Mac GPU versus PC GPU for Maya

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by strausd, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. strausd macrumors 68030

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    #1
    Right now I am doing a lot of work in Maya and AE. I have a 5870 in my MP and it works pretty well. I was doing some dynamics stuff in Maya, specifically some simple ncloth stuff, and it was pretty dang slow. I opened up the same scene on a Dell workstation with a fairly old, at least I think fairly old, NVIDIA Quadro 3800. There was a huge and noticeable difference.

    I have looked into some of the quadro cards for Mac, but everyone says the drivers are awful and its really not worth it. And is sounds like that isn'st as much of Apple's problem as it is NVIDIA, and that NVIDIA just has better drivers for PC.

    So I guess my question is, would it be better for me to get a PC Quadro card and just use it for bootcamp? Also, how much of a difference would there be between the 5870 and say a quadro 5000? And considering the whole quadro line up, at which point in that line up would I start to see better performance than the 5870 inside of Maya's viewport? Or would every quadro card, even the very cheap quadro 600, provide for better performance in Maya? Also, would it be better to go for AMD's professional GPUs or NVIDIA's?

    Now I am pretty far away from buying a whole new system, but the idea has come up of selling my current MP setup and building my own PC just for this. Of course if it comes to that, I would much rather just put in a PC card just for bootcamp since I absolutely love OS X. Either way, I will keep my MBP and whatever laptops I get down the road will for sure be Mac.
     
  2. elvisizer macrumors 6502

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    #2
    in general for 3d modeling apps under windows, I would go with nvidia. For OS X, ATI. I can't give you a lot of specifics on which model will be the best bang for the buck for you though.

    If you haven't already seen it, check this Quadro 4000 review from Ars Technica . . . he covers a lot of the current issues with 3d apps/drivers/cards on OS X.
     
  3. strausd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #3
    It sounds like there is a lot of driver problems for the card in OS X. Although he does mention that some stuff should be fixed with Lion. That makes me wonder if my 5870 will run faster in Maya under Lion.

    So will every quadro card work better than the 5870 in Maya? If not, what is their cheapest one that will provide better performance? Also, how do AMD's professional 3D cards compare to the Quadro cards?

    At this point, it still seems GPU drivers are much better under windows. Now the thing is to determine if I should get one now and use it for bootcamp, or when I upgrade next to just build a custom PC....
     
  4. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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  5. strausd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #5
    I have read it does. I have also read that NVIDIA drivers are much better in Maya than AMD drivers.

    And if anyone can send me a link to a benchmark that shows a 5870 and any Quadro cards, that would be awesome. I have looked but I have only found stuff comparing the Quadro 5000 to an AMD professional card that is based off the 5870.
     
  6. derbothaus macrumors 601

    derbothaus

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    #6
    ATI does not use CUDA at all. So you HAVE to use Nvidia if you want the very powerful GPGPU computing. Unless Maya also uses OpenCL (AMD's foray into GPGPU) Side by side the Nvidia will destroy an AMD based rig. Only because of propriety though. Find out what exact acceleration Maya uses and buy the card accordingly. Then test Mac OS vs. PC and if the PC works better, use it.
     
  7. TheAnalogue macrumors member

    TheAnalogue

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    #7
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    The Quadro card will win anyday. Autodesk has a partnership with Nvidia. Nvidia Quadro cards can have a Maya specific driver installed (through Nvidia or Autodesk's website)

    As to what is the cheapest one that will outperform the 5870, I can't say for sure. I'm currently running a 5000 under Windows 7 for Autodesk Inventor. I would suggest at least the 4000. The more CUDA cores the more significant the performance increase will be.
     
  8. strausd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #8
    The 5000 is the one was looking at actually. How do you like it? What GPU did you use before? Did you notice a big difference?

    How well do you think the Quadro 2000 (one of their cheaper cards) would compare to the 5870 inside of Maya?
     
  9. vladi macrumors 6502

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    #9
    Autodesk and Nvidia go hand in hand. As far as the Quadro 2000 goes it does have Partner Certified Driver for Maya so you should be good. I can't tell you how it will fare against 5870 in terms of speed but one thing that I can is that it will be stable.

    Which ever Quadro you choose you will not go wrong and the only thing that might step in between Maya and Quadro combo is Bootcamp Windows. Test it first, see how it performs if you epxerience any slowdowns or glitches return the card and just use your current OSX setup. Unless you have some more money to build dedicated PC that would run Win/Maya (which in my oppinion would be the proper setup when using Quadro and Maya).
     
  10. strausd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #10
    Thanks for the info. My plan right now is to wait until Lion to see if that provides GPU improvements. And when the new MPs come out, I'll see if there are any added professional GPU options, but I have some doubts about that. In which case I may try out a quadro 5000 or just wait until its time to upgrade my current system. If it comes to that I probably will just build my own system for my serious work and keep a MBP. It seems that Apple is leaning towards more of a mobile company anyways.
     
  11. TheAnalogue macrumors member

    TheAnalogue

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    #11
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    I love the 5000. I currently have both the 5000 and my old ATI 5870 in my Mac Pro. (I'm using an external powersupply for the 5000). In terms of performance increase, I only use the 5000 under windows for Autodesk Inventor and 3Ds Max. There is a night and day difference between the 5870 and the 5000 under these programs. I can fluidly rotate assemblies of 3000-5000 in real time in Inventor. And my rendertimes in Max are at least 30% faster. Autodesk software can use the CUDA cores not only for graphics processing, but also for straight up computation. In my opinion the 5000 is the sweet spot in the Quadro line up. Just realize that it is likely that it will not function in OS X. to my knowledge there is no way to flash a 5000, and even if you could you wouldn't see the same performance increase as you do under windows (due to crappy drivers on the OS X side) that's why I still have the 5870 in my Pro. I'm not the only one with this configuration, I've seen at least 2 other guys with both GPU's
     
  12. strausd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #12
    What external power supply do you use?
     
  13. vladi macrumors 6502

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    #13
    I am just wondering if anyone has experience with Q4000 for Mac?
    How does that work in OSX/Win combo?
     
  14. strausd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #14
    The second comment has a link to a review on it, that should have some good info.
     
  15. TheAnalogue macrumors member

    TheAnalogue

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    I'm using a "Corsair Professional Series Gold AX1200" it is a SLI Certified, 80 plus gold certified modular active PFC power supply. It's nice because all I have hooked into it is the PCI power cords. Which is nice since it sits on my desk. (2 cords vs a huge bundle of plugs on a snake)
     
  16. bluesteel macrumors 6502

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    #16
    Mental Ray in Autodesk Maya does not support CUDA GPU rendering yet, unless your using vray or some other GPU based renderer with it.

    i've been using Maya with a Quadro 4000 for Mac for about four months now, and its been just fine, nothing special. it does some things better than the 5870. for example, the Quadro runs a higher poly scene a bit more smooth than the 5870. but there are other aspects of Maya where i can't really tell the difference between the two graphics cards.

    if you make a living with Maya, and your running a Mac Pro, than i think the Quadro is worth a try. it can always be returned depending on where you buy it.
     
  17. mBox macrumors 68020

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    #17
    Sadly its a Mac issue (display glitches). Im a big time Mac lover and to date if I had a choice I would be using Maya on Windows period. Just too many glitches to deal with. Ive run it on Quadro 4000 with MacPro 12core 32GB of RAM and still it doesnt compete with an older BOXX 8400 with a Quadro 5800.
    Now of course the 5800 is a faster card but Im talking full on CPU and stability with the software (only). Other than that, my Macs are used for everything else.
     
  18. bluesteel macrumors 6502

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    #18
    i'm a mac addict myself....but if i could go backwards, i'd have probably built a Windows workstation for Maya and Mudbox.
     
  19. mBox macrumors 68020

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    #19
    Well dont give up, you can always BootCamp. That runs wicked with Maya :) I dont need to at work since I have a backup Dell that can act as render node.
     
  20. goMac macrumors 603

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    #20
    Lion provides GPU improvements (although there may be some catches which I will be glad to talk about after release. Horay NDA.)

    This still won't fix your problem. Autodesk is likely using CUDA which doesn't work (and never will) on an ATI card. You need to get a Mac Quadro, likely a Quadro 4000. Dual Quadro 4000s should get you very similar performance to a Quadro 5000, and if Autodesk knows what they are doing, it should be able to use both at once.

    (Just read above it doesn't use CUDA, but it's likely it uses some Quadro specific stuff.)
     
  21. strausd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #21
    I'm definitely wanting a quadro 5000. I would rather get that and run it in boot camp than get a 4000 mac edition at the moment...
     
  22. bluesteel macrumors 6502

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    #22
    i've been dealing with Autodesk for years, and i can say without a doubt in my mind, that they don't have a clue what they are doing. Maya still does not support dual graphics cards in terms of crossfire/SLI.

    Autodesk has too many good software titles to make any one of them really great...or to keep them all up to date and bug free, and at the same time innovate them....its just not possible when a company owns so many software titles and doesn't have enough resources.

    i use Maya 7 days a week, and its an amazing 3D suite, but its also the most frustrating program i've ever used, period. and the Mac Pro's lack of workstation graphics capabilities, and the Quadro 4000's loud a** fan.....oh man, one of these days i'm going to lose it !! :)
     
  23. strausd thread starter macrumors 68030

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    #23
    If you don't mind me asking, what do you do for a living?

    And I am confused as to how Maya would know if I had dual Quadro 4000s running, especially since you can't run SLI in a MP.
     
  24. mBox macrumors 68020

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    #24
    Maya uses openGL last I checked.
     
  25. bluesteel macrumors 6502

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    #25
    i work in the visual effects world as a 3D modeler.

    i'm not sure how Maya would know or wouldn't know if you had dual Quadro 4000s, but i do know its not built to take advantage of crossfire/SLI yet.
     

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