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Blender System Requirements are misleading

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 4:46 am
by Sesshomaru
I had an old Windows ME and was planning on purchasing a new computer since Blender did not run well on it at all. I did not know much at all about computers at the time and looked at the optimal Blender system requirements in purchasing a new computer that I thought would be optimized for Blender.

I purchased a 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium desktop computer from Office Max in December of last year with an AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processer 5200+ 2.60 GHz and 2.00 GB of RAM which came with a graphics card with 128 MB of RAM. This does meet the optimal system requirements, but it's that word "optimal" that actually resulted in me buying the wrong computer. A computer optimized for Blender would obviously be the latest computer with the latest technology and would be able to use all of Blender's functions perfectly and be able to render and create animations at fast speed.

The computer I bought came with a NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430--a very weak outdated graphics card that performs very slow in Blender, and it also came with an outdated motherboard that only has PCI slots. Despite the fact that this graphics card does have 128 MB of RAM, it is obviously not an optimal graphics card for Blender and is obsolete in terms of current graphics cards optimized for Blender.

And that's when I later discovered the NVIDIA website and their gaming computers and now I realize how inferior my computer is and that I should of purchased a computer from the NVIDIA website instead.

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 5:46 am
by stiv
The computer I bought came with a NVIDIA GeForce 6150SE nForce 430--a very weak outdated graphics card that performs very slow in Blender, and it also came with an outdated motherboard that only has PCI slots.
I am far from an expert in graphics hardware but a quick google says your "graphics card" is actually an on-board graphics chipset. Motherboard manufacturers like these because they are cheap (some intel chipsets only add around five dollars to the cost of a mother board) This doesn't matter for email and web-surfing, but on-board chipsets tend to perform poorly in high-end graphics applications and often have poor opengl support - something that is critcal for blender.

Also, some of these chipsets use slower system memory rather than having dedicated high-speed memory like an actual graphics card.

But your situation is not hopeless. Even a cheap nvidia card will outperform on-board graphics. Rather than buying a new computer, buy an affordable nvidia-based graphics card ( $20-100+ dollars depending on your budget).

Ideally, the card will use an AGP socket - most recent mother-boards have one, but PCI will do if that is all you have. Pay no attention to mention of DirectX when looking at specifications. Blender uses OpenGL.

Also, turn off any window manager eye-candy like Aero. It may look pretty, but does not help performance.

Remember that rendering speed depends mainly on CPU power - assuming you have enough memory. Modeling speed ( dragging vertices around ) is a function of graphics card speed. With a decent graphics card, your system should be fine for Blender.

Posted: Fri Sep 12, 2008 7:33 am
by jesterKing
Also remember to get the latest driver for your video card. Ofter the ones that come readily with the system are already outdated. Newer versions of the drivers often result in better performance.

/Nathan

Posted: Mon Sep 15, 2008 7:59 pm
by joeri
For optimum render benchmark go here:
http://www.eofw.org/bench/