Best Computer Workstation For Unreal Engine 4

Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games Inc is one of the most powerful and graphically rich creation engines around today. Powering huge titles such as Epic Games Fortnite, Lionhead Studios Fable Legends, CCP Games EVE: Valkyrie as well as enabling architects to use this engine to visualise their designs in a digital space. It is no wonder Unreal Engine 4 is getting a lot of developers attention.

Having exceptional graphical capabilities combined with an intuitive user interface and fantastic capabilities for creating Virtual Reality projects compatible with today's major VR players, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. It is easy to see why Unreal Engine 4 has become one of the most popular creative engines on the planet, however hardware recommendations are hard to come by. Therefore, even if you are a new beginner learning on this platform or if you are already an experienced developer, you may be asking yourself... What is the best computing hardware to get the most out of Epic Games, Unreal Engine 4?

The first place you may check would be the system requirements page published on the Unreal Engine website. But like so many software vendors these pages only tell you the minimum hardware you should consider using to run the software. It will not tell you what the optimum configuration would be.

So, what is the optimised computer configuration for Unreal Engine 4?

Most users wanting to develop a project with the Unreal Engine are usually wanting to create something visually stunning and therefore you may think that graphics will be the most important component. This is actually not the case. In fact, your processor will have a far bigger bearing on performance within the Unreal Editor.

When choosing your processor, you must consider how single-threaded or multi-threaded your application is. This means how many tasks your application can do at once. Individual task or single threaded tasks benefit from higher clock speeds whereas multi-threaded tasks benefit more from higher core counts. Unreal Engine 4 is predominately a single threaded application and therefore benefits from processors with less cores and threads as they tend to have higher clock speeds. That said certain areas of Unreal Engine 4 such as building lighting and compiling the engine from source are very highly optimised for multi-threading and therefore benefit greatly from more cores and threads.

When selecting your processor, you should consider your particular workload. If you are working on smaller products which do not require intensive building of lighting or compiling then you should select an Intel Core i7 with lower cores and threads and a fast clock speed as this will give you the very best performance in other areas such as FPS and viewport responsiveness. This option will also save you some money compared to the higher core count processor options. If the multi core aspects of Unreal Engine 4 are your bottleneck then you are best off going for an Intel Core i9 as these processors have a nice balance of multi core functionality and maintain very good clock speeds.

The next most important component for Unreal Engine 4 is your graphics card

Unlike other professional applications Unreal Editor does not use the GPU for any compute capabilities and solely uses your graphics card for display output to your screen. With this in mind a higher end graphics card will only benefit your frames per second (FPS) in your viewport, as well as in games.

Customers therefore may wish to focus their budget more towards their processor than graphics to feel the most benefits. We would recommend an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 or higher if you wish to build projects with the traditional rasterization process. These graphics cards are also more than powerful enough to power your virtual reality projects as well.

If you wish to build your projects with the very latest and newly supported ray tracing techniques, then we recommend the new NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics cards to ensure compatibility for this type of workload.

We are often asked if multiple cards in an SLI configuration is worth it for Unreal Engine 4? We find that this often introduces instabilities and these risks to productivity far outweigh and potential performance gains you may have. Therefore, we recommend a single card for general workflow with Unreal Editor however, if you are developing a game and wish to include SLI support you may wish to have a SLI configuration for testing but disable the SLI when not using it.

How much System Memory (RAM) is required?

The specific amount of RAM needed is highly dependent of your specific requirements. We generally find that 32GB is sufficient for most users. 64GB should be considered for anyone working with particularly large projects or those wishing to future proof their system.

Not having enough memory in your system can dramatically reduce performance as your system will have to go through a process known as "paging out" to your systems storage drive. These drives are far slower than your RAM and as a result your performance will be reduced. Having too much memory however will not improve performance and as RAM can be relatively expensive this money could be better allocated to improving your processor or graphics card. If you already develop projects using Unreal Engine we recommend opening your projects and viewing your memory usage within Windows Task Manager to determine how much system memory you require.

What Storage Drive Configuration is Best For Unreal Engine 4?

We recommend to our customers to use what is known as a Solid State Drive for their primary storage drive. These types of storage drives are dramatically quicker than a traditional Hard Disk Drive and users will notice a massive increase to their systems responsiveness and a reduction in project and operating system load times. They tend to be more expensive per GB than traditional drives and as a result we recommend they they are used solely for your operating system, applications and active project files.

We also recommend a slower traditional Hard Disk Drive as a secondary drive for long term storage. They have much greater total storage capacities at a more reasonable price. For those wanting the very best performance available then they should consider using the latest M.2 NVMe type Solid State Drives for their Operating System a second Solid State Drive for their project files and a large capacity Hard Disk Drive for long term storage.

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