Arnold 5.3 includes a beta version of GPU-accelerated rendering. This beta feature is known as "Arnold GPU". Arnold GPU is part of Arnold, so you can choose to render on the CPU or GPU, without changing renderers.
The Arnold GPU beta supports a set number of Arnold features, including arbitrary shading networks, SSS, hair, atmospherics, instancing, and procedurals. See here for a detailed list of features and known limitations.
Arnold GPU works on NVIDIA GPUs of the Turing, Volta, Pascal, and Maxwell architectures.
Multiple GPUs will improve performance, and NVLink can be used to connect multiple GPUs to share memory (On Windows, we recommend enabling SLI as well).
Required NVIDIA drivers (creator-ready):
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The very first time you render with the GPU, the GPU renderer has to create a cache of shaders. This can delay the time to the first pixel for your first render.
To avoid the one-time delay, we recommend that you run Pre-Populate GPU Cache before you do any renders. Note that pre-populating the cache can take up to 15 minutes.
The cache only needs to be re-populated after installing a new Arnold version, updating to a new NVIDIA driver, or changing the hardware configuration of GPUs on the system.
You can easily switch between CPU and GPU with a single click in the Global Settings > Device.
Matching Noise on CPU and GPU
Matching noise can take a little experimentation, because Arnold GPU uses Camera (AA) sampling only. We recommend you use adaptive sampling.
Here are some guidelines:
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All textures must fit in memory. We recommend you use tiled and mip-mapped TX textures.
If you're running out of memory, you can set a maximum resolution for textures in the Render Settings.