Wednesday, February 24, 2016

GPU vs. CPU - Blender Cycles Fire

The new 2.77 pre-release now has support for GPU rendering of smoke and fire, so I am going to put it to the test and see how it stacks up against CPU rendering in a variety of situations. Below are my specifications:

- NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980
- Intel Core i7 at 3.07 GHZ (8 threads)

I had been keeping up to speed on the subject, reading articles on BlenderArtists and such, and there were some objections raised that gave me concerns that GPU might be slower than CPU because of how the smoke was handled, but those fears were completely put to rest with the first test scene. My GPU got a very respectable time of 2:12.84  while the CPU  hit the three minute mark 25% of the way through, and only 1/3 of the way through the intensive portion.

I was also amazed at the relative viewport performance, as the GPU maintained a decent view at all times, while the CPU had major issues, sampling much slower and not updating as quickly. In this video you can see the comparison from GPU (first) to CPU (second). Note that this is also while using a GPU hardware based recording software.

Overall, I am extremely excited to see what will come of this latest extremely valuable addition to the Cycles render engine.


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