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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).


About the Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-) I also run the Blender Artists forum and I'm Head of Community at Sketchfab.


  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?

  12. guys what about quadro's comparatively cheaper than other quadro and have 384 cuda cores...with the same price i can get gtx950 which have 764 cuda cores...some saying quadro have some professional drivers and all....but some saying gtx is fine than quadro....i wanna upgrade my gpu..suggestion budget is 210.64$ or 14000 rupess...

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