The aim of this study is to evaluate the relative importance of elastic non-linearities, viscoelasticity and resistance vessel modelling on arterial pressure and flow wave contours computed with distributed arterial network models. The computational results of a non-linear (time-domain) and a linear (frequency-domain) mode were compared using the same geometrical configuration and identical upstream and downstream boundary conditions and mechanical properties. pressures were computed at the ascending aorta, brachial and femoral artery. In spite of the identical problem definition, computational differences were found in input impedance modulus (max. 15-20%), systolic pressure (max. 5%) and pulse pressure (max. 10%). For the brachial artery, the ratio of pulse pressure to aortic pulse pressure was practically identical for both models (3%), whereas for the femoral artery higher values are found for the linear model (+10%). The aortic/brachial pressure transfer function indicates that pressure harmonic amplification is somewhat higher in the linear model for frequencies lower than 6 Hz while the opposite is true for higher frequencies. These computational disparities were attributed to conceptual model differences, such as the treatment of geometric tapering, rather than to elastic or convective non-linearities. Compared to the effect of viscoelasticity, the discrepancy between the linear and non-linear model is of the same importance. At peripheral locations, the correct representation of terminal impedance outweight the computational differences between the linear and non-linear models.