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AMD or Nvidia, Which is Better for Architectural Visualization

The battle between AMD and Nvidia rages on. See which one of these giant graphics card providers is better for your architectural visualization rig. Read on to find out more.

Ever since architects switched to new digital solutions to do their jobs, they’ve made great progress in architectural visualization. This new approach has brought many benefits, as now clients can really visualize models and designs in advance before any construction has been done.

This allows clients to find mistakes, suggest changes, and really experience what their projects will look like once they are done. They can do all this with utmost comfort and give the green light with absolute certainty without worrying about whether they’ve made any mistakes.

With 3D visualization and VR technology, even people with no knowledge of architecture can understand the designs by immersing themselves into the models on a realistic level. To create such great visualizations, architects need the necessary skill, right software solutions, and quality hardware.

The most essential part of hardware are graphics cards and today we are going to dig deeper into how they help create better visualization and renders, and which of the two leading manufacturers is better for this purpose.

Price differences between AMD and Nvidia

The most common belief of anyone who is even slightly interested in this long-lasting feud between the two manufacturers is that AMD gives affordable options, while Nvidia has higher prices and high-end performance. However, how accurate is this claim actually?

For example, many benchmarks show us that AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 performs better than Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070, even though it’s cheaper by over $200.

This is because cryptocurrency mining is a major factor that nobody considers and it boosts the prices of Nvidia components. When it comes to 3D visualization, this is not an important factor as you won’t be mining. However, the mining scene has drastically slowed down, meaning that the prices are once again back to normal.

This means that no matter if you are looking for a high performing graphics card or a budget solution, when you compare the prices and performance of AMD and Nvidia cards, you will see that they are pretty equal.

At the same time, it’s a good idea to be on the lookout for discounts and promotional offers so that you can get a better price. To sum it up, there are no price differences.

What are benchmarks and why they are important

Learning about which graphics card to choose for 3D visualization, no matter if it’s AMD or Nvidia, wouldn’t be possible without understanding benchmarks and why they are so important.

To put it simply, benchmarks are tests performed on GPUs using a software solution specifically designed for this purpose. This kind of software runs a lot of different tasks with a specific graphics card, during which it measures the workload and the performance of the GPU.

Chances are that you’ve found many different subjective opinions online but benchmarks put a stop to this and give you objective results on how different graphics cards perform with different tasks. This is pure empirical data that you can rely on to make the right decision.

Even though there aren’t any benchmarks done for the specific use of 3D visualization, as this is still a fairly new use, you can find a lot of benchmarks on 3D modeling, animation, and rendering which basically monitors the same aspects that are required for architectural visualization.

Make sure to look for those kinds of benchmarks on the cards you are interested in and compare them.

Comparing their performance

When putting together a machine for quality architectural visualization, the most important thing about your graphics card is its performance.

Naturally, everyone will want to find the cheapest possible graphics card with the best possible performance. Very soon the new Nvidia GPU will be launched, coming with great performance with lots of CUDA cores and GDDR6 memory.

This brand new card might bring a major upset in the battle between the two rivals. But then again, whenever this happens, the other side comes up with something new to keep their customers happy and the cycle continues. The AMD’s Vega has only been out for a couple of months and during Pascal’s launch, GTX 1080 TI was unmatched.

However, RX Vega 64 is better than GTX 1080 in a couple of aspects – rendering textures and their details and complex shading. Like we mentioned earlier, AMD and Nvidia are very close with the performance they provide, regardless of whether we’re talking about cheap, medium, or high-end cards.

The differences in performance are slight – some might be better in a certain area by a small margin while being equally lacking in other areas.

Dedicated memory is very important

A quality graphics card can help you speed up and improve your architectural workflow with its RAM memory. This is because as soon as you try to render your visualization, it will all be dedicated to that process.

It resembles a shared process – the 3D software you use for visualization will use the memory of the GPU, while your CPU’s memory will be used for other applications and programs running in the background.

When your RAM and the whole process are dedicated to finishing your render, visualization, or model, you’ll be able to save a lot of RAM and CPU power so that the system and other programs can work as well. If not, you will be in danger of having crashes during renders, which could lead to the loss of the entire project.

Getting a GPU with more cores will give you more power

Similarly to CPUs, the number of cores is also important with graphics cards and the more cores you have, the better the performance. With graphics cards, the number of cores is far greater and they can have thousands of them.

To get the best core technology when choosing an AMD card is the Graphics Core Next or Navi architecture. When it comes to Nvidia cards, look for the CUDA cores.

Not only does a higher amount of cores help process information but a lot of the 3D software solutions used for architecture are designed for these kinds of cards, as they can use multiple cores to optimize simulation or visualization processes.

Which cards to use for architectural visualization

As we mentioned earlier, graphics cards are the essential hardware component for architectural visualization, no matter what software you are using.

Apart from giving you vital information that can help you decide, we will also give you suggestions on which cards to use. To ensure that you put out top renders, you need a quality graphics card and no skill can make up for it.

Simply put, your work will be ruined with a bad graphics card and your clients or stakeholders will never be able to see the full extent of your skill. Since we have concluded that there is no difference between AMD and Nvidia products when it comes to performance we are going to give you a single card from both manufacturers that you can use for this line of work.

Our top choices for high-end performance

If you really want to create the best possible architectural visualization and models, then you’ll need the absolute best cards. These cards give you a lot of internal memory that will help you process complex models and great speed, this is why they are our top 2 choices.

The amazing performance of these two cards, vast memory, and speed can help you get renders finished very quickly, process large models and designs, while making sure they look amazing with all necessary detailing.

AMD Vega 64 with 8GB memory

GeForce GTX 1080Ti with 11GB memory

Our top choices for medium performance

These options are not too expensive but you will lose some of the available memory that can be used for processing models. Even though their memory might be the same as with AMD Vega 64, the difference in processing power is a lot different and this is why they give less memory overall.

AMD RX 580 with 8GB memory

GeForce GTX 1070Ti with 8GB memory

Our top budget choices

In case you don’t have the money to invest in graphics cards that will give you amazing performance, there are still options that can give you reasonable performance without having to spend a lot of money. Even though you will have to wait longer for your architectural visualizations, these cards will still be able to handle them and give you solid details.

AMD Radeon RX 480 with 4GB memory

GeForce GTX 1060 with 6GB memory

AMD or Nvidia? Either.

The current situation where the performance of these two giants is pretty much the same doesn’t give us any clear favorites. It’s all about subjective preferences and tiny differences that might make some people choose one side over the other.

However, this great battle between the two sides has always brought us more new solutions, more options, and cheaper prices and this is why we should be grateful for them. No matter which card you choose, it will do a fine job for architecture visualization.