Maya by Autodesk is one of the main professional computer graphics software packages in the CG industry today. The program first saw the light of day in 1998 and remains a stalwart tool to this day. best computer for maya
The pedigree of the software cannot be denied. Maya has been used to provide visuals in some of the most iconic films in history. Including The Matrix and Avatar. Two films that changed the face of VFX forever and ushered in 21st century visual effects. Today Maya is used industry-wide in both film and television, with big-budget TV series such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead making liberal use of the software.
Maya is known for its advanced effects. These include realistic fluid, fur, hair and cloth simulation. Thanks to its specific use in film and television Maya also has tools that detect camera tracking and motion and composites onto film with relative ease.
While Maya will of course eat up as much computational power as you are willing to throw at it, not every Maya workstation needs to be a high-end behemoth. It all depends on which parts of the CG workflow a given workstation is intended for. best computer for maya
Maya for Modeling and Animation only
The bulk of the CG workflow is actually done with only basic wire frames and low-quality placeholder textures and models. These computers only have to deal with wire frames, scene-setting exercises or interactive previews and editing that do not have any fancy rendering in real time. You may need many of these and only a few dedicated high-end rendering machines, depending on the way your team is structured. The most effective way to set up machines meant for these tasks is to have a good mid-range professional GPU and the fastest single-socket solution you can get.
CPU & GPU Modeling, Animation and Rendering
These days the massively parallel power of GPUs are being harnessed to enable you to have a tiny render farm right on your desk. These systems feature multiple GPUs to accelerate certain types of rendering tasks significantly. best computer for maya
Operating systems supported by Maya:
Microsoft Windows 10 Professional
Like most software developers, Autodesk maintains a list of system requirements for Maya that can be used to help ensure the hardware in your system will work with their software. However, this “system requirements” list only covers the very basics of what hardware is needed to run the software, not what hardware will actually give the best performance. Because of how inconsistent those lists can be, we’ve taken the time to perform testing to determine what hardware run Maya the best. Based on this testing, we have come up with our own list of recommended hardware for Maya. best computer for maya
The majority of design tasks in Maya (including creating, modifying, and animating 3D models) are only able to utilize a single CPU core. That makes a high frequency CPU, regardless of the core count, an ideal choice for these tasks. Our Design & Animation workstation focuses on this type of workload.
However, many types of rendering engines – like Arnold, which is included with newer versions of Maya, as well as Mental Ray, V-Ray, Keyshot, and others) – are highly efficient at utilizing a high number of cores. In fact, most of these engines scale almost perfectly… which makes a CPU with twice the number of cores almost twice as fast. That is what our second recommended system is built for, as its name implies: Rendering Optimized. best computer for maya
- Intel Core i9 9900K 3.6GHz (5.0GHz Turbo) 8 Core – This is one of the highest clock speed CPUs available, and tops the charts for single-core performance in Maya. If you do a significant amount of rendering, though, its smaller core count will be a limiting factor.
- Intel Core i9 9980XE 3.0GHz (4.5GHz Turbo) 18 Core – The 9980XE is one of the fastest single-CPU processors for rendering, and thanks to high single-core turbo speeds it is only a little slower than the 9900K for general modeling and animation.
- Arnold for Maya CPU Comparison: New 14, 16, and 18-core Skylake-X Processors
- Arnold for Maya CPU Comparison: Skylake-X vs Threadripper
Video Card (GPU)
When creating, editing, and animating models in Maya, the video card is a large part of how many frames per second (FPS) the viewport is able to display the model at. A higher FPS will result in a smoother and overall better experience when rotating, zooming, or panning around the model you are working on. In general, 30 FPS is considered a minimum acceptable framerate, while 60 FPS is ideal.
With recent versions of Maya, Autodesk has included both Quadro and GeForce cards in their lists of supported GPUs. However, they differentiate between the two in that they call the Quadro cards “Certified” while the GeForce are only “Tested”. Because of this, our recommended systems both default to NVIDIA Quadro models. For the times when using a GeForce card takes priority over official Autodesk support, like game development or GPU-based rendering, we do list GeForce options as well. best computer for maya
While the exact amount of RAM you need is going to depend on your particular projects, for Maya we generally recommend a minimum of 16GB. Very complex scenes may need up to 32GB of RAM, although it is rare for Maya to require more than 32GB.
However, if you will be doing a large amount of complex, high resolution rendering, you may need 64GB or even more RAM.
Storage (Hard Drives)
With the falling costs associated with SSDs, we almost always recommend using an SSD for the primary drive that will host your OS and the installation of Maya itself. The high speed of SSDs allows your system to boot, launch applications, and load files many times faster than any traditional hard drive. If your budget allows, it is also a very good idea to have a second SSD that can be used to store your active projects to further decrease load and save times.
Since SSDs are still more expensive than traditional drives per GB, for long term storage we recommend using a traditional hard drive (or two if you need even more storage!). Using a SSD can be useful in some situations, but most of the time the high performance of an SSD is simply not required for a storage drive.