From time to time I get asked what hardware and GPU I’m using for DAZ Studio, as well as for gaming. Rather than typing it out every time, I thought I’d make a handy post that I can refer interested parties to. This is that post 🙂
UPDATE: My configuration is about to change. I’ve just finished building a second Z600 as a backup to the configuration below, and I’m in the process of building a Z800 Workstation as my main rig, including a new RTX 2080 GPU. I’ll update the specs below soon.
I’m using a (rather old) HP Z600 workstation for rendering and PC gaming. I picked it up for a song (about $170) in 2016 from eBay, after a discussion with Jonstark on the Carrara Forums.
It has two Intel Xeon E5560 quad-core CPUs working in tandem, which means the CPU alone can use 16 threads for rendering. It came with 4GB of stock RAM, to which I’ve added an additional 16GB, which means today it has 20GB in total. I also added a USB 3 card and a USB WiFi dongle for network connectivity.
The fastest GPU I could find that would fit into the Z600 (vintage 2009) midi tower case was a GeForce GTX 970 graphics card made by ZOTAC, with 4GB of RAM. I bought it specifically for use with DAZ Studio, which requires an NVIDIA compatible card for the Iray rendering engine.
What makes Iray tick (and render fast) is a metric called CUDA cores. The more of those a GPU has, the faster it can render. Mine has 1664, which at the time was quite impressive. It was $199 when I bought it on Amazon in 2016.
The Z600 came with a Windows Vista license, but I’ve installed Windows 10 Pro on it pretty much immediately. It needs the Pro version because it has multiple CPUs, which cannot be addressed by the Home version.
You can read more about how I built this system here.
I have a number of input devices attached to my system. I use a mixture of super cheap and cheerful devices, as well as expensive gadgets to get the job done:
- Logitech M325 Wireless Mouse
- Logitech K360 Wireless Keyboard
- Microsoft Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for Windows
- Elgato Stream Deck (15 key edition)
- Wacom Intuos 4 Wireless (occasionally)
I also have a several games consoles in current use:
- Playstation 4 (Slim)
- Playstation 3 (Super Slim)
- Nintendo Wii (with WaveBird wireless GameCube controller)
Aside from the above, I also use the following:
- a quad Mac Mini 2012 (on my desk)
- 27″ Thunderbolt Display (on my desk)
- two quad core Mac Minis 2012 (in Las Vegas)
- Microsoft Surface Pro (First Generation, often on my desk)
- 3x GoPro cameras (HERO 4 Silver and 2x HERO 5 Black)
- Blue Yeti microphone
- Logitech C930e Web Cam (main)
- Logitech C922 Pro Stream Web Cam (secondary)
- various iOS devices
- various lapel microphones
- Bose Soundlink II Speaker
- 2x 27″ Acer S271HL Monitors (one for me, one for my wife’s desk)
- a MacBook Pro 2011 when I’m out and about