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Best Hardware for Cycles

Olivier Amrein presents an extensive analysis of GPU benchmark data in order to select the fastest hardware for Cycles.

Olivier Amrein writes:

So you are a cycle fan ? You have an old computer and graphic card, and want to upgrade your hardware to something good enough for running the new cycle rendering engine ? Here is an interesting article for you.

It all started with a cool model and shared .blend file by Mike Pan. People download the file, render it, and add there rendering times in a spreadsheet. It has been posted a while ago and there have quiet some results (around 160 at the time of writing this post).



  • Jean-Gabriel LOQUET

    Excellent ! Thanks for collecting and sharing this data. We are probably quite a bunch out there looking for new Cycles hardware ;)


  • eracoon

    indeed thank you for collecting this data. im still stuck with a GT240. I was looking to replace it but now I have a better knowledge which card to upgrade to.
    Cycles is the best thing since sliced bread :)

  • DimitrisC

    Someone gets 37 seconds using 2xGTX 460?
    Why the hell do I get 57 secs for the same cards?
    Win7 64bit btw.

    • kABHIr

      Did you upgrade your graphic drivers?

      • DimitrisC

        Guess so. My system/drivers are about a month old but I'll check it out. 

    • Guest

      Try overclocking the GPU core a little. Also the memory speed could impact performance.

  • R Janssens

    Thank you very much! I'm planning to buy a new graphics card, this chart will certainly influence my choice :)

  • Joseph Russell

    Given that dual GTX580 comes top here, I'm surprised there's no discussion here of the new Kepler cards. Anyone have a play with the 680s yet? I'm planning to get the 4GB model. I also use Octane but apparently they are not compatible quite yet...

    • Ninja7

      It seems gtx 680 is inferior than a gtx 580. Nvidia plans to sell more quadro and tesla for gpgpu. I'm disappointed

    • Azure

      I have a friend with the 680. It won't run CUDA at all. Photoshop crashes when doing batches with OpenGL enabled, Unreal Development kit won't even show its generic-browser, etc.

  • abdu anonim

    Blender is a Nvidia PARTNER ,Nvidia is a Blender PARTNER.. All is Clear .business is business

    • Bart Veldhuizen

      Nvidia sponsors Mango, but that doesn't make them a Blender 'partner' I think.

    • Gottfried Hofmann

      Actually Blender is also partnering with AMD.

    • R Janssens

      In addition to what the others replied... Cycles is also heavily optimized for Nvidia-based graphics cards, so not a real surprise those cards come out highest

  • Gertjan Van Den Broek

    Thank you for those results, I've got a better picture of what I'll need to put together a good rendering workstation.
    It's too bad that there aren't that many laptop results. I'd have loved to see more quadro 3000M or even 5010M's in there.

    I'm actually a bit surprised that every quadra is being outdone by GTX 580, especially since quadra is supposed to be better at CUDA, maybe this tells us that CUDA isn't that big a thing to look for when looking for a good blender rig.

    • Reaction

      For a new PC at work I asked for a GTX 580 (£400) giving the specific reasons, but was told I had to have a 'professional' Quadro 4000 (£600).  What a disappointment!  I cannot understand why any ordinary person would ever buy a Quadro.

      • mzungu

         Are you doing CAD (or similar) work? Same thing happened to me recently (but I got stuck with the Quadro 2000)

        Many pro CAD (or DCC) apps "require" quadro (or AMD's comparable ... was it "fireGL"? can't remember) hardware to run. Another scam-inside-deal with the hardware vendors to grift more profit$ from corporate customers. In most cases the capabilities of the gaming-targeted consumer cards are superior, but these companies have your average IT department by the balls (that, or IT just doesn't care, after all, its not their money - it gets billed to engineering/whoever) - and all this is fully in league with the middle-man dealers. I call ripoff.

        • Reaction

          I'm doing Blender, and I even sent the BMW benchmark results to the IT department to show why I needed a GTX580! You're exactly right. A guy here at work (who knows little about PC's insides) said he must have a super expensive card so he could run $0lidW0**$, because that company said he would need one. I ran the program on a little Radeon 3470 that came with a Dell PC - and the program ran no problem at all.

  • tank

    Radeon 7000 series i say

  • Mmarco

    I don't know if this is the right place to ask this, but... are the OpenGL issus on gtx cards solved?

  • Jestablunt

    i would love to use my hd6970 ... and i would be interessted in seeing how the new gforce 680 is comparing to the field...

  • Ninja7

    There is a thread on blender artist where we can see that the 580>680>570.

  • Kirill Poltavets

    "cycle fan" )) It's a mistake.
    This winter I've bought GTS 450 with 2Gb RAM... for 100 bucks :) It's freaking awesome for this price!  And it was retail (so it's a bit nicer than OEM).
    So, dudes, if you have not much money - search for this one!  I need to buy a new MB too.. For now I'm getting only 50% of it's true power (old PCI-E).
    The main reason was 2Gb of mem. Remember it's very important to render any big scenes (almost any.. with lot of faces). Also I checked the number of CUDA cells in GTS 450 - this was the second reason because it's very important for GPU computations. 50% cheaper models may have just 30-40% cells of GTS450. Another good reason to choose this card (it's MSI with a big fan)... it's very silent. At least now :) After swapping GT8600 to GTS450 I got that the noise was lowered pretty much.... Maybe just a new bearing :)

  • skulpter

    What's the fastest GPU for laptop?  Thanks.

    • Nick Rishel

      Nothing in reasonable price ranges. Not sure any of them would support Cycles, but that's only an educated guess.

  • AcAnimate

    Well.. I would still buy a Nvidia Quadro 4000 or 5000.. the 4000 can render 890 million triangles pr. second !

    • Reaction

      Be warned - the Quadro 4000 is poor value for Blender Cycles rendering ( .

    • Sol

      "Quadro" AKA "let's steal money from the rich"

      GeForce cards are the same as Quadro cards, they are just crippled on purpose to get more money out of professionals. Few years back I turned my GeForce 8600GT card into an expensive Quadro card through softmod. OpenGL in Maya worked perfectly, with greater performance..

      It's all about corporate greed..

      • Benjamin Lindquist

         Yeah well basically professionals pay for the drivers and tech support. I was very dissapointed about this when I first found out as well. If you don't need custom developed drivers or viewport AA then stick with Geforce.

  • Antonvdh

    Should the memory be included in the equationThe winner dual GTX580 has 3GB memory for each card.

  • Francisco Hernández

    I have noticed that the new builds do not include "OpenGL or CUDA" options for render, just "Supported and Experimental" options, and I am using the newest builds at the time of the posting.

    Can anyone tell me wich one is for GPU and wich one is for CPU?
    For some reason, I get the same time in both settings.

    • Nunud

      Same question here! Where did that "GPU / CPU" menu go?

      And what are the implications of this new "Supported / Experimental" menu?

  • Nunud

    Mistuma, the guy the dual 460 rig, says you shouldn't get an SE ou V2 version of the GTX 460...

    What does SE stand for here?

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