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Autodesk 3ds Max 2011

We used the professional version of the SPEC benchmark to check out the graphics cards’ performance in one of the most popular 3D modeling suites. Besides other things, that version is noted for employing extremely complex models with some 32 million polygons and evaluating performance separately for ordinary and complex models.

Nvidia and AMD optimize their professional solutions for 3ds Max projection windows by offering special mini-drivers that replace the standard DirectX driver in the software suite and ensure higher performance for the Quadro and FirePro series.

The graphics cards have the same standings in 3ds Max 2011 as in SPECviewperf. The FirePro series products, W8000 and W7000, deliver almost the same performance and fall behind all of the Kepler-based Quadro series cards, except for the junior model. Even the Quadro K2000 is easily ahead of the FirePro W7000 by as much as 43%. As for the Quadro K600, it couldn’t complete the test because 1 GB of onboard memory was not enough to process its complex 3D models. But the next card, Quadro K2000, beats the FirePro W8000 while costing only half the price of the FirePro W7000.

The standings change, however, when the professional cards have to deal with extremely complex models.

The FirePro W series unexpectedly get a second wind when they have to process a city model made of 32 million polygons. They become considerably faster than their Quadro series opponents. This interesting outcome is partly due to the specifics of the 3ds Max 2011 suite which uses DirectX for projection window visualizations instead of OpenGL which is generally more popular for professional applications.

It is the single usage scenario in 3ds Max 2011 where AMD’s professional cards can deliver high performance, though. Just take a look at the secondary performance indexes issued by the benchmark:

Alas, the FirePro W8000 and W7000 do not show anything spectacular here. Nvidia's Quadro series cards are still the better option for 3ds Max. They ensure generally higher performance in the projection windows and accelerate the rendering process far more efficiently than their competitors.

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