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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).



  1. Jean-Gabriel LOQUET on

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


  2. 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 :)

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

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

  5. Joseph Russell on

    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...

  6. Gertjan Van Den Broek on

    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.

    • 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.

      •  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.

        • 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.

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

  8. Kirill Poltavets on

    "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 :)

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

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

  10. Francisco Hernández on

    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.

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

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

  11. 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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