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What are the best desktops for unity development? The name Unity as software is most commonly associated with video games, among other kinds of usage.
While playing games is an interesting way to pass time or earn bread, there are those like you who do all the hard work while developing them.
One of the many reasons for which game developers use Unity is its utility for creating both 3D and 2D video games.
It has many features that make it suitable for beginners, as well as professionals who need to work on complex projects.
So here is something that would help you find some great desktop options if you plan on developing projects using the Unity Engine.
- Desktops for Unity Development – Price (Top Picks)
- What is Unity?
- Minimum & Recommended Configurations for Unity
- 5 Best Desktops for Unity Development:
- Buyer’s Guide for Best Desktops for Unity Development
Desktops for Unity Development – Price (Top Picks)
What is Unity?
Unity is a product of Unity Technologies, launched in 2005 to allow developers easy access to game developing software.
Though it started as a Mac OS X special developing engine, it’s now available for 25+ other operating interfaces and platforms.
Ever since 2005, Unity has gone through several developments, almost as frequently as every other year, and currently has tons of support and functionalities.
The reason why it is so popular is that it allows users to create games in 2D and 3D, and is a cross-platform game engine.
Meaning that you may use it to create games for the most popular platforms like iOS, Android, Mac, PlayStation, Windows, open-source systems like Ubuntu, and much more.
No matter if you have just begun or have been in the industry for quite some time, it has all the tools that you’d need.
And not just video games, the software can be used for a lot of other stuff too, like architectural designing, animation, running various kinds of visual simulations, and so on.
However, with the slashing of Boo and Java from the list of programming languages needed for coding in Unity, you must have a good hold over C # (C-sharp). It is the only programming language that the software supports currently.
It is almost similar to Unreal Engine’s C++, but unlike it, C# is easier to learn.
Minimum & Recommended Configurations for Unity
As per the Official Unity Webpage, it is mentioned that with an x86 or x64 supported CPU with an SSE2 instruction set, and a GPU with DX10 or DX11 or DX12 support, one should be able to use Unity.
You should be able to get an elaborate idea from the guide, but for now, here is what we think the kind of specs would be good.
Recommended System Requirements: Ryzen 7 3700X or better processor │ NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 or better GPU │ 16 GB or more RAM │ 512 GB or bigger SSD/ additional storage
5 Best Desktops for Unity Development:
1. CUK Mantis Gaming PC – Best Overall
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- Processor: Intel Core i9-11900KF
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- RAM: 32 GB
- Storage: 512 GB SSD + 2 TB HDD
- Capable of delivering high performance
- Top-end specs
- Good warranty period
- High-end variants are very costly
- A few more USB ports would have been better
- Can be noisy under a workload
To kick off our list, we have this mighty desktop from CUK, the Mantis that comes with top-of-the-line specs. This is one of the topmost variants of the device and hence comes with a hefty price tag too.
Make no mistake, it is no less than a workstation, positioned far above the average desktop race.
The features are delightful- a 11th gen Intel Core i9 CPU clocking a high frequency of 5.3 GHz on a few of its 10 cores with turbo-boosting.
Then comes the latest NVIDIA RTX 3060 GPU with a VRAM of 12 GB and upwards of 3500 CUDA cores.
It is thus able to handle even the heaviest amounts of graphics you throw at it and would make sure you’ll be able to continue with heavy renderings smoothly.
However, the price tag might make you frown and a build with these specs would just have been better, if not for the 3-year warranty CUK has offered.
So overall this is a great desktop that can handle intense requirements, leaving little chance of complaints about even the heaviest of Unity development. Check out CUK Mantis Gaming PC Review.
2. SkyTech Blaze 3.0 – Runner up
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- RAM: 16 GB
- Storage: 1 TB SSD
- Good performance
- Decent specs
- No bloatware installed
- Loud fans are an issue under full load
- No USB Type-C port
- Heating issues often
A top-end RTX GPU might make tons of difference in your desktop’s performance in Unity, but its price and availability can be a hindrance to most.
However, you can still opt for a good system, like this one from SkyTech which is known to provide great value.
We are talking about the RTX 3080 here present in the SkyTech Blaze 3.0, and it is by no means a cheap or low-powered desktop.
The 10 GB GPU is even better than the RTX 3070 present in the Mantis, and hence is one of the best as of now.
For the other specs of the desktop, it has a Ryzen 7 3700X CPU with 8 cores, 16 threads, and a base frequency of 3.6 GHz.
It goes up to 4.4 GHz with a turbo boost, providing better performance when necessary without tampering with system stability.
You can upgrade either so more can be added if the need arises.
The case used is not too big, and there are 3 RGB fans along with an AIO cooler for managing thermals.
The system tends to heat up, so adding a few more fans to the rig shouldn’t be a bad idea. Check out SkyTech Blaze 3.0 Review.
3. HP OMEN 25L Gaming Desktop – Solid Processor and GPU
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 7 3700X
- Graphics: AMD Radeon RX 5700
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- RAM: 16 GB
- Storage: 512 GB SSD + 1 TB HDD
- User-friendly design
- Capable of handling VR projects
- Affordable pricing
So you need something that provides both performance and good value, and the OMEN 25L fits the description.
It has got a Ryzen 7 3700X CPU, just like the Blaze 3.0. What makes a difference in the overall performance of the two desktops is the GPU.
The OMEN 25L has got an RX 5700 AMD video card, one of the best budget video cards from team AMD.
Then you have 16 GB of RAM, along with a 512 GB of SSD and a 1 TB hard drive. This is enough initial storage, which should last quite some time before an upgrade.
The same can also be said for the RAM, which lets you work on heavy projects, and seriously multi-task. Mid to high range rendering and coding on Unity would be great with the given specs.
The case allows a lot of airflow for good cooling and there is decent connectivity on the desktop as well. Check out HP OMEN 25L Gaming Desktop Review.
4. SkyTech Shadow 3.0 Gaming Desktop – Bloatware-free RTX Experience
Bottom Line: This is the 2nd SkyTech option on the list, so it had to be good. As for running Unity, it is surely so. And the absence of any bloatware makes it even better.
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 3600
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- RAM: 16 GB
- Storage: 1 TB SSD
- Decent specs for mid-range game development
- Justifiable pricing
- Almost no bloatware
- Issues with hardware at times
- Connectivity could have been improved
- Cooling can be an issue
The SkyTech Shadow is currently one of the best desktops on a budget, and the specs it has are worthy of the price tag.
Even with the added labor and problematic warranty that comes when building a PC on your own with the same specs, you wouldn’t notice much of a price difference.
The SkyTech Shadow 3.0 comes with a Ryzen 5 3600 processor, with a clock rate ranging from 3.6- 4.2 GHz, before overclocking that is.
There are 6 cores and 12 threads in it, and although a relatively cheaper processor, its performance is still impressive.
The GPU in this is an RTX 2060, and this combination ensures effective handling of mid-range workload on Unity.
Also, the 16 GB of RAM present in it allows smooth processing. The 1 TB of storage space is not very big but gets things done in the initial days at least. You may add some more storage for more convenience later if needed.
One of the drawbacks that we think it has is regarding connectivity. It’s not that it doesn’t have the ports that you need, but there was a scope of improvements.
This is a PC that is great for rendering at 1080p, but beyond that there are hiccups.
So as long as you aren’t working on extremely heavy 1440p projects, this is a decent pre-built option to have. Check out Skytech Shadow 3.0 Review.
5. HP Pavilion TG01 Gaming Desktop – Value for Money
- Processor: Intel Core i5-10400F
- Graphics: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
- OS: Windows 10 Home
- RAM: 8 GB
- Storage: 256 GB SSD
- Affordable pricing
- Decent entry-level specs
- Compact size
The options above are good, but also costly, and not everyone requires such high-end specs. So the last desktop on this list is for beginners especially, or those of you who specialize in creating simpler games.
The 8 GB of memory in this HP desktop is available in a single slot. However, there is an additional slot so that the RAM can be upgraded to 32 GB.
The storage present on this is 256 GB, and since the drive is an SSD, it is speedy.
However, the storage space would have to be expanded very soon. You may replace the M.2 SSD with a bigger one, as well as add hard drives in the free 3.5″ bays provided in it.
The overall size of the desktop is quite compact, which means easy storage on the plus side. However, it does restrict upgrades, regarding the GPU mainly.
The desktop handles a decent amount of workload on Unity but is capable of a lot more, given that you make some minor upgrades. Check out HP Pavilion TG01 Gaming Desktop Review.
Buyer’s Guide for Best Desktops for Unity Development
As we said, there are different things that you can use the Unity Engine for. Even though it is primarily known for game development, it still has other areas of usage too.
Any sort of development on Unity has to be based on some idea and applied in a specific environment.
This requires a set of skills on the developer’s end and so certain specs must be present on the desktop he uses to work.
But does this mean that you’d have to spend thousands of dollars to buy an extreme kind of desktop? Not really.
A mid-end setup might just be advantageous when you want to see how the software performs in real-time on a consumer’s computer.
But it won’t render as fast and the performance of high-end games would suffer even more.
A premium setup lets you work smoothly and the neediest projects can be handled with ease, including video games. You also get to run better simulations and other benefits.
But that would also come at a premium price tag, and those who work with a lighter workload do not need such specs.
We have talked about things related to this and much more below that should help you sort out the right hardware.
The choice of the OS here is somewhat easy since Unity is supported by a variety of platforms.
This means that you can use a Mac, a Windows desktop, or even a Linux-based system to run it, without any such issues whatsoever, though each has its comforts and problems.
Unity did not have a separate version for Linux until very recently, although it does now.
It needed some tweaking and separate software in the past to run Unity on a Linux-based system, but things are easier today.
The Unity Editor exists especially for Linux, but some issues are still being worked on.
The OS being inherently fast, rendering times on a Mac are often lower than that on Windows.
However, it is more suitable if you make games for iOS or the Mac platform specifically. Also, an iMac today with good specs is itself quite expensive, and yet you might have to use an external GPU for graphics.
This is why the majority of developers use Windows as the primary operating system to use Unity. It has better hardware support, and a much lower price making sure that even beginners can afford it.
There are typical problems too, but its importance remains the same nonetheless.
So it can safely be said that whichever OS you choose, as long as you are personally comfortable with it, can be used as a primary platform to use Unity.
Other things like budget and hardware preference have a role to play here though.
You’d be surprised to know that running Unity is possible on a decent entry-level system, as well as the most expensive setup you can get your hands on.
Notwithstanding popular opinion, you do not need to have a sky-high budget to start developing games using Unity, and it all comes down to your preferences.
So this means as a beginner, it would be right to start working on a mid-range system, one with a fast enough CPU, a few gigs of dedicated VRAM, and other specs.
You may as well start on a lower configuration, but with time, most of the components would have to be upgraded.
Now for those of you who have some experience or complicated projects to work on, better specs are surely necessary.
Also, if you have taken up game development as a profession, then it becomes important to invest in a smoother system.
This brings us to the next section of the guide, related to the main hardware aspects of the desktop.
If you look at the official recommendations, any CPU with an SSE2 instruction set is suitable for the Unity Engine. However, it does not make things any easier and rather creates a whole new group of confusion.
While we wouldn’t bore you with the details of what the SSE2 is about, we can safely say that the modern processors based on the x86 architecture can be used to run Unity. This refers to any AMD Ryzen or Intel Core CPU.
For mainstream users, a high clock rate and multiple cores and threads on the CPU can be quite useful when working on the software.
Make sure you do not miss out on either, since both of these qualities would be needed not only for running Unity but other stuff related to it.
Thus, most of Intel’s Xeons and AMD’s Threadrippers are already out of the question since they are not balanced in terms of CPU core count and clock rate. The other advantages they have are not worth the hefty price tag in this instance.
Unity is mostly single-threaded, but this doesn’t mean the spare cores on your CPU would go unused.
There are certain applications in the engine that are multi-threaded too, like baking, and compiling large code, hence even 8 cores might feel insufficient under an intense workload.
You can get a quad-core Ryzen 3 CPU for starters, or go as high as the new Ryzen 5000 series which have up to 12 cores and 24 threads.
The latest Intel CPUs have a high frequency just with the native turbo-boosting, which can make a lot of a difference in the overall performance.
There are thus several good Intel options too and although at a higher price, the higher frequency on them can be advantageous in certain scenarios.
But not all of these are overclockable, and those that are, need dedicated motherboards that allow overclocking.
While the CPU requirement for Unity is somewhat passable with even the lightweight processors, the same cannot be said for the GPU.
Surely you may not use a GPU at all and rely on integrated graphics present on your Intel CPU or Ryzen APU entirely. But the quality of projects and finished results would then be limited.
Any average game developer today has at least a 2-4 GB video card installed, while those working with intense or PC games need even more.
Not only that, but a GPU would also come in handy in other things related, like making a trailer or teaser video of your game. That when done on a higher resolution would need some considerable amount of system resources.
Animation or any graphically-intensive development on Unity requires a lot of VRAM. In certain cases, an RTX 3000 series GPU makes the most sense.
These RTX cards are by far the best, and if you can afford one, it would do wonders. You may have noticed that most of the desktops on our list have RTX GPUs.
These with their large amounts of VRAM, thousands of CUDA cores, and hundreds of tensor cores can provide additional power and effects to your projects.
But those are not affordable for everyone, and hence other options need to be considered too.
A good mid-range GPU would be light on your pocket and still be able to deliver the desired amount of performance for tasks at Unity.
Those in the likes of a GTX 1660 Ti, RTX 2060, and other AMD GPUs are excellent options.
Any lower, and you have the GTX 1650 or AMD’s Radeon 5500 XT. These are powerful enough and can handle some low to mid-level renderings.
AMD or NVIDIA?
A point of confusion that many beginner developers face is which GPU brand makes more sense.
The honest answer is NVIDIA since it has some added functionalities like ray-tracing, which the AMD cards cannot yet handle that well.
Although, AMD GPUs are cheaper, and are still great choices for an entry or mid-level system dedicated to Unity.
NVIDIA still dominates the upper-end development, and there are no two ways about it.
The next thing to take care of is the amount of RAM your desktop would need.
The CPU and GPU are only good when there is enough free memory available for all the work to be done, and the importance of RAM is more than you think.
Like any other intensive software, Unity also relies on a solid amount of RAM to process all the inputs and calculations.
Things like light baking in Unity itself and other multi-tasking without a system crash is only possible when there is ample RAM present.
The right amount of RAM would be 16-32 GB, which should last for quite some time without an upgrade.
Although, the scope for upgrades is always necessary since high-end processing requires more memory. The rigs with 64 if not 128 gigs of memory are quite common in this industry.
Now, any sort of development is one such thing that is at times influenced by RAM frequency, so anything between 2600-3200 MHz is an excellent choice.
Depending on whether the system supports dual or quad-channel configuration, make sure you use up all the available RAM slots for the best possible performance.
The initial setup package of Unity does not exceed 10 GB, but that’s not it. To work on your projects in the Engine, you’ll need to keep in store raw files like audio, video, and so on.
There are packages already present containing these assets, and you can always download new ones.
All of these need to be stored, and thus you must realize that even an average project is going to take up some notable amount of space.
External storage is always an option, and at some point, it becomes a necessity as well.
With a high workload at hand, you cannot choose a hard drive to single-handedly manage all your storage needs, since simply put, it is very slow.
The SSDs are the only choice for system files and important software data, with the NvME kind being the topmost preference. But these are very expensive.
SATA SSDs are better at helping your budget since they are not as costly, while hard drives are the last option.
You can always SATA or NvME SSDs with one or more hard drives, making sure you have enough space for all your work without spending too much just on storage.
The next aspect that matters is connectivity on the desktop that you want to use for Unity development.
Nothing special here, but you need to make sure you have the right ports available so that there isn’t a roadblock to your workflow.
The things of priority are several free USB ports, and we need not explicitly say how they can be useful.
With the USB 4.0 ports now available, you must at least have USB 3.1 ports, in addition to the older USB 2.0 ports.
The faster USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port also comes in handy when you need to use an extra display or transfer data from external storage drives.
As we said, developing a game requires a considerable amount of raw data, which often has to be downloaded from the Internet. This requires a high bandwidth internet plan, and hence right connectivity on your desktop as well.
An Ethernet port is present in all the desktops, so nothing to be concerned about here.
A quick look at the spec sheet of the desktop you plan to buy makes things a bit easier.
And finally, with the selection of the components on your rig made, you’d need some additional devices to start working.
These are all those things that every other computer user requires, but in your case, those can’t be very average.
First things first, choose monitors with high refresh rates and low latencies if you design high FPS games or VR projects.
The resolution of the display matters too, especially when working with details on a particular scene, and for the most convenience, you might need a primary 4K display.
You can start small with an FHD or 2K display as well, and it’s all just a matter of your convenience and budget.
However, no matter the quality or frequency, make sure you have access to at least two displays, to boost up your productivity.
More than that is only preferable when you work with very complex projects and have enough space to store them.
Unity is one of the very advanced developing engines, but it still involves coding.
So a mechanical keyboard with its crisp key response is sure to let you work tirelessly.
What computer do I need for Unity?
A computer to be used for Unity can be a desktop, a Mac, or even a laptop. Certain specs would be necessary, depending on the complexity and size of the projects you work with. We have some prebuilt options here, such as:
CUK Mantis Gaming PC
SkyTech Blaze 3.0
HP OMEN 25L Gaming PC
SkyTech Shadow 3.0 Gaming desktop
HP Pavilion Gaming Desktop
Is Unity CPU or GPU intensive?
Unity is mostly used for working with software and video games, meaning that a better GPU on your desktop can have its advantages. However, the CPU is equally important and importance has to be given, both towards its frequency and core count.
Can 8 GB RAM run Unity?
Yes, you may start working with 8 GB of RAM on Unity. However, do not expect your computer to run other things at the same time. Also, as your projects increase in size and complexity, an upgrade would soon be needed.
Do I need a GPU for Unity?
Not necessarily, especially if you work on simple video games. Unity does benefit from a GPU and it might be useful for other things too, but you can make do without one. It depends from one person to the other, but a GPU is not something that every game developer has.
Developing games/software as a hobby or as a profession requires ingenuity. The software that you use also has a role to play in the ease with which you can create these, so choosing the right ones becomes relevant.
Unity is a great choice, and with the right desktop to run it, you’d soon be up to speed in no time.