Zbrush CPU Choice

Hi, the CPU I’m currently using is “Intel Core i5-6500 6MB Skylake Quad-Core 3.2 GHz”.
I’m getting too much lag when working in Zbrush.

I’m thinking of replacing the CPU. Does anyone have any suggestions on a good CPU
(AMD or Intel) max price: $540, Windows 10.

I’m hearing CPU prices will drop, does anyone know when this will happen?

Any help is appreciated.

Zbrush performs pretty well even on modest hardware. The first thing to determine is what you mean by “too much lag”, under what circumstances you’re experiencing it, and whether it’s actually the result of a hardware limitation, a software limitation, or an avoidable problem with your workflow. A little background might be worthwhile to determine if you’re, for instance, expecting too much performance out of too dense a polymesh.

Otherwise you could end up spending a lot of money on something that doesn’t really improve the situation all that much. Ive been a zbrush user for nearly 15 years under a number of different CPUs, and while better ones generally improve things, they never really make that drastic of a difference. There are certain things that diminish performance in zbrush that will always be problematic no matter what hardware you have, and it has practical limits in file size and polycount.

I realize it’s not what you asked, but I’d hate to see you buy pricey new hardware and find it doesn’t actually do very much to alleviate your issue.

Spyndel is absolutely right and I think he gave you the best possible practical advice. ZBrush works well even with modest and old computers, so I think your modern CPU should be more than enough. Actually it’s a very good processor.
If ZBrush is really slow I think the problem must be somewhere else. Maybe insufficient RAM? scratch disk too full? But I don’t think so either… Maybe something we can’t even imagine, there is a million ways things can go wrong.

Perhaps the issue is not related with hardware or your OS … Having a fast PC sometimes makes people fall into the temptation to subdivide (or increase dynamesh resolution) way too soon. For instance, if you have 12 million polygons and try to use the move brush with a very big radius size to block the main forms and shapes you might experience lag but this is normal, you are moving millions of polygons at once with simple brush stroke when at a lower subdivision it would be maybe a hundred. Generally speaking, if you reached 16 million polygons, you should probably be working on surface details and not on the big shapes. As Spyndel said, maybe " you are expecting too much performance out of too dense a polymesh". Using move elastic with a big brush size on a dense mesh will always be slow.

Now, it’s possible that you knew all this and just want to talk about PC components and what’s the best possible Rig for ZBrush…

Right now I think the best CPUs for ZBrush (inside the human affordable range) are probably the new AMD Ryzen 7 since ZBrush uses multi threading and these Processor have 8 cores and 16 threads. If you use Keyshot or another CPU based renderer all those threads will make rendering much much faster. The problem with this is you will have to change the motherboard as well so, if you just want to upgrade your system, maybe this is not an option for you. Without changing your Mother Board you can only upgrade by buying a Intel 6700 or 7700. I would go for the 7700 for 350$ and since you won’t need your CPU you could sell it.

The Ryzen 7 1700X has a great value but it’s still a 400 $ CPU, 8 cores but not cheap. AMD will release Ryzen 5 soon and they will be cheaper, 6 cores and 12 threads for around 250 $ for the 1600X. That sounds really good and you can find ASUS mother boards for ryzen for 100 $…And it seems the Fans AMD is including with their CPUs are great.

If you could sell your current mother board and CPU for, let’s say, 200/ 300 you might not need a lot more to upgrade to a ryzen 7 (400$ for 1700x + 100$ ASUS Mother Board). That is if you can fit the new MB in your case, use your current PSU, RAM,GPU etc… That should fit within your 540$ budget and even have some extra money for more RAM.

Also, I believe (but I am Not sure of this at all) that your windows 10 installation might be attached to your MB and it might not work. You would need a fresh installation and maybe even buy another Windows 10…

Now, It’s fair to say that I don’t own a Ryzen system and all I am saying is based on users reviews and benchmarks. Maybe some Zbrush users are already using Ryzen and want to share how it’s working for them. I have a i7 with 6 cores, I am happy, it is plenty for what I need etc… but I would totally change it for a Ryzen 7 if I had to build it today. I don’t think I would see any difference in ZBrush Performance but It would be more noticeable at rendering.

Hello guys,

Im planning on building a new system in a few months.
Im looking to ryzen with good eyes since is way cheapper than intel. probably an 1800x.
or perhaps, wait for the Ryzen 9 lineup with more cores and quad channel ram.

my questios, will be if there any benefit for Zbrush having more than 8 cores and more than 32gb of ram?

what is your experience so far with Rizen 7 ?


I just did a quick search for ryzen on the forum.
I’m seeing a couple of users who seem to be having some performance problems with ryzen (light and material related but also dynamesh).
It would be nice to hear from anyone else who uses ryzen: is it a widespread problem? does it affect every ryzen user?
Anyone with no problems on ryzen speak up please!


I don’t know how to fix it.

As I knew, Zbrush doen’t need too much VGA card resources? just need a large amount of Ram, and CPU?

I’m looking to upgrade to AMD as well. Is Threadripper be overkill? Would there be any real benefit to Threadripper over Ryzen 7?

Ryzen 7 is great! This is one of the best upgrades I’ve ever done by far. I’m glad that AMD made really good chip again. It’s good to see AMD making a comeback.

“It would be nice to hear from anyone else who uses ryzen: is it a widespread problem? does it affect every ryzen user?
Anyone with no problems on ryzen speak up please!”

I tested ZBrush with Ryzen threadripper and it has serious issues with Dynamesh and Decimation master. It seems like sometimes it uses just one core for these tasks… And this happens almost every time I tried but the weird thing is that in some rare occasions it doesn’t happen, it goes as fast as expected and uses all the cores… I updated the chipset with the last drivers and it seems to be working fine now but not sure if this is a permanent solution.

Other things like rendering, big size brushes on heavy meshes or performing subdivision seem to be fast making use of all the 32 threads but since Dynamesh is a essential feature in ZBrush and it doesn’t seem to work reliably for now I wouldn’t recommend using RYZEN for ZBrush.
Maybe there is a solution or maybe a future update will fix this problem but so far I didn’t find anything… disabling SMT didn’t make much difference and it affects performance in other areas.


Interesting. Thank you for the info. May I ask which motherboard you went for and if you updated using the chipset drivers from amd website or ones provided by the motherboard vendor?

My Mother Board is a x399 Gigabit Aorus. I installed the chipset drivers for Ryzen from the AMD website, the last revision number 18.10.b.


I can’t say for sure this is what fixed it but Dynamesh has been working fine since I installed it.

Maybe unrelated with the performance issues but… After installing the new chipset drivers now I have the option of AMD ryzen Balanced in the power plan.



Im planning on building a new pc and was wondering if Ryzen chips were still causing issues with zbrush…(specifically w the dynamesh and remesh…?


hey @scottart,

i contacted @dargelos via pm and he said he hasnt had a problem since he updated the amd drivers.