View Full Version : Need Help Picking a Video Card

08 August 2012, 01:36 PM
I'm getting ready to start buying the parts for my PC build and I'd like to get some input on the video cards I'm looking at. Now I've done a bit of research and it seems that for 3d modeling type of work everyone says I should get a workstation graphics card like Nvidia's Quadro series. However most of them are rather expensive and the only one I can fit into my price range is this one--> (

The problem with that particular card is a lot of what I've been reading about it is that it doesn't perform as well as it should and that I should just shell out the extra 350 bucks and get the quadro 4000 instead. Problem with that is I dont have that kind of money to throw around right now.

Aside from that one the other one I'm looking at is the Zotac --> (

Now this one i understand is more for gaming but looking at it it has more cuda cores and more on board memory than the PNY.

What do you guys think? Should I go with the work station one or the zotac? Or is their another video card you can recommend that would be best suited toward 3d modeling and rendering?

Also here's some more hardware I plan on putting into my build, in case anyone has any input on that as well. ( (

08 August 2012, 09:34 AM
Those are two very different cards. The Quadro is kind of low end, 192 Cuda cores. Probably good for CAD. The Zotac has better than a thousand more Cuda cores, but is really a Gaming card.

What you didn't tell us is what 3D program are you using.

A large amount of Cuda cores is good if you're using a GPU based rendering program. Cuda cores aren't just for breakfast anymore. They're used in a lot of programs to speed up processing. I know of a number of Cuda assisted DVD rippers.

I once used a GPU based renderer. It's called Octane and the free demo is amazingly not crippled too badly. At any rate I had an older Nvidia card with 96 Cuda cores and With Octane it was liking watching paint dry. Imagine using 1300 Cuda cores to do this job. I've seen it and it's pretty slick.

How well your specific 3D software can handle the display of the modeling screens (wireframe with full Z perspective) of a game card will vary from one software to another. Modo handles almost any card well but Maya is more picky. The Quadro or Firegl handles the modeling screens better, which is what you are really paying for when you go Quadro or Firegl. Also, they tend to be better in partially shaded preview modes which are becoming more prevalent in modern modeling programs. Why can't you get both, superior modeling screens and lots of Cuda cores in one? You can, of course, but they are thousands of dollars. This is done for a reason, strictly a business decision because the hardware is extremely similar and I imagine that they know professional 3D producers need this and will pay dearly for it.

There are lots of posts in these forums comparing game cards vs. Quadro (or even AMD's Firegl line) and what runs best on which 3D software.

Almost any card shows the final rendering well, the difficult part of the job is wireframe user views, including frame rates, which need to be pretty high when dealing with a lot of polygons on the screen. The Quadro or Firegl do this well.

My personal choice is to go for the higher end game card because it's much more versatile.

I rewrote this two days after posting to try to organize the material better.

08 August 2012, 07:12 PM
I'm using Maya and Blender. another card I'm looking at is this one -- >

08 August 2012, 09:32 AM
Well, you've decided on a midline Nvidia card, reasonably priced. Now all you have to do is Google that Nvidia model and Maya and many post's will pop up outlining users experiences with this combo.

As I said previously, Maya is a bit persnickety with which video cards work well with it. Older Nvidia cards like the 280 series and 7900 were very good with Maya but Maya has a new display window software (Viewport 2.0) that's supposed to work very well with newer Nvidia's.

I used Maya for a number of years but fell away from it after version 8. I don't feel really up to comment on it like I was a current user with up-to-date experiences with it.

Good luck.

08 August 2012, 12:21 PM
Thanks for all your help!

08 August 2012, 05:55 PM
The card you have chosen is an Nvidia card, with Fermi architecture and 384 Cuda cores. That's a good price / performance ratio for $200.

The new upper 600 series with 1300 cuda cores is based on Kepler architecture and the type of Cuda cores is different, supposedly not as good for GPU rendering.

All this matters only if you are doing GPU rendering. Octane has a plug in for Maya and one for Blender. But if GPU rendering doesn't appeal to you (it has a lot of problems but the future could be bright for this technology) then Cuda cores are less important.

Nvidia is on the switch from Fermi to Kepler architecture (that's just their own product development branding on those names).

The current Keppler cards are based on a GPU code named GK104 with 1300 to 1500 cuda cores but they are coming out with a newer GK110 which will double those cores into the 3000 range on a single chip. This kind of parallel processing power could really be significant with the right software. They could also be very pricey, over a grand ($). Stick with a Nvidia midline Fermi for now.

Download the free Octane Demo when you get your new card.
It's only crippling for the demo is one set render size. 1000 x 500 and you can't save. Still it's a lot of fun. You export an obj model from Maya or Blender and import it into Octane. Then you can move or change the camera and materials rendering in near real-time. Check it out.

Also, this is Kepler

08 August 2012, 09:43 PM
Maya's pretty good these days with the consumer level cards and a lot of us have been using GeForce/Radeons with the annoncement of the new DirectX11 based version of Viewport 2.0. There's a thread somewhere around this section of the boards covering a bunch of members tests with the 560, 570, 580 and other cards with positive results.

I personally run a 650M in my laptop and it works great as well as a GTX580 at home that is a beast as well. Nvidia just launched the new 660Ti this week which is supposed to be the flagship consumer card and seems to be priced pretty nicely.

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