World's Best Blender Computer?

I know it’s possible to rent rendering time. That’s not what this is about.

What would be the best computer specs for a Blender workstation? Linux based for me, but let’s hear ideas for Windows too.

Certainly numerous people will say ‘the best you can get for the money’

Let’s see if there are specific things that can be looked for. Is a video card the most important, dual processors, massive amounts of ram? Which is MOST important?

Let the games begin!

For rendering, a quad core. Even the q6600 is great, and is pretty cheap for what it is.

Ram: Cheap, so plenty for sculpting. 4gb is easy to hit, 8-16 is harder, so only if you’re doing really heavy work.

Graphics? No idea :slight_smile: Even a modest card can handle a lot, though you get a bit of slowdown. I’ve got a fairly cheap card and I can still handle working on scuplts with over a million polys. Rotating/panning is slow, but due to partial redraw the important bits are fine.

Definitly an intel quadcore (at the moment), it gives you the best performance/dollar as well as the best performance/watt ratio.

Dual processors (ie dual-socket motherboard) is pretty expensive and generally requires even more expensive buffered RAM, so I’d avoid those.

4GB is a ‘bit’ overkill, but i guess it really depends on the complexity of the scene. And unless you are running a 64bit Linux, 32bit Blender on Windows cannot utilize all 4GB of memory.

Graphics: Nvidia Geforce 7/8, they have very good openGL performance, with low CPU overhead. (compare to say… ATI Crossfire)

My personal blender workstation, which I think is pretty well configured:
-Intel Core 2 Duo OC 3.2Ghz
(looking to upgrade to the new Q9xxx CPU when they come out)

  • 2x2GB DDR2 RAM
  • Geforce 7950 with latest driver
  • WinXP Pro x64

Have a look here :

Complex model (1,000,000 vertices) : Memory and graphic card are the most important.

Animation rendering : CPU is more important.

Using a cell processor for rendering would kick ass.

This would require some major recoding, and the only commercially available cell processor is only equipped with 256mb of accessible memory.

On the other hand, Blender could probably see a big speedup if the dev rewrite some of the OpenGL codes.

I’d say one of these:

And one of these:

That auto do it.

On top of the above, any recommended motherboard and type of memory for Blender?

I know it does but just curious to what extent the motherboard and memory type (not the amount of memory) actually affect the speed of the system.
Is it significant enough to invest in more expensive models or are budget/mid-range models not far off as long as the cpu, memory amount, etc. are decently specified?

If you want the World’s best Blender computer, you’ll have to do a lot better than a Mac Pro. You’ll have to compete with these guys: :stuck_out_tongue:

Not really, you can only expect about 5 % better performance with high end memory/motherboard. It’s only 3 minutes less for a 1 hour rendering.

Are you saying that two $500 computers would render better than 1 $1000 computer? If so, by how much (does it compare directly with your 5% stat)?

Render depend mostly on CPU, so two $500 computers could render better than $1000 if they have comparable CPU.

The assumption was that they did not. I was curious whether two ‘heads’ work better than one, even if the heads are half the financial value. If yes, then I am scrapping the idea of large render computers and going for a farm of smaller ones (when the finances allow it).

Actually, CPU performance scales linearly as you increase the number of ‘head’, for example:

Two computer consist of a 2.4Ghz intel core 2 duo should perform the same as a single computer witha 2.4Ghz core 2 quad when doing rendering. (assuming memory bandwidth isn’t the bottleneck, as it ususally isn’t.) But the cost of building 2 computer is usually much higher,and you’ll have to mange multiple computers and distribute tasks.

I am a big advocate for getting a single computer with as many cores as you can possibly afford. It’s cheaper and has less performance overhead.

There is work being done to make Blender render on PS3. So the PS3 may show its colors yet… We will see in time I guess. The 256mb wont be a limit with bucket rendering.

The bucket rendering method makes sense. But can you tell me more about porting Blender to the Cell? To the best of my knowledge, Blender already runs fine on the PS3 via the PowerPC chip, but it does not currently take any advantage of the 7 SPE, which is where most of the untapped potential performance is, right?

Yeah there are two developers working on it… I just don’t want to generate a bunch of… hmmm hype… just there is hope and if it works liked hoped this is what I will be purchasing for a render farm. If you want more details I can pm you a link.

The bucket rendering method makes sense. But can you tell me more about porting Blender to the Cell? To the best of my knowledge, Blender already runs fine on the PS3 via the PowerPC chip, but it does not currently take any advantage of the 7 SPE, which is where most of the untapped potential performance is, right?
I believe Cell processors have 8, not 7, vector processors.

And IBM’s BladeCenter QS21 comes with a dual Cell processor setup. (And 2 Gigs of memory) And it runs RedHat, so porting Blender can’t be too much of a leap.

I believe the accessing the vector processors works the same way you access SIMD extensions on consumer processors. Just that instead of switching from scaler mode to vector mode, the work is simply routed to the vector processors. i.e. it’s all setup by the compiler.

The product specs are here:

And to really blow your mind, check out the press release here where it shows complex 3D scenes rendered fully ray-traced and photorealistic – in real time!!

And they only cost 10 grand a pop… where’s my piggy-bank.

realistically, my customer got a dual quad core PC (8 heads) that just kicks butt.

I don’t really know how far we are from being able to make full use of ps3 power. But what I see by people that know what they are doing is encouraging. Also I don’t think that bucket rendering is in Blender in a way that makes big complex scenes possible yet. But I could be wrong, please correct me if I am.
Check out.
I believe that the plan is to make use of the spe’s. It looks like there are some major speed improvements. So my guess is that it will be able to compete with quad cores and 8 cores maybe even beat them. For 400$ why not buy two? If its possible to bucket render. It is still hard to build a decent quad core for $800.