Xeon or Nehalem... mmmh GeForce or Quadro FX...

I have the choice between :
a Bi Xeon Quad Core X5492 3.4 GHz FSB1600


a Bi Nehalem 4C W5580 3.2GHz 8M 6.4 GT 130 W

:spin: Does Blender run smoothly with these CPU ?

As for the graphic card what’s the best choice (for work) :
GeForce 9800 or Quadro FX ?

Does the performance of a Quadro FX justify the price compared to a GeForce?

:smiley: (we are buying some machines for my lab, I’m feeling giddy)

For the different processors, check out benchmarks for those machines and then compare the speed boost with the price difference. In my opinion the new Nehalem processors are worth the price but the opinion has been quite divided online.

If you’re wondering about a QuadroFX card then you probably don’t need one, its use is very specialised. A QuadroFX card would allow you to run such editing tools as Flame/Flint/Smoke etc that use the card to process stills. The cards are not meant to be used in gaming and certainly wouldn’t help you use Blender or many other 3D suites. The price difference is like buying a jet over a fast car to go up a hill <–strange analogy.

:o Come to think of it, yes, Blender is mostly CPU (unless something was changed in the mean time).

Although the next Bullet might support CUDA (or already does…), in that case I don’t know how well a GeForce 9800 (CUDA enabled) would fare against a Quadro FX (CUDA enabled too). Think I should dig the question a little bit more.

As for memory (RAM) I can have up to 64Gb ram (or 48Gb of faster RAM), wonder if Blender manage this well or if it has a limit…
(I heard that with Blender, the more RAM you have the better you will feel…)

My quadro FX540 that I use at work cannot even remotely compare to the GF 9600GT on my laptop. I still fail to see the awesomeness that the quadro card has to offer. Okay, I’m aware it’s an ‘entry-level’ card and even an old one… but still. Nvidia has some drivers specially designed for 3ds Max, but they don’t give me any noticable performance boosts. Drivers are strange, I can only use old versions that are approved by Adobe, otherwise some fonts (opentype) won’t work at all. Maybe newer quadro cards are better, but I don’t think they will quite live up to your expectations.


A good graphix card is for speedy renders.
A good CPU is for smooth working in Blender, and less freeze-ups and lags.
So get a high speed CPU, and a high memory graphix card, if you can go 1 GB Graphix Card Memory, go for that. If higher, jump for that.

I’ll just correct you there.

The graphic card is what is used to accelarate all of blenders interface, including 3D viewport, it’s all drawn with OpenGL, so the faster the graphics card, the faster the interface/ editing will be.

Go for a high end geforce card, stay away from Qaudra there over priced stock hardware with diffrent drivers.

The CPU ofcourse will affect all aspects of blender, from start up, loading files, saving and most importantly rendering. Blender is multi-threaded which means it can use more than one thread/ CPU when rendering. Also the majority of the dynamics i.e. cloth, fluids are mult-threaded too.

Memory will play a large part in your day to day use of blender, if your going for 6GB that will be enough, just make sure you have a 64bit OS with a 64bit version of blender.

Basically any of those CPU’s would be fine, a geforce 285GTX (or even something in the 9x series) will be more than enough and the 6GB of ram will last you, even for quite large scenes.

If you spec up a machine post back and we can tell you if you can get faster for cheaper or if it’s worth the money :slight_smile:

A lot of the geforce/quadro question comes down to whether you are using Linux or Windows. In windows I feel like the geforce drivers are gimped where as in Linux they are very close to performing as well as the quadro drivers. If you are running linux then, hands down, go for the geforce card. If you are hardset on a quadro look at compeve.com and then find their ebay store. Their website has decent prices already but their ebay store beats their own prices, often by quite a bit.

If you look at my post history I did quite a bit of comparison between an fx1400, and geforce 7900gs and a quadro fx 570 while running the benchmark blend from BBB. Hopefully it helps.

The Nahalem is also multithreaded so if you can use lots of cores this may be better.


based on this page at blender.org:

the firegl & quadro’s are stated to be the best/production choise,
though I’m not really sure how much of a bang for the buck you’d get out of the quadro in blender terms.

:eyebrowlift: Thanks for the answers…

The rigs I have to choose from are either 7000 euros rigs with a 64 bits Linux (CentOS 5.3 a redhat like linux) or windows based Dell for roughly 1500 euros… (guess which one our fearless leader favor :no:… I can tell you I prefer the Linux one… not that I am especially fond of linux, I’m just used to work with Linux…)

Both propose bi i7 CPUs.
The linux manufacturer propose a 3.2 GHz cpu while Dell propose a 2.93 GHz cpu.
Graphic cards is an nVidia 9800 GT 512 Mo DDR3 for the linux rig and an ATI Radeon 4850 512 Mo.

The linux manufactuer goes up to 48 Go RAM while Dell stays at 8 Go max for the RAM.

Storage is 2x 73 Go scsi-sas 15000rpm + 1x 1.5 To sata2 7200rpm for the linux dudes.
Dell offer 1.2 To sata 7200rpm.

I wonder if I can play down on the RAM.
48 Go is nice but I wonder how many times I would get a “malloc” error with blender if I go down to “only” 12 or 16 Go… I generally do big scenes with a lot of long trajectories. I roughly have 2000 objects each with 6 ipo (loc+rot) for 9000 steps (and it might go up…). This means Blender has to load at least 10 millions datapoints… I know I get a malloc on my macbookpro with a measly 2Go RAM…

Maybe I should ask for a more detailed pricing because I don’t see why the Linux rig is a whooping 7 grand… Although I am aware that 12*4Go RAM is expensive, it still doesn’t explain the price…

Maybe the hard drives…

Oh, the linux salesman just mentionned I had to be careful with the distinction :
xeon nehalem (computing server) and core i7 nehalem (workstation)

Arrgh. Headache.

I think many parts of the linux system are nearly twice expensive, ae. the cpu.
Extra harddisk controller (raid?) and the mainboard for 48 Go is very expensive.
Next the hardware like case, power supply etc. are solid state.
In other case, the linux system is for profesionall users, the dell system is only a very fast pc.
Like a pliers from a mart is 5 euro and a real one is 30.:wink:

By mib

Edit:Sorry to late

:o Silly me, but there is also a site for enterprises and institutions for Dell.

And guess what. A bi Xeon Nehalem 3.2 GHz goes for a whooping 3 grand euros…

Dell Precision, that’s the name of the beast…

:smiley: madness

So finally the Linux dudes and the Dell dudes almost propose the same thing…

:smiley: madness I tell you…

I think I will go check the benchmarks and see if having the latest nehalem is giving me a dramatic increase in ressources or if I could just go with the 2.9 GHz or cheaper…

go with the dell, I suppose, though I’ve got to mention, the linux systems memory(ram) is probably ECC,
and those 2 main hard drives are /fast/ !!!.