Last weekend, I built myself a new computer. I’ve been using my Athlon X2 box running Windows XP (and occasionally Ubuntu 8.04) for several years. It wasn’t like it was getting horrible, but I felt that it was time for an upgrade nonetheless. So, I built a Phenom X6 machine with 8GB of RAM, and slapped Ubuntu 11.04 on it. For my current project, render times have dropped by almost an order of magnitude, a combination of the higher RAM ceiling, 4 more processor cores, three years better overall architecture and the move to a 64-bit OS.
Last night, as I was working on some sculpting on one screen and keeping tabs on myself in Glitch (http://www.glitch.com — I’m “harkyman” there, duh) on another, I decided to pull down the Blender sources and start building my own on the new box. I compile using scons, because it’s what I’m familiar with, and once I got all of the right packages in place, I started the build with the “-j” flag to tell it to multi-thread, assigning four of my six cores to it.
So, I went back to work (er, MMORPGs are work right?) and Blender built just ridiculously quickly, without even slowing me down in the web browser or hitting my performace sculpting.
Overall, between the render speed increase and the en fuego build time, I’m extremely happy with my upgrade. I know that it’s not news that newer, faster computers are… faster, but it’s fun to see it in practice.