Does anyone have any recommendations in terms of hardware?

Hey everybody,

So I’ve been blending for over three years now, and recently I’ve noticed that my laptop is starting to show signs of its rather intense use… on top of which, it’s specifications are (from what I’ve read and seen) hardly the best out there:

Toshiba Satellite L300
Intel Pentium Dual Core - 1.8GHz
3GB RAM - not sure as to it’s speed or type
398MB Mobile Intel 965 Express Chipset Family graphics
…oh, and good-ol’ Windows Vista Home Premium, which is rather RAM-happy and a bit annoying from time to time.

I bought this one three years ago now, and at the time it was amazing (I was upgrading from an old IBM A22E with 20GB HDD, 128MB RAM, 0.8 GHz processor and Windows 2000 :o)

Now, what I’m looking for, really, is something that’s more powerful but not too expensive; an all-around Blending-machine computer that would allow me to explore any aspect of Blender I want, without having to wait for hours when I render a 360-frame, 1.5M vertex scene with only Clay materials, or have the Game Engine crash at the slightest provocation because my graphics card is crap, or potentially melting the circuit boards when rendering short Smoke sims :o
For example, when working on my NES project, the 3D viewport was very slow when I enabled all the layers, even with no subsurfs at all.

I’ve been looking at this particular model and, as far as I can tell, it’s a pretty good setup, but again, I don’t really know if it would be adequate considering my limited knowledge of this stuff.

Any of you have any recommendations of your own, within that price range? (600-700$ Canadian) I saw the Cycles Benchmark thread, and mpan3’s system specifications look awesome, but…it probably cost a lot.


P.S. sorry about the length of this… hope I’ve provided enough info :wink:

I also have a dual core pentium with 3 gigs of ram :frowning:
You could build a pc thats is 3-4 times faster for a little over $600
I’ve been thinking of building one with a Core i3 processor and an Nvidia GTX 560 GPU
If you don’t want to build a new pc the one in the link looks great for the price but its not the best for running cycles

well, I’ve been looking at how much each part costs, and…it seems that with the specifications I’m aiming for, it would cost over 800$ - the casing alone (with good ventilation) would cost ~150$…though of course, I’m looking through the local computer parts retailers (Accès Électronique and MicroBytes) - would it be better to buy them online or something? I don’t know much about this kind of stuff…

…oh, and I’d have to buy Windows 7 on top of all that, or switch to one of the hundreds of Linuxes, which is a bit of a daunting prospect :o

P.S. sorry about posting this thread in the wrong section again… I can never seem to get the hang of it :o

edit - uh…do you mean a pc 3-4 times faster than my laptop, or faster than the Gateway from FutureShop? :confused:

I’d suggest AMD processors (phenom X6 1100T is really good) which IMHO are better than Intel at a performance/cost level. You could spend the bucks saved on the gpu (gtx 560 or 560ti) and on a suitable power supply unit

I meant 3-4 times faster than your laptop
You could buy an great case with 4 fans for 60 bucks
There’s a lot of great instructional videos on youtube and tom’s hardware forums are a great place to ask questions
if you don’t feel like you’re ready to build a pc, go ahead and buy the pc in the link. Its a great pc for the price

this is a good configuration but you could get a better graphics card

I think that is more true when you’re building a render farm, but for a single desktop you may as well get the Intel, because its a bit faster.

The way I see it, for a single machine, buy Intel because its faster, but for distributed rendering, buy AMD because its cheaper. With the money you save you could buy more machines.

GAH :spin: Guys, you’re not helping! AMD, Intel, ATI, nVidia, which is better?! :stuck_out_tongue: Hahaha, just kidding, I think I’ll go for Intel…maybe a Core-5 if I can. If not then I’ll go for AMD.

I was looking at the Gateway earlier, and I noticed its side-ventilation doesn’t seem to be that great, which is potentially problematic… I think I’ll look around the 'net for some good parts suppliers here in Canada and see what I can guess-timate in terms of price for the specs I’m looking for…

You know, while I’m on the subject, would it be more worthwhile to use one of the hundreds of Linuxes on my custom-built, or buy Windows 7? I know hardly nothing about Linux…I’ve tried Mint 10 a bit, but I really don’t know my way around (and the drive-desktop mapping thing is annoying)

Get windows 7
I’ve tried Ubuntu and Xubuntu and they’re ok but if you’ve only used windows its going to be frustrating at times
this is a good site for computer parts:

yeah, it’s what lead me to finally ask about this issue - Mike Pan’s setup looks awesome, so I’ll see how similar I can build mine…I might even ask him for his specs (<-- DeviantART’s Mwahaha smiley)

Mike Pan’s specs: Quad core i7 with Nvidia GTX 570

well, I know that part, but I was more curious about the rest :wink: like, if he built it himself and whatnot…though he probably did, right?

(the GTX 570 was the one I was planning on getting, just because of that thread, haha)

EDIT - this one looks interesting…though expensive :eek:
Re-EDIT - okay, now I’m lost… I just started looking through LGA 1366 motherboards (which, from what I know, is needed for a 1366 processor) and I have no idea which brand is best, or what the difference is between all of them :confused:

Read the reviews, look at other people’s builds
check out
the are some good articles for custom pc + ask questions in the forums
get other people to double check that all the parts are compatible

there are thousands of reviews on youtube

you got a lot of research to do but its fun

thanks ldh1109, I’ll definitely keep those links :smiley:

I also came to a decision this afternoon, just to let you all know - I’ve decided to go with the Gateway for now, and start researching the whole process of building my own over the next several months. I’ve kinda realized that I can no longer afford to take the time now to do all of that, my current system is simply limiting what I can do or achieve, or even try out :o However, I’ll keep this thread bookmarked for reference later on, and I’ve also started gathering various pieces like the CPU and stuff in my bookmarks :smiley:

Anyway, thanks a lot for all your help, everyone - was great to have some input from other Blenderheads :smiley: I’ll let you know of the results once I get the Gateway in the first couple of weeks of January!