Quadro k5000 on MAC vs GTX 780ti on PC

Hey All,

bit of an oddity here, wondering if the community can share any light on it.
The production company I work for is all MAC based so I had them install a Quadro K5000 on my MacPro (tower, not the trashcan). I then took a test scene and rendered it in about 45 minutes on my MacPro at using GPU settings in Blender following AP’s recommended settings for rendering on GPU.

I then rendered the same scene at home on my personal PC (GTX 780ti) using the exact same render settings and the scene rendered in about 15 minutes!!!

Now were are looking at a (at the time) $4000 professional graphics card being smoked by a $700 gaming card… So I figured I’ve got something not setup quite right.

On both systems I’ve got my compute device set tot GPU and GPU is doing my rendering per the render panel.
On my MAC, I’m using the NVIDIA Web Driver as apposed to the OS X default driver…

Is there some setting somewhere I’m missing or is Cycles just not made to use Quadro Cards? Perhaps there is a build out there on graphicall which may suite my needs better (which I have been unable to locate)

Would appreciate any advice

Nothing unusual there. You have to understand that NVIDIA is basically selling you the same chips in two different price classes. The professional chips are “selected” better (not all chips come out of the manufacturing process equally well), they have different drivers/firmware and they may have certain features unlocked, compared to the consumer part, but they’re still essentially the same chip.

In the case of the K5000, you’re basically talking about a GTX680 (1536 Kepler cores) with a slightly lower clockrate (for longevity and thermal considerations). All of the “professional” features (extended OpenGL support, unlocked double-precision) are not useful to Blender and Cycles.

The 780Ti on the other hand has the “full Kepler” design (3072 cores). It also has a higher clockrate and much higher memory bandwidth (336 Gb/s vs. 176GB/s) than the K5000. The “equivalent” Quadro GPU would be the K6000.

Thank you, that does explain everything very clearly. Unfortunate since NVIDIA did not make the k6000 to support MACs… since MAC won’t support them. Oh well, the K5000 speeds things up for Premiere…so… that’s a good thing right?

I can’t say I have experience with this, but to my understanding you can still use PC GPUs in a Mac, they just don’t work during the boot process. You should be able to plug in a secondary GPU just for rendering. This is also advisable since using the same GPU for rendering and display slows down the viewport. You may run into PSU issues with two “big” GPUs, though. That’s something you might want to look into (but better consult Mac user forums on that).

If I had to recommend you a GPU for rendering, it would be the Titan X. It has 12GB of RAM and it will outperform all the (single-GPU) Quadros. This page suggests that it will work with Mac OS. I believe the firmware modification is only needed for it to be usable during bootup. (Not sure, though!)

+1 to what BeerBaron said. I just wanted to add in that, when you render on the same GPU that is also driving your display, you loose the vram that is being used for the display as well. Having a Quadro is nice so you have a speedy viewport, but you also want a Geforce card(s) as a render beast in addition for the best setup.

@wickedsunny, it’s hard to say. I looked up the Quadro 4000 and it has the right stuff to work. It has a compute capability of 2.0 which is right at the cutoff point for Cycles compatibility. It has 2 Gbytes of vram which should be enough, even if it’s driving a display. It only has 256 CUDA cores (compared to a 980 with 2048 cores) so it’s not going to be a speed monster and it’'s an old card, so YMMV. It could also be your drivers are out of date?

As far as upgrading your system, if you don’t need the features of the CPU version of Cycles, then the GPU’s will give you the most speed boost. More memory is always helpful, especially if you are hitting swap all the time. It’s going to depend on how you want to work and what the work you do is.

@Grimm Yes I upgraded my drivers and it is working now.

Well I have been working with blender for a while and planning to make short animations ( Film festival and TV ads quality).

What do you suggest I should go for as a small render farm - CPU based or GPU based? I realize that fire and smoke cannot be rendered with GPU, so to speed up things with CPU which processors I should go for : I will be assembling more than 2 processors ( either 6 core or 10 core) but my budget is minimal.

Buying 2 sli 980 will speed up or buying 2 pairs of 6 core processors for the same price as 980 will speed up rendering? How much RAM will be required for each processor?

Any suggestions will really help.

With my cpu Intel quad core 950 3.07 GHz this birdy by @@pieriko took me over 1 hr 40 minutes to render.

Imagine animating at this rate. I definitely need a render farm and I am more inclined to go with cpu render farms.

I don’t know enough about Cycles to give you good advice about a render farm. I can only tell you what I have been seeing lately, that is that more and more people are moving to GPU renderers. You will get much more power for your $ out of GPUs than with networked render boxes. Cycles is getting better and better on the GPU so the features that you need might be here at some point? It’s easier to upgrade your GPUs then to upgrade a bunch of computers. GPU rendering is fairly linear, so when you add another GPU of the same type, you get an almost 2X performance increase. You will not see that with a CPU render farm as you have to deal with network latency, etc.

That is not to say that there are no gotchas with GPUs though. :slight_smile: You have to have a motherboard that will support all of the GPUs you plan to use (enough slots, room, etc.) Cooling can be an issue, some people go with water cooling to keep the GPUs cool. You need a power supply that will handle all of the power needed to run the cards. Your case needs to be roomy enough to fit everything, etc.

I’m planning on upgrading to a new system real soon here. My plan is to get a gaming motherboard that will support three GPUs with an AMD 8 core processor. I’m thinking AMD because they are so much cheaper than Intel and the new AMD CPUs have more than enough power to do what I need. I’m also planing on getting another GTX980 as a companion for my current 980. I will basically double my render speed with this setup. My current power supply is a 750 watt one, which might not be enough for three cards so I might have to get a larger one. I’m also planning on getting 32 Gbytes of memory or 16, I haven’t decided yet. Currently I have 8 and I very rarely run out. I will be moving over my existing 980 and 460, the SSDs, and the hard drives. All together I’m expecting to spend about $1400.00 US on the new system. That should give you an idea on how much a fairly ok GPU setup would be.

One last thing is that you can network GPU render boxes as well. I don’t know if Cycles supports that or not, but most GPU renders that I’m familiar with like Octane do. I have seen some people who have 12 GPU render farms and Otoy will soon have a cloud service where you can harness the power of hundreds of GPUs. In one demo Otoy used Octane to render a 4K frame of a Transformer robot is less than a second using 112 GPUs on the cloud.

Hope this helped some. :slight_smile:

I rendered @pieriko’s bird on my GTX980 and it rendered in 44 min. so a bit over 2X faster than your CPU. So two 980’s would be about 22 min. and if Cycles was optimized for the Maxwell chips it would be even faster. To give you an idea anyways.

Posting for reference… 3 GTX Titans time for the bird 11 min 40 sec.