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Revit 2018 Quadro GPU Comparison

Written on August 18, 2017 by William George
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Introduction

A lot of our customers use software from Autodesk for various engineering disciplines, but aside from some basic specifications and supported video card lists there is not much information available on what hardware actually performs best in these applications.

In this article we are going to look at several NVIDIA Quadro GPU (video card) options that you might consider in an engineering workstation to see exactly how they compare in Revit 2018.

If you are interested in how well different hardware works with Autodesk Revit 2018, don't miss our article on CPU performance. We also have CPU and GPU articles focusing on Revit 2017.2 if you want to see how performance has changed (or not) from one release to another.

Test Setup

To see how each of the Quadro cards perform in Revit, we used the following workstation hardware and software:

Testing Hardware
Motherboard: Asus PRIME Z270-A
CPU: Intel Core i7 7700K 4.2GHz (4.5GHz Max Turbo) 4 Core
RAM: 4x Crucial DDR4-2400 16GB (64GB total)
Hard Drive: Samsung 960 Pro 2TB SATA 6Gb/s SSD
OS: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
Software: Autodesk Revit 2018

This hardware is based on what we found to perform best in most aspects of Revit and is similar to our recommended Revit workstation for modeling and design. The Quadro cards we tested are the latest Pascal based models, and the P2000 through P6000 are officially certified by Autodesk for Revit 2017. As of this writing, Autodesk has yet to certify any NVIDIA graphics cards for the 2018 release of Revit. But when they do, these four Quadro models are should be among them. Here is a chart of these GPUs, with links to more information:

We performed our tests using the latest beta of the RFO Benchmark. It has been updated to support Revit 2018, though the final version is not officially out yet. For members of the Revit Forum, the beta version and discussion about it can be found here.

Within the RFO Benchmark there are now several test variants, and we found the Graphics_Expanded test worked well for comparing GPUs. It breaks down results into several categories:

  • Activate first view
  • Change view visual style from a common start
  • Change view visual style from a common end
  • Change view visual style in sequence
  • Refresh views
  • Rotate views

Each of these categories will be shown in our results, and we ran the benchmark at both 1080P and 4K resolution (1920x1080 and 3840x2160, respectively). Instead of listing raw measurements in seconds, the results have been turned into percentages with the P6000 as the comparison point.

We also used the Full_Standard version of the RFO Benchmark, for our upcoming article about CPU performance. In our Revit 2017 testing we found that rendering was minimally impacted by the video card, but with 2018 that difference no longer present. A graph showing a bunch of identical results would be boring, so we skipped it - but it is worth mentioning, for those who have seen our previous Quadro benchmarks.

Benchmark Results

Without further ado, here are the results at 1920x1080:

Revit 2018 RFO Benchmark Graphics at 1080P

I wrote that I was not going to show a boring graph, but I lied. I'm only going to show one boring graph, as seen above. At this resolution, there is no significant difference in performance between the P2000 and the P6000, or anywhere inbetween. Yes, there is a little bit of variance here or there - but nothing statistically significant. The RFO Benchmark constructs a fairly complex model, and differences in CPU performance are apparent in the benchmark, but all of the tested Quadro graphics cards performed identically at 1920x1080.

It was finding these results that inspired me to repeat the test at 3840x2160, to see if increasing the resolution showed any difference. Here are the results:

Revit 2018 RFO Benchmark Graphics at 4K

At 4K, the Quadro P2000 falls behind the other models. This difference varies from 2-15%, so it isn't huge - but it is enough that a P4000 or higher would be a good idea if you plan to use high a resolution monitor. The P5000 and P6000 showed no significant improvement.

Conclusion

The above graphs are clear: for most of Revit 2018, any of the Quadro cards from the P2000 on up will do just fine at 1920x1080 resolution. If you plan on running a higher resolution, or multiple monitors, the P4000 would be a better choice. Going above that has minimal benefit within Revit, especially considering the cost of higher-end Quadro cards.

We generally recommend sticking with graphics hardware that is officially supported by Autodesk, but as yet no Quadro cards are on that list for Revit 2018. Based on our testing, and past Autodesk certification lists, these cards should be fine choices for a Revit workstation. If you absolutely must run on Autodesk certified cards, then sticking with the 2017 version of Revit until they update their certification is also an option.

Because of the general split between rendering and modeling behavior, there is no single system that will be the best for all Revit use cases. That is why we have created two recommended workstations for Revit: one for general modeling & design and one with an emphasis on rendering performance. Both offer the full range of Quadro cards, though, as well as GeForce options for those who aren't concerned with official Autodesk support.

Autodesk Revit Workstations

Tags: Autodesk, Revit, 2018, GPU, Video, Card, Quadro

This is a really interesting article - given the price difference between a P2000 and a P6000 and the relatively minor performance difference even at 4K resolution, it makes it hard to justify a top-of-the-line graphics card. You're better off spending the money on CPU and RAM.

Have you thought about doing a test comparing the performance of, say, a GTX 1080 and a Quadro P4000 or P6000? Yes, I'm aware that none of the GTX cards are certified by Autodesk but with Revit now using DirectX instead of OpenGL, it would be interesting to see what the performance gap is like.

Posted on 2017-10-04 10:18:43

We dabbled with that a little bit in Revit 2017, and though I don't think we published any results I recall that the GeForce cards performed just fine (at 1080P, at least - we didn't test any higher at the time). I'm personally a bit hesitant to put stuff like that in writing, though, since I don't want someone to get a GeForce after looking at such results and then be angry if they run into a problem and Autodesk refuses to help them.

I wasn't aware that Revit had changed to using DirectX, though. Was that in 2018, or earlier? It never occurred to me to check for that, honestly :)

Posted on 2017-10-05 21:44:41

Hi William,
I'm not sure when Autodesk made the switch however looking on their knowledge base, they have articles that reference things like How to make AutoCAD 2015 use DirectX 9 instead of (the default) DirectX 11
https://knowledge.autodesk....
and another issue with AutoCAD 2014 requiring DirectX to be installed before installing AutoCAD
https://knowledge.autodesk....

If you go into the Graphics Performance dialog box, it will show you the virtual device that it's using - and in most cases you should see under Hardware Setup that it's using DirectX.

Posted on 2017-10-05 22:19:52

Okay, good to know! In that case I am pretty confident that what we saw in Revit 2017 - namely, that the mid range and higher GeForce cards scored in the same ballpark as the Quadro models - would be true in 2018 as well. It is possible that running at 4K might tax them more, but I really doubt it. However, at the end of the day we do officially recommend Quadro cards for most Autodesk products in order to ensure support.

Posted on 2017-10-05 22:22:19

Yes, I understand the need for a professional workstation, one that you rely on to generate income, reliability and vendor support is often as important as, if not more important than, raw performance. My recommendations to my clients generally follow whatever the vendor explicitly supports.

It is interesting to see though that the hardware requirements for Revit with respect to graphics cards now lists a DirectX 11 with Shader Model 3 graphics card, as opposed to OpenGL:
https://knowledge.autodesk....

"There's also an interesting forum post from an Autodesk employee stating they will generally support any card, except if there are driver issues, it's on the vendor to fix them, not Autodesk

In most cases, Autodesk will support you no matter which card you are using (with the exception of explicitly unsupported cards). However if you happen to experience an issue and that issue turns out to be graphics card related, one thing to check with the manufacturer is whether the they will support a fix to the driver for a Revit-specific issue. Certified cards are typically certified by the manufacturer to work with Revit.

All that said, in over 5 years of being a PM for Revit, I've only seen a significant graphics card issue once and that had already been remedied by the manufacturer on more recent devices/drivers."

https://forums.autodesk.com...

This represents a huge change in direction from years past where if you weren't running on a 100% certified hardware and software solution, you were out in the cold.

Posted on 2017-10-05 22:32:44

Yeah, that is very encouraging! I hope they keep moving in that direction, and on their other programs as well. Thank you for your comments and insight :)

Posted on 2017-10-05 22:41:53
disqus_gvHzXAf4OJ

Would a gtx1050 be as fast as a p2000? According to the revitforum posts of the rfo results the gtx1050 is as fast or even faster then gtx1080!

Posted on 2018-03-11 20:37:23

We haven't tested GeForce cards in Revit 2018, but we did back on 2017. At the time, the lowest-end card we tested was the GTX 1060 on the GeForce side, and all cards - from that up to the Quadro P6000 - performed basically the same in the RFO benchmark. So if you aren't doing something extremely complex (beyond what this benchmark tests) or any other GPU-dependent applications, then the GTX 1050 will probably be okay. Please note, however, that because it is a GeForce it will not be officially supported / certified by Autodesk - they only test and certify "professional" cards like the Quadro series. That could impact tech support from them, if you ever need it.

Posted on 2018-03-12 21:46:19
disqus_gvHzXAf4OJ

Thx William for the reply!

Posted on 2018-03-13 18:06:02
nahlers1

Any thoughts on the new Titan V card versus the Quadro cards?

Posted on 2018-03-19 19:05:16

We haven't specifically looked at the Titan V (which has the new Volta architecture) in Revit - but in general, Titans are way overkill for applications like this. We found that the GPU is not a big factor in Revit, even with fairly complex models... and moreover, it is usually a good idea to stick with a card that is certified by Autodesk, in case you need their support.

Posted on 2018-03-19 21:21:39
Enrique Mendoza

If I have on my computer a configuration of: GPU1: Quadro P4000 and GPU2: RTX 2080. Would Revit automatically detect with which GPU to work or should I do it manually? I say this because I see configurations of workstations that use both Quadro and GTX-RTX.

Posted on 2018-09-22 02:30:44

For Revit and other professional applications where the software vendor recommends (or requires) a Quadro card, it would need to be the primary card - in other words, the one you are using for actual video output to your monitor. The presence of a GeForce RTX card in the same system might be for other applications which could harness it for GPU compute workloads. I have seen setups like that for Solidworks, for example, where the Quadro was for video output and the GeForce was there to speed up Visualize performance. I cannot think of why Revit specifically would benefit from a second GPU like that, but if you use a third party rendering plugin that is GPU accelerated - like OctaneRender - then it would make sense.

Posted on 2018-09-24 20:12:17