Computer for modelling

I’ve been modelling heads with hair lately, and am finding that the hair causes my system to drag along, for example when I’m combing it. My CPU is not particularly fast, and is generally running at 100% whenever I’m working on hair.

I guess that multiple cores are not going to help this problem much. I don’t care so much about rendering times, but would like to work on heads at a reasonable pace. I know I can reduce the number of parent strands and use more children, etc, but I do need an upgrade. Is RAM important here? Do I need a 64bit machine for the extra memory addressing? Do I simply need a fast CPU, or is the graphics card important too for this issue? I’m considering a tablet PC such as Wacom Cintiq, but not sure about that yet. Any suggestions that address these particular issues would be welcome.

What exactly are the specifications of your current computer?

Before shelling out on new components you should try running Blender on Linux,(if you ain’t already) as it is often faster.

I’m using a 1.6GHz AMD Sempron on an Asus K8V MX m’board with 2GB RAM. I use Windows XP and have quite a bit of Adobe software that I’d want to keep using, so unless I dual boot Linux isn’t really an option.

What graphics card?

It’s an NVIdia GeForce4 MX440. It was a pretty cheap system. I’ve never been one to spend more on a computer system than I needed, but I sure feel I need it now.

Well, i am sorry to say, but for nowaday standard your computer is below low end.
Then, the Wacom Cintiq is NO PC. Its simply a combined Artpad/Display, you still need to connnect it to a PC or notebook.

Then you got several options… as for Blender there are 3 important things:

The faster the CPU on a single core, the faster rotation, translation, deformation and stuff work. Many fetures just use one core or two cores. Blender is not ported to multicore yet.
The faster the CPU overall on all cores, the shorter the render times
The faster the GPU the faster the 3D Viewport and the more Polygons it can handle
The more RAM, the better the performance on Rendering, Physics, Particles and stuff. As for the RAM it primarily speed things up, because the computer does not have to put everything in the pagefile.sys or the swap partition if you use linux, once the RAM is used up. Besides RAM is cheap ATM.
Also the overall performance in Linux is noticable better than in Windows.
As for the pricing there are several options… combinations i´d suggest:

Cheap to expensive:
C2D 8XXXX - GF 7600GT or 8800 GT, GTS - 4 GiB Ram
C2Q 6XXXX - GF 8800 GTS, GTX - 4 GiB Ram
C2Q 9XXXX - GF 9800 GT, GTX, X2 - 6-8 GiB Ram
Ci7 - GF 9800 or 280, 8 GiB Ram

If you want it really cheap and about 8x the performance of your actual system take the C2D, if that is too expensive look for a Athlon64 X2 socket 939
If you want a powerful bargain system i suggest the C2Q 6600 from ebay.
If you plan on buying a puter for ~2 years you might spend the money on the C2Q-9550
And if you want a killermachine get the Ci7, which isnt very much more expensive than the C2Q-9550. The only advantage is that you will get the 9550 cheap and used on ebay ATM because many enthusiasts buy the Ci7.


That graphics card is going to be the main bottleneck in Blenders performance, so If you want to upgrade, upgrade that first.

If you diside to get a new system then buy the parts and build it yourself, you can get more for your money. For cheep but powerful systems, the 8800GT and Q6600 are getting quite cheep now, and can only get cheaper :).

For optimal performance, do consider dual booting. Some of Adobes programs will run in Wine, Like PS CS2 for example.

Thanks for the advice. I might go with Linux because I can always continue to run Adobe apps on my current machine. I’ll consider those processors you mentioned. Haven’t built a system in a while but maybe I need some practice.

There was atleast while ago at a list of graphics card and something about their performance with blender, if there still is and the info applies to current version i would get the graphics card that is said to have the best performance with blender. Also the ram which you maybe get, from what info you can gather about the ram get the fastest that works with the motherboard.
I definitely agree if you get new system that for realtime/modeling performance the cpu calculation speed of one core is very important factor, and additional cores help in render time 2X,3X… depending on number of cores, that at least what my experience is with more than one core CPU´s.

Don’t know why I thought the Wacom Cintiq had a system unit included. Might leave that for another day as I already have a tablet. Thanks for detailed replies. My ancient system has been fine for what I’ve been using it for, but Blender… 3D generally, I guess. I’m inclined to put most of my money into a fast CPU rather than more cores (eg ci7), given my specific needs. Still, plenty to think about.

More cores will speed up rendering more than a faster processor. Outher aspects of blender a faster processor( and GFX card) will make a more noticeable speed improvement.

Ok I didnt get half of that. So for someone that has little to no computer knowledge what kind of laptop should I get. Im on a low budget.

Thanks in Advance

I’ve been thinking about this a bit more. I guess I want the fastest processor for modelling (as against rendering) because my current system is so slow, but maybe I don’t need the fastest, just something good enough. So, next question is, what kind of processor is ‘adequate’ for working on a character with a hair particle system of about 1000 particles without frustration? Styling hair without the system dragging. I’m looking for the bottom bounds here, the minimum system that would be adequate.

core2extreme 3.0+ Ghz, 8800GS, minimum of 2 gig’s of fast-y ram, but nothing too expensive(well mem is cheap right now), maybe something like this

though if its a laptop you want then, you’ll have to chose little more carefully, i suppose.

If you’re on a tight budget and you want the best performance, it might be better to consider a desktop unless you absolutely need a laptop.You’ll get a lot more power for your buck.

How much better is an extreme chip than a less extreme one? Where I come from the Q6700 is nearly ten times the price of a Q6600. Another question about gear on ebay. Don’t gamers usually overclock the CPUs, and doesn’t that reduce the life expectancy?