Currently I am using Windows XP 32bit, with an AMD 64 X2 5200+ processor, 3Gb of RAM and an Nvidia GTX460 1Gb graphics card.
I am also using Blender 2.61 which runs fine, however I while running a simulation I noticed available memory was letting me down in terms of the quality I was able to produce which has led me to look at some solutions to this issue.
It is here that I need some informed advice…here are the options I am looking at primarily:
1: Update my version of Windows to version 7 64 bit (costly option)
2: Install extra memory (not so costly but probably limited performance increase)
3: Install Ubuntu 11.10 64bit (never used it, but its free and which version of Blender do I install)
Any advice would gratefully be recieved if constructive…
Make free partition on hard drive, around 10 - 12 GB, install any Linux based 64 bit distribitive (i am not Ubuntu fan, better not comment that, but it sure working solution), and try it yourself as dual boot. Linux based distributives have some issues in unlucky hardware combinations, only real testing can help. Windows 7 have free 1 month period IIRC, after that it just reboot every hour and paint background black, maybe some other things, but it give you option to test Blenter in it as well.
3GB RAM need upgrade, maybe 2 core CPU to 4-6 cores, it give 2x-3x speedup for heavy scenes. RAM usage complex matter, if you targeting Cycles GPU rendering then 1Gb onboard video RAM is a limit, it not depend on system RAM. Recent mainstream Video cards go with 3GB ram, and looks like this year common boxes will have 8-16Gb system RAM by default.
I’ve never used Wubi, so I don’t recommend or endorse it, but it’s another option to chew on. I think in the end you will need more RAM,a 64 bit OS, and a big fast hard drive to get the most out of sims (pretty sure sims can eat up gigs of HD space).
For linux just get the official 64 bit build or one from graphicall or http://builder.blender.org/download/ you don’t need to install, just open the folder and double click the icon (graphicall builds may need some libs first)