Is Blender more stable on some Linux distributions, or just on Linux at all? I am contemplating dual-booting my computer and partition some of my HDD for Linux to use blender there. Would there be any noticeable differences? Would render times decrease?
My two cents...
Blender works wonderfully in any of the supported platforms.
That presumes that the specific host computer and operating system it is configured correctly. In other words, a computer with the right components and the correct drivers for the specific hardware will work fine with blender, regardless of the choice of Operating System.
Most of the incompatibilities come from using certain Linux distributions and brands of hardware and the drivers for it.
In Linux some of the proprietary drivers for GPUs are a bit more complex to install. The open source drivers sometimes prevent the use of some features, as in the case of NVidia. I believe there are issues with open source drivers for AMD as well. Maybe someone who actually uses such hardware can chime in...
Not all Linux distributions were created equal.
In Fedora Linux, CentOS, or variants of RedHat (among other distributions) there have been some issues with video codecs not being available or hard to install. Some distributions try to avoid legal issues and will not include some features and libraries in their official repositories, so the user has to do a bit more effort to enable those formats.
Depending on the desktop environment in Linux, there might be some conflicts with the shortcuts that blender uses. In that case is a good idea to reconfigure shortcuts for the OS and being able to use blender with its native shortcuts.
Yes, windows is plagued with annoyances, but so is Linux. It is easier to find support for new hardware in windows, as is more widely used and is the manufacturer's main market. Linux does require the user to be more informed to troubleshoot issues, it might not be as "plug and play" as a commercial OS.
In my opinion (I use both systems side by side all the time) the supposed advantage of Linux over Windows in terms of speed and stability is largely over-hyped, more of and old myth, and not so real anymore. At least in the case of modern systems I have not seen much of a difference in the usability and rendering times for blender...
But instead of relying on hearsay, you might want to try both and decide what works for you...
It is commonly said that performance is generally faster under Linux based operating systems, both during regular program operation and rendering.
Linux is also commonly said to consume less resources than other operating systems, leaving more available memory and processing power available for applications to use.
According to this recent article's benchmarks, Cycles GPU rendering is generally considerably faster under Linux than Windows for the same hardware configurations.
Edit : Have in mind that your mileage may vary and not all hardware/software combinations behave the same under each operating system or for all types of tasks. Dual booting may still be a better solution, also considering the diversity and availability of software for each platform.
To work around the issue on Windows, you have to set your Nvidia Card to Tesla Compute Mode(TCC), which is only supported on Titan and Quadro class cards.
Linux is faster with NVidia Gforce 1070, in the best performance mode Windows take more than 4 seconds to render the initial cube in 128 samplings and full HD size (Cycles) and in Linux take less than 4 seconds, 3,63.
So I'm using Linux without a doubt, Linux Mint and last kernel.