GPU Acceleration: Old hardware vs new

Some time ago I stumbled upon LuxRender, which is a rendering engine used for various 3D modelling programs, including the popular Blender. I have not used it yet, as I’m not even initiated in the art of 3D modelling ( I barely know how to apply a texture to a cube), but if I ever will learn, this will be a handy tool. It is said that GPU accelerated rendering is faster. Anyway, jumping from link to link I arrived at LuxMark.

LuxMark is a benchmarking software that analyzes your computer’s performance in GPU accelerated programs. Having 2 computers at hand, I was interested in comparing the performance of the two and see how they behave.

The first system is a desktop PC equipped with an AMD HD4850 video card. This was a best buy for gamers on budget in 2008, and it still runs modern games at reasonable details on a FullHD resolution. The result:

HD4850 Luxmark
HD4850 Luxmark test

Well, would you look at that! A nice score of 140. Whatever that means. There is of course a database of uploaded results online I can compare my result against, it can be found here.  I look in astonishment at the unreasonably(for me!) high scores some modern( and also expensive) video cards have.

The second system is a laptop equipped with a Nvidia 650M video card. I think this is considered a mid-level in terms of performance in the mobile segment. The problem here is that the laptop also has an Intel HD4000 integrated GPU, and I am unsure if it was also used or not in the benchmark.

Luxmark 650m
650m Luxmark test

191?! Unbelievable. It’s true that this is a Nvidia which perhaps better supports GPU acceleration in programs through its CUDA cores, but still… it’s a tiny chip from a laptop against a monster that requires proper ventilation in a big computer case.

I think it’s important to note that this benchmark is only able to assess GPU acceleration related performance. It does not prove that the laptop GPU is way better in gaming. Although I’ve run 3Dmark Vantage and the results are almost the same.

Man, technology is advancing so fast!



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