Sintel, the Durian Open Movie Project » Blog Archive » System Benchmarks


System Benchmarks

on July 1st, 2010, by ideasman42

In the studio we have a variety of systems: Maqina Xeon workstations, Dell Xeon blades, off the shelf Intel I7’s, older workstations from Big Buck Bunny and our Justa-Cluster i7 render nodes so we thought it would be interesting to compare render times.

The tests below are not as comprehensive as they might be, but since we also use these systems on the farm and as artists workstations we decided to keep it simple.


Here is a complete scene from the movie bundled up so you may test blender on your own systems and compare render times with our studio systems.
Being a final shot this includes everything: sintel, bamboo environment, animation, textures, compositing etc.

Download test scene (147mb)

Open 5.2b_comp.blend and press render.

Or on the command line…
blender --background ./scene_05.2b_bundle/05.2b_comp.blend --render-frame 65

This blend file will only render correctly in the render branch of blender which can be found on graphicall, these tests were made with svn revision 29834 of blender.

Quick Render

Included times for one of our test renders. This file is not available for download.
The Scene shows a checken flying: 1024×4380, Full simples (5), raytracing, environment lighting & compositing.

Operating Systems

We are using 64bit Linux – Debian Squeeze for the Justa-Cluster & Ubuntu 10.04 for everything else. I like to keep configurations similar to avoid glitches & incompatibilities.


Debian’s gcc-4.4.4
I did some quick tests with clang (llvm based C/C++ compiler) and found if anything it’s slightly slower then GCC, however my tests were only with ~3 different test renders and roughly equivalent compiler flags.

I attempted to install Intel C++ compiler but didn’t manage to get the redhat packages installed on Ubuntu (needed 32bit stdc++ libs for 64bit compiler at which point I gave up).

C/C++ flags

Typically Blender developers discourage using any optimization known to be risky. For Big Buck Bunny we were more conservative because we wanted blender to run with minimal problems but for Durian Brecht and I agreed to try more aggressive optimization flags. There have been some occasions when we hit bugs in the optimized builds that were not in debug build but often these are caused by very very big numbers or NAN’s where the result isn’t useful anyway.

Here are the flags we use to build blender.
-O2 -mtune=native -fomit-frame-pointer -msse -msse2 -msse3 -ftree-vectorize -finline-functions -funswitch-loops -pipe --fast-math

I have to admit to being a bit of a ricer when it comes to setting up the compiler flags, Ideally we’d test how each flag effects performance however this is time consuming to set up.


Maqina X5550QC 3D Workstation (2x Quad Xeon’s X5550  @ 2.67GHz, 8 cores total, 24gig ram)

Render Time 16 threads (hyper thread): 27min, 03sec

Quick Render: Render Time 16 threads (hyper thread): 2min, 4sec

Dell Power Edge r410 (2x Quad Xeon’s L5520  @ 2.27GHz, 8 cores total, 24gig ram)

Render Time 16 threads (hyper thread) 27min, 47sec

Render Time 2 Blender’s running at once, 16 threads each 44min, 32sec, (amounts to 22min, 16sec per frame)
Render Time 2 Blender’s running at once, 8 threads each 41min, 10sec, (amounts to 20min, 35sec per frame)

Quick Render: Render Time 16 threads (hyper thread): 2min, 45sec

Justa-Cluster (1x Intel i7 930 2.80GHz, 4 cores total, 6gig ram)

Render Time 8 threads (hyper thread): 33min, 36sec

Quick Render: Render Time 8 threads (hyper thread): 2min, 24sec

No-Brand System (1x Intel i7 920 @ 2.67GHz, 4 cores total, 12gig ram)

Render Time 8 threads (hyper thread): 34min, 35sec
Render Time 4 threads: 42min, 12sec

Quick Render: Render Time 8 threads (hyper thread) 2min, 35sec

Maqina C6850DC 3D Workstation (Quad Core2  Q6700  @ 2.66GHz, 8gig ram)

Render Time 4 threads: 54min, 03sec

Quick Render: Render Time 4 threads: 3min, 35sec

older system used for Big Buck Bunny


  • for the test file you might not be able to render with less then 4 gig of ram.
  • the render farm software is not currently released but it will be released with all the other scripts and utilities with the production files.
  • Ton was interested in seeing times for quick test renders so I ran one of our fastest test files on all the systems so I have included times above.

– campbell

82 Responses to “System Benchmarks”

  1. fahr Says:

    Any chance of new mac build of the render branch showing up on graphicall today so us mac users and join in the play? 🙂

  2. cstockton Says:

    What’s a checken?

  3. cstockton Says:

    What’s a checken?

    Quick Render includes checken flying.

  4. J. Says:

    There’s a scene in which Scales (the baby dragon) chases a chicken.

  5. Blenderificus Says:

    on OSX with various builds from and my own builds I create often,I get a crash every time I attempt a render of the “05.2b_comp.blend” blend. It opens fine and I can do nearly anything but render just fine. Again, with various new builds from myself and others that are around build #r29850 +/-, crash every time with the following error:

    Exception Type: EXC_BAD_ACCESS (SIGSEGV)
    Exception Codes: KERN_INVALID_ADDRESS at 0x0000000000000000
    Crashed Thread: 11

    on an 8 core xeon OSX 10.6.4 with 8+ gigs of ram
    i’ve only run into this issue with one other blend so far.

    Any insight would be great.

    Sintel is looking awesome, great work to everyone on the team!!!!
    Blender 2.5 has received many benefits from your hard work, as will Blender in the 3D corporate landscape as well IMO.

  6. Blenderificus Says:

    EDIT: narrowed it down, each of the sub-blends(appended/linked) rendered fine EXCEPT for the “sintel.blend”, presenting the same . Of course the “05.2b_comp.blend” & “05.2.blend” still crash on render as well.

    The sintel.blend presents the SAME ERROR report on crash as the other “05.2 & 05.2b_comp” blends

    Thread 11 Crashed:
    0 libGL.dylib 0x00007fff840c81ed glDeleteBuffersARB + 18
    1 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x00000001002c2632 GPU_buffer_pool_delete_last + 114
    2 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x00000001002c3367 GPU_buffer_free + 119
    3 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x00000001002c3406 GPU_drawobject_free + 150
    4 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x00000001003cdd3c DM_release + 44
    5 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x00000001003a32e1 cdDM_release + 17
    6 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x00000001003cd1d0 clear_mesh_caches + 112
    7 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x00000001003d1914 mesh_build_data + 84
    8 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x00000001004202d1 object_handle_update + 1361
    9 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x00000001004442f9 scene_update_tagged_recursive + 73
    10 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x00000001002581ae RE_Database_FromScene + 622
    11 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x000000010026aef7 do_render_3d + 119
    12 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x000000010026b38d do_render_fields_blur_3d + 125
    13 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x000000010026cf74 do_render_all_options + 836
    14 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x000000010026d538 RE_BlenderFrame + 72
    15 org.blenderfoundation.blender 0x000000010001bc02 do_job_thread + 34
    16 libSystem.B.dylib 0x00007fff86f33456 _pthread_start + 331
    17 libSystem.B.dylib 0x00007fff86f33309 thread_start + 13

    Thread 11 crashed with X86 Thread State (64-bit):
    rax: 0x0000000000000000 rbx: 0x0000000119084468 rcx: 0x0000000000000000 rdx: 0x0000000119029c68
    rdi: 0x0000000000000001 rsi: 0x0000000000000001 rbp: 0x00000001213809e0 rsp: 0x00000001213809e0
    r8: 0x00000001017f3188 r9: 0x0000000118918a00 r10: 0x0000000000007c00 r11: 0x000000010063a2b0
    r12: 0x0000000000000007 r13: 0x00000001249d7e38 r14: 0x00000001234f9638 r15: 0x0000000000000019
    rip: 0x00007fff840c81ed rfl: 0x0000000000010202 cr2: 0x0000000000000000

    I’m not trying to spam, my apologies, just sharing, and hoping this can help any other OSX users also experiencing what I am.

  7. Agus Says:

    I Hope that DanielWray image tweak could be taken into account

    Thanks so much Campbell for this update very veryyy veryyyy interesting.

    Brecht, we miss you man! I know you have a lot to tell us about the work that you made there, hopping that you can make some time for Us!

    Thanks to all of you, go Durian team!

  8. rogper Says:

    I too felt some inexplicable need to play with the image 🙂

  9. ideasman42 Says:

    @David, I’d expect mingw-64 would compile blender easily (or with very minor changes). The problem is mostly that windows dependencies would need building too.

    @Blenderificus, have you got VBO’s enabled in your user preferences?, if so try disable them. This is still a bug ofcourse, just trying to narrow down what could be the problem.

  10. Atom Says:

    @Blenderificus: I get the same results on Windows XP64 4-Core AMD with 8GB RAM. Crash-aroony on render. The sub files seems to render without a crash.

    File scene_05.2.blend contains an error on layer #2. Try this…
    Turn off layer #2 and use layer #1 in it’s place.
    Save the file over top of the original.

    Then open up scene_05.2b_comp.blend and try to render the scene.
    It worked for me after that.
    Remember to visit the Performance TAB and try out something other than Octree. It still seems like a good percentage of the render pre-processing is still single core. That would be a great place for the coding team to focus on optimization.

  11. Jonah Bron Says:

    Really cool! That thumbnail thing is awesome. I’m on Linux and using Blender 2.5 Beta 2; why am I not seeing the thumbnails? Ubuntu Lucid, Nautilus, just the standard stuff. Do I need to download SVN rev. 29834 to make it work?

    Anyway, great job!

  12. Mats Says:

    @Blenderificus: I cannot render any of the files on OSX either. I too am able to do everything BUT render.

  13. Kai Kostack Says:

    Render time: 23m:55s

    System: Intel Core i7-980X Extreme Edition “Gulftown” 6-Core 3.33-3.6 GHz (12 threads through Hyper-threading)

  14. Blenderificus Says:

    after much testing on the Sintel.blend, I’ve found that I have to delete nearly ALL the content(meshes & rig) in the entire blend to get blender to stop crashing on render(with the same error I reported earlier). I can usually narrow down the culprit of a crash easily, but this seems like it might be reliant on multiple elements in conjunction. I’ll see if I can get some more time to look over the blend. But at this point, rendering the “sintel.blend” on OSX builds around # 29884(some earlier and some later builds mostly 64bit builds) just crashes every time unless nearly all elements in the blend are deleted before attempting a render.

  15. Blenderificus Says:

    @ideasman42: i usually try vbo’s as an initial culprit in such cases, and forgot to mention that I had already tested having VBO’s on and off, no change, still constant crashes.

    @Atom: I tried the fix you mentioned, however it didn’t fix the render crash. The issue appears to be in the “sintel.blend” file, not the blends that house it. Thanks for the suggestions though 🙂

    I’ve tried different raytrace structures(octree, bvh), turning off antialiasing, and a host of other tweaks attempting to get it to render.

    IMO a notable item I found was that when I MADE EVERY OBJECT IN THE ENTIRE BLEND NON-RENDERABLE(ctrl+h), I still get the crash. Maybe something is happening during pre-processing the elements to be rendered(even though they aren’t even toggled active to be rendered). Though I’d throw that in.

  16. Bitetti Says:

    Oh! Nice! A greate increment after Big Buck Bunny!!!

    On Ubuntu Studio 64-bit on a Q9300 2.5GHz quad-core with 8GB RAM witch Blender 2.52 this scene is fine. Total render time is 2hours 7minutes and 31.43 seconds!!

    Note: After download on I had to install libpython3.1 with Synaptic

    Great Job!!!
    Aways Blender!!!!

  17. Bastian Blank Says:

    2x octo-core opteron 2435, 8gig ram
    12 threads: 24:05.72
    6 threads: 35:55.90
    Two observations: blender does not scale with the amount of threads. This processor looks slower then the i7, but other benchmarks shows a completely different story.

  18. Jayden Says:

    It includes the Sintel rig! With High-Poly Sintel and facial controllers! YES!

  19. Blenderificus Says:

    sorry for the additional noise on this thread, but wanted to say that after trying MANY MANY tings to get the blend to render on many different recent OSX build(my own and from, I build a 29943 build myself, 64-bit osx, and all seems to render without crashing on OSX now(at least for the “sintel.blend”!!!!

    To whomever did whatever commit to clean things up for OSX users, thanks!! the Blender devs rock!!!

  20. radiant Says:

    It took me 58 min [1 frame] on a rig:

    intel core i7 950 @ 3.07GHz, 12GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285.
    4 Cores
    8 Threads.

    I was multi tasking so it could have been shorter.

  21. Pezbian Says:

    I got the render to work under Windows 7 64 on an i7-940 with 4GB RAM (stick on third channel has a bad capacitor). Peak usage including swap was almost 8GB.

    Like another user, my results were dark.
    Would it have anything to do with this Blender console error message?:

    failed to read multires displacement 274/958 100

    This message comes up twice in a row with each frame

  22. Dwayne Says:

    ANIMATION rendered
    Rendered at default output resolution, default everything. Only color correction is due to Lossy WMV compression and upload to Vimeo. final encoded WMV video (2s) is 9+MB – available here:

    system: Vista Home Prem 64b
    Intel Q9550 OCd to 3.8GHz
    6GB Dual Channel Ram
    ATI Radeon HD3450 cheapo card (hey, it’s a render node)
    Asus P5Q-Pro mobo
    Rendered to EXR, put together in Blender VSE, output as AVI Jpg (no ffmpeg in this build).
    Plain SATA2 hard drive.

    Average Frame render time is somewhere around 44 minutes… I didn’t calculate all of them for a true average.

    Blender r29834M 64bit build from Graphicall for Windows.
    Just need some forest sounds and Sintel’s grunting and running sounds 🙂

  23. Pezbian Says:

    Where can I get assistance with the dark render thing? It’s got me baffled.

    It’s not dark like the brightness has been turned down. It’s more like Sintel’s running through the forest just before an epic thunderstorm with the sky in the background being dark gray while everything in the foreground looks just fine.

  24. Whimsy Collective Says:

    Does blender use opencl, ati stream, or cuda to speed up renders?

  25. Blade Says:

    I have the same setup and the No-Brand System!! Even the same case 😛 However, i only have 6 gigs ram 🙁

    Way to go Durian team!!!

  26. Habo Says:

    Awesome! I have one question: Are there any plans for doing stereoscopic (3D) film? Or render using 2nd camera? I think It would be very interesting and cool… 🙂

  27. Alex Flores Says:

    Am I looking it wrong or the animation on sintel’s head on this scene is missing and sintel is looking really really weird?
    from where she starts the jump the head doesn’t move at all but the body does and looks like the neck completely folded…
    is this a final scene?

  28. MidnightLightning Says:

    I did a run of this file using a RackSpace Cloud Server (Fedora 13 instance, built SVN render branch from revision 30336). I tried on the 1 GB RAM instance, which outright choked, and then on the 2 GB RAM instance, which managed to render the scene, though needed the swap file since it reached a peak RAM usage of 4572.98 MB of RAM.

    Blender reported 01 hr, 09 min, 20.74 seconds for the render. At $0.12/hour for the RackSpace instance, that’s 13.87 cents/frame. So, for those of you looking for some extra render farm space at a per-hour charge, that’s how RackSpace’s servers stack up.

    I’ll try a 4 and 8 GB instance to see how they compare; I’m guessing the 4 GB one will shave some time off since it won’t be paging as much, but probably won’t be cost-effective to go to the 8 GB.

  29. MidnightLightning Says:

    Completed my test on the larger RackSpace servers:

    4 GB RAM instance: 31 min 5.97 sec (12.4398 cents/frame)
    8 GB RAM instance: 29 min 34.90 sec (23.6653 cents/frame)

  30. RobBird Says:


    i tried to render the testscene with my i7 980 Extreme @3,3GHz with 6GB Ram in original solution.

    Time: 41:13.15

  31. tjb0607 Says:

    [1] 17818 segmentation fault blender –background ./scene_05.2b_bundle/05.2b_comp.blend –render-frame 65


  32. Loic Says:

    On my I7860 with 8GB Ram, it takes 58:31.67. By the way, is there a Blender version that can use the power of any GTX460 GPU to boost this or an experimental project to help ?
    Regards, and Keep going on your incredible work!