Do you find your render times on the high side but don't know whether it is worth upgrading from your current dGPU to a new, beefier one? This comprehensive rendering guide would like to help answer these questions as the benchmark features numerous render engines and measures the performance of the dGPUs from the Maxwell and Pascal line-up.
8 dGPUS (4 Maxwell, 4 Pascal) in total are put through their paces in a number of GPU rendering applications. Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS served as the host OS - Window's WDDM layer can add significant overhead to computing tasks when CUDA command calls have to go through it.
The card in question was used to drive the display - some applications gain performance when a card is a compute only device. All tests were executed three times (average of these runs are presented in all cases), the test was repeated in case of outlier results or anomalies.
V-Ray provide a free stand-alone application to evaluate how fast your hardware renders.
Redhsift offer a demo version of their fully fledged application, it is functionally identical to the commercial version, but renders with a watermark.
The Cycles render engine in Blender was assessed with help of the Blender Institute-prepared benchmark pack + the recent Barbershop Interior scene from Agent 327 animated feature film. Render time is extracted so that it only covers pure path tracing time - no OpenCL kernel compilation, scene loading, CPU-side BVH construction, final composition - and Million samples per second is calculated from the resolution / resolution percentage / sample count values. Blender is launched headless (no GUI) with a python script responsible to get everything sorted and start the rendering process.
Octane, Indigo and LuxMark provide neat benchmark tools with multiple scenes to test. Results are provided in Million samples per second.
PSU: Cooler Master 1000W VANGUARD
MOTHERBOARD: Gigabyte GA-AB350-Gaming 3
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 1600
GPU Maxwell: MSI GTX 960 GAMING 4G / MSI GTX 970 GAMING 4G / MSI GTX 980 GAMING 4G / MSI GTX 980Ti GAMING 6G
GPU Pascal: MSI GTX 1050Ti GAMING X 4G / MSI GTX 1060 GAMING X 6G / MSI GTX 1080 GAMING X+ 8G / MSI GTX 1080Ti GAMING X 11G
OS: Ubuntu 16.04.4 LTS x86_64 - Linux 4.13.0-45-generic
DRIVER: CUDA 9.2.106 - NV 396.26
RAM: G.Skill FlareX 16GB (2X8GB) DDR4 3200MHz
STORAGE: Samsung m.2 SATA 500GB SSD 850 EVO
COOLER: AMD Wraith Spire Cooler