CPU Rendering VS GPU Rendering

CPU Rendering VS GPU Rendering

Before we begin, let’s take a look at the traditional CPU rendering. First of all, what’s a CPU? In full, it is known as the Central Processing Unit. It acts as the middleman between applications on your PC and the components within your computer (screens, disks, networks, etc.). Generally speaking, it monitors and processes information between the software and hardware of a PC.

Back in time, a CPU was designed to run only on a single core. It was built to command just one task on a bit of data at a time. But as things have changed and new technologies discovered, CPU’s have now been incorporated with more cores. This means each core can perform different tasks at the same time. At the moment, a typical CPU is fixed with 6 – 14 cores and can be able to run between 12 – 28 different threads of commands. Usually, these threads will run only on a single data block.

As for a GPU (Graphics Processing Unit), it is placed on the graphics card, and its purpose is to transform data into visible images on a monitor. Before now, the GPU was wired together with other parts of a PC through an AGP which then quickly sends the information to only one direction, that is, between the graphics card and the computer. But it failed to deliver it to other sections. In a nutshell, this means that the GPU was able to render the processed data onto the screen but could not give the data back to the PC unit so that it can be stored.

A decade ago, a new revolution emerged where graphics cards connect to PCIe’s – it enabled information to be transferred to and from the GPU thereby making the GPU function as a standalone mini-computer.

There isn’t much difference between the way a GPU or CPU processes data. A GPU is based on parallel processing, that is, working with large data at the same time. In comparison with a CPU, a GPU is built to analyze data at the same time through its many cores.

When it comes to rendering, a GPU picks up a set of data and pass them through multiple cores (a set of data can go from 32 to hundreds). A workstation GPU can incorporate between 2000 – 3000 cores and can have 100 or more thread of commands with each thread working around 30 blocks of information at the same time.

In other words, a CPU can simultaneously work around 24 blocks of info, whereas a GPU can analyze over 3000 blocks of data – this is the glaring difference in their performance. For instance, if you want to render an HD frame with about 2 million pixels, it is the difference in time it takes to process 24 or 3000 of these pixels all at the same time.

That said, we can conclude that CPU’s are slower than GPU’s, but this applies to only some specific tasks. In the event of rendering a VFX file, a GPU will best a CPU because a 3D render is the kind of tasks GPU’s are made for.

From a different angle, a graphics card is built with high-speed memory, but it is just a crumb when compared to the memory of the central PC. For many GPU renderers and graphic artists, the size of the graphics card’s memory limits the size of the scene they can actually render. At the time of this write-up, that capacity is about 24Gb if you are running on an NVIDIA Quadro M6000.

There is one render engine called RedShift, it has opened up a world where GPU’s are allowed to make use of the main memory during rendering. So, if you are making use of RedShift, you will be able to render much larger scenes. This improvement by RedShift has been a significant hit in the GPU rendering industry, render farms and cloud render farms.

Who are the primary consumers of GPU rendering? A chunk of VFX software are currently making use of the GPU rendering technology and therefore providing a series of advantages to a 3D card. Generally, most real-time renderers make use of a GPU. And recently, we have seen a lot of big companies incorporating the use of GPU rendering into their old CPU render farm-based network to improve the speed of project flow.

You do not have to dump your CPU render farm, but if you plan on working on 4K projects, it will be nice to invest in a GPU rendering system to speed up your workflow.

Looking at how famous GPU rendering has become, and the introduction of robust software like Octane and Redshift. And the efforts in place by large render engines and 3D software companies to synchronize their products with GPU render or making it to simultaneously render both GPU and CPU (hybrid render engines with a particular focus on GPU rendering) projects, Render Boost render farm has also included these new services into its rendering services.

We also want to let you know that we offer the most competitive prices coupled with a robust hardware setup to provide a render farm with value for our users. So, in addition to our CPU rendering services, we have now incorporated GPU rendering services, and it can be accessed by all users.


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