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Help me choose a Graphics Solution

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
Ok, i would appreciate some advice on what graphics card(s) to get.

I use my system for graphics design and digital art/animation work with the following software packages:
  • For Modeling / Rigging / Animation, i use Maya, Mudbox
    and ZBrush.
  • For Rendering I use MentalRay and Pixar's Renderman.
  • For Texturing / Digital painting and artwork / graphic Design i use the AdobeCS5 Master Collection (Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, InDesign, Premier, After Effects, Dreamweaver, etc.) and occasionally Corel Painter.

Down the road (say 6-12 months) i will get a second box with dual CPU to pass off rendering to, but for now i do everything on the same box. (I know rendering with Mental Ray will not improve by changing my graphics card because it is CPU intensive and the companies that have started to make GPU based rendering software are a long way from having a product that is 100% viable)

My Current system is as follows:

System Specs:
Operating System
MS Windows 7 64-bit
CPU
Intel Core i7 920 @ 2.67GHz33 °C
Bloomfield 45nm Technology
RAM
12.0GB Triple-Channel DDR3 @ 534MHz (7-7-7-20)
Motherboard
ASUSTeK Computer INC. P6T6 WS REVOLUTION (LGA1366)34 °C
Graphics
W3000H @ 2560x1600
Cintiq 21UX 2 @ 1600x1200
2048MB GeForce GTX 285 (MSI)45 °C
Hard Drives
977GB Volume0 (RAID)
156GB Western Digital WDC WD1600AAJS-00L7A0 (RAID)27 °C
Optical Drives
MagicISO Virtual DVD-ROM0000
PLEXTOR DVDR PX-850SA
Audio
High Definition Audio Device

I am running both my reference monitor the LG (W3000H @ 2560x1600) and my Cintiq (21UXDTK @ 1600 X 1200) off of the gtx 285 card.

I also am aware that an SLI configuration will give me no benefit to software performance of any of my applications that i use.

So, i was thinking that its time to upgrade my vid card.

nVidia is the only option as the AMD cards have a lot of technical issues with Maya software.

So here are my questions:
Since i run two monitors at high resolution, should i consider running two separate high end cards ( one for each monitor - not in SLI)?

Or should i just get something like a 580 single card solution and continue to have both monitors running off the same card (still a significant upgrade from running both off a 285)?

Or can i get a dual card like the 590 when it comes out and use it in non sli mode and have each monitor use a share of the resources?

One of the issues for me is that ram on the video card is important, the more the better, but single slot dual card solutions from my understanding don't double the ram available even though they have 2x. Can these cards be un-SLI'd?

Or is it better to get single cards, stick two in (not in SLI configuration) to get the full benefit of the card video ram for each monitor?

So what solution should i be looking at based on what i have, and what i work with and which cards should i be considering?


Budget is not an issue really, but neither is e-peen since nobody sees my system, only the work i produce on it.

Thanks in advance.

P.S.

I know i will see significant improvement upgrading my HD and am planning on replacing my primary drive with an OCZ revodrive2 in the next few weeks (the raid configuration is my storage)
Edited by Zuule - 2/22/11 at 12:17pm
post #2 of 29
My advice is to wait for the release of the 590 before deciding on what you want to do. You would probably benefit from the 590 much more based on the line of work you do.
post #3 of 29
sl
Edited by Tovich - 2/22/11 at 12:12pm
    
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post #4 of 29
I would recommend a solid single GPU card... the GTX 580 is a solid card and you can alsoo add another card in the future for a SLI configuration, for sure 2 GTX 580 would perform better than one GTX 590
    
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post #5 of 29
I do 3D animation and modeling here too. What I found was the ATI cards provided better Open GL performances on high polygon models...but I see you don't want the AMD route. Does MentalRay and Pixar's Renderman actually use the GPU for rendering? I thought Octane Render was the only GPU based renderer on the market. Anyways if you have a realtime rendering package then I would wait for the 590 coming out in about 2-3 weeks and just survive off of your 285 till then.

Also have to keep in mind that some software will lon be able to recognise the dual GPU single card solution. I believe it will only utilize 1 gpu. The best thing to do is have the best single card solution.
    
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post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AllLeafs View Post
I do 3D animation and modeling here too. What I found was the ATI cards provided better Open GL performances on high polygon models...but I see you don't want the AMD route. Does MentalRay and Pixar's Renderman actually use the GPU for rendering? I thought Octane Render was the only GPU based renderer on the market. Anyways if you have a realtime rendering package then I would wait for the 590 coming out in about 2-3 weeks and just survive off of your 285 till then.
Furryball (very much incomplete and in beta form really) is probably the only one that has live rendering with the gfx in maya that i am familiar with. Its potentially a fantastic step forward for small production people who dont have access to a massive render farm but its got a long long way to go before its viable (doesnt do nurbs yet).

The GFX for all practical purposes will not benefit rendring time currently on traditional cpu based rendering solutions.
post #7 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tovich View Post
I would recommend a solid single GPU card... the GTX 580 is a solid card and you can alsoo add another card in the future for a SLI configuration, for sure 2 GTX 580 would perform better than one GTX 590
ok, but my question is this. Since SLI offers no benefit to my app performance whatsoever (i dont use the rig for gaming) however i do run different apps on each monitor often and switch between both continuously during my workflow...

1) will using two 580s, NOT in SLI mode and hooking up each monitor to its own dedicated card give me better screen performance than hooking both monitors up to one card (as a result of having each card handle its own monitor data processing?

2) or can i get the same result using a 590 (i know its theoretical but just asking in terms of configuration) and hooking both monitors to it versus dedicated cards for each monitor? (my spidey sense tells me no since the doubled up ram on the 590 isnt the same as 2 times the ram.)
post #8 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuule View Post
Furryball (very much incomplete and in beta form really) is probably the only one that has live rendering with the gfx in maya that i am familiar with. Its potentially a fantastic step forward for small production people who dont have access to a massive render farm but its got a long long way to go before its viable (doesnt do nurbs yet).

The GFX for all practical purposes will not benefit rendring time currently on traditional cpu based rendering solutions.
You should check out the demo version of Octane render. It's not something that will allow you to see live rendering of your models while you're still manipulating your object(s), it's more of a final production thing where all your models/animations are complete. It will also support multi GPU's

Here's a quick video:
    
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post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zuule View Post
ok, but my question is this. Since SLI offers no benefit to my app performance whatsoever (i dont use the rig for gaming) however i do run different apps on each monitor often and switch between both continuously during my workflow...

1) will using two 580s, NOT in SLI mode and hooking up each monitor to its own dedicated card give me better screen performance than hooking both monitors up to one card (as a result of having each card handle its own monitor data processing?

2) or can i get the same result using a 590 (i know its theoretical but just asking in terms of configuration) and hooking both monitors to it versus dedicated cards for each monitor? (my spidey sense tells me no since the doubled up ram on the 590 isnt the same as 2 times the ram.)
Performance wise it would seem logical that the 2 580's will out perform the single multi GPU card. You can still SLI the 580's and use the dual monitor setup, Maya or any other software will only utilize one card at this point in time.
    
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post #10 of 29
Honestly, I'd suggest a Quadro 4000 2gb. It may be a bit pricey but you will be able to get the performance you're looking for out of that card. It's also a single-slot solution as well. So you could put multiple cards in your rig with no issues.
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