Blender System & Video Card Recommendation

I have to make some suggestions for two new workstations that are needed for a project I am involved with. Blender will be a big part of the project’s production pipeline so I was wondering if anyone could make some recommendations with regards to ideal system configurations (processors, video cards, etc.).

Budget is not a big issue, but I have to work on the Windows platform.


I should recommend an intel core 2 duo and an openGL videocard (ati firegl or something) because rendering is done on the processor and working (the viewport) on the videocard.

blender is not very picky when it comes to computer stats (runs on my 733 just fine) but the most important things are ram, cpu, then video card, in that order.
a core duo (or core 2 duo) with two gigs of ram should work fine, almost any video card that ends in 600 or above should work fine (like 6600, 7600, 7800, x1600 etc).

Definately get a NVidia graphics card – the ATI openGL drivers have numerous issues with blender.

Thanks for the tips, especially about the NVidia cards. I hadn’t heard about the ATI driver issues.

How much would performance improve with one of Intel’s new Quad core processors? They are supposed to be insanely fast, but would the standard builds of Blender take advantage of the extra processing power? Budget is not really an issue, but since the chips are pretty expensive there would have to be a significant performance boost to justify the expense.

I’m afraid that windows is the bottleneck with the quadcore. It must be proper supported to take advantage from it imo.
A rendering feature from blender is

Tile-based and fully threaded.
I dont know exactly but to me it sound like there is some good multicore rendering possible…

BTW: I work on a Ati card fine. On my work i used to have an intel onboard card and that was terrible slowing down.

Video Ram also affects how many polys you can model in the window too. It’s a combination of both your RAM and the vid card, especially if you start moving the image view around with the number pad.

I rarely have problems with this old 64MB ATI card in my powerbook, but the 256MB on my PowerMacs never seem to choke. Of course it’s 1GB of RAM vs. 8GB on my powermac too.

perhaps youd be more informative like: what series is the video adapter?
because some of the ati’s realy do have some problems in the driver… though its not realy the adapters/cards but the drvers that make use of the openGL…

i’d recommend nvidia 6600gt for the video card. 128 MB ram is plenty enough.

people may confuse the amount of video memory with the amount of polys it can handle. video memory is really texture memory. if you are working in blender your textures are probably not going to be so big that you need more than 128 or 256 MB of vram.

if price isn’t an issue try getting a intel core 2 extreme quad core and get at least like a gig of ram, especially if price ain’t an issue, you could probably get away with less. If I had no budget issues i’d definatly have the intel core 2 extreme quad core processor and like 8 GB of ram, and also I would get 2 GeForce 8800 GTX’s

I am thinking the Quad Core is the way to go, I was just unsure about Blender’s rendering being multithreaded. These machines will basically only be running Blender and maybe Firefox so it would be difficult to justify paying extra for the quad core if Blender didn’t support it.

Blender support’s multiple threads when rendering, so in theory (im not sure!) it could use all of the cores to render.

maybe ask on the dev. forums, there is a link to that from the blender3D website on the right hand side.

I recommend 2gb ram or more. For complex scene renders and sculpting and all.

argh, please don’t listen to people like this.

for one, the price of a processor that fast is irrational compared to its speed when buying several computers, as the original poster stated. it would be cheaper and better to save the money overall and buy whole other computer.

secondly, ram is the most important for both editing and rendering, so 2GB is a minimum for serious work. 1 gig will not do. 8 GB is also irrational, unless you are doing extremely high quality work (see elephants dream) 2-4 GB is much more cost effective, especially for a dedicated editing machine.

thirdly, two 8800 gtxs is, again, way overpriced for the performance. SLI doesn’t help much as the frame rate is of little to no import (blender at 30fps if just fine, no need for 80fps). Plus the single card driver is a bit more stable.

good luck,

nice and cheap setup, more than suitable though.

what will blender be getting used for? modeling, rendering?

Gigabyte GA-965P-DS4 Socket 775 Onboard Audio SATA ATX
-supports Supports Intel® Core™2 Extreme Quad-Core / Core™2 Duo / Intel® Pentium® Extreme/ Intel® Pentium® D processor

*Also supports upto 8GB of ram, which is good for the future.

Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (2.4ghz) Socket 775 FSB1066 4MB Cache

(im not to good at picking ram :frowning: ) but if you can get the fastest for this MOBO, which is 800MHz DDR, with say 4GB…it would be good

Innovision GeForce 7900GS 256MB DDR3 256Bit PCI-E 16x
-should be able to handle blender no problem, i would have put a qaudro here but the cheapest one is £279
*£96 for this card

Western Digital WD3200KS 320GB SATAII 16MB Cache 7200 rpm -
-should be fast enough and large enough to deal with demands, im guessing youll have main servers for storing the data. if not two of these would do.

thats the base really, ive got all these items from and i think it would be more than suitable for production work using blender. just remember windows can only use about 1.5GB per process/ app so if your do really really heavy work it doesnt matter how much memory you have.

hey i didn’t say he had to get, i meant if he felt like spending a tonn. Its more like a dream computer for me

Thanks again for everyone’s opinions…I really appreciate them all. I sort of stopped paying attention to PC hardware about 2-3 years ago I am really not up on all the latest.

What we’re working on here is a system for puppeteers to perform real-time animation using Blender, capture the performance as IPO data, importing it back in to Blender for be lit, tweaked and rendered out. We’re working out a prototype right now (I am using 1.3ghz laptop with about 512mb of RAM and Blender runs great on it, although rendering is slow) and these machines are for two or three months down the road when the project starts to move beyond the prototype stage.

Smooth real-time graphics is a must, not so much for the final work we’re producing but because it helps the puppeteers give an accurate performance and we will probably have to demo the work a lot over the summer and we’d like it to look as good as possible. We will be doing the rendering on these machines initially, but if we start doing much work I think a small render farm will become necessary very quickly.

Although I said budget isn’t much of an issue, the systems do have to come in at about $7,000 U.S. or less and as you’ll see below close to half of that is eaten up by the graphics tablet.

Here is the system I am leaning towards recommending, if any sees any potential problems or can suggest components that would perform as well or better at the same price please let me know!

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Processor
  • Asus P5B Deluxe Motherboard
  • 80GB System Harddrive (for the OS)
  • 500GB Storage Harddrive (for files)
  • 4mb DDR2 RAM (we’ll start with 4 and go up to 8 if there are performance issues)
  • NVIDIA GeForce 7950 GX2 Video Card
  • 20" inch LCD Flatscreen monitor
  • Wacom Cintiq 21UX Tablet Interactive Pen DisplayI know there are faster Duo Core Intel chips, but they don’t seem to be that much faster or at least faster enough to justify how much more they cost than the E6600 and I understand you can get some decent overclocking with this configuration. I am still on the fence about Duo Core vs. Quad Core, mostly because I don’t understand enough about how Windows works with the Quad Core processor to be sure if it is worth all the extra money.

im not sure the graphics card will be taking advantage of, depends though,

ive heard of issues with Opengl, even in maya with this card. for the price you could get a qaudro or firegl card.

ill just have a quick look around…

oo and erm…yea if you need any modellers :stuck_out_tongue: lol joke

those specs look like they will work pretty good.

but i have one question, if you have the Wacom Cintiq then why do you need the 20" LCD monitor?

Well, that’s mainly for workflow…what I’d like to have is a dual-monitor set-up, there may be some issues with dual monitor support and the GeForce 7950 GX2 though. I have to check in to that more.

I have priced some of the Quadro cards, but they are up in $1000 range. As for FireGL, isn’t that ATI?