Which OS is best with Blender?

Ok guy’s, so tell me, which OS works best with Blender? In February my company (Distinguish Media) is going to get some of those nice new Mac Leopards I think they’re called? From what I know Macs are best with graphics. Also does anyone have a BOXX? I see them advertised in 3D World Magazine every issue, so does anyone know how 3D friendly they are? Just wonder the specs on some of this stuff, soon I’ll probably be doing 3d cg for movies, maybe within 1 or 2 years and I was just wondering what would be best.

I don’t think it matters.

That’s what it means to be “cross-platform,” your program runs the SAME on ANY OS. :smiley:

I think a flame wars’ comin…

Anyway, performance depends on the hardware, not the OS afaik.

whichever one you know how to use best. :slight_smile:

I think that pretty much sums this thread up.

Anyway, performance depends on the hardware, not the OS afaik.
Of course, but for better performance on the same hardware, you could have a custom complied kernel (lean and mean) on a system with minimal bloat running an aggressively compiled version of Blender on a Gentoo 64 bit OS (if you have a 64 bit processor).

I’ve heard of 30% speed improvements using Gentoo with Blender - just remember, it takes some effort to get it up to that so you may save time sticking with what you are used to.That said I would hazard to say that linux is generally better for Blender (eg. better memory management which can be an issue).


Well for the moment its most likely Linux,

having slightly quicker render times compared to Macs or Windows.
And the ffmpeg is an added bonus too for video (not sure the Mac or Windows version supports this yet).
And being slightly more stable, I’m sure ED had problems with Macs and RAM being limited to 2GB or something which caused alot of headaches for them.

Even though Blender may run best on Linux, it will also depend on your other software requiremnts. Like photoshop etc. But if you can persuade to use multi-platform to get the best out of all your packages then that is much better than having to use only one platform.

I would say Linux. If you’re experienced with Linux, can customize your installed distro and optimize it 100% for your own hardwares, a minimalist installation, you will have a helluva powerhorse. But consider the needs of other softwares. Thats the main problem on linux. Nevertheless, unless you try yourself, you’ll never know.

linux allows you to maximize usage of ram (3GB per process); has better swap performance; i think it also has better threaded performance; allows you to disable unneeded stuff (such as your desktop environment); the OS can be customized to your exact hardware to maximize performance if needed; etc. however opengl is generally more difficult to setup and is often slower than windows and os x. Also if you don’t have decent unix kungfu you could be in for pain if you go beyond a basic setup which can lose some of the performance advantages.

OS X has second best access to ram (2GB per process); has good swap; good threaded performance and good opengl drivers.

Windows XP has worst ram (1.5GB per process for data); has crappy swap; worst threaded performance; it has good compilers if you compile your own; sometimes opengl drivers are good sometimes bad.

Best option might be to get an intel OS X, and triple boot - which allows you the best of all three worlds and to use whatever software works best for each situation.


I don’t have a BOXX computer but those beast have 16 Opteron Dual Cores or Intel Quad Cores if I remember correctly. I saw it advertise on one of CGTalk’s banners.

You can check up their website through a Google search. It should give you some information about what the hardware are.

Personally I had the better rendering/ogl experience on Linux, but this may be a little dated (~ 1yr). If you compile your own, you can have a pretty decent rendering performance even with gcc. Search my posts, I posted my speediest compiler flags here sometime ago (from pIII to athlon). If you need to get hardcore rendering performance, best option would be to boot without x and render from commandline and with nice-ing.

User-friendliness and shitloads of little apps you get more on windows side (esp. if you do multimedia), but linux has its own, too.

P.s.: I think I heard Linux works with ram differently, and if you happen to have amd cpu, memory performance may be better in Linux than in windows - meaning your amd (those with integrated controler) will render even faster under Linux. But that’s something for experts to confirm.

hmm, what a weird “questions i answered myself already”-type of post. but i try to answer sarcasticly and in a slightly evil way.

  1. because your company is going to be using macs, i would say windows XP.
  2. because BOXX machines advertise on 3d world magazine, i think they will be horrible workstations for graphics. also because they are often offered as prices on cgtalk competitions, it has to mean, that they are only good for word processing.


I’d have to agree with most of the comments here, the answer is basically whatever OS you feel most comfortable with. Blender does an admirable job on all the platforms I’ve ever used it on, so there isn’t much in it either way.

Yeah, and lets not turn this into an OS (or a my dick is bigger than yours) thread. I’m sick of them.

Well for the renderboxes, there ain’t no question whatsoever. For the ‘artist’ box, whatever fits yours and your artist’ bill …

http://www.greenmyapple.org/ :wink:

I share my blender files between a win xp machine and a ubuntu 6.10 (linux) machine… the linux machine has better hardware, so it obviously does feel alot faster too… the win xp machine occassionally hangs when rendering, but it only has 256MB ram so that’s probably the cause :wink:

I’ve had XP and Ubuntu 6.06 on the same machine, and the optimized windows version was only less than 1% faster than the unoptimized Linux Version.
The Optimized Linux Version outperformed windows by more than 20% (While windows itself was optimized, and Linux wasn’t)

Since then Linux is the only OS left on my HDD.
Though you might face some problems with the game engine on it.

And I look forward to see some Vista benchmarks with Blender!

What I heard is that Linux has better memory management, meaning more resources for Blender to use. I’m on Windows though and learning Linux for some extra speed doesn’t seem like that’s worth it. I agree with the rest, Blender’s great on whichever OS you run.

Dual or triple boot is best to make sure you have all sides covered as mentioned. Some software is only available on certain platforms.

Shake, Final Cut, Logic on Macs
Houdini, XSI, Rhino, Nvidia Gelato on Windows (Gelato’s on Linux too)
On both you get the full Adobe suite too, which is almost essential for any serious design work or print work.
I’m not sure if Linux has any exclusive software so you might only need the two but since you can put a lightweight interface on a Linux machine, it’s good on a rendering machine.

You should weigh up whether it’s cheaper to actually buy an expensive computer for rendering or get an account for a renderfarm like Respower.

The workflow I’d recommend is using Blender for modelling and animation or possibly one of the other suites like Cinema4D or XSI then render to an external rendering engine like yafray, Renderman, gelato so you get passes support and better network rendering then use Shake for compositing and Final Cut for editing and NLE.

As for considering 2-3 years down the road, hardware will have improved greatly since then. They are already demonstrating 80-core CPUs that will be ready for production in a few years.

Another thing to keep in mind is don’t buy outside your ability. You could easily throw a heap of cash and get the best hardware or you can optimize your workflow with the best tools for the job you need done and get the hardware that does the job. Then upgrade when you outperform your hardware.

Shake, Houdini, XSI, Maya & blender all run best/fastest on linux. So best not buy any over priced (out dated hardware) Macs. lol (sorry but your nick is just asking for it)

Actually its a fair question! No OS are alike on all areas - they all have
their own strengths and it’s perfectly legit to ask what OS would be
best for “insert-application-here”.

I have all 3 computers (and have had and use nearly all makes you
can think of…well…all mainstream ones that is).

The short answer:

The long answer:

Macs are slower on Blender when working with OpenGL
because of the Quartz interface. Apple OSX aren’t handling OpenGL
very well so it buggers around 100.000 polys no matter what fancy
graphics card you have. I tested Blender on a Dual G5 2.5 ghz with
a GeForce 6800 Ultra - It was jumpy even at 60-70 K polys, all macs
(including my own powerbooks) have been jumpy with Blender.

PowerPC processors render nicely though - especially with Yafray.

PC’s are generally faster - basically because of all the hardware
varieties out there, you can optimize your machine to death but
it won’t be as “stable and reliable” as Mac computers.

Windows works generally fine with OpenGL and Blender, it
basically depends on your ram and graphics card, graphics
card if you want to work fast. Unfortunately Windows memory
management …well…sucks…to say the least…so you will have
some crashes if you do demanding work (yes…even on those
commercial mainstream programs like 3dstudio max…brace yourself
though…max crashes more than Blender…thats why I switched in
the first place anyway…hehe).

Linux has the potential of working best with Linux afaik because
you can optimize it more than you can with windows…basically
because windows is proprietary software…and there are things
that you can’t do unless you’re a windows developer.

Most people won’t make these optimizations anyway so windows
will run just fine for the lot of you!


My “Optimized” CVS compile of Blender runs faster on certain actions
under Linux than in does on my Windows machine.

  • Linux was faster with OpenGL on my Linux box (Slackware 10.2 - own compile
  • latest Nvidia drivers).
  • Windows where worse at handling memory - this where proven when
    I tried to enter 10 levels of MultiRes With Nicholas Bishop’s sculpting tools
    on Both Windows and Linux. Both worked fine until level 9 where on
    level 10 - windows started to go crazy with the swapdisk even though
    both the Linux and Windows machine had 2 GB ram.

They where both running with the same amount of free physical memory
applications and processes where freed for a fair comparison.

To ze naysayers out there…

You can call this a flamewar, fanboyism and biased all you want, I honestly
don’t really care (seriously!) this is for your informational pleasure only
and you can believe what you want (weee! Really!)

I am a hard skeptic myself - and typical “cash-only no-bullshit” kind of guy
if it works better on the other machine - there is no love lost…I’ll just
switch - just like that! I want performance, and whatever works best…well…
gets used.