CPU GPU RAM best budget hardware for Inkscape setup

Asked by Robert Saunders

I can't find much current information about Inkscape and its use of hardware like multi core CPU's and graphics cards. I need info on a good setup to upgrade to for Inkscape use. Please give advice if you have time!

I am using Inkscape (on Kubuntu) for hours a day at the moment for complex artwork using blurs and other filters, with up to around 50 layers per artwork. Of course I am having to wait for re-drawing when zooming often, and significant lag when creating or editing small details. I am also getting frequent errors in bitmaps exported at 300dpi approx A3 size (blurs that display on screen but appear clipped when exported (but are not actually clipped), whereas exporting only a selection of the image creates the bitmap fine with the same blur rendered perfectly). Even outline mode can be slow at times. So: Time to upgrade my six year old system. I want it primarily to work as well as possible for Inkscape. I now have:

Asus A7V880 motherboard
AMD Sempron 2600+ CPU
1.5Gig RAM
Nvidia GeForce FX 5500 with 256MB cache

I frequently find my CPU gets a lot of use when using Inkscape but my 1.5Gig RAM only ever gets to around 60% use.

I read that 0.47 can make use of multi core CPUs use for rendering blurs when the preferences.xml file is edited. Also I have read that Graphics cards are not used for anything other than displaying images on screen. I take it this is still true. So I have my eye on buying a computer that has:

ASUS P5KPL-AM motherboard
Intel Quad Core 2.66 GHz processor
Intel ICH7 chipset
On board Intel graphics
and a 25 inch monitor

My budget is limited so I need to find out:

Will a dual core or quad core CPU make any difference to Inkscape's performance when using 64bit Kubuntu and Inkscape (do all four cores share the work)?

Will on-board intel graphics be more than adequate for my Inkscape needs?

Will 4Gig RAM be more than enough? (the motherboard can take 4Gig max)

Any other advice re best hardware for Inkscape speed and performance when using multiple layers and many blurs/textures? I really need to get as much out of my investment as I can and Inkscape is my primary tool.

Any answers gratefully received!

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Robert Saunders
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vwanweb (vwanweb) said :

unfortunately I've looked this up before and have found 0 information regarding hardware (h/w) requirements for inkscape in any inkscape based forums, user groups, etc.

So I used a reference to a 3D based graphics application (Blender) and for Inkscape's commercial rival >Illustrator figuring if it is good enough for these editors than this would suffice for inkscape.

Blender's h/w requirements:

Illustrator's h/w requirements


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ScislaC (scislac) said :

As of right now, Inkscape does not take advantage of 3d acceleration or multithreading (except for blur as you know). If you are to get the computer that you're looking at you will get some benefits, however, until we're fully multithreaded and accelerated, it won't make a terribly huge difference. However, do know that when we end up implementing those things, it will be much faster on that newer system you're looking at. As for the onboard graphics, if you have no need for a dedicated card right now, don't bother... the benefit is if it takes 2 years for 3d acceleration to be implemented, you will then be able to get a really great card for quite a low price at that time.

Hope that helps,

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Robert Saunders (veryrobert) said :

Thank you vw and Josh for answering my question.
I suppose then that the best setup for Inkscape use before full multithreading is implemented mainly depends on getting a computer that has a good processor with a high core frequency rather than the number of cores, as the first core will do all the work anyway (excepting blurs). Thanks for the clarification also about usage of graphics cards at present. This is very useful information for me to keep in mind when thinking about upgrading my system.

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Daf Hobson (daf-dafhobson) said :

Thank you. I had the very same question. Now answered.

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Salim F (cassano2012) said :

Even the CPU Frequency Not have any important deferent with Inkscape at moment ..
I have Phenom II X3 710 Run normally at 2.6GHz when i accelerate it to 3.2Ghz i notice no change at all ..
when i lower the frequency to 800MHz (0.8GHz) i got same result no change at all ...
that's means inkscape work on lower frequency same way at higher frequency ...
So save your money and enjoy your creative work with inkscape and our current System until the developer find a way to solve this issue .
If it up to my I'll will looking for First Workstation graphic card (From ATI or nVIDIA)..that's will have solution to accelerate inkscape ...as known Workstation graphic use GPGPU technology to Accelerate CPU tasks using special graphic card ...i don't know if that possible with inkscape now .
this is what i found in wikipedia :-
SVG Hardware rendering

Implementations of SVG that uses the OpenVG API will be hardware accelerated on devices which have hardware acceleration of OpenVG. Examples include Unix-like operating systems with Gallium3D based graphics drivers and several GPUs intended for handheld devices (see OpenVG).

OpenVG is a standard API designed for hardware-accelerated 2D vector graphics. ....
... For a 3D match see OpenGL ES. OpenVG is managed by the not-for-profit technology consortium, the Khronos Group

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Robert Saunders (veryrobert) said :

I did upgrade my system. Went for a high GHz dual core system (details below). Inkscape uses only one thread of one core at a time (each has two threads) but it is much better for Inkscape than my old setup. Inkscape is a LOT faster for me now, and I'm confident I got the best hardware for Inkscape that my knowledge and budget allowed.

Inkscape frequently uses 100% of one CPU thread, but processing time is much faster because the CPU is much better.
I have the multi-thread blur rendering enabled in my preferences file too, but can't say I've seen any increase or spikes in other CPU thread usage while zooming or exporting ...
As ScislaC pointed out, a graphics card (at present) would not be used by Inkscape.

My artworks contain a lot of small details and many layers. Zooming in on such details in my old setup could sometimes literally take several minutes at a time. Now its a matter of seconds (The biggest Inkscape file I have is 43MB - approx A3 size with many layers, blurs, some filter effects and loads of small details. Zooming it from full-page view (71%) to 1470% size now takes 22 seconds in Normal view mode- that's a great improvement on my old system!). Export is a lot faster too. I can also multi-task as Inkscape's demands on the CPU don't tie up the whole system (during a big export, for instance) because other CPU threads are available.

Hope this helps anyone looking for answers to the same question.

I chose:
Intel® Core™i5-680 Dual Core (3.60GHz, 4MB Cache) + HD Graphics (INTEGRATED INTEL HD GRAPHICS (HDMI, DVI, 1920 X 1200)),
Using Kubuntu 10.04 64bit.

Very happy with it :)