Today i have been partitioning a 1TB hard disk where i want to install tomorrow Centos 5.4  x64 for use for 3D modelling,with Maya 2011.

I created a 10 GB swap ( 8GB ran + 2) a 620 gb  partition for lvm , with one volume group , and two logical partitions one of 43 GB for CentOS root partition and one lv for home with 430 GB,rest until 620 GB free space inside lvm. 

Also after the lvm partition i created a 100 GB partition for Photoshop scratch ( i will put Windows 7 in a ocz vertex SSD for use Photoshop and zbrush)

the last partition is a extended one with the centos /boot partition ,a ext4 partition for installing ubuntu 10.10 (grub2 in mbr and chainload to centos /boot and once installed win 7 chainload to sdb mbr with win bootloader), and a 180 GB ntfs for sabe win data, also of 400 mb free space in extended for more partitions.   The lvm partitions ,I didn't formated them yet, because i am trying to decide if use default option (mkfs.ext3 -L label /dev/HD/...) or add something like '-T largefile4'  or/and use extents ('-O extent').

Man says that use extents improve performance of large files also of the filesystem in general, but I don't know if worth use other options as -T or just stick with default + extents. 

I am starting to learning 3d so I don't think I will have much 1-4 GB Maya binary files (but perhaps some textures or like yes , don't know) at least until i learn maya. But is wise to take precautions.

Any sugestion about if stick to default or  default + extent or add moré options like -T largefile / largefile4 ?

I would say that 3D modeling involves big files > 1GB many times, but i don't know if optimize ext3 for large files would resul in a poorer small files performance (300 or like). 

Perhaps would worth also to convert ext3 to ext4 or xfs. Xfs is not in centos 5 but usin rsync is possible to migrate to xfs using a live-cd installing in centos xfsprogs and a new kernel i think. I have done it in centos one time and iknow how to do it.

If ext4 is better than ext3 would be a raseonable option.

When converting to ext4 would have any influence the) mkfs.ext3 options in the new ext4 features ? ( like what avariable or something

  • Thanks for the advices, 3dinfluence. I will use ext3 for / , and /home, and create a xfs parition for hold maya projects , and all 3d stuff (render output and like). or would be better to have /home in xfs also ?
    – Abel Coto
    Nov 27, 2010 at 17:57

3 Answers 3


My background prior to making the switch to system administration I was doing 3d animation. Hence the 3dInfluence handle. I ran a department for 8 years developing large format shows similar to IMAX. That included running the departments IT infrastructure which included our file servers, network, rendering farm, and workstations.

I think you're overcomplicating things here especially if you're just learning 3d. The biggest thing you can do is make sure you have enough ram...the moment that you start to swap all performance goes out the window. I don't care how many tweaks that you've done to your system in the attempts to optimize it for this type of work. If the cost of ram or the scope of your project is extreme then learn how to optimize the scenes with your software. This comes with experience and asking people who have struggled with these sorts of problems before. Try CGTalk for that sort of stuff. It's a great community.

Beyond ram I would go with XFS as a filesystem for the partition that will hold your rendered output, both frames and movies. My experience has always been that it performs the best for large directories of large image files and works well with the large and sometime massive files such as particle or mesh caches and movies. Now when I was doing this it was before ext4 so that may be a decent fit for this type of stuff now but I would bet that XFS would beat ext4 still for this sort of thing.

Photoshop will never use that much scratch space...I wouldn't really worry about optimizing for that. This goes back to the ram thing really. A faster disk subsystem like SSD's or RAIDS are helpful for video editing and compositing tasks. But really don't do much if anything for creating/editing textures or 3d modelling/rendering.

Good luck.

  • I have 8 GB RAM , and i was thinking in create a 10GB swap , because redhat reccomends for 8 GB or more use the Ram + 2 formula. What i can do is tune swapiness if i see too much use of swap.
    – Abel Coto
    Nov 27, 2010 at 4:50
  • I think I will use xfs. But only for /home , or also / ?, or I create a separated partition in xfs and mount in my home user , and home and / ,ext3? centos 5 does not support xfs in anaconda, but with rsync I can backup the / and home in ext3, format to xfs and should work. I have done it one time. ( if better to have all in xfs) I will try to overcomplicate me less and do more 3d ;)
    – Abel Coto
    Nov 27, 2010 at 4:55
  • 8GB of ram should be sufficient for most work these days. It won't hurt to have 10GB of swap but for the most part I doubt your system will use it much. Also as a student you'll probably only be rendering out at fairly low resolutions and it will be a while before your scenes start to get complex enough to push beyond that. ZBrush will probably be the most ram intensive thing you'll be doing for now. I wouldn't go too far out of your way to try to optimize the file systems too much as they aren't really going to be a huge bottle neck unless you're compositing or editing/encoding video. Nov 27, 2010 at 17:09

I would definitely upgrade to ext4 as it is forward compatible. The only real catch of course is that you cannot switch back to ext3 (although I do not know why you would want to do that anyway). XFS is a file system that is very good at dealing with large files as well, however the upgrade path will not be as easy as ext3 to ext4.

There is a recent article on linux.com that could be of use to you, check it out here


Strange that you plan to install centos 5.4 instead of current version 5.5.

For optimization - make your working partition on the firsts cylinders on the HDD. Data located on the beginning of the HDD are read/writen faster than these on the end. Chose ext4 as it is supported now and will be default on future version of CentOS/RedHat. Ext4 should be slightly faster than ext3. Mount your working partition with options noatime and nodiratime. If you use SSD disk you will have 2-4 times better disk performance.

Another idea (if you use relatively small files - below your amount of RAM) you can use RAM disk (/dev/shm) and you can rsync your files from RAM disk to HDD every few minutes. In this case you must put on your PC few GB RAM more and use UPS.

  • I use 5.4 becaus certain libraries need for Maya , with a specific version. Could work in 5.5 but i have first to see what libs aré required and recommended version. Autodesk recommends RHEL 5.4 ws for Maya 2011. It is also important where you put the swap in the hdd , although the ideal thing is to swap the less posible. In a lvm is important the order of the partitions for the performance ? ( supposing I put first lvm, then ubuntu , centos boot and perhaps Photoshop scratch in that order. Swap inside or outside lvm ? Ssd will improve performance after booting too , or only boot faster?
    – Abel Coto
    Nov 27, 2010 at 4:51

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