Best Workstation For Unreal Engine
Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games Inc is one of the most powerful and graphically rich creation engines around today. It is powering huge titles such as Epic Games Fortnite, Lionhead Studios Fable Legends, CCP Games EVE: Valkyrie as well as enabling creators & developers to use this engine to visualise their designs in a digital space. It is no wonder Unreal Engine 4 is getting a lot of attention.
The industry-leading gaming engine has 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 is.
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 critical component. However, this is not the case. In fact, your processor will have a far more significant bearing on performance within the Unreal Editor.
When choosing your processor, you must consider how single-threaded or multi-threaded your application is. Individual tasks 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 fewer 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 projects 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 clockspeed 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 excellent clockspeeds.
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 a midrange to high-end NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPU. These Graphics cards will ensure you have exceptional performance and compatibility for traditional rasterisation projects or the very latest ray tracing techniques made possible with the latest NVIDIA RTX technologies.
When asked, are multiple cards in an SLI configuration is worth it for Unreal Engine 4? We advise people that our findings show that it often introduces instabilities and these risks to productivity far outweigh any potential performance gains you may have. Therefore, we recommend a single card for general Unreal Editor workflows, however, if you are developing a game and wish to include SLI support you may want to have an 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 on your particular requirements. We generally find that 32GB is sufficient for most users. 64GB should be considered for anyone working with 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 system’s storage drive. These drives are far slower than your RAM, and as a result, your performance will be drastically reduced. On the other hand, having too much memory will not improve performance but may increase costs dramatically because RAM is relatively expensive. This money could be better utilised by improving your processor or graphics card. If you have already developed 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 our customers 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 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 higher 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 general data storage.