Which computer works best with Blender?

I’ve noticed that there are quite a few threads where people ask questions about what computer they should buy.

I had an idea about this, but am not sure if its been done already…

Here it is:

We have a downloadable benchmark .blend file which we can run a few performance tests on - e.g. length of time to do a standard render, length of time to do a 100 frame animation.

Then we send the results back to the thread with details about the computer we’re using… speed, cards, operating system and wotnot. This way we might be able to have our own mini reference point, with some hard performance data

What do people think? Or has it already been done?

Hasn’t been done so far as I know, but I don’t go to the development boards, where I’m sure such a thing would be more likely.

This sounds like a good idea to me. I just hope we can get a good blend to waste render time on. :wink:

We’d also want to test video cards and the like, remember that vidcard doesn’t affect rendertime.
Also, not everyone wants blender for the renderer, some people want the gameengine too…

Maybe also a benchmark game, and measure the framerate?

I’d join in, but it would basically be telling people “don’t buy a 4-year-old P150 laptop”

I’ll join. I’m getting a P4 3.2 ghz 1024 mb RAM etc…

Now if it only arrived! :x :smiley:

Yeah, a nice picture at the end of it would be good. There are lots of nice stuff in WC, WIP and Finished Projects and I notice Modron’s started a thread of Models in the News thread…

I’m not so hot on knowing what a benchmark .blend file should include or what would be useful information as test output. All I have in mind is “How long does it take to do a Render or animation?”

Phillip: a Game Engine test as well - sound like a good idea.

Some more thoughts:

I would imagine that the main issue is No. of vertices / faces. But I undertsand that some models take more memory but as soon as you use mathematical stuff (Subsurf for instance), although memory usage might be low, it will increase resources at render time. hmmmm.

So more guesses - I would imagine that a high poly model and a low poly but highly subsurfed model might be two aspects to look into?

Benefits of this would be:
some hard performance data for people to look at when thinking of what computer to buy (which is directly relevant to Blender)
a source of comparison between Blender versions
a health check on the system we are using

And for the person who creates the definitive benchmark.Blend file… lasting immortality in the Blender Community!

I would guess that some of our communities computer gurus might be able to help us to think this one through. Good idea? Crap idea?

also… the puter with the least junk installed on it will be quicker…

I have 2 1ghz machines that are very similar and one is a lot quicker cause it only has a limited ammount of software installed and no net connection.

It’s a good idea but I can see a couple of problems that arise with all benchmarks. If the difference in performance between a high end system and low end system is huge then are people on low end systems going to wait for the render to finish? I think the blend file would have to be tweaked so that it took long enough on a fast machine to benchmark it between others but not too long so that phlip doesn’t have to leave his P150 alone for the day to let it finish. As GCat points out:

And for the person who creates the definitive benchmark.Blend file… lasting immortality in the Blender Community!

Another thing is about optimization. Correct me if I’m wrong but I don’t think that Blender is optimized for specific systems yet (the G4 ppc is one and possibly the P4 too). Mainly I mean dual processors, though. So even if a render finished faster on a single proc 3GHz P4, is it a better system than a dual 2GHz AMD? Maybe, but the second processor in the AMD will let you use your machine as normal while Blender renders in the background.

I think there are standard 3D tests already like the Cornell box. That might be a good start but you’d need to use yafray for the caustics in which case it’s not really a Blender benchmark. As for games, unix based systems have better OpenGL support than Win32 machines so that might be an issue.

It’s probably worth a try but I’m not sure that the results will be reliable considering that some might tweak Blender or the blend file so their system appears better.

I had simpler idea for this…

Suggested Test:

Add a UVSphere at the origin (0,0,0)
Set camera at (0,-10,0), pointing at sphere
Make sure there’s a lamp
Turn subsurf on for the sphere and set the second subsurf level (the one that tells it what to do at rendering time) to 5

Render with default settings, using 100% render size


I’ve just done this.

On a Mac G4 (867 Mhz processor) powerbook
With a fair bit of junk on the hard disk (20 GB free)
256 SDRAM (whatever that is)
And OS = OSX 10.2.8

Result: took 5 and a half minutes!
Is this slow?

that is very slow for you because there are more facecs than cam fit in your ram. to speed it up get more ram.

Thanks SamAdam. That was really useful - so does this explain why it takes hardly anytime to render the same thing at SubSurf level 4 and yet SubSurf 5 takes so much longer?

Benchmark tests seem to be more useful than I imagined

between level 4 and 5, there is 4x more faces. This consume a lot of memory, but also rendertimes increase in factor of a power function of the number of faces.

If you exceed the available memory, the computer will swap and this multiply the render time by 3 or 4. 256 Mo is not much on Os X.

However, the main point is that a level 5 32x32 UV sphere is 1 032 192 faces, no wonder it takes time to render. a level 4 one is only 258 048. The sphere eat 70 Mo of memory at level 5 (and you need more to make the render, thats just the mesh) while 16,44 at level 4.

just tested :
with the same computer (G4 867 Mhz) but with 512 Mo SDRAM render time 1’13". Blender used up to 420 Mo of memory to make the render.

For the sake of comparison, yafray render took 20 mn, but once again it’s only a memory problem, as 4/5 of this time was burned swapping.
a 1 Go RAM comp would do that in less than 5 mn I think.

bit of a delayed response. But I just wanted to say thankyou very much SamAdam and Lukep for detailed explanations. As a result of this, I just added another 512M of ram - now at 768M

And re-ran the test:

Subsurfed UVSphere at level 5: (without OSA) = 20 seconds
ie massive difference

And just out of curiosity:
Subsurfed UVSphere at level 6 (without OSA) = err well erm, 26 minutes!
I won’t be doing that again


if on linux use 7z, if one windows use the EXE 9if you don’t have 7Z already, its self extracting)

if on Mac, then download 7z :wink: (i guess if your on linux and don’t have it then download it too.

should be a 360 frame animation, you wanna spend 3 days rendering that puppy out then go ahead, but its a good benchmark.

benchmark 1 and 2 are here.


there is an old thread with them in and peoples render times.

benchmark 1 is rather good animated (as a benchmark, not too pretty though)

as my offer was made a while ago, if someone wants to make a nice benchmark. an animated particles, asteroid crashing into a planet (mindfields style) or somthing else interesting. i will host it for you.(file sizes need only be about 100Kb for a good benchmark if done smartly)

hope you enjoy.


Okay, for my test I rendered a UVsphere with subsurf 5 complete with set smooth and OSA at 100% size and took about a minute to complete, subsurf 6 I know for a fact will probably take a bit longer.

A huge difference for me is not having the render window on screen,
when you say osa 100% do you mean 16 button?

amd Athlon 1.2 —512 sdram (3 yrs old)
uvsphere sub5 no osa … 15.38 seconds while looking at this page :slight_smile:
uvsphere sub5 osa 16 … 1.20 minutes

uvsphere sub5 no osa … 8 seconds
uvsphere sub5 osa 16 … 36 seconds

Amd athlon xp 2000+ oc’d 2200+
768 md ddr400
gforce 4 ti 4200 128mb 8xagp
Mandrake linux 10

For UVSphere, subsurf 5, OSA 16 I got 1 min 45secs. (with render window on screen)

Taking the render window off the screen got it down to just over a minute. So that does seem to make a big difference as you say Zenitor.

Alltaken, thanks for posting the .blends. I gave them a try:

tanksiggraph.7z - ! I saved it renamed it a .blend, but it didn’t get recognised as a blend file, so no joy. ( I assume it was a blend file)

benchmark.blend - opened in 2.32, but not in 2.34. Took about 1 min 45s. Picture was kind of pretty I thought - fireworks or explosions or something? Have to try the animation.

benchmark2.blend - also opened in 2.32, not 2.34. Took just under 2 mins.

Sounds like this is not a new idea here. Any idea where’s that other thread you were talking about?




For reference:
Apple powerbook G4
867mhz chip
768mb SDRAM
20 gig free on hard disk

i can make a benchmark for blender and yafray. ill try if i can make something that is smaller than 100kb and crunches my old computer.

My dual processor amd 1.2 ghz with 1gig ram and raid 0, took 12 seconds with no osa and subsurf set to 5. At osa = 16, it took 47 seconds. Is there a way to have blender use the two processors? thanks.


run blender twice… at once

that is pretty much all there is to it, blender doesn’t have any dual-processcor features