Best hardware for Grasshopper

Hello everybody,

I’m going to buy a new desktop computer and I’d like to know what are the hardware requisites for optimum performance for Grasshopper, what should I look for in my new computer. Should I concentrate on the Graphic Card, the memory, the processors… ? There’s a post from 2012 but I think it mught be a bit outdated. I’m going to be working with big files with lots of surfaces, using lots of plugins and performing several operations at once, not so interested in rendering.
My current laptop has:

  • 16 GB RAM
  • Intel(R) Core™ i7-8750H CPU @ 2.20GHz 2.21 GHz (8th gen)
  • Nvidia Geforce GTX graphic card

What should I focus on for my new desktop computer?

Thanks in advance for your help.

1 Like

Especially in current days/months(/year?). For a set of reasons, GPU prices gone crazy. Building a pc today will easily means spending a lot of money for an overpriced GPU, probably even for a mediocre one.
(years ago I spent 300€ for a RX 580 8GB … in my country currently there are similar GPUs for 750€)

Grasshopper, like rhino (and most of other CAD softwares), will likely use 1 core/thread most of the time (not completely true, but that’s the concept).
So, differently from a rendering or other parallelized kind of tasks, you’ll want to search for a CPU that have a good “single thread performance”. See here: PassMark CPU Benchmarks - Single Thread Performance … more score your cpu has = faster computation on grasshopper/rhino.
Then, yes… better it be at least quad core.

At least 16GB (try to avoid the cheapest ones)

A dedicated GPU with at least 6GB memory … good luck!

Main drive
At least 256GB (?) … 500GB/1TB is wiser.
Must be a M2 NVMe SSD (also PCI-e) … also triple-check it is not sata
This will let you load OS and Rhino+Grasshopper+plugins at the fastest speed possible (sata speed today can be considered a bottleneck)

Ask for a friend to help you doing everything and/or see dedicated forums to get help about pc builds.

1 Like

Thank you Riccardo for your answer. Sorry for not replying earlier, these past days have been hectic.
I have been investigating a bit and I’ve come up with a possible setup, would you please tell me if you think it’s a good one or if I’m wasting my money? (Sorry if I make many mistakes with terminology, I know nearly nothing about computer hardware, just what I’ve read in a couple places over the years).

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-11700K @ 3.60 GHz (~400$ or so I’ve seen)
  • GPU: nVidia GeForce RTX 3070 (~520€, I don’t know if that’s too expensive for what I need, maybe a RTX 2060 for ~440€ is enough…)
  • RAM: I already have 16 Gb, so I’d like to get at least 32, don’t know if this is already too expensive
  • SSD: Samsung 860 EVO 1 TB (Or 500 Gb, I don’t know how much this affects the overall performance)

Ps. Thank you for the link, that was specially useful :smile:

Can you let me know where you can buy a RTX3070 for 520 Euros?

Regarding the rest:

Don’t forget the motherboard and power supply. For both you don’t want to get anything too cheap, because one is litereally the heart of everything and the other provides the power to run it all. Both together are easily 500 Euros for a setup like yours.

1 Like

I was checking in the nVidia official webpage (spanish version) and this is one of the links they provide to buy a RTX3070, I don’t know if that’s alright…

Okay, so we would be talking of a price around:

  • CPU: ~330€
  • GPU: ~520€ (if my link is correct)
  • RAM: ~210€ (Kingston HyperX Fury Black DDR4 3600MHz PC4-28800 32GB 2x16GB CL18, I don’t know if this is a good brand or not)
  • SSD: ~180€ (1 Tb, idk if that’s realistic)
  • motherboard + power supply: ~500€ (idk which models yet)

Total = 1740€ + assembly

Does this sound reasonable at all? I cannot stress how lost I am with all this :sweat:

NB everything I say is 3 years old (usually I gather information when i need to build a new pc…)

CPU: does it have a fan? (seems not?)
You need a cooler. Pick one that fits in your case. (you also need to add a case in the list)

GPU … nothing to add.

RAM: “real latency” is CL/frequency , the lower , the better. My 3yo ram is 14/3200 2x8GB.
Your is 18/3600, which seems worse, double capacity, but still “slower” (RAM latency affect CPU in strange ways, so not really relevant) … but still 200€… meh. Strange. I might be wrong somewhere.

SSD: 860 EVO is sata, please consider using a NVMe SSD as main drive.
Samsung 970 EVO NVMe is 150€ in italian amazon.
You’ll need a NVMe compatible motherboard.

Motherboard + power supply:

I agree, but 500€ seems an overkill.
3years ago I did buy the most expensive motherboard + a very good power supply unit for a total of 350€ … I can’t even understand how can you spend 500€ on mobo+PSU.

Also, an expensive motherboard is meant for overclock. If the user will never have any interest in that, you can straight up save 100€ minimum.
PSU same thing, you need a super serious one only if doing OC.
350€ if OC (still exaggerated, but better be safe)
250€ if non-OC
Raw concept ^ … get some help by a nerd friend irl

1 Like

Fair enough, maybe 500 is a bit much, but I just wanted to say that its a significant amount and those two are the 2 items I will normally not go cheap on.

Judging by the parts mentioned this is a fairly high end build, so for a motherboard you would definitely go for one with a Z390 chipset and those start at around 150 and go up to 250 for nicer ones.

For a power supply you want to go for one with plenty of headroom and good quality. That means in this case at least 600W and a Gold rating. Something like a Corsair RM650 costs around 100 Euros.

Alright, slightly exaggerated with the 500, but its a significant chunk non-the-less.

But as you say, don’t forget: a case (don’t go cheap on that either), a good cooler (ideally an all-in-one water cooler, that’s another 100 Euros) and bits and pieces.

Lastly, if you really want your stuff to last and have some insurance that it wont break during the next thunderstorm or electrical spike (one of the main reasons electronic devices break), you should get a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). APC BackUps Pro are my favourite and are a good investment. Your equipment that is behind it is actually insured against electrical failure then.

But what intruiges me most is that @CeliaGC says “I know nearly nothing about computer hardware”. then why are you contemplating building your own computer? Even if you don’t assemble it yourself that’s still a pretty high risk to have a DIY computer, yet know nothing about hardware.

I would advise you to get a ready-made PC. I have a CorsairOne as my work computer and have to say it runs flawlessly since day 1. I have built many PCs myself, but if it’s for work long term reliability and serviceability beats the relatively small savings you get when building yourself.


Well, the thing is I just want to know what are the technical features to look for in a computer, and then with that info I might go to some technician and ask him to build me one with those similar specifications, or just buy an already built one with similar assets.
Either way, this is also an exercise for me to dive into these things a bit more and learn more about this, I plan to keep working with computers for a long time and I’d like to know more about them. I tried to find info already posted on the forum but I could find anything up to date related specifically to grasshopper, only what’s best for rhino and rendering (although maybe I didn’t look for it well enough).

Thanks for your info, I’m reading it very carefully and it will be very useful :blush:

Fair enough, that’s good that you want to learn :slight_smile:

In terms of Grasshopper performance: As mentioned most of the things in Grasshopper (have to) run on a single core. That means of course you want a computer with a fast single-core CPU. But you have to be a bit conscious of the speed differences at the top, which are really tiny. So say your i7-11700K has a single-core score of 1,595 on Cinebench 23. The next smaller one the i5-11600K has a score of 1,564. That’s just a 2% difference and you will basically not notice a difference.

Just remember: optimising your definition is almost always guaranteed to give you much better speed improvements then better hardware.

Also the gains you get by going to the high end of essentially gaming hardware, only gives you marginal improvements. The higher end you go, the smaller the improvements.

So basically don’t get the highest end. Also, don’t get the latest model. It’s totally fine to get a good model from last year for a good price.

If you want single threaded performance you should look for a Ryzen 5000 CPU. They generally have a little bit better single threaded performance compared to the new 11th gen Intels. Also depends on the kind of workload/benchmark. If you factor in power consumption then RocketLake is no match for Vermeer aka Ryzen5000. I suggest you just read a few reviews.

Only if Rhino/Grasshopper makes heavy use of AVX512, Intel would be the better choice. Question to the devs: does Rhino or Grasshopper use AVX512?
Btw, the next Ryzen Generation (Zen4) is supposed to have AVX512 as well, which I consider a waste of precious die space (unless RH/GH make use of it).

Hi all, perhaps a bit late, but in the following link it is said that an NVIDIA Quadro GPU may be better for Rhino. Best!