Computers are still the best choice for 2D and 3D animation.
Although laptops largely dominate the modern computer market, a laptop can not outperform a desktop, especially for animation purposes where the computational and compositional processes require a lot of RAM and there are GBs of files to render.
Animation companies like Pixar and Disney develop their films on powerful computers like the Apple Mac Pro and use render farms – “an interconnected cluster of computers that uses high-performance computing (HPC) to create computer-generated images.” (source)
A computer workstation is more powerful because you can add multiple hard drives and increase the number of ports, which is nearly impossible with compact laptops.
Requirements for a good computer for animators
To create high-quality animations, you need a powerful computer that can handle multiple computing processes simultaneously.
The following are the key specifications for an animation computer PC.
A processor is the elementary and functional unit of your computer. The performance of all your design tasks depends heavily on it. You should have at least a Core i7 or i9 or an AMD Ryzen 7 or 9 quad-core processor. More cores are always better.
If you are working with large animation files, you should opt for at least 64 GB of RAM. For smaller video files, 32 GB and even 16 GB are enough.
Built-in liquid coolers and system fans are recommended, as animation computers tend to overheat during prolonged use.
You’ll also need a monitor with a minimum resolution of 1440p and an accurate color display for designing colorful illustrations.
If possible, connect a second CRT screen next to your main monitor. Work on your animation designs on the high-quality screen and do your other regular tasks on the extra monitor.
If you are working on a large project (such as designing a 3D animated movie), you’ll need a system server, network-attached storage (NAS), and reliable data security software.
The computer accessories listed above are not cheap. But for high-quality work, we recommend you choose only the best.
A PC is your main investment as a graphic designer, and the quality of your animation is largely influenced by the computer system you use to create it.
Moreover, with the growth of the animation industry and its expansion into various fields such as entertainment, education, advertising, and medical research, your earning potential is unlimited.
Below are some of the best computer options for animators developed by world-class manufacturers.
Pro Tip – A gaming PC is a great option for a computer for animators.
The 4 Best Computers for Animators
Apple makes some of the most powerful machines used by reputable animation companies. And the Mac Pro is “extreme in every way.”
Apple defines the machine as “a system created to let a wide range of professionals push the limits of what is possible.”
The computer is a high-performance machine designed specifically for professional animators, 3D designers, and filmmakers.
The Mac Pro features an Intel Xeon processor with up to 28 cores and 64 PCI Express lanes for the highest bandwidth capabilities.
The workstation offers up to 1.5TB of memory and also six channels of super-fast ECCs and 12 DIMM slots.
The computer has several IO ports – “four Thunderbolt 3 ports, two USB-A ports, and two 10Gb Ethernet ports.”
In addition, the device has many exceptional Apple-patented technologies designed specifically for animators and creatives.
You can pair the system with Apple’s 32-inch Pro Display XDR, which offers a contrast ratio of 1,000,000:1 and a color gamut of over a billion with 6K clarity.
Learn all about the display here.
Dell is second in the line of supercomputer manufacturers next to Apple. Its Alienware Aurora R15 is the latest and most powerful (gaming) desktop, perfect for the animation industry and its demanding applications.
The R15 is powered by a 13th-generation, 24-core i9 processor that can run extensive animation software.
It features the best NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090 graphics card available for optimal graphics output.
The computer has a 32 GB DDR5 Ram and a 512 GB NVM SSD hard drive and supports multiple OI ports and slots.
We recommend pairing the system with the Alienware 34 OLED monitor, which has an infinite contrast ratio and displays excellent color quality.
Note – The mouse and keyboard are not included with the desktop and must be purchased separately.
Click here for product details and tech specifications.
Although HP specializes in home computing systems and accessories, the OMEN Obelisk series is its entry into the high-performance animation and gaming computer market.
The latest Omen 30L model has great specs and quality components, but you can not compare it to Apple’s Mac and Dell’s Aurora R15.
Note – The Omen 30L is good for short animation projects. If you are a professional animator working full-time, you should go for the two models above.
The 30L is equipped with an Intel i9 3.6 GHz 10-core processor and guarantees super-fast speeds with minimal to no lag.
It features an 8 GB NVIDIA 3070 graphics card that excels for optimum output feed of graphics.
The model has 16GB and 512 GB SSD and a 2TB SATA HDD for additional storage.
If you want more speed, you can remove the secondary storage hard drive and expand the 512 GB SSD to 1 TB.
We recommend pairing the machine with the HP U28 4K monitor if you are using the PC exclusively for graphic design and animation. If not, then any HP gaming monitor will do.
For full specifications and price, click here.
Skytech Gaming makes budget PCs for gamers, and the Blaze 3.0 series is their most successful line.
For animation purposes, we recommend the series’s high-end 3700X | 3080 model.
The computer’s powerful Ryzen 7 3.6 GHz processor can handle complex 3D animation and rendering.
It comes with a 10 GB graphics card. Although Skytech usually prefers the NVIDIA brand, but it is not guaranteed. You can get a graphics card with the same specifications from another brand.
You get an advanced gaming keyboard and mouse with the PC, but we recommend something simple for animations.
The system comes with a 1TB SSD hard drive (Gen4) and 16GB of RAM. Compared to other PCs, this model offers plenty of storage and a fast SSD for quick access to project files.
You can pair the Blaze 3700X with any high-resolution display that can accommodate all your work tools. We recommend the LG UltraGear QHD 27-inch monitor with sRGB 99% and a refresh rate of 144Hz.
Click here to learn more about the OI ports and other connectivity options.
The computers for animators reviewed above are the best models and are developed by renowned manufacturers.
Some of them are very expensive, but they guarantee high-quality animations.
You do not have to buy all the parts according to the specifications mentioned by the seller. You can select and deselect the accessories depending on the requirements of your animation project.
Alternatively, you can design your own computer.
Check out the article “Building the Best PC for 3D Animation” by Alex Glawion. The author has done a good job specifying all the parts you need and suggesting the best options.