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Dear #

I am pretty noob and I am still in the process learning... I have question about rendering settings... I have an old but still pretty decent GPU: a Nvidia 970M.

I did several Cycles tests (2560*2560, 128 sample) and I found out that using CUDA GPU+CPU @ 64*64 is 40% faster than rendering with just the GPU @ 256*256... And I am just figuring out why... When I bought my laptop that was the best card available, I bought it with the intention to learn better Blender, but it is just when 2.80 came out that I really started to study Blender seriously.

Now, since I am a # user I am wondering, thinking about rendering speed, if for the future would be better buying a powerful CPU like a Threadripper and a decent AMD GPU rather than buy another Nvidia card.

I mean AMD is always better for Linux but just focus primarily on rendering speed.

Thanks

# # # # #

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I don't know much about these, sorry, but have you considered just rendering with eevee? In many situations it's very close to cycles and renders real-time, you just have to setup the light probes and reflection cubemaps to get good results. I haven't used cycles since 2.8 came out.
@drummyfish

I haven't started to use eevee yet, so far I understood eevee works within many cycles settings but Cycles is better in terms of photorealism. Definitely I'll move to eevee since my main goal is to do motion graphic and move away from After Effects...
Eevee is physically accurate so it's good for reference renderings, but eevee still achieves photorealistic look with light probe global illumination for artistic purposes and is much easier to use -- a huge advantage is that you can actually see the final look in the viewport, no need to constantly render previews and waiting for them to render, extreme speedup for creating shaders. And you can always let cycles render the final result overnight in HQ what you've designed with eevee, if you need.

It's definitely worth a try at least. Some videos.
@drummyfish

You know what? You're right! Since I would do a small test animation with that scene I'll use eevee so I don't need to wait anything to get the result! 👍
my info's probably several revolutions out of date, but yes, amd better for linux, at least while you care about free software.
@Daniel nice :) I mean you may decide you really need cycles, but I think the most reasonable thing is to try the easy SW solution before buying new HW.
I did the animation then... It was my very first attempt with EEVEE though; the time was great: fifteen minutes for rendering 240 frames, however the soft shadows were a disaster...
You should do an apples to apples comparison of GPU+CPU at the same sample size. Sample size has a large impact on render speed depending on hardware.

As to your answer you can easily google benchmarks for various GPUs CPUs.

https://www.cgdirector.com/blender-benchmark-results-updated-scores/

AMD CPUs score higher because blender takes good advantage of the extra cores.

From what I've seen on Blender Open Data OpenCL tends to be faster than CUDA on linux
Ultimately you're always going to get the best performance by getting the most powerful system you can for your budget. AMD tends to give a lot more performance per dollar especially in straight rendering in part because they use OpenCL which is well-utilized in open source, and because they are cheaper.
Hi Daniel. Definitely prefer AMD over Intel, as they have better performance for a lower price. You do not need expensive threadripper however.
Regarding the GPU take a look at the open data of blender https://opendata.blender.org/benchmarks/query/
GPU is almost always fwouldaster then CPU but mostly way more expensive. I'd recommend buying hardware of the previous generations as it is mostly way cheaper.
1/2
I currently do well with a powerfull laptop (i7 4 core + 1050) work work and a less powerfull desktop just for rendering. Having a dedicated rendering pc even if it's slower already helps a lot. Currently I'm looking into buying an AMD ryzen 5 2600 and a 1080ti for it, to upgrade it.
@der_On

I am totally new and when I bought my laptop I didn't consider that Nvidia have limited support on Linux and the nvidia Mesa driver are awfully on delay... Todays only 7xx generation has has reclocking available and decent performance on nouveau.

It is about a matter of time for my card (970M) to ends up on the legacy driver, I could buy an external GPU though...

My point is: I just found that rendering with CUDA CPU+GPU (9 units rendering ) @ 64*64 tiles, is faster than just the one GPU @ 256*256 tiles. Then I just reconsidered that maybe having a super-duper card(s) may not the only viable solution to have faster renderings...
Ubuntu has pretty good NVidia Support using proprietary drivers. the 970 should be supported just fine as it is fairly old. Just don't use debian on a laptop with an NVidia and expect working drivers. Desktop NVidia cards are much better supported on Linux then the mobile cards. The most important part is the number of CUDA cors and VRAM (for EVEE). Anything else is not as important.
I have been a long last Debian user, it is just one year that I am using POP!_OS (based on Ubuntu) on this laptop and I can tell you the way both organize the Nvidia driver is horrible, the way Debian organizes the NVIDIA driver is better and more rationale.

As a matter of fact I am planning to return to Debian and stay away for ever from Ubuntu, POP and everything is related with Gnome 3...
since not tied to (and even averse to) gnome3, not likely tied to systemd or any lennartware. devuan's nice. debian, without the systemd infestation. devuan's like debian meant to be, before debian became splittterd taking the name with it. nvidia happy here.
I used to work with Devuan for almost two years as well, however it has its quirks, it moves slowly compared to Debian, it juggles to not use systemd blacklisting packages that rely on it, as community they don't have a social contract like Debian.
i'm a lot more comfortable with the devuan community and developers (like jaromil) and where their ethics are, than debian's, official social contract or not.
i only (sid/)ceres, so i dont notice a slow moving aspect.

though, i skip a lot of the "which distro" dilema, with bedrocklinux. shsh. ;D [void|artix|gentoo|devuan]
They just recently got almost the same pace as Debian... Anyway I prefer Debian...