Autodesk 3ds Max Hardware Requirements
Below are our recommendations on the best hardware configuration for 3ds Max.
ProcessorAll the design and animation aspects within 3ds Max are not highly multithreaded so they will favor a CPU that emphasizes frequency over the number of cores or processors. This suggests the 4-core i7 7700k running at 4.2GHz. However, CPU-based rendering engines such as V-Ray and Mental Ray are highly multithreaded. The more cores that are available on the CPU, the faster they will render a project. For 3ds Max, if the frequency of 2 CPUs is the same, an 8-core CPU will render almost twice as fast as a 4-core CPU. So in choosing the right CPU, you need to balance the amount of design and animation work you do in each project on the one hand with the amount of rendering on the other. If your rendering takes a lot of time, you should lean towards a high core CPU – at least 6 cores or more. If not, the fastest 4-core CPU you can afford will serve you better.
The video card in 3ds Max dictates how many frames per second (FPS) you will be able to rotate and zoom in and out of the projects you are working on. So the faster graphics card, the better the frames per second. Ideally, you want at least 30 fps for smooth, stutter-free zooming and panning. For projects with up to 6 million polygons, the Quadro M2000 or GTX 1050i will be more than sufficient. For projects that have more polygons, a Quadro M4000 or GTX 1070 is the right card. For animations that are more than 15 million polygons, an M5000 or M6000 or a GTX 1080 video card will give you smooth, stutter-free zooming and panning.
Although Autodesk has tested consumer GeForce Graphics cards with 3ds Max and found their performance to be trouble free, in Autodesk’s language, “it is Autodesk, NVIDIA, and AMD policy to only recommend and support the professional NVIDIA Quadro and AMD FirePro graphics family cards.” In Autodesk’s own testing however, Autodesk shows no “caveats & limitations” using GeForce cards and in practice, it’s clear from internet forums that many proficient 3ds Max users use consumer GeForce cards with no issues. You can see more details here.
Memory or RAM is the place that 3ds Max temporarily stores the projects it is working on. When 3ds Max runs out of RAM, it stores project data on the scratch disc of your choice. However, RAM is many times faster than even the fastest sold state drive so having sufficient RAM is crucial to stutter-free zooming and panning in projects. For most projects, 32GB of RAM should be more than sufficient. If you work with particularly complex projects 64GB of RAM makes more sense.
Hard Drive Configuration
In keeping with other content creation programs, 3ds Max works best with a 3-drive set up.
- The first drive is for the operating system and applications like 3ds Max. A solid state drive will ensure that the operating system and applications load quickly.
- The second hard drive can be used as cache or a scratch disc. This will enable you to for example zoom and pan through projects with minimal stuttering. NVMe drives are highly suitable for this function since they feature very fast sequential read and write speeds.
- A mechanical hard drive for storage. Mechanical hard drives still have a much better gigabyte per dollar ratio than solid state drives. In addition, current mechanical hard drives are sufficiently fast to render projects to.