iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Professional 3D Accelerators in 3ds max 6. Part 1: Benchmarking under API OpenGL


We haven't tested professional video cards in 3ds max for a long time already. Last time we used the fifth version of this test suite. Some time ago the developer released the sixth version. 

The new 3ds max version wouldn't be new if it didn't have any changes, improvements or advancements. We won't examine all the changes closely; I just must tell you that most of them are aimed at increased efficiency and more convenient management of the functions. Here you can find all the changes. 


Testbed configuration:

  • Mainboard: Intel Server Board SE7505VB2
  • CPUs: 2 x Intel Xeon 2.4GHz (HyperThreading enabled, 4 logic processors)
  • HDD: Fujitsu MPG 40GB
  • RAM: 512MB DDR 
  • Display: ViewSonic P 817-E

Cards used in the tests: 

Since the cards belong to different price categories we indicated an approximate price for each accelerator (according to Pricewatch.com) because we can't make any conclusion about the performance without accounting for the price difference. 

Drivers used: 

  • ATI:
  • NVIDIA: 53.03
  • 3Dlabs: 3.01.0678

The optimization for 3ds max is enabled, vertical sync disabled where possible. 3Dlabs card was tested in the geometry optimization mode. 

We do not publish results of the cards running under the special drivers for 3ds max because at the moment of testing NVIDIA had only MAXTREME 4.00.29 available which made 3ds max 6 display the following message:

As to ATI's drivers, the special driver didn't even appear in 3ds max menu. Maybe this is our system's problems, but we couldn't help it. Besides, 3Dlabs doesn't have any drivers for 3ds max 5 and over. That is why we decided to carry out the tests in the first part under API OpenGL. In future we are going to solve this problem and carry out the thorough testing of the cards in 3ds max 6. 

3ds max 6 Tests

This review doesn't highlight differences between the 3ds max versions. That is why the test technique we chose for estimating professional accelerators in 3ds max 4/5 also suits well for 3ds max 6.

NVIDIA comes out a leader. Its most powerful expensive cards shine in this test, while the junior Quadro DCC loses to everyone. ATI's FireGL X1 have pretty good scores (remember about the price). 3Dlabs's solution is in the middle in all parameters.

There are no considerable changes. NVIDIA's flagships remain the leaders. ATI FireGL X1 have more impressive results. In all other aspects, the picture remains the same.

The picture is different. Here the quality parameters are more important than speed. Look how similar NVIDIA's cards look. It means that some OpenGL functions are not polished, and it makes such different cards perform so closely. But I must say that the same functions are even less polished on ATI's cards as FireGL X1 loses even to Quadro DCC. 3Dlabs Wildcat VP870 takes the last but one position.

In this test the VP870 steps one stair up leaving ATI's cards behind (including the more expensive FireGL X1). NVIDIA's are traditionally ahead.

No comments.

NVIDIA's flagships take the first places, but taking into account the prices the cards from ATI and 3Dlabs look good as well.

No comments.

There are no winners in texture processing tests: some cards work more efficiently in some tests, others in other tests.

The complex wireframe rendering mode proves NVIDIA's superiority. VP870 disappointed us...

The same.

Summary on OpenGL API

ATI's cards perform quite well. At the moderate prices FireGL's cards are close on the leaders' heels and sometimes even beat them.

NVIDIA's flagships Quadro FX1000 and Quadro FX2000 take the first positions in most benchmarks. Quadro DCC is as expensive as Quadro4 980 XGL but its speed is unfortunately much lower... 

Wildcat VP870 keeps in the middle. Sometimes it falls behind the competitors, in other cases it makes a great jump ahead. Remember that 3Dlabs recommends Direct3D API for 3ds max. Maybe in this case the VP870 can beat everyone... We will look at it in the second part of this review. 

In general, we got a pleasant impression from 3ds max 6. The demo scene loading time got much shorter. Together with the bunch of additions, optimizations and advancements the future of the new 3ds max version looks rosy. Soon we will continue our tests. Stay tuned! 

Kirill Budankov (budankov@ixbt.com)

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