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Thread: Choose your weapon GPU or CPU rendering?

  1. #1

    Choose your weapon GPU or CPU rendering?

    I'm looking at what direction I need to go in with new hardware for rendering for Arch Viz both exteriors and interiors in Lightwave.

    1. Looking at getting a new PC with the AMD 2990WX Threadripper and sticking with Lightwave native rendering with 2015 and 2018.

    2. As a alternate option I'm looking at getting 2 x GTX 1080Ti cards for my current PC and purchase Octane for rendering. I only have 2 card slots on my current motherboard. This would be about half the cost of a Threadripper machine and would be limited to 22GB of GPU ram which is probably enough for most projects but could be a limitation with some. See spec for my current PC in my signature.

    I've played around a bit with Octane and like it but my current video card is a GTX 770 2GB so I can't do any realistic production testing with it. I'm still trying to figure out just how fast GPU rendering is compared to CPU rendering especially now that a 64 thread consumer CPU is out. I'm a bit old school so GPU rendering is still something I'm trying to wrap my head around. I'm looking for opinions on how GPU rendering with 2 x 1080Ti & Octane might stack up against rendering with Lightwave on a 2990WX Threadripper. I realize CPU vs GPU is very hard to make a direct comparison but I'm curious what others would choose based on your experience?

    Any opinions or advice is appreciated and may help me make a decision on which direction to go in.
    Threadripper 2990WX, X399 MSI MEG Creation, 64GB 2400Mhz RAM, GTX 1070 Ti 8GB

    https://www.dynamicrenderings.com/

  2. #2
    A.K.A "The Silver Fox" Gungho3D's Avatar
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    Good question ...

    Can't tell you (comparatively) how much quicker the Threadripper will get work - as in rendering - done for you compared with your current setup, but (if I gauge the hype right), there should be a reasonable speed-up (? maybe check around with someone who has one and knows ?). The immediate advantage is that all of your skills and knowledge and expectations regards surfacing an object will retain their value and be good-to-go "as is."

    About Octane (my view only): been using it since about mid-2014, and love the results it gives. That said, you do have to do it "the Octane way," which does involve a little on-ramp time. All surfacing is achieved via Octane-specific nodes, and many of the conveniences and magic available per "the LW way" of getting surfacing done are not in reach any more - not to the Octane renderer at least. Still, you can do surfacing magic with the tool, but it takes a bit of getting used to ...

    It does come down to making a value judgement: if you simply can't afford to accommodate (time-wise) the learning curve which comes with Octane (because say you're super busy with projects), then maybe Threadripper is the way to go. But if you can take a little time to put yourself through the school of "I'm going to master Octane," then think seriously about doing that ... here's the thing: you can test the Octane waters with your current system without having to part with a cent: just DL the Octane demo and put it through its paces.

    My own conclusion after using Octane for four+ years: I'm not going back to the old way of using LW's renderer, not unless I'm specifically gunning for a particular "look." And yes, currently I'm running the exact config you are proposing: 2 x 1080TI's each with 11GB ram

  3. #3
    Super Duper Member kopperdrake's Avatar
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    I'm also an Octane convert - two years now, running the setup you describe. The only time I've found Octane to not be perfect is interior shots where there's a lot of geometry outside (gardens etc). Then I have to render in two passes and comp. The texturing is a doddle once you get the hang of it and start building your library up - there are some good node tests on the net for things like tree leaves which you can add to your existing tree models. I tend to have Octane specific objects labelled OCT somewhere, for organisational reasons. The great things with Octane for me are the sunlight, it's beautiful, and the built in film grading options. In fact, there are too many reasons to like it I haven't felt the need to use 2018 yet, which I really must do - it's sat on my desktop after all!

    I should also say that 2 x 1080Ti cards aren't crazy fast for exterior/interior shots, but I usually render in the evenings when I've packed up. I'd like to do a test animation with Octane, but I usually get asked for stills.
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  4. #4
    Thanks for the honest opinions on Octane guys. It's also great you guys both have the same GPU set up that I'm considering if I decide to go the Octane route. This is exactly the kind of first hand info I was looking for to help me make a decision. Octane has interested me for a while and some talk about it as if it is a godsend and maybe it is in some situations. I used FPrime for many years back in the day and Octane reminds me of FPrime even though there are some huge technical differences between them and we do have VPR in Lightwave which is fully integrated and more than fills the FPrime void.

    I'm usually busy working on various projects trying to meet an ever growing list of deadlines so the extra time it would take to become proficient enough with Octane to use it in production would definitely be something I need to consider as Gungho3D pointed out.

    I have a pretty good idea of how much of a speed increase I would get with a 2990WX so that would be a safe bet but I always like to consider and explore all possible options before purchasing hardware that I will be using for at least the next 5 years. The Threadripper should also speed up VPR previewing considerably as well.
    Last edited by Nicolas Jordan; 09-11-2018 at 10:17 AM.
    Threadripper 2990WX, X399 MSI MEG Creation, 64GB 2400Mhz RAM, GTX 1070 Ti 8GB

    https://www.dynamicrenderings.com/

  5. #5
    ack ack Markc's Avatar
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    Isn’t VPR single threaded?
    Not too sure.
    There is also the extra electricity burn with extra hardware.
    Mac Pro (2010) OSX 10.13 RX580 Pulse LW2019

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Markc View Post
    Isn’t VPR single threaded?
    Not too sure.
    There is also the extra electricity burn with extra hardware.
    When I turn VPR on it shows all 12 threads at 100% on my machine. I think VPR would preview super fast with a 2990WX and I would likely be able to turn draft mode off most of the time.
    Threadripper 2990WX, X399 MSI MEG Creation, 64GB 2400Mhz RAM, GTX 1070 Ti 8GB

    https://www.dynamicrenderings.com/

  7. #7
    You're only going to get so fast with CPU. And nowhere near as fast as you will with GPU, and you can expand with GPU. And Octane development has some good things in the works.

  8. #8
    A.K.A "The Silver Fox" Gungho3D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas Jordan View Post
    Thanks for the honest opinions on Octane guys ...
    You're welcome NJ


    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas Jordan View Post
    ... I used FPrime for many years back in the day and Octane reminds me of FPrime ...
    I know the feeling, back in the day I think my colleagues were laughing at how much I sang the praises of the product. It was a speed machine which allowed me to get so much done in so little time, not to mention the incredible feedback during development via the almost instant feedback


    Quote Originally Posted by Nicolas Jordan View Post
    ... I'm usually busy working on various projects trying to meet an ever growing list of deadlines so the extra time it would take to become proficient enough with Octane to use it in production would definitely be something I need to consider as Gungho3D pointed out.
    Yeah, I went the cautious way here as well, doing smaller tasks and jobs to wrap my head around "the Octane way" while everything else remained LW native rendered.

    Maybe consider getting the thread ripper plus maybe one decent GPU ... ? It might help you ease in to Octane without being dependent on it from the get go ...

  9. #9
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    I'm not really sure what this means for CPU rendering in LW, but:-

    "Alleged AMD EPYC ‘Rome’ 7nm Based 64 Core Processor Performance Leaks Out – Scores an Incredible 12,500 Points in Cinebench Multi-Tasking Benchmark"
    https://wccftech.com/amd-epyc-rome-7...enchmark-leak/

    Would a couple of these on a dual motherboard cut it against a GPU for rendering ?

  10. #10
    www.Digitawn.co.uk rustythe1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheLexx View Post
    I'm not really sure what this means for CPU rendering in LW, but:-

    "Alleged AMD EPYC ‘Rome’ 7nm Based 64 Core Processor Performance Leaks Out – Scores an Incredible 12,500 Points in Cinebench Multi-Tasking Benchmark"
    https://wccftech.com/amd-epyc-rome-7...enchmark-leak/

    Would a couple of these on a dual motherboard cut it against a GPU for rendering ?

    and are not renderers like Kray also still only being developed on CPU, and only use GPU for certain open cl features, yet they are still fast.
    Intel i9 7980xe, Asus Rampage Vi extreme, 2x NVIDIA GTX1070ti, 64GB DDR4 3200 corsair vengeance,
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustythe1 View Post
    and are not renderers like Kray also still only being developed on CPU, and only use GPU for certain open cl features, yet they are still fast.
    I sometimes come across mention of Kray, Keyshot, Maxwell and Luxrender, but know very little about them. Does anyone know if any of these compatible for Lightwave animation (inc CA), or are there gotchas everywhere ? Either way, it seems good news for LW native renderer.
    Last edited by TheLexx; 09-16-2018 at 11:52 AM.

  12. #12
    With 3x 1080 TIs loaded into the rig, nothing compares to GPU rendering. We're talking about the difference between 10 seconds and 15 minutes here.

    However, something I don't feel octane does well is volumetrics. They are hard to control and always introduce a ton of noise regardless of how much brute force you throw at it. Lightwave's solution is generally better there, and visual effects and anything involving fakery is generally easier to do.

    I still feel Lightwave's renderer is much more forgiving and less dependent on trying to emulate real-world scenarios (technically correct lighting is not always artistically correct)... so... it really depends on how much you are willing to spend on brute force solutions and/or how much flexibility you want in your renders.

    Also bear in mind that with Octane you may need to use geometry to light non-outdoor scenes if you want anything other than quad/sphere lights. You can't just spawn a spotlight; you have to build a 3d representation of it and illuminate the scene that way.
    Last edited by Ryan Roye; 09-16-2018 at 12:38 PM.
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  13. #13
    Nicolas,

    I am re-discovering Octane (V4) for about three months right now with two GTX 1080 TI. For sure I am about to simply give up CPU Rendering !
    The results I get and speed increase with Octane and two GC are simply amazing. I do ArchViz.
    Eddy Marillat - PIXYM
    WS : MB ASUS X299-Pro/SE - i9 7980XE 2,6ghz 18C/36T - 32GB Ram- 2 GTX 1080 TI - Win 10 64
    GPU Net Rig : MB Biostar - Celeron 2,8 ghz 2C/2T - 8GB Ram - 2 RTX 2080 TI - Win 7 64

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by pixym View Post
    Nicolas,

    I am re-discovering Octane (V4) for about three months right now with two GTX 1080 TI. For sure I am about to simply give up CPU Rendering !
    The results I get and speed increase with Octane and two GC are simply amazing. I do ArchViz.
    Based on the machine specs in your signature you have a pretty fast 18 core CPU and you say that 2 x 1080Ti are even faster? That's crazy!
    Threadripper 2990WX, X399 MSI MEG Creation, 64GB 2400Mhz RAM, GTX 1070 Ti 8GB

    https://www.dynamicrenderings.com/

  15. #15
    Better than words (see attached screen grabs)
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    Eddy Marillat - PIXYM
    WS : MB ASUS X299-Pro/SE - i9 7980XE 2,6ghz 18C/36T - 32GB Ram- 2 GTX 1080 TI - Win 10 64
    GPU Net Rig : MB Biostar - Celeron 2,8 ghz 2C/2T - 8GB Ram - 2 RTX 2080 TI - Win 7 64

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