Blender requires a 3D accelerated graphics card that supports OpenGL. We strongly recommend making sure you are using the latest version of the drivers for your graphics card before attempting to run Blender. See the Upgrading section below if you are unsure how to upgrade your graphics drivers. Additionally here are some tips to try if you are having trouble running Blender, or if Blender is running with very low performance.
The foundation site www.blender.org hosts an on-line database of Graphic cards, Operating Systems, Drivers and Blender performances. You are strongly advised to check that. In the following there is an extract of the tests done so far. These are mailnly for Windows platforms.
Graphics cards are generally marketed and sold by a different company than the one that makes the actual chipset that handles the graphics functionality. For example, a Diamond Viper V550 actually uses an NVidia TNT2 chipset, and a Hercules Prophet 4000XT uses a PowerVR Kyro chipset. Often both the card manufacturer and the chipset maker will offer drivers for your card, however, we recommend always using the drivers from the chipset maker, these are often released more frequently and of a higher quality.
The easiest way of finding out what graphics chipset is used by your card is to consult the documentatioon (or the box) that came with your graphics card, often the chipset is listed somewhere (for example on the side of the box, or in the specifications page of the manual, or even in the title, ie. a "Leadtek WinFast GeForce 256"). Often the graphics card will also display its name/model and a small logo when you power on the computer. Once you know what graphics card you h ave, the next step is to determine what chipset is used by the card. One way of finding this out is to look up the manufacturer in the card manufacturers table and follow the link to the manufacturers website, once there find the product page for your card model; somewhere on this page it should list the chipset that the card is based on.
Most consumer graphics cards are optimized for 16-bit color mode (High Color, as opposed to True Color). So you might want to try this color depth if you experience problems. Renderings will anyway be true color! Some cards many not be able to accelerate 3D at higher resolutions, try lowering your display resolution if you have problems. Some cards may also have problems accelerating 3D for multiple programs at a time - make sure Blender is the only 3D application running. If Blender runs but displays incorrectly, try lowering the hardware acceleration level, if posible.
On Windows the Display Properties dialog, selecting the Settings tab, shows, in the Display field, the names of your monitor and graphics card. This should tell you Card and Chipset.
The Display Properties dialog also allows you to set color depth, resolution and acceleration level.
The display properties dialog has many usefull settings for changing the functioning of your graphics card. To open the display properties dialog, go to Start Menu -> Settings -> Control Panel and select the Display icon, or right-click on your desktop and select Properties.
The advanced display properties dialog has settings for controlling the function of your graphics driver, and often has additional settings for tweaking the 3D acceleration. To open the advanced display properties dialog open the Display Properties as described above, then open the Settings tab, and click on the Advanced button in the lower right corner.
If Blender performances are not good try to disable any OpenGL Anti-Aliasing feature of your video card.