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In many tutorials and books I read that making grass is better in hair particle mode, but can not find why. Emitter works much faster than hair type. I try to achieve similar result with hair and emitter in the same scene. The first image was made using hair (grass and forest):

http://prntscr.com/7972ui

The second image was made using emitter:

http://prntscr.com/79h9hr

I understood only one thing, the emiter isn't as detailed as hair. What else?

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Generally, hair is recommended because you can use Cycles particle hair options to get a decent grass shape. It can also be softer on performance due to Children. However, Emitter pulls ahead when you have a diverse set of grass objects. Load them into a Group, and have the particle system use the Group option. This gives better look and performance (assuming you have good grass assets), but requires more work to set up.

Overall, both options work and have their uses. As far as I can tell, hair is commonly recommended in tutorials because Blender Guru put out a good tutorial for Hair grass some time ago, and so the method caught on.

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting.. I often use hair particles with a group of grass objects instead of strand rendering. So sort of in-between these two approaches :P I've never really tested to see if there is a difference performance.. $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 May 26 '15 at 18:44

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