If you want faster rendering, then money talks. The most expensive GPUs are going to render your work out a lot faster. However, there are many times when having a smaller budget isn’t a bad thing. You have to make a few compromises, but you can often walk away with a good deal.
Use a Cloud Service
Let’s address the elephant in the room. The best value for money you will get is with an online Cloud rendering service. Even if it is a subscription service rather than an on-demand service, you are going to get better overall value. The cost of your GPU and its possible lifespan will have decreasing returns moving forwards. You may get better value for your money if you have a cheaper GPU, but you will have to wait a lot longer for your rendering to complete. In most cases, the best value for your money is with a service like RebusFarm. Otherwise, you will always have to compromise on GPU quality and rendering speed.
For GPU rendering, you should find a card with as many CUDA cores as you can afford. CUDA stands for Compute Unified Device Architecture. Think of them as you would think of cores in your CPU. Cards with a higher CUDA number will typically be faster and in some cases more efficient. If your render engine supports rendering on the GPU, then you will see your rendering times decrease.
The CPU Count Isn’t As Important
When your GPU renders out your scene, it isn’t really relying on your CPU cores. However, since you are probably conducting your design and editing on your computer, having higher speed CPU cores is probably still a good idea. Again, do not confuse your CPU cores with your CUDA GPU cores. A computer CPU core may have multiple cores, perhaps eight. Whereas a GPU has thousands of cores.
More Memory is Better
A good GPU for rendering has a lot of memory. You may hear this called your VRAM (Video Memory on the GPU). Having more memory allows the process to work more quickly and more smoothly, and it lowers the chances of a stall while rendering. Your GPU can only make use of its huge CUDA Core performance if your 3D Scene Data fits into the VRAM. For a reasonably priced GPU, you are looking at 8GB to 11GB, which is fair for most digital scenes. On the commercial market, you will find GPUs with up to 48GB of VRAM.
Will Your Hardware Suit Your Software
The software you are using and the hardware you are using need to match. It is not enough to go hunting for the GPU with the most memory and the highest number of CUDA cores. Some pieces of rendering software work far better with certain types of hardware. Before you start your hunt, you will need to determine which software you wish to use and which GPUs best suit your choices. Sometimes, it isn’t even about compatibility, it is about raw speed. The most popular commercially available software will run on most high-end machines but may run better with one type of GPU over another.
Forget the One-Off Events
Let’s say that you search out a certain GPU on the understanding that you would never need to go above 1080p. But, you are worried because you sometimes have 4K projects and you don’t want to miss opportunities going forwards. If this is the case, just go with the 1080p processing equipment and then use cloud services for one-off 4K projects.
You may have similar thoughts about gaming. You may want a higher-end GPU because you want to game on your system. However, you don’t always need the top-end graphics, and you could always buy a console if the strain of gaming becomes too much for your computer. Treat gaming like a one-off event and don’t let it factor into your GPU-buying decision.