Blender 2.68 RC1 has been released by the Blender Foundation a couple weeks ago. We have finally managed to add that to our farm, so you can send your projects using this version as well. It took us a bit of time to add it because it uses a different CUDA version and we ran into compatibility issues with it. All that was fixed in the end and I am happy to have this live.
The most expected feature in this release is the ability to render cycles hair on GPU. So the projects that use hair will no longer have to be rendered on CPU machines, and will be able to benefit from the GPU speedup.
To illustrate the GPU speedup, I took BlenderGuru’s Sintel file and rendered the same image with 2.67b and 2.68 RC1. 2.67b (image on the left) was rendered on CPU, 2.68 RC1 (on the right) was rendered on GPU. The times look like this:
- CPU: 51 minutes
- GPU: 43 minutes (16% faster)
A second test we did involves only hair (see image below). Here are the times for it:
- CPU: 5:22 minutes
- GPU: 4:46 minutes (12% faster)
My conclusion is that, even though it’s faster to render the hair on GPU, the gain in performance is not as much as expected. This might be because we have very powerful CPU servers. Likely the gain on a lower power desktop computer will be higher than this.
Have you rendered anything interesting with 2.68? Post it in the comments.