Linux discussion

Im just getting into linux on a spare PC I have sitting idle.

So far not very impressed with its performance in blender.

Any suggestions to a setup would be appreciated. I have a removable hard drive, so am able to compare directly on the same hardware with windows 2000, which runs quickly even with my ageing graphics card. I suspect the graphics driver as everything on the desktop runs like your stirring treacle, if you get my meaning.

Im looking to change to Redhat Linux as the driver support is better and dont want the hassle of recompiling the core etc.

I currently use

AMD sempron 2800+
256k ram
80GB hard drive
Guillemot maxi gamer phoenix video (voodoo banshee)
Mandrake linux 2005 LE with KDE desktop

wait… are you saying that blender runs better in windows on this system, which has a voodoo graphics card?

…mandrake 8.2 came with some opengl stuff, my machine with a voodoo card runs blender pretty well [performance wise, there are several graphical glitches]

… what are the specs of this system? particularly the video card…

I’m not 100% certain but I would guess that it’s more of a problem with the video card rather than the video driver. Your video card is a bit old and probably not capable of running an eye candy based desktop like KDE in addition to running blender. You could try installing a “lighter” window manager like XFCE or windowmaker and use that instead of KDE to see if that speeds up blender. Of course I could be miles off the mark…

256k ram

You may want to upgrade your RAM.


Well in my experience, Blender ALWAYS has run better on Linux than it has on Windows for rendereing. (Well I’m using XP). However, I always use Nvidia cards :smiley: . I also hate KDE, it seems to run slower than Gnome (in my opinion). On my AMD64 rig, I always used TWM (please dont point fingers and laugh! :D), it didn’t seem to work with Gnome or KDE. Also, I think that the real-time performance of Blender seems to work a little better on Windows (or maybe I’m just crazy). :expressionless: If you can’t seem to get it to run faster, you might want to try compiling Blender yourself (the new ones seem easy enough to compile, even on AMD64). Your real-time performance is probably caused by graphics driver problems, if you say it runs better on Windows. I have a 16MB Nividia Geforce 2 GO in my laptop, with worse specs than yours (1.5ghz celeron, bleh…), but it could still run Blender like a charm. And it worked much better on Linux I might add! Or maybe you just need to upgrade your RAM like Dittohead said :stuck_out_tongue:

My benchmarks showed the opposite (this was mandrake 9.2 days)

both rendering and modeling was slower in linux.


My benchmarks showed the opposite (this was mandrake 9.2 days)

both rendering and modeling was slower in linux.

OpenGL-performance with nvidia cards is better in Linux than Windows, that’s a fact!
Are you on ATI?
It’s also kinda interesting to hear what processes you had running while rendering/modelling.

This seems to be a problem with mandrake or KDE (or both) … I run Fedora with Gnome and a Nvidia, and it works way faster than on my winXP box which has the same specs.

Try with gnome. It handles graphics better than KDE and is smoother to use (imho).

Hope this helps,


I’m not sure if it’s been mentioned yet but I didn’t see it (which was surprising). Make sure you’re running the non-static Blender. I got really bad results with that and originally blamed it on the less than recent nvidia drivers that were packaged with my distribution.

Also, make sure you have hardware acceleration enabled. I don’t know how you’d go about doing this in Mandrake (could I take a moment to point out how easy Ubuntu is?), but it probably involves making some changes to your /etc/X11/xorg.conf (or xf86.conf) file assuming there isn’t a graphical way to do it (but there may be!).

you really really need to make sure that you have the correct video drivers installed for hardware acceleration on linux. Blender uses OpenGL for its entire interface, and without hardware acceleration, just simple modelling will feel sloooow.

Now, the rendering is really just CPU dependent so not sure why it might slower in rendering…

Windows has a better virtual memory system compaired to linux i believe, so under a low RAM system or basically when the system needs to use the swap file it’ll have an advantage over it speed wise,

Also, if by removable hardrive you mean USB style, which would make me think you running linux off a low rpm harddriver (lower than 7200) and using a faster harddrive on the window version theres you’re answer…

I am not an expert in memory management on the kernel point of view but it always seemed to me that unix based system were better at managing memory than windows systems.
On lower end machines with small ram, it has the advantage to be way smaller than windows. For example, a winxp installation will easily rise up to 100 mb of ram occupation for the OS only, which leaves you only a few mb left to run on ram and avoid the swap slowdowns (on old machines with 128 mb or less). However many linux distros might take as few as 50 mb of ram usage for the OS, leaving more room for applications.
I am not saying windows is bad or that linux is better. They both have advantages and disadvantages. However, I think windows is less likely to run better on an old machine than a linux distro.

Anyway this is my humble opinion :wink:



My benchmarks showed the opposite (this was mandrake 9.2 days)

both rendering and modeling was slower in linux.

OpenGL-performance with nvidia cards is better in Linux than Windows, that’s a fact!
Are you on ATI?
It’s also kinda interesting to hear what processes you had running while rendering/modelling.[/quote]

nope i was in Nvidia.

and besides render speed is what i was benchmarking. :smiley:



both rendering and modeling was slower in linux.

:o Here we go again :o another Linux vs. Windoze thread.

My 2cents:

Just recently I made the switch from XP to Debian Sid. One of the reasons I made the switch (and there were alot of reasons) was that Blender 2.36 ran noticably faster under Linux. This was an older machine (Duron 900 processor, 256 mb ram, 8 mb built-in video running at 1024x768), but the exact same hardware and the exact same version of Blender were being used.

I just bought a new system with an nVidia geForce 5500 and ran some display performance tests with and without the nVidia video drivers: without the drivers, I was getting around 400 fps, with the drivers I got around 5,000 to 6,000 fps.

So does Blender run slower with Linux than with Windoze? Not on my machine!

Upgrade your voodoo to a NVidia, even a cheap one- Ti4200 or greater.

And make sure to use NVidias drivers.

Also, if you know enough, try GCC 4.0, I recorded a 12% speedup using it.

The speed you are experiencing can vary from distro to distro.

Older versions of Mandrake and Suse are known to be sluggish.

Secondly, the voodoo chipset is dead. Under WinXP I always had to use unofficial drivers to get some decent performance out of it. Worked ok under linux. But the linux performance for THAT chipset was worse than the unofficial drivers for windows. As far as I know, the windows drivers where modified hacks of voodoos original drivers. Point being that even a simple geforce4mx which is dead cheap nowadays will get you a huge boost in opengl performance, both for windows and linux.

Another thing that is important to consider, you have to make sure that under linux your OpenGL accelaration is activated. You can test that by issuing the following command in a terminal window:

glxinfo | grep rendering

if this produces “direct rendering: Yes” then you’ve got accelaration working.

Another thing to consider is which version of Blender itself you download.
For linux there are always two releases, one with shared libraries and one with static libraries.

The one with static libraries does not use 3D acellaration AT ALL! If you use that version, screen performance is gonna suck big time. Especially when you consider that Blenders entire interface is done through opengl.

You say you have only 256mb ram. That can be quite little when using mandrake or suse. These are bloated desktop distros and have way too many background services activated by default. In other words, they will certainly suck up more of your RAM then other distros which are more conservative with the services they run in the background.
If your up to it, you could try debian, or if your not ready for that yet, you could always go for ubuntu(gnome) or kubuntu(kde).
Personally, I use gentoo, but that might be too extreme for you. (You compile everything from source and define exactly what you want down to the finest detail.)

Now about the Windows/Linux swap file thingy.
Windows uses a variable swap size. This is good when you dont have a lot of ram and your apps need more, then windows will dynamically adjust for that. BUT!, and thats a big but, when rendering, you absolutely do not want to use swap. You want to make sure that your scene can load into ram entirely, otherwise it can drastically slow down your rendering performance.

Linux on the other hand uses a separate partition for swap. This alone has a speed advantage, since the harddrive doesnt have to look for a specific file inside a partition, but simply jumps to the partition directly.
If you put your swap partition at the beginning of the harddrive, e.g. as the first partition, you can gain a bit of a speed boost.
The disadvantage is of course, that your swap is set at a certain size. If your needs should exceed what you have reserved for swap, then blender or yafray, or any other app for that matter, will most likely crash.
However, like I said before, in any case, you wanna make sure you hit the swap as little as possible.

Some people notice that no matter how much ram they have installed, linux will try to take up most of it. This is sort of true, what linux does is use a lot if ram for cache. This is not really considered true ram usage, since as soon as an app requires more ram, the relevant portion of the cache is emptied immediately. The cache is just there so that programs can be reloaded more quickly.

From my experience, linux has always run faster, no matter on what I installed it. Unless the grafx card sucked and wasnt properly supported under linux, then desktop and 3d performance suffered.

As with all things, your mileage may vary.
However, I have certainly noticed that blender is way more stable under linux than under windows. But once again, your experience might be completely different.

In the end, you need to choose whatever works best for you. Be it windows or linux.

Good luck.

Pleasepleaseplease get rid of that old voodoo card. Its a disgrace to your spanking new sempron! :wink:


Deleted post (stupid accidental double post…)

compile blender yourself (choose good flags for it -o3 is good) it fasten rendering 25-30% ( compared to windows ) and 10 - 12 % compared to -o2 flag and make sure that your xorg ( graphic interface ) have 3d acceleration enabled - this should be in your xorg.conf file - under the line in which you are chosing your graphic driver - renderAccel = On (or something like it)