Graphics Workstations for Houdini

Understand the parameters that make an ideal Houdini workstation

What is Houdini?

Houdini is a 3D animation and special effects application. Houdini is designed for artists working in 3D animation and VFX for film, TV, video games and virtual reality. Houdini brings these worlds together into a single powerful platform.

What makes the best system for Houdini?

There is no one ideal system configuration for Houdini, as users will make different use of software - however, most systems will fall into one of two scenarios. The most common scenario is an all- purpose workstation that will be used to create and render a scene from start to finish, in which case you need to carefully balance the two most important components, the CPU and one or two GPUs in order to get good responsive content creation and rapid rendering.

Moving up from this is an organisation that requires faster rendering, such as a dedicated system in the corner of the office or a workstation that will left on overnight rendering. In this scenario a workstation with a single CPU and up to four GPUs will provide much faster rendering while still retaining the ability to create models and animations.

3XS Workstation

What CPU should I choose for Houdini?

As explained above, a system that will be used for a mixture of content creation and rendering needs to strike a good balance between CPU and GPU(s). Like most digital content creation applications Houdini performs best on a CPU with a high frequency and around eight cores, although more cores can be beneficial in some processes. We recommend starting with an AMD Ryzen 7 or Intel Core i7, upgrading to Ryzen 9 or Core i9 if budget allows. If you’re also going to doing heavy renders then an AMD Threadripper is a good choice as these have more PCIe lanes, enabling the system to support up to four GPUs.

What GPU(s) do I need for Houdini?

A fast GPU is crucial for a responsive DCC experience in Houdini, with more powerful models providing a more noticeable benefit when working with complex 3D models and high resolution textures. We recommend the NVIDIA RTX GPUs as a good starting point in the NVIDIA range, adding in more GPUs if budget allows if you’re also going to be rendering.

If you are considering a dedicated workstation for Houdini then we recommend consumer-grade NVIDIA GeForce RTX cards thanks to their outstanding value for money. However, if you’re also planning on modelling on the same workstation then it’s worth considering a professional-grade NVIDIA RTX GPU thanks to their larger memory buffer and certified drivers.

How much RAM is recommended for Houdini?

The minimum RAM that we recommend for Houdini is 32GB, upgrading to more memory if you’re working with large projects or multiple applications at once.

What storage does Houdini need?

We always recommend using an SSD for the boot drive that will host your OS, Houdini itself, and any active projects you are working on. The high speed of SSDs allows your system to boot, launch applications, and load files many times faster than any traditional hard drive. Alternatively, as your work projects increase you may want to consider a second SSD or higher capacity HDD - depending on your budget - so your OS, Houdini and live projects benefit from SSD speed, but your archived work uses the HDD where speed isn’t a necessity and costs can be lowered. Another archive solution could be to employ an external NAS device allowing sharing and RAID protection.

When it comes to deciding on drive capacity, this will very much depend on your number of files and the model sizes. You should also consider the space required by other applications and their associated files too.

Recommended Houdini Workstation Specifications

Workstation specifications
High-End Mid-Range Entry-Level
CPU AMD Ryzen Threadripper AMD Ryzen 9 / Intel Core i9 AMD Ryzen 7 / Intel Core i7
RAM 128GB 64GB 32GB
GPU Up to four NVIDIA RTX NVIDIA RTX NVIDIA RTX
Storage SSD + SSD SSD + HDD SSD

The Best Workstations for Houdini

Click the links below to view the range of graphics systems. We offer pre-configured systems that are ready to go or can custom build a system to your preferred specification.

Pre-configured workstations


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