Professional Grasshopper+Rhino-Workstation in 2021

Sorry for this very general question: I´m starting a business mainly focused on using Rhino+Grasshopper with simple models but complex/big grasshopper defintions (no rendering required). I´m very lost in the hardware world so can anybody can recommend a good professional workstation with a price range between 800-2000 €? Thanks!

Regards,

Paul

In my opinion, a professional workstation is not about performance, but about quality. Somebody who works 30-60 hours a day on a computer, creates lots of important data. You don‘t want to loose your computer if you are busy. Nor you want to get a back injury during that time. The only true performance critical part is the single core performance of your CPU, and maybe a decent GPU if you display lots of elements with quality shaders (if you do that). GPU Performance is not always related to rendering, but sometimes to large data, which is not unlikely to deal with. However, quality auxiliary hardware (ergonomic keyboard, mouse, a good screen, headset, chair and desk) is better than 50% faster computation. And a quality project management and backup/CI/cloud service may also require some money to spend. Im pretty sure you can get a sufficient performing PC for about 1200 €. The other 800 € I would invest on all the other things. A true quality workstation is much more expensive. But a Desktop PC is upgradable, so consider this when choosing energy supply and mainboard. But this is my personal opinion.

2 Likes

A “professional workstation” in that price range will be a low-end office PC with a jacked-up price, a “professional workstation” actually worth the name is if-you-have-to-ask-you-can’t-afford-it.

I think it’s a close enough rule to just look for a good “gaming PC” and it will run Rhino fine. It’s a close enough proxy unless you’re doing some weird specialized stuff. And then you have lots of experts on the Net to find advice–it’s not like we really know! It’s not like the olden days when if you didn’t upgrade your PC at least every 18 months you were in trouble, I maybe know a bit more than average about this stuff but I have no reason to keep up-to-date on what the best choice at prices X Y and Z are…and right today the best deal is the product you can actually find in the stores! If you judge by posts here the typical Rhino user is on a junky laptop that struggles to run it at all.

2 Likes

Impressive work ethic Tom!

4 Likes

I damaged my neck because I looked down at my laptop for several years. At the same time I damaged my right shoulder due to lack of support. l had to use Glisson loop to heal my neck. I placed a plank on my desk to support my right arm. I am thinking about buying Altwork computer workstation. (All users of these workstations have back pain.)

Altwork Flex workstation ($4950) has manual adjustments: Altwork Flex Series Adjustment Video - YouTube

Altwork Signature workstation ($7650) has mechanical adjustments: Altwork Signature Station Adjustments & Settings - YouTube

Altwork workstation reviews:

1 Like

Since you are doing simple models with large definitions

  1. I’d buy a CPU with fewer cores and higher clock speed. (Most GH operations are single threaded)

  2. Don’t buy expensive GPU. I’d stick with integrated graphics card. And wait for the prices to come down.
    Then you can add a GPU later.

  3. I agree on spending more money on ergonomics.4. something I never regret is buying a 3Dconnexxion space mouse (the cheapest) .

Good luck and can’t wait to see your work

1 Like

If your work is based around Grasshopper, and especially if you are using large definitions, aim to get a large screen (or possibly two fairly large screens) so you can see Rhino and Grasshopper at the same time - constantly sliding the grasshopper window off screen so you can see the Rhino canvas, then back so you can work on the definition is a real drag on productivity and quality.

1 Like

Grasshopper in general is more constrained by its architecture than any half-decent pc you’ll pick. The lack of a progress bar and the linking of most calculations to a single thread the rhino UI also operates from makes any operation that take more than a minute or two extremely unweildy as the whole windows just goes not responding I upgraded my main machine from a 5-year-old xenon to a Ryzen 3900x recently I really cannot say grasshopper feels any faster. Grasshopper 2 promises to solve a lot of that but that’s probs a few years out and any pc that has more than a single core should benefit when it comes out. Build a pc for Rhino not grasshopper and don’t expect a bump in speed from a new pc beyond key areas like rendering unless your current pc is very very slow.

Any sort of mid-range gaming pc will do you very well I’d target an AMD Ryzen 5800x, 32GB of ram and a 3060 or 3070 depending on budget once prices go down. As the above commentators said it might be worth going with an intel chip such as an Intel Core i7 10700K if you can’t get a video card for a good price and just rolling with the Igpu for the time being.

Can’t agree more.

Ups sorry, I wasn‘t aware this thread was posted on the planet earth version of this forum… I wouldn’t have posted it then, but I was still logged in from my last visit on sol.

Within Milky Way it is a common opinion that humans are kind of weird regarding their work ethic. They destroy their bodies and environment for decades and then they spend all their savings to fix that as soon as their enter their retirement. Half of the population don’t even have that option.
They argue that performance is everything, but look how long it takes for them to travel to another planet or replacing ancient space telescopes…

3 Likes

Well, I wouldn’t say it like this, although its kind of true. I have worked with Rhino on €15k+ systems and on a €700 Laptop running Rhino. And my experience is, that for the majority of tasks (excluding Rendering), there is not a huge difference regarding performance. Why? Because it’s much more likely that both of these systems are either too fast or too slow. Of course, the workstation version of a €1200 gaming PC likely costs €2400, just because of having quality parts. But if the budget is tight, it’s totally fine to go for a gaming PC and call that a “workstation”… For rendering, there are great alternatives on a low budget system. You could make use of a render farm, or you can use ai-driven denoiser. GPU prices are out of control, but I’m pretty sure you can buy a used one, and even a RTX 2060 will perform good enough. At least I don’t see the need to pay €1000 for a medium graphics card at the moment.
But of course you are right. In the end, nobody in this forum is a true expert. My experience is rather that hardware performance is overestimated. Especially if you work on Grasshopper, the software part becomes the bottleneck, and so the user. Even in vanilla Rhino, the way you model determines the performance requirements of your system to a great extent.

2 Likes

Well, we’re always being told in this very forum not to work “far from origin”.

3 Likes