Yesterday the courier arrived and we received the two – sponsored by Nvidia – Tesla computing units we’ve been waiting for days! It’s been a nice afternoon at the institute, with Sergey configuring the correct drivers in order to unleash the power of two cards and Ian making fruit smoothies to relieve the tension. More interesting information comes after the documentary “A Tale of Teslas”.
If you skipped the video, here the render time for the BMW benchmark file:
- 1 Tesla: 1 min 4 secs
- 2 Tesla: 34 secs
Although this result is not really comparable to the one obtainable with a GTX 580 (23 secs), there is a main difference: Tesla cards have 6GB of memory, each. This means that in the dual configuration we could render a test scene (the bridge scene) with several GB worth of textures and data (otherwise impossible on a GTX).
The time for rendering such scene was:
- Dual Tesla config: 5 mins
- Dual Xeon rendernode: 15 mins
We are going to get Brecht over here very soon to see if he can improve the performances of Cycles on this cards. Will we eventually be able to replace the whole renderfarm with a GPU-based solution? We don’t know yet!
Currently we’ve put the cards next to more humble GTX 260’s in two workstations, this will help designing a lot. Special thanks to Nvidia for giving us these cards to test!