Hardware and how it relates to Belnder performance.

I finally have the opportunity to build a any computer I want.
Time is really the only constraint, meaning it would just take me more time to get parts if i choose epensive ones.

So, what features would be different between a quad core, 6 core or 8 core processor.

What features would be different between 1, 2, 3 or 4 graphics cards.

What features would be different with RAM that is 2.4 ghz vs 3.0 ghz and the difference between 8 gigs and 16 gigs.

What type of performance increase could I expect from solid state drives and is raid worth it?

Blender generally speaking taxes a computer in lopsided ways. Usually, the most important component for Blender is the GPU, and then the # of CPU cores if you plan to use the CPU for rendering. RAM, harddrives etc are generally speaking less relevant, depending on whet you want to do.

More CPU cores helps mainly with CPU-based rendering, and certain types of simulations. Most of the rest of Blender doesn’t take much advantage of multiple cores.


of GPU’s is probably less relevant than the exact GPU that you select. Blender/Cycles is known to work best with nVidia GPU’s such as the GTX 980, because it uses nVidia’s CUDA to accelerate Cycles. This is changing though, AMD cards might one day be as fast or faster for Cycles through the effort of splitting Cycles apart and adopting the industry standard OpenCL instead of CUDA. But for now, nVidia GPU’s are your best bet. If you plan to do much rendering with Cycles on the GPU, don’t skimp on GPU memory. Many cards come with 2 gigs of memory on it, but you’ll want something like 4 gigs to be able to render most scenes. To make Cycles really fly, multiple CUDA-GPU’s can really make it sing.

Hard-drive performance is generally speaking less relevant for Blender, compared to, say, a video editing app. 3D geometry is fairly light on space compared to video, so loading times don’t tend to suffer on most scenes. Don’t bother with RAID setups or anything.

Likewise, because 3d geometry is fairly compact, you’ll rarely see scenes that take up insane amounts of RAM, though it can happen with complex scenes with millions of hairs or grass etc. And because your GPU can only handle a smaller amount of RAM anyway, you won’t be able to properly preview those types of scenes. But it depends on how large your textures are and the amount of data your throw at Blender.

Blender runs on anything, but if you are mainly (only?) using your computer for Blender, Linux is the best OS for it. Tests have shown that Blender is able to render scenes slightly faster on Linux compared to OS X or Windows.

In conclusion, in general terms, the most important component is the GPU. It’s the GPU that makes it possible to navigate and edit more complex models smoothly, and render them quickly using Cycles GPU rendering. The rest of the components all matter, but less so.

So, an ideal custom Blender-computer might have multiple nVidia GPU’s (maybe GTX980’s ?) with lot on on-board RAM, with the rest of the components just being fairly standard and you’ll be fine.

This is all in general terms, of course it will depend on what kind of things you want to do.

Moved from “General Forums > Blender and CG Discussions” to “Support > Technical Support”

I only disagree with this:

If you care about your data, don’t listen to this advice. A RAID of two hard drives in RAID 1 is a great idea. Hard drives fail. RAID 1 clones data on two drives. You’re not going to see any performance benefits, but when one of your drives fails, and your last back-up was a day ago (or longer), you’ll thank me for not having lost all that work.

Thanks for the input. I don’t have time to make a full post, but some quick ideas.
Is the cpu the main concern when doing sculpting with millions of vertices.
Is there a difference between final image rendering and viewport rendering. (ie. shaded)
How does hardrive usage compare to video editing editing software when using the sequence editor?

I’m thinking of at least getting gefore 970s. I have to do more research.
Raid 1 is a good idea. I have a bad record for drives going bad.
$1000 8 core intel is a little hard to swallow so maybe a 6 core.

Gotta go, thanks all.

Well, that’s not strictly related to Blender, and has no performance benefits. I think he was referring to RAID in the context of faster drive access. Sure, backing up data is important, but there are many solutions for that, RAID being one out of many.

No, you are mainly taxing the GPU when sculpting. It’s the GPU that displays all the millions of polygons.

As for CPU, as previously stated, you can get away with a daily standard one, esp if you plan to mainly use Cycles on the GPU. So, you could get just a quad core CPU and then go all out on dual Cuda GPU cards with as much on board ram as you can get.

yes, using the sequence editor makes blender into a video editing app, so the disk performance is a factor. But, blender’s editor is very basic, mainly useful for sticking a few rendered shots together - not good for editing and organizing large amounts of footage.

Are you rendering in Cycles alot in the next 6 months? If not, then just buy €50 Nvidia or Amd gpu and buy the rendering monster only then when you really need it. The prices will drop and support for Amd gpus will get better. We don’t know which gpu is the best for money in 6 months, so don’t buy hw you don’t need atm.

For cpu 4 cores might be ok. Hyperthreads helps quite alot. In many operations Blender uses only one core, so gigaherts matter. Buy at least 8 gigs of ram. Speed is not an issue, just buy what your future motherboard supports. And buy the memory in pairs, so you will have the dual channel support. Or is there something new with latest memory chips?

I’m a fan of ssd, but it is also not an issue of speed when blendering. Perhaps with autosave it is, but that can be turned off. I have never needed raid, but could be handy when editing HD or 4K video.

Logical Increments http://www.logicalincrements.com/ has some good build ideas… but I’m not quite sure about their efficacy with respect to Blender.

Would a good gaming PC like those suggested on logical increments work well for blender too?