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GTX 680 for Maya, Mudbox and 3DS

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November 3, 2012 10:17:37 PM


"The GTX 680 in SLI is better than the Quadro 4000 for Maya". Gefore cards including the 600 series do work for Maya.

Hi

I wanted to set the record straight on the use of the 600 Nvidia Geforce graphics cards for 3D content creation programs like Maya,3DS, Mudbox, Showcase, Daz 3D, all of which I use on close to a daily basis.

The main point is that they do work and, for at least what I do, they work better than the 500 line and significantly better than the last generation of Quadro cards such as the Quadro FX4800.

The set-ups I have been using included 2 GTX 580 in SLI, single GTX 680, 2 GTX 680 in SLI and 3 GTX 680. Quadro FX4800 (with 3 different drivers) and a Quadro 4000. For all of the above, I've been using an Intel 3770K and a 3930K. I have an I5 and I am happy to try it if anyone has a question they would like answering. Oh and I tried 8, 16, 32 and 40 gigs of ram.

I know this is a topic close to a lot of people's hearts given how many threads there are on it. I got sick of reading all the threads where people offer their "opinion" when they have never actually tried it in a real life scenario.

The answers like "Quadro is designed for it even though it's less powerful" and the GTX 680 may be the best but they turned off all the compute power, or best off all "the drivers are optimized for it and that means a Quadro with 200 Cuda cores will work better than one with 2 million etc". They didn't make sense to me. Games need 3D rendering capabilities too. Some even have an ant-aliasing options (posh word for making lines look smoother for greater realism accuracy)

Sure drivers can be optimized for better performance, but that much better? to the point where a card half as powerful can run a program where one twice as powerful can't at all?


My experience was that moving from the 3770k to the 3930K made significantly more difference than any card changes. Maya and Mudbox are my go-to programs where I notice any change. They are also specifically called out as i "unsupported" for Geforce 600 cards. (BTW they define unsupported as meaning they haven't bothered to test it. They never said it wouldn't work. In fact Maya requirements says "any open GL graphics card"))

Maya has a fault that saves every movement you make in a scene. When a scene gets too full, the display port starts to become unusable in anything but wireframe mode. I thought this was because I was using a GTX 680.

Believing the "opinions" that I read, I swapped my GTX 680 for 2 GTX 580's. I got some marginal improvement as you would expect from a more powerful setup but,,,,, that problem remained. I gave in and bought a Quadro FX 4800. This was the shizzle in 2010 so for Maya 2011 it should solve any problem right? wrong. the problem was worse than ever. Everything worked but viewport was not as smooth as the more powerful Geforce setups and rendering was slower. A lot slower. I borrowed a Quadro 4000. Better but not as good as 2 GTX 580's. Nowhere near. Faults in programs happen and cause crashes with any graphics card. I never found my Geforce cards to be unstable so the Quadro being "more stable" means nothing to me.

For different reasons, I upgraded to 3930k and my user experience improved a lot. My computer made me smile. You know that feeling like when you play a game that runs so smoothly you know it's down to your build and overclocking.

In Maya, my scenes could get a lot more complicated before I had to switch to wireframe. Viewport was a smooth as my games. It still crashed from time to time but no more or less than with the Quadro cards. The program is not perfect and Autodesk admit that certain things can make it crash (like any program). I still love it though! Maya is the best IMO. I use all the viewports including hardware, software, 2.0 and Metal Ray.

No longer believing what I'd read about "Compute" being completely turned off, I put the 680 back in and gave it an SLI friend to sleep over. Again a step up in viewport smoothness. Rendering was still quick. The step up felt the same as going from a 580 to a 680 in gaming (which is a lot). I added a 3rd GTX 680 yesterday and no noticeable improvement in Maya and Mudbox (they still work well). I'm going to add a 4th on Monday (for 3 monitor gaming).

I gave back the Quadro 4000 and put the 580's and the Quadro FX in new machines and put them up for sale. I kept one FX4800 to put in my machine alongside the GTX 680's (running a virtual computer (just in case:) )

I don't believe in benchmarks, I'm just a guy that wanted to play games second and use 3D modeling programs first. My findings are only from my personal day to day experience.

My conclusion is that the drivers in Quadro cards give you an improvement but we are talking 10% -20% in some programs and nothing in others (I actually found some real benchmarks on the internet on that on that one) . Sorry Nvidia, good try though, you almost had me going. Geforce cards (including the 600 series) work but marginally worse than an equivalent Quadro but significantly cheaper.

If faced with a choice of older slower cards or newer but not "supported" cards, I will go with the better cards. Geforce costs less and has newer technology which is sufficiently better to make up for the loss of performance from the drivers. If Autodesk "support" is really important to you then pay extra for Quadro but get an equivalent card if you want to benefit from the improvement. 2 GTX 580's will blow a Quadro 4000 out the water.

Also, check how reliant your program is on graphics cards for performance. The $1000 saving from buying a GTX680 over a Quadro 5000 got me an upgrade to the 3930K 6 core processor and a second GTX 680. Anyone who believes that a Quadro 4000 n a 3770K is better than 2 GTX 680's on a 3930K is Nvdia's marketing guys dream customer., It's sweet that you still believe in Santa and the tooth fairy.

It seemed to me that a processor upgrade is money better spent on some of the higher end 3D modeling programs. May in particular seems very Ram and CPU hungry and surprisingly to me, less sensitive to graphics card changes (although I can't see much difference between 2 GTX 580'd and 2 680's in a game either...)

I would also caution, I create complex stills and some simple animation, I'm not working on the next Toy Story here. My experience was in rendering 2-3 minute scenes. I don't know if the Quadro benefits scale for 2 hour movies all rendered at once but I doubt it.

That's all I wanted to say. I hope it saves somebody all the hours I wasted trying to find a thread written by someone who actually tried it. I'm happy to try rendering some peoples scenes to try it out (within reason) for anyone who can't decide between the sensible Quadro or the naughty Geforce.
If I am expected to pay $2000 for a card instead of $500, I'm going to need a lot more than undefined support and undefined driver benefits. Telling me you sabotaged the consumer graphics cards so that their awesome power doesn't make your old technology professional cards obsolete isn't good enough and kinda makes me mad. surely it's time to admit that they could make a single card with the benefits of both for a lower cost or go the way of Silicon Graphics.
Also, I hope this knowledge helps some college kids get their parents to buy them a Geforce gaming cards for Christmas instead of the Quadro for design school :)  The GTX 680 is amazing and Maya viewport is so so smooth with it!















January 9, 2013 3:19:43 AM

robertbhart said:
"The GTX 680 in SLI is better than the Quadro 4000 for Maya". Gefore cards including the 600 series do work for Maya.

Hi

I wanted to set the record straight on the use of the 600 Nvidia Geforce graphics cards for 3D content creation programs like Maya,3DS, Mudbox, Showcase, Daz 3D, all of which I use on close to a daily basis.

The main point is that they do work and, for at least what I do, they work better than the 500 line and significantly better than the last generation of Quadro cards such as the Quadro FX4800.

The set-ups I have been using included 2 GTX 580 in SLI, single GTX 680, 2 GTX 680 in SLI and 3 GTX 680. Quadro FX4800 (with 3 different drivers) and a Quadro 4000. For all of the above, I've been using an Intel 3770K and a 3930K. I have an I5 and I am happy to try it if anyone has a question they would like answering. Oh and I tried 8, 16, 32 and 40 gigs of ram.

I know this is a topic close to a lot of people's hearts given how many threads there are on it. I got sick of reading all the threads where people offer their "opinion" when they have never actually tried it in a real life scenario.

The answers like "Quadro is designed for it even though it's less powerful" and the GTX 680 may be the best but they turned off all the compute power, or best off all "the drivers are optimized for it and that means a Quadro with 200 Cuda cores will work better than one with 2 million etc". They didn't make sense to me. Games need 3D rendering capabilities too. Some even have an ant-aliasing options (posh word for making lines look smoother for greater realism accuracy)

Sure drivers can be optimized for better performance, but that much better? to the point where a card half as powerful can run a program where one twice as powerful can't at all?


My experience was that moving from the 3770k to the 3930K made significantly more difference than any card changes. Maya and Mudbox are my go-to programs where I notice any change. They are also specifically called out as i "unsupported" for Geforce 600 cards. (BTW they define unsupported as meaning they haven't bothered to test it. They never said it wouldn't work. In fact Maya requirements says "any open GL graphics card"))

Maya has a fault that saves every movement you make in a scene. When a scene gets too full, the display port starts to become unusable in anything but wireframe mode. I thought this was because I was using a GTX 680.

Believing the "opinions" that I read, I swapped my GTX 680 for 2 GTX 580's. I got some marginal improvement as you would expect from a more powerful setup but,,,,, that problem remained. I gave in and bought a Quadro FX 4800. This was the shizzle in 2010 so for Maya 2011 it should solve any problem right? wrong. the problem was worse than ever. Everything worked but viewport was not as smooth as the more powerful Geforce setups and rendering was slower. A lot slower. I borrowed a Quadro 4000. Better but not as good as 2 GTX 580's. Nowhere near. Faults in programs happen and cause crashes with any graphics card. I never found my Geforce cards to be unstable so the Quadro being "more stable" means nothing to me.

For different reasons, I upgraded to 3930k and my user experience improved a lot. My computer made me smile. You know that feeling like when you play a game that runs so smoothly you know it's down to your build and overclocking.

In Maya, my scenes could get a lot more complicated before I had to switch to wireframe. Viewport was a smooth as my games. It still crashed from time to time but no more or less than with the Quadro cards. The program is not perfect and Autodesk admit that certain things can make it crash (like any program). I still love it though! Maya is the best IMO. I use all the viewports including hardware, software, 2.0 and Metal Ray.

No longer believing what I'd read about "Compute" being completely turned off, I put the 680 back in and gave it an SLI friend to sleep over. Again a step up in viewport smoothness. Rendering was still quick. The step up felt the same as going from a 580 to a 680 in gaming (which is a lot). I added a 3rd GTX 680 yesterday and no noticeable improvement in Maya and Mudbox (they still work well). I'm going to add a 4th on Monday (for 3 monitor gaming).

I gave back the Quadro 4000 and put the 580's and the Quadro FX in new machines and put them up for sale. I kept one FX4800 to put in my machine alongside the GTX 680's (running a virtual computer (just in case:) )

I don't believe in benchmarks, I'm just a guy that wanted to play games second and use 3D modeling programs first. My findings are only from my personal day to day experience.

My conclusion is that the drivers in Quadro cards give you an improvement but we are talking 10% -20% in some programs and nothing in others (I actually found some real benchmarks on the internet on that on that one) . Sorry Nvidia, good try though, you almost had me going. Geforce cards (including the 600 series) work but marginally worse than an equivalent Quadro but significantly cheaper.

If faced with a choice of older slower cards or newer but not "supported" cards, I will go with the better cards. Geforce costs less and has newer technology which is sufficiently better to make up for the loss of performance from the drivers. If Autodesk "support" is really important to you then pay extra for Quadro but get an equivalent card if you want to benefit from the improvement. 2 GTX 580's will blow a Quadro 4000 out the water.

Also, check how reliant your program is on graphics cards for performance. The $1000 saving from buying a GTX680 over a Quadro 5000 got me an upgrade to the 3930K 6 core processor and a second GTX 680. Anyone who believes that a Quadro 4000 n a 3770K is better than 2 GTX 680's on a 3930K is Nvdia's marketing guys dream customer., It's sweet that you still believe in Santa and the tooth fairy.

It seemed to me that a processor upgrade is money better spent on some of the higher end 3D modeling programs. May in particular seems very Ram and CPU hungry and surprisingly to me, less sensitive to graphics card changes (although I can't see much difference between 2 GTX 580'd and 2 680's in a game either...)

I would also caution, I create complex stills and some simple animation, I'm not working on the next Toy Story here. My experience was in rendering 2-3 minute scenes. I don't know if the Quadro benefits scale for 2 hour movies all rendered at once but I doubt it.

That's all I wanted to say. I hope it saves somebody all the hours I wasted trying to find a thread written by someone who actually tried it. I'm happy to try rendering some peoples scenes to try it out (within reason) for anyone who can't decide between the sensible Quadro or the naughty Geforce.
If I am expected to pay $2000 for a card instead of $500, I'm going to need a lot more than undefined support and undefined driver benefits. Telling me you sabotaged the consumer graphics cards so that their awesome power doesn't make your old technology professional cards obsolete isn't good enough and kinda makes me mad. surely it's time to admit that they could make a single card with the benefits of both for a lower cost or go the way of Silicon Graphics.
Also, I hope this knowledge helps some college kids get their parents to buy them a Geforce gaming cards for Christmas instead of the Quadro for design school :)  The GTX 680 is amazing and Maya viewport is so so smooth with it!



I have been looking for someone to write something like this for a few days now. Thank you so much for spending the time to do this. It is really helping me out. Do you think I could save even a few more bucks and get the gtx 670? Or is the 680 the best bet now that they have downloadable drivers available on autodesk for it?

Another quick question, Will downloading the drivers for autodesk effect how the video card works with games?

Thanks for all the info
a b U Graphics card
January 9, 2013 9:06:35 AM

drivers available for download on any other website other than nivdia's own..are no different.nobody changes any codes in the drivers

neither does it effect the performance of software that makes use of the gpu nor gaming.

the latest ones from nvidia works best for everything
Related resources
February 22, 2013 4:55:13 AM

I'm not completely sure but from my experience for the last year with maya is that the gpu only matters for the viewports and has nothing to do with rendering frames. so yeah that 3930k would definitely help you out in render times. as for me I use maya and mudbox and with a 7970 GE and a 2500k @ 4.6ghz and it runs great. It only starts to slow down in mudbox 2013 when I raise the subvision levels high enough to like 20million polygons.

My animation professors just go with high end gaming cards and they tell me that many freelance professionals and even people who work for autocad do the same.
February 28, 2013 11:44:31 PM

WastedRiverRat said:
I have been looking for someone to write something like this for a few days now. Thank you so much for spending the time to do this. It is really helping me out. Do you think I could save even a few more bucks and get the gtx 670? Or is the 680 the best bet now that they have downloadable drivers available on autodesk for it?

Another quick question, Will downloading the drivers for autodesk effect how the video card works with games?

Thanks for all the info


To some extent it depends what you intend to use Maya for. Realtime simulations, for example, needs a higher end setup than simple stills. Also, most gaming cards are limited by memory. 2Gig in the 680 vs 6 in the quadro 6000.

Assuming you arent working on the next Toy Story, you will be ok with a gtx 680. The price difference is so small thag there is no point in the gtx 670. Even if you buy a used one off ebay for $400. Once inside yoir machine it's all the same.

I would avoid any overclocking (gpu or cpu). For some reason it seems to make Maya less stable and crash all the time.

If you I tend to create large scenes then go for a 4gig card if you have the funds.

Drivers do matter. Use the one from the autodesk site first. If you dont get the performance you want, download the latest one from Nvidia and compare. Shut down and restart your machine after every driver installation before testing. You may have to do a little trial and error on that one.

You can use directx 11 in viewport 2 with the latest version. In general, use viewport 2 as much as possible. Some of the effects like hair wont show up but they will in your renders.

Maya has a number of renderers built in. May a software and Mental Ray use the cpu only so the gpu makes little difference. Maya hardware uses the gpu and is 10 times faster. Some effects wont render with hardwars. Hair again is an example. As a general rule, if you can see it in viewport 2 , then you can use the hardware renderer. It takes minutes instead of hours sometimes. For the best quality, render still frames using one of the software renderers and use another program to compile your clip. The avi files maya creates are unreliable normally. I wasted a lot of time on that before figuring it out. If you are worried about render times, just let it run at night so you dont lose work time.

Also, you may want to look at the amd 7970 as an option. Some say it is the best consumer card for Maya and similar. I dont think there is much in it but it depends who you ask. As stated above, very little rendering is done on the gpu without additional and expensive tools.

One final point, dont worry if it crashes occasionally. It is not because you are using a consumer card. Maya crashes sometimes when you do something it doesnt like. I have a quadro 6000 with tesla c2075 in at the moment and it behaves the same. Just save your work regularly. Also learn how to use the right plugins for what you're doing.

Sorry about the spelling, wrote this on my phone on the train.

What version of Maya are you using btw?
April 11, 2013 2:47:06 AM

Hi,
I use Maya and Mudbox and I'm thinking about a new card. My previous Quadro 5600 has had its last rights.
But there's no way am I going to spend absurd amounts on a card like that again (the 5600 used to struggle with over 3 million polys). Do you recommend getting a GTX 680 4gb or even a more expensive Quadro 4000 for Maya, Mudbox & AE?

My set up is:
P6t Deluxe V2 (oc to 3.4)
i7-920 Processor
12 gb memory Mushkin
Thermaltake 750w power unit
Noctua twin fan
Dual monitors

Thanks
May 11, 2013 3:13:22 PM

Strummer said:
Hi,
I use Maya and Mudbox and I'm thinking about a new card. My previous Quadro 5600 has had its last rights.
But there's no way am I going to spend absurd amounts on a card like that again (the 5600 used to struggle with over 3 million polys). Do you recommend getting a GTX 680 4gb or even a more expensive Quadro 4000 for Maya, Mudbox & AE?

My set up is:
P6t Deluxe V2 (oc to 3.4)
i7-920 Processor
12 gb memory Mushkin
Thermaltake 750w power unit
Noctua twin fan
Dual monitors

Thanks


This is what we can say for sure:
Autodesk mudbox 2010 and I want to assume higher versions states .
RAM
1) Subdivision levels (RAM)
The number of subdivision levels on a model directly affects the number of polygon faces and how much RAM is required. Unnecessarily subdividing a model to a very high polygon count rapidly consumes RAM and limits your ability to add sculpt layers and perform other work on the model.
2) Subdividing UV texture coordinates (RAM)
UVs are required when painting, extracting texture maps, or applying texture and displacement maps to a model. UVs increase the overall RAM requirements for a model and can be imported after your sculpting is complete using File > Import UV. By default, UVs are not subdivided when the model is subdivided. Mudbox only subdivides the UVs when the Mesh > Add New Subdivision Level > Subdivide UVs option is on. If you need to subdivide the UVs for a particular subdivision level, use the Page Up or Page Down keys to display that level and select Mesh > Recreate Level UVs.
CPU
1) Working with multiple models (CPU performance)
Increasing the number of models (and materials) in the 3D View can degrade the overall interactive performance.
You can combine separate meshes into one model in your 3D modeling application prior to export as an .obj file. The combined model will be assigned one material in Mudbox. Keep in mind that the separate model components should have their UVs laid out so they are separated in UV space and non-overlapping prior to being combined and exported to Mudbox.
GPU
1)Painting on high resolution models
You can reduce GPU memory usage by painting on a lower subdivision level. Extract a normal map from the detailed higher subdivision level and apply it to a lower subdivision level to view the higher resolution detail as a texture map on the lower subdivision level and reduce GPU memory usage.
2) Keeping track of GPU memory usage
Mudbox tracks the amount of GPU memory it is currently using and displays it on the Status Line using the GPU Mem value. This value (displayed in megabytes) indicates only the GPU memory used by Mudbox and not any other running applications.


About Maya and of course take what I say between "...". I am no pro but this is my understanding of how maya deals with stuffs on viewports.
Your ram is a fast access storage. If you create something new and start modifiying it then all modifications are stored on the ram which may bloat quite rapidly. Imagine a edge cut, delete, polygon fill, slice and so on so so forth. The first thing is to delete the history as often as you can OR as soon as you know your steps just hit the jackpot.
Perhaps the type of viewport in maya such as hardware, viewport 2.0 etc... as a lot to do with the gpu and again "perhaps". By this I mean your card is not that young anymore. I dumped my gtx 8800 a while ago as well as my whole desktop for that matter because working on autodesk 2012 with that card and the small set up I had was like whiping myself on the back.... lots of suffering.

No matter what is said, even a single GTX 580 will help . Although it will help in some areas of DCC (digital content creation) and not others. After a very very light research, it sounds like the quadro 5600 FX could be the equivalent of a GTX 8800 but with more ram which in my opinion is one of the reason why you can barely pass 3 mill polygons.
I heard from across Emails that users tend to be happy with 24 gigs of ram a 4 core if not better and also a gtx 580 if not better.

The quadro 5600 FX of today would be the Quasdro 4000, the ATI V7900 which are mid to higher mid professional cards and more decent than you probably need.

My sincere recommendation is change your CPU, RAM, GPU altogether. I think you will be limited to 12 gigs ram max with this actual set up and if the max is 24 then dont change anything but maximize the ram and change the GPU.
Check pricing for I7 4 or 6 cores without breaking your wallet and decent speed.
Check pricing to maximimg ram capacity, PC1600 is fast enough to keep the rig smooth enough.
Check pricing for a GTX580 and/or quadro 4000, or ATI 7000 series and/or ATI V7900 with possibility for SLI.

I don't want to brag or show off but as a comparison with what has been said in this whole thread.
I have a Xeon e5-1620
64 gigs PC1600 ECC registered
Ati V7900
I see the very first hickup like a tenth of a second while subdividing in mudbox viewport at around 110 million polygons. I do not see any change in smoothness in maya, although I never pushed it. Clearly my set up is way overkill and I admit it, I do not need that much but then and again after the pain and suffering of working with a GTX 8800, 6 gigs of ram and an intel e6600, this new rig is a blessing because I do not need to think... ho me ho my is my max, maya or mudbox going to shut down/crash, saving have always been an issue for me. Sounds like a noob DCC syndrom that I have never been able to solve.

Hope that was helpful enough,
Seb




May 11, 2013 10:25:55 PM

Hi Sebastian,

Thanks for your sound comments!
Yeah, you're absolutely right about upgrading, which I've just done. I did a lot of research on the web & got what I can afford, which is the best I could do with my budget, but it's a lot better & there's a lot more room for a RAM upgrade, but right now I can't afford 32gigs, later, yep.
One of the biggest differences is a SSD hd with this board, everything opens at lightning pace.
A 5xx series graphic card was more or less impossible to buy new & I don't trust stuff on ebay which doesn't come without the original packaging. These are my specs:

Asus P9X79 Pro MB
i7 3820 Sandy Bridge (OC to 4.5)
G.Skill Ripjaws Z 2133 MHz CL9 16 GB (9-11-10-28)
GTX 680 4Gb
Samsung 840 Pro 256GB Sata III SSD
Corsair H60 water cooling

Cheers.



October 19, 2013 9:54:40 PM

sebastien said:


....
I don't want to brag or show off but as a comparison with what has been said in this whole thread.
I have a Xeon e5-1620
64 gigs PC1600 ECC registered
Ati V7900
I see the very first hickup like a tenth of a second while subdividing in mudbox viewport at around 110 million polygons. I do not see any change in smoothness in maya, although I never pushed it. Clearly my set up is way overkill and I admit it, I do not need that much but then and again after the pain and suffering of working with a GTX 8800, 6 gigs of ram and an intel e6600, this new rig is a blessing because I do not need to think... ho me ho my is my max, maya or mudbox going to shut down/crash, saving have always been an issue for me. Sounds like a noob DCC syndrom that I have never been able to solve.

Hope that was helpful enough,
Seb



just wondering what you have for a motherboard? I'm looking for a similar setup.
!