I came across a few posts regarding 'Best System configurations' for optimum CLO rendering speeds, but the majority of answers related to Windows users.
There will no doubt be a lot of individuals and studios on Macs wanting to start using CLO, so I just wanted to offer up some advice about how CLO renders images on a Mac. Also, I'm pretty sure there will be a lot of Mac users out there playing with the GPU settings on CLO, who are not seeing any improvements in rendering times over CPU settings, so I thought I would explain why.
I'll try and keep this as simple as possible, but for the sake of time I will assume that folk are familiar with terminology like GPU and CPU. If you are unfamiliar, suffice to say both play a huge part in how your computer handles graphics, and more specifically in this case - rendering.
Firstly a bit of history:
The two major players in the GPU market are Nvidia (CUDA) and AMD.
Mac and Nvidia do not get along nowadays - long story short, they had a big bust up regarding licenses and copyright. Anyway, Apple now only use AMD graphics chips in their systems and the most recent Mac OS no longer supports Nvidia chipsets.
Why is this important?
1. CLO, like many other 3d modelling tools, uses V-Ray as the inbuilt rendering engine. V-Ray was developed using the Nvidia chipset and does not support AMD chips. Because (modern) Macs are running on AMD chips, as soon as you begin to render any image or scene using the V-ray engine, your system will always revert to use the CPU.
Put simply, if you're running CLO on a Mac, there are no graphic gains using the GPU render settings on CLO - it won't work so just stick with the CPU render setting.
Although CPU rendering will not be as fast, it will be ok so long as you have a decent processor on your Mac and you don't intend to do a lot of background tasks whilst rendering your images.
* A tip for you: A processor with less cores & higher speeds will render images and scenes faster than a processor with more cores & slower speeds.
*** NOTE TO CLO - It would be ace if there was an alternative render engine option that helped Mac user speed up our renders - AMD ProRender would be a superb option/partner to your software, as it would mean us Mac users could then greatly benefit from dedicated GPU faster rendering times! Pleeeeeeeeease have a chat with AMD!!!!!
2. The second reason I'm making this post, is that a lot of customers who already have a Mac, might simply think that adding an external GPU to their (slowish) Mac, might enable apps like CLO to render faster using the GPU settings.
For the very same reason outlined above, this won't work. The only compatible eGPU's for Mac are AMD chipsets - and as stated, V-Ray rendering that is used by CLO relies on Nvidia CUDA, and cannot utilise AMD GPU's - your computer will (once again!) fall back on the CPU to do the V-Ray render. So, that expensive new eGPU you just purchased - specifically to speed up CLO on your Mac will be a total waste of money.
I think it's really important that software makers (Hello CLO!) explain fully to all new customers why a Mac is not the best option when it comes to using CLO, certainly in a professional environment. To simply say 'We recommend using Windows machines not Mac' is really not enough information, as customers will simply assume that this is a RAM or Processor issue, and not realise that GPU performance is actually related directly to V-ray not supporting the Mac's AMD graphics cards.
Transparency is key!
Anyways, I hope this helps anyone left scratching their heads as to why GPU settings on their Mac are having zero effect on rendering inside CLO.
*I should also say, that the same applies to any other modelling app that solely uses V-Ray as it's render engine - if you're using a newer Mac with an AMD graphics card, your system is unfortunately stuck using it's CPU to render. Therefore, if SPEED is hugely important to you regarding rendering, it is important to know that Mac computers and V-Ray render engine do not get along.
Good Luck y'all :-)