First of all, since using Blender requires first and foremost at least a fairly decent hardware, a good 3D card for modelling and a good CPU for rendering, I am a little surprised that there is no hardware specific forum. I don’t see where else to post this, so although it is very much blender related, I can only post this in the ‘off topic chat’ forum.
I am about to buy a brand new computer, fairly upscale. I know all the rendering is done with the CPU. I have decided to stick with AMD to promote a healthy competition between the two main CPU vendors and to thank them for their support of open source drivers (for ATI cards). Thus, I will get the AMD Phenom II x4 945 CPU. I don’t need the more expensive ones above that, because they are Black Edition chips useful for overclocking and I have never tried to overclock a CPU.
For the graphic card, we have the choice between ATI and nVidia. As a Linux/Kubuntu user, I considered using an ATI card for the first time because AMD made the specs available and is working with the Open Source community to develop open source drivers. However, I checked extensively (http://masquilier.org/node/135 ) and the result is that Linux open source drivers are not yet up to par, especially for 3D stuff, and the nVidia closed source drivers are still the most stable and the easiest to install for Linux.
So I’ll go with a nVidia card. Now the question to you is: how performant a card would be enough for blender? Besides blender, the only other 3D application I’ll be using is compiz. I guess that if it’s enough for Blender, it’ll be enough for compiz.
I know of this page:
but I don’t know of how up to date it is.
Also the following page has a nice tiered breakdown of ALL available graphic cards:
It makes it easy to compare the relative performance of graphic cards.
Now, which graphic cards (which tier) on the above chart would be enough for a simple Blender usage. I don’t do very many complicated scenes (at least not yet).
Is the amount of memory on the graphic card very important? 500Mb graphic card memory would be enough or would 1G or more be better?
Can I buy a cheap 3D card, or would a higher end card make a real difference?
Again, I don’t do gaming.
For your reference, the following two wikipedia pages are also relevant:
Thanks for your help.