Autodesk 3ds Max & Maya: AMD Radeon 6800 & 6800XT

Autodesk’s 3ds Max and Maya have rather unusual relationships with video cards. Autodesk only certifies professional-grade video cards for their applications. However they do “test” consumer video cards, and in our testing, they usually perform very well. This includes graphics cards from both NVIDIA and AMD.

The question that has been asked lately is, will the new AMD Radeon 6800 and 6800XT be good for 3d animation. The quick answer is, “sort of.” The long answer is they are on par with NVIDIA in some areas, but lacking in others, but not because of their performance.

General modeling tasks will be about the same between the two brands. Each should be able to handle a similar amount of polygons on screen. Where things diverge is in rendering. Both Max and Maya have included Arnold as their default renderers. Arnold now offers GPU rendering as an option, however, it requires an NVIDIA GPU. So regardless of AMD’s horsepower, you would be limited to CPU rendering.

Arnold still requires an NVIDIA GPU.

This also applies to 3ds Max and Maya’s newer real-time viewport improvements. These require NVIDIA GPUs to work, alternatively, you can use CPU but that is much slower.

For these reasons, we won't be offering AMD GPUs in our 3d Modeling and Animation recommended systems. Until Autodesk updates their renderers to support AMD’s implementation of ray tracing, there isn’t much reason to choose an AMD GPU over an NVIDIA. For the same price, you are getting fewer features in your software.

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