I will be getting one soon free as a hand-me down from my nephew who is an avid gamer. Anybody have one of these? How are they compared to what I have now (CPU rendering on an i5 2400?) Anything I won't be able to do on this card that I can do on CPU renders?
I've got a 980M on my laptop, which as a mobile device has similar performance to a 970. Of course, you can only use it for Superfly renders in poser, and then only if you have p11pro.
It's difficult to determine if its quicker rendering than cpu renders since render settings are different with cpu and gpu. With cpu you use branched settings, while with gpu you go for a more brute force approach of lots of samples per pixel.
But if you find any particular problems, you still have the option of using cpu rendering, so you have nothing to lose.
However, if you use Reality, you can use the cpu and Nvidia card at the same time, which does speed things up.
From what I have read online, the "Branched Path Tracing" option can freely be used on Mac computers. On a Windows platform, you may use it but you're taking the risk of a crash, thus needing to reboot the computer.
It comes from the fact that it's a Window's driver problem (something that takes too long to respond and Windows "thinking" that it has crashed)
From the same online info, I've changed a setting in the registry, and it works, not all the time but its manageable, given the golden rule: save before any rendering.
That being said, my system isn't exactly the same (i7 4790k+gtx980Ti) but for a similar quality, and if I don't have specific light problems that require the use of that option, the nvidia card computes at least 3x faster.
Most of the time, I use it for preview renders.
This is encouraging. I usually turn branch path tracing off anyway. Running Windows 7 and P11Pro.
If the info interests you, here is the link:
I have a GTX970, windows 7 pro, i7 3970K hex core processor, 64gb RAM. The card runs fine. It does occasionally have snits about scenes including branch path (which I turn off when doing GPU renders anyway), but the current driver set hasn't required a reboot... the screen just goes black for a bit, then restores and complains to mummy (crash report option). It was a bit sketchy until recently, when I installed the latest driver set. I wouldn't sneeze at one for free.
Yes there are limits to GPU rendering, but that applies to all GPU's. Mostly around scene size (no page files with GPU, scene must fit in GPU memory) and also there is a limit to the total number of textures in a scene (recently expanded under SR5, I believe). I have noticed some differences in how certain scenes render, but I usually opt for GPU render unless it falls over, then go for CPU. I'm guessing you'll be happy with the increased rendering speeds you get on GPU.
@Y-Phil I thought I read somewhere (maybe a SM webinar) that all you need to do is make sure the bucket size is large enough to keep the GPU busy so you don't have a timeout.
@piersyf Very cool! It's nice to know that someone with a way better CPU than mine is still using this card over their CPU.