Single family house: On a mobile GPU

A common sense between artists using Blender and Cycles to create architectural visualization is that you need high GPU options. And a few types of options like integrated boards from mobile computers wouldn't meet the minimum requirements for architectural visualization.

I do agree with that at some level because you can always put the heavy load on a render farm. Or build a computer just for render, if your budget allows that. Can you live with a GPU from a mobile computer (notebook)?

A lot of artists would be happy with a portable solution for architectural visualization. For students that must get their hardware to the classroom or professionals making updates on a project next to the client. But, would it work well with Cycles?

It does work! Of course, a solution based on a mobile GPUs would become significantly slower than a standalone board.

Here is an example of an architectural visualization project that was “cooked” on a mobile GPU. The project is a Single Family House created by an artist named Lui. By the description of the hardware, you will notice a GeForce GT 750M. The model is present in a broad range of mobile computers from MacBooks to models from Asus, Acer, Dell, and others.

Single family house

All images from the project are beautiful examples of architectural visualization with Blender and Cycles. Even with a low amount of samples (1000) you get some convincing renders. With a render time of two hours, it shows how much time it may take to get renders done on a mobile GPU.

Follow the link to see all other images from this project. If you are evaluating the idea of getting a mobile GPU for architectural visualization, a project like this Single Family House may give you some clues about the viability of such hardware.

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  • Sean Cooper

    For those that question the viability of using a laptop, I Learnt blender on a laptop, a small one. integrated graphics and an i3 4 core. I think sometimes being forced to learn on a smaller machine actually helped me, I see so many YouTube videos now where the people are using £10,000 and upwards machines. saying stuff like, add a subsurf, then another, and another, its just incredible. not everyone has 18 core Xeons and triple titans.
    In Blender you can add scenes, it does mean that you got to decide where various objects have to go, but it allows you to make complicated scenes such as the Family house. Then the compositor is used to stitch it all together. the beauty of scenes is each one is classed as a separate file, with in the main file. Which means, if you have to you can swap between GPU and CPU, depending on the size of the scene. Finishing with the compositor returning to CPU to do the stitching, takes a lot of memory.
    I now use a 17 inch Octane from PC Specialist, (no I don’t work for them) it has a full size 980 graphics card and a full size I7, and 64GB of memory.
    My little novatech I started with, would blue screen, white screen, black screen, and just say no. this machine not once has failed, and I do push it,
    I do use use a cooling stand. Is it portable, I think so, I take it everywhere.
    They have new laptops now that can run two 1080s, with 8GB per card. The truth is they are pretty expensive, we getting in the realms of you can nearly get a decent workstation. and those wonderful 18 core Xeons. The reality is the laptops being made now are very powerful, and expensive, they are heavy to lug about, but they can do the job. Oh battery power, you be lucky if you get 30 minutes out of these machines. But they are worth a look at.

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