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WhistlerBuilder

Workstation Graphics Cards vs Standard Video Cards

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Hello Everyone,

 

I had a post recently where I asked for help with hardware suggestions for speeding up Chief's performance with large files. Specifically multi family buildings with 40+ units.

 

There was a bunch of answers but mostly the consensus was that Chief was not designed for this type of work.

 

One area I have recently discovered as a possible solution to this problem is switching from a standard graphics card to a "workstation card"

 

Workstation cards are purpose built cards for 3D rendering and work on Open GL based software instead of a gaming cards direct X software. Nvidia has the Quadro Series and AMD has the Firepro series.

 

For 3D rendering programs such as 3D Studio Max and Maya there is a substantial difference in performance from gaming cards. I was also told that other Cad software is dramatically improved as well. What I am curious about is if anyone here has done the switch over to a workstation card and experienced an improvement in Chief's performance.

 

Thanks again for all your previous replies to the last post.

 

Cheers,

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Chief benefits from fast gaming cards

 

Quadro etc will probably have little benefit for chief

 

 

contact CA's sales team to discuss

 

Lew

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When I first got CA I was using Dell Precisions with Quadro cards, switched to gaming cards after a year or two based on recommendations here. Can't say for sure as the gaming cards were newer and stronger but noticeably better performance after switching. Considered a desktop card with this machine, skipped it but went with desktop CPU and no Intel card. Works well.

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The GTX1080  is the fastest card you can get for under $700.  I'm quite sure that the Quadro series would be slower, perhaps quite a bit slower since they are designed and driver-optimized for true workstation software applications.  

 

I'm running a quad core i7 6700K at 4.8GHZ and still find the ray tracing speeds very unsatisfactory.  Perhaps one day CA will move to a GPU based ray tracing engine such as Octane which is amazingly fast on a good board.

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One thing nobody ever really talks about is stability.

 

I've gone back and forth between gaming and Quadro, and I would say that hands down the Quadro is much more stable than the gaming.

 

I quite frequently had issues with my gaming card and Chief, and I wouldn't say Chief operated any "faster" with the gaming card.

 

Might have something to do with Chief using OpenGL and I've heard OpenGL operates better on Quadro.

 

That's just my thoughts...

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This is quite interesting as I had an issue last week that tech support suggested  had something to do with my video card.  I had a conversation with AMD tech support and they recommended their Fire Pro line but when I checked the CA recommendations it clearly states "Gaming Card" : https://www.chiefarchitect.com/products/sysreq.html

 

I then questioned tech support about this in respect to my current support inquiry and they ignored my question. 

 

When my system gets choked up I open Task Manager and usually find that CPU and Memory are operating at less than 25% capacity.  Does anyone know of a way to monitor GPU in real time?  This would answer a lot of questions for me and I suspect that Whistler is facing the same issues that I am with just a slightly older setup.

 

Chopsaw

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I've used GPU-Z, pretty simple, lightweight, free.

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Their Hardware recommendations link for video cards specifically references OpenGL. Which is what the Quadro / Firepro cards are designed for. I will submit a request to tech support for clarification and see what they say.

 

Thanks for the help so far, but it seems like other people are just as much guessing at this as me.

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Chief is not optimized in any way for workstation cards and we don't put any additional emphasis on developing or testing for them relative to what we do for gaming cards.  Generally speaking the hardware between workstation cards and gaming cards is very similar, but the drivers are optimized for very specific operations and often times explicitly for certain applications.  Chief stands to gain very little, if anything, from these optimizations.  The raw throughput that a gaming card is capable of is likely to be superior in the context of Chief.  Both gaming cards and workstation cards implement OpenGL well.

 

There may be differences in the expected lifetime of the GPU and the support provided by the vendor for the workstation level cards, but I have little knowledge in this area.

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Ryan,  Thank you for that clarification.  In my conversation with AMD tech support they explained that their Workstation cards are optimized for vector display and although they were not familiar with Chief Architect did recommend the Fire Pro series for 3D architectural rendering.  I took the time to explain to them that I felt that Chief's most demanding use of the GPU was not for vector display. They explained that their gaming cards excel with display of material application to polygon surfaces for Virtual Reality gaming.  I explained that this is what Chief Architect is all about.

 

It might be good for you to have a chat with them, maybe get some free products for testing.

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