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it's depend on your software(s)..
Sony vegas will use openCL for speed rendering..and this one is strong point of AMD..
Premiere Pro CC supports GPU acceleration for both Nvdia and AMD..
CUDA is a programming language based on C for programming said hardware, and an assembly language that other programming languages can use as a target. A software development kit that includes libraries, various debugging, profiling and compiling tools, and bindings that let CPU-side programming languages invoke GPU-side code.
Cuda cores is stream processor that execute program based on CUDA language program..
This is NVDIA proprietary..
But since R series of AMD cards, AMD introduce mantle, well, amd programming language which is run for amd cards only..
Quaddro is correct. I'd like to add that i.e. Cinema4D afaik doens't support CUDA rendering on its own. Mental Ray, a render plugin for it, does however. There is a pretty impressive render plugin coming out called Octance Render, which uses CUDA only to render. Other than that, most of the stand alone render plugins/programs use either OpenCL or CUDA.
Also, CUDA is more advanced than OpenCL currently is, so you can expect faster speeds when comparing similar cards, which is hard as it is, because AMD and nVidia use very different architectures.
Conclusion: Make your choice dependable on the software used.
PS: Mantle is not AMD proprietary. As far as rumors are concerned, it is being developed for offering an alternative to nVidias CUDA and PhysX, which are proprietary. It's an alternative to OpenGL and Direct3D. Intel and nVidia might add it themselves to their products, so it might be a good idea to invest in an AMD card instead of a nVidia card
You should look into AMD Firepro series or Nvidia Quadro. These are certified and custom-made cards for applications like Maya, SolidWorks and so on. If you are serious about 3D, dont buy a gaming card...You could add hundred dollars and get a real pro card like Firepro W5000 or Quadro K2000. These two are very capable, although Im thinking about W5000 myself. Its a real investment if you are thinking about a road in 3D.