GPUs for real-time previews - your experiences?

Hi all,
I’m making a custom workstation build (thread here), and need to replace a placeholder GPU I’m using.

I’m gonna use the card for real-time previews only, and wanted to get a used NVidia. I still want to wait some time before I spend $1K on one of those top-shelf monsters. Current cards don’t quite make a dent yet, so I don’t care that much about gaining a little bit more performance for a whole load more of money.

Can you recommend anything?
I’m mainly looking for perceptual recommendations. So if you have a card you’re satisfied with, it performs well, and you’re not gonna swap anytime soon - please recommend!

The card will be ONLY for Cycles rendering preview in viewport, I don’t care about render times really (though these both are linked, I know :/)

I do need a full size card to plan out the elements I’ll be 3d printing for the chassis, and it’s probably gonna have a custom raiser - so I need to get a physical card to get its measurements to be able to finish the build :confused:

Hi, it depends on your budget.
For low budget you can look for a GTX 750Ti, it has 2 GB VRAM and is a good bang for Bug.
It is not a full size card.
I am fine with my GTX 760 4 GB, it is fast and 4 GB is enough for bigger projects (preview need less memory).
You should not buy older than GTX 600 series, GTX 670 4 GB is fine if you get one used.

Cheers, mib
EDIT: Really interesting project. :slight_smile:

I have a GTX980 and like it a lot. It’s blazing fast and I haven’t had any problems with it. Cycles hasn’t been optimized for Maxwell architecture yet (I think), but on Octane (which is optimized) my 980 is faster than a Titan. It doesn’t have the memory the Titan has though (4GB vs 6GB).

@mib2berlin: Eh, can’t find good used GTX 7xx series :confused: Was thinking about this one:
Gigabyte GTX660, 3GB RAM. It’s a pity it’s not a full sized board, I was hoping to cram a bigger one into the build… but the price here is really attractive. Do you think it’s any good?
re: project - all parts designed in Blender :slight_smile: I’ll probably post a thread on it later on. I’m using Migius’s CADTools Blender build for some of these things, but yeah… this deserves a thread of its own.

@Grimm - Well, the card is for a machine that has a few years. It’s an mini-ITX board, i7 2600K, 16 GB RAM, PCI-E 2.0. So I don’t need fireworks - especially not now, since it seems AMD finally bounced off the bottom with their GPUs. For Blender at least. And it’s gonna be for real-time previews primarily, since I want to be able to get fast results on light placement, shading, materials, and so on.
I want to get a relatively cheap but decent card for this particular machine. To boost the viewport, but also to test some cooling and construction solutions in a custom case.

double post
Cheers, mib

Hm, if I resign from additional RAM and cap the card at 2GB, things begin to get interesting. I can get a GTX960 with loads of display ports (do want) in similar price:

But it doesn’t end up high in the benchmark thread :frowning:

(Yes, I am referring to this thread all the time :stuck_out_tongue: though the multi-card rendering benchmarks make orientation in it a bit harder).

I am going to use it in viewport only, and it’s gonna be OCed (liquid cooling)… and viewport doesn’t really need all that RAM I would guess…

EDIT: Why does choosing GPUs always feel like having to pick the lesser evil? :frowning:

Hi again, Cycles is not up to date with the optimizations for latest cards.
In my benchmark also older cards get better results, nobody knows why.
The GTX 960 is a very good card and you are future proof.
Here is a benchmark for Octane, it is also a Cuda powered render engine:

Cheers, mib

Tested a GTX 960 today, both for real-time display and for rendering.
Performs very well in previews, though I expected a bit more :slight_smile:
Compared to 6 core i7 5820K @ 3.3GHz - it outperforms it by a nice margin, test scene rendered in 10 minutes on CPU, and 7 minutes on GPU.

(still, comparing prices, it seems that for larger scenes a CPU+Mobo+Ram gives a better bang per $. Ram is the main issue, SSS is the other, in Cycles at least).