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