microsoft Surface Studio 2

Why You Should Consider: All-in-one best value

Price: $4,799

Specs:

  • Intel Core i7-7820HQ CPU
  • 28” PixelSense™ Display (4500 x 3000 resolution)
  • 16GB or 32GB DDR4
  • NVIDIA GTX 1080 GPU
  • Dimensions: 250 x 220 x 32.2 mm

Much like the Lenovo Yoga, the Microsoft Surface Studio 2 prides itself on being an all-in-one creative studio for the budding digital artist. The surface has always been in direct competition with the iPad, eliminating the need for a keyboard with touchscreen tablet technology, but the Surface Studio takes that concept to its rational conclusion. The hardware’s casing is also the monitor, showcasing a beautiful 28″ LCD display at 192 PPI resolution. 

Corsair One Pro

Why You Should Consider: Very high performance

Specs: $5,699

  • Intel Core i9-9920X CPU 
  • Liquid CPU/GPU Cooling
  • 32GB DDR4 RAM
  • NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti GPU
  • Dimensions: 200 x 172.5 x 380 mm

When it comes to the One Pro from the U.K.-based company Corsair, one of the world’s leading providers of high-performance consumer-grade gaming and streaming products, there is a good reason for the hefty price tag when compared with the Lenovo Yoga and Microsoft Surface Studio 2. 

Slightly larger than the size of a Sony PS4, it’s surprisingly compact. Touting an Intel i9-9920X 12-core processor, 32GB of DDR4 memory and the GTX 2080 Ti GPU, this beast is built for any and every possible processor-heavy task you throw at it from video editing and animation to graphic design, 3D modeling, and rendering. 

BIZON G2000 

Why You Should Consider: Unparalleled customizability

Price: $6,390

Specs:

  • Intel Core i9-9980XE CPU
  • Liquid Cooling System
  • 128GB DDR4
  • NVIDIA RTX 2080 GPU
  • Customizable Dimensions

To put things in perspective, BIZON’s monoliths of technology are used for deep learning and AI research at Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Allowing for a 2-GPU ready motherboard, multi-core CPU, 2 8TB HDD storage ports along with a 1TB PCIe Solid State Drive for storage space, these machines are built to last and perform complex operations in seconds.

BIZON workstations are made to order and can be outfitted and customized any way you want, from your SSD storage size to your choice of GPU. The experimental NVIDIA GTX 2080 SUPER 8 is even available to order. Be very careful, because your estimate can get very steep very quickly. For reference, the price above is actually only the starting price of a 4-GPU machine! 

Acer Predator Orion 9000

Why You Should Consider: Best performance 

Price: $6,686

Specs:

  • Intel Core i9-9980XE 18-Core CPU
  • IceTunnel 2.0 CPU Cooling Tech
  • 64GB DDR4 RAM
  • NVIDIA RTX 2080 Ti GPU
  • Dimensions: 700 x 298.95 x 642.87 mm

We mentioned the Acer Predator in our laptop recommendations above, but unlike their Triton 700 laptop, Acer’s desktop is exceptional in terms of speed, power, and versatility. Like the BIZON G2000, it also houses an Intel i9-9980XE CPU processor with 18 cores for overclockable and faster rendering times. You can even choose between 64GB or 128GB of DDR4 Quad-channel RAM. It also has a 512GB Solid State drive with an upgradeable 2TB HDD for storage. 

Customization may not be as readily possible as with the BIZON, but Acer’s Predator is fully equipped to cater to all of your design needs right out of the box.

Additional Considerations When Buying a Computer for Rendering

Don’t forget that GPU rendering comes down to software just as much as the hardware, and it doesn’t always take the world’s best computer to make your work come to life as efficiently as possible. All the laptops and desktops above can give you the processing power and graphic fidelity you’re potentially looking for, but there’s much more to consider if you want to streamline your workflow and improve your final renders.

We hope the comparisons above help you decide which computer is best for your needs and budget. Happy rendering!