Windows vs. Linux in 3d rendering

Which operating system is the best for rendering? A question I often ask and search; I think it is often asked by you also. Ok, what is the answer?
In my experience Linux is 1.62X or 62% faster than windows. That means Linux can render more than 3 frames where Windows can render only 2 frames at a given time. Unfortunately I don’t have a Mac computer, so it is not in the comparison list.
The operating system or OS included in this test are
  • 1. Microsoft Windows 7 64 bit
  • 2. Ubuntu studio (Linux) 13.04 64 bit
3d application used
  • Blender 2.68 a 64 bit
Rendering software used
  • Cycles render (pre installed with Blender).
All the tests are done on a multi boot single laptop. The hardware configurations are
  • Dell XPS 14 laptop
  • Intel core i7 processor with 1.74 GHz speed.
  • NVidia GT 425M Graphics card
  • 4 GB DDR3 RAM 1333 MHz
  • 500 GB HDD 7200 RPM
Display Drivers used,
  • NVidia display driver 314.07 for Windows 7
  • NVidia Binary display driver 310 for Ubuntu
You can see, the hardware components are identical. The scene file used is the same for both operating systems. 3d program used is the same for both OS.
Here is the final render.
rbcs on glass bottle
Here are the details of the scene.
  • A photorealistic (?) glass bottle with studio lighting.
  • Dynamically driven RBCs are present inside the bottle.
  • All the materials used are Cycles shaders.
  • Indirect lighting with full global illumination.
  • Total samples of 1000 are used in rendering.
  • Total number of polys includes 8072. Total size of the scene is 1.64 MB.
  • The final output is HD 720P i.e. 1280x720.

Windows 7 64 bit
Ubuntu studio 64 bit
Before optimizing the PC
Total RAM usage
1.52 GB i.e. 38% 360 MB i.e. 9%
After optimizing the PC
Quit unwanted programs and services, total RAM usage
1.06GB i.e. 26.5% No optimization performed
After opening the scene in Blender total RAM usage 1.48 GB 37% 548 MB 13.7 %
During rendering RAM usage 1.44 GB 36% 520 MB 13%
During rendering CPU used for Blender 98-99% Rest is reserved for system. 97-98% Rest is reserved for system
Total render time 18 minute 12 seconds 11 minute 16 seconds

So Linux is the winner in 3d rendering race.
Unfortunately CUDA rendering is not working in Ubuntu studio (I need to add some CUDA libraries in Ubuntu). So there is no test for CUDA or GPU rendering. May be in some other time.


OK, I successfully updated my CUDA driver in Linux.See how I enabled CUDA in Ubuntu Now it is perfectly working. So what? I rendered the above scene in Blender using GPU in both Linux and Windows. Surprisingly the result is almost same! A slight performance gain in Windows.

Windows 7 64 bit
Linux Ubuntu Studio 64 bit
GPU rendering (CUDA)
12.53 Minutes
12.58 Minutes
So for GPU rendering, Windows 7 64 is the winner (with photo finish).
I think it is because the CUDA driver and graphics card driver have better optimization in windows than Linux.


According to my hardware specification Ubuntu CPU rendering is the fastest.
Here is the final comparison,
1st prize
Ubuntu 64 CPU rendering
  11.16 minutes
2nd prize
Windows 64 GPU rendering
12.53 minutes
3rd prize
Ubuntu 64 GPU rendering
12.58 minutes
4th prize
Windows 7 64
18.12 minutes

I also noticed that Maya also have a clear performance boost in Linux environment. But Maya will work only in RPM based Linux environment. For Maya Cent OS is the best.
I don’t know about Mac OS.
Have you ever feel slow rendering? Try switching your operating system first. Then upgrade your hardware.
So what you think? Post your comments and result below.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Maya work in all distro only convert RPM into DEB