Hardware... Does Xeon really make a difference compared to i7?


Hi there,

I’m an architecture graduate student and I work extensively with Rhino and Grasshopper. I’m about to buy a desktop PC for my work and was wondering if any of you guys have any experience with different hardware and could give me an advice regarding what CPU and GPU I should buy, preferably based on your actual experience.

I was under the impression that Intel Xeon processors are specifically designed to be server processors (mainly because Intel categorizes them as server products!) but I see my classmates paying $2000+ just to buy a workstation computer with a Xeon processor to make their renderings faster.

Does anybody know if Rhino / Grasshopper are actually designed to work better on Intel Xeon processors, or an equivalent Intel Core i7 processor will perform without any noticeable difference?

I was also wondering how much workstation GPUs can affect the rendering time AND quality (if any).

Thank you in advance for sharing your experience with me, I appreciate your time and help.


The only reason to get a Xeon is if you have the budget for two of them.

Your renderer has to support GPU acceleration to make any use of your video card at all, so that depends on what you’re using.


Rhino doesn’t support multicore,so a QuadCore is more than enough. I use a dual Xeon with 32 cores for rendering and if Rhino calculate something than it is using only a few percent of the CPU power. For Rhino you should look for highest clock speed, for example 4GHz or more.

GPU power … Rhino doesn’t use the power of modern game cards, because OpenGL problems. So it’s difficult to find the best card for heavy models, an old GTX 285 can be better often. But for general light/medium usage all cards should do the job,I would look for 2GB or more GPU memory. Some render plugins support GPU rendering and like fast game cards.