Video Card for 3d rendering?

Discussion in 'Scifi 3D Forum' started by Nosh_Dir85, Jan 2, 2005.

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  1. Nosh_Dir85 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2003
    star 2
    Terribly sorry if this is off topic, but I am building a dream computer to do 3d on(my old dell 1.1 Ghz is dying), and I know somewhat about computers, but I need to know what video card to buy. I am going to have a 3.0 Ghz processor, and 1 Gb RAM, and the video card is something I am not familiar with. I have talked to a few people, and they say not to get a card for playing PC games, but one for rendering. I took a look at the ATI FireGL's, are those any good? I am not really interested in an nVidia card, haven't heard good things. Thanx in advance!

    -Dustin
  2. Darksteps Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    May 15, 2001
    star 3
    your typical video won't do anything for you as far as rendering is concerned, it'll help with OpenGL or Direct3d rendering during construction but won't do anything as far as a production render is concerned...

    you can however get a render card which acts a bypass from your system's normal processing specs, basically handling such calculations independent of your CPU... these cards however will cost more than your computer, most usually run around $2-3000...

    sadly, I can't afford one of those cards, but here's a link...

    Pure Render Cards

    hope this helps...
    ;)
    Darksteps...
  3. Nosh_Dir85 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2003
    star 2
    Thanx DarkSteps, But I have one more question: If the video card doesn't speed things up rendering-wise, is the RAM and Processor the most important things? I know that no one computer will be able to render "quickly", but whats the best bang for the buck when it comes to 3D animation?
  4. Jedi2016 Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jun 3, 2000
    star 4
    That's where CGI is different from games. Games need speed.. fancy this and fancy that. A Ferrari. CG rendering, on the other hand, needs brute power. A 5-ton truck.

    As fast a processor and as much RAM as you can buy. Everything else is just fluff.
  5. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    The confussion comes because there are 2 types of rendering at work here: interactive (via OpenGL or Direct3D using the video card) and regular rendering (software, batch, whatever you call it, done via the CPU).

    A video card won't help with regular rendering (*), that depends more on the CPU, RAM and the bus speed. The more the better.

    But a video card like the FireGL (they are good cards) will make interactive work much faster, meaning you can go through iterations faster, load heavier geometry, work with more particles at acceptable speed, etc. Some apps like the latests version of XSI use the card to even get better previews od shaders and shded renders. So a video card definately helps in 3D because it'll make work faster. A pro 3D card definately is recommended for 3D apps, though some of the latest game cards can uns this apps very well.

    [ican however get a render card which acts a bypass from your system's normal processing specs, basically handling such calculations independent of your CPU... these cards however will cost more than your computer, most usually run around $2-3000...[/i]

    (*) A note here. Yes usually a card doesn't help in software rendering. But there is a slight shift already. Gelato from NVidia (which can be used from Maya) will use your latest NVidias cards to do some of the rendering. Seems the jury is still out about performance/quality but looks promising.

    As fast a processor and as much RAM as you can buy. Everything else is just fluff.

    I concur. And if you'll use a ton of textures and do video work (editing, motion graphics and effects), the fastest bus and drives will help so as to reduce transfer times and especially the writes to disk.
  6. Nosh_Dir85 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 4, 2003
    star 2
    Thanx guys, for clearing up the confusion! Now, All I gotta do is shop for the best deals.
  7. Narluin_Arthalion Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Nov 8, 2004
    I have further questions.

    What about the difference between graphics cards and video cards?
    Are there cards that do the jobs of both?
    Do they have 32-bit true color or not?
    And what about Transform and Lighting "T&L"?
  8. malducin Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 23, 2001
    star 4
    graphic card and video card are synonims (interchangable terms).

    Yes, cards do have 32 bit color, although what might be displayable on your monitor is another thing.

    T&L means that the GPU (not the CPU) can do transform and lighting operations, usually for interactive display.

  9. 1337mik3 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 17, 2004
    star 4
    I recomend, if you dont get that pure render card or anything, get an Nvidia Geforce fx 6800, thats the best card available, best you can get.
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