Autodesk Desktop Subscriptions: What you need to know

Autodesk Desktop Subscriptions: What you need to know

Our resident licensing expert Kim Beard explains the difference between Autodesk’s new Desktop Subscriptions and your usual common or garden Autodesk licence…

What are Autodesk Subscriptions?

Back in the day, Autodesk only offered one kind of subscription, and it gave you access to support, resources and free version upgrades. Now, that’s known as a Maintenance Subscription and a new player has entered the game: Desktop Subscriptions.

A Desktop Subscription is also termed a Licence, and in layman’s terms it’s a you rent the licence on  an annual or quarterly basis, rather than buying it outright. Rather than buy a licence and then pay an annual maintenance fee, you pay a flat fee every year or quarter, and Autodesk make sure you have access to the latest version of your software.

Does this mean perpetual licences are being phased out?

No! Both perpetual licences and Desktop Subscriptions are available from Autodesk.

Who would want an Autodesk Subscription?

If you’re a new business looking to limit your initial spend, renting your licences for the first couple of years is a cheaper alternative to buying them outright straight away – especially if you expect the number of staff you employ to fluctuate over your first few years of operations. Similarly, any company that takes on extra staff on a project-by-project basis can save by having a core of perpetual licences, then effectively renting any additional ones on an annual or quarterly basis using Desktop Subscriptions.

And, surprisingly, this could actually be a great deal for any of you using Autodesk’s LT range. With the full versions of applications like AutoCAD and Maya, it only takes three to four years for a Desktop Subscription to add up to the price of a perpetual licence. But if you’re using an LT package, the lower subscription fee means it could take up to a decade for a Desktop Subscription to cost you as much as a perpetual licence, by which time your workflow could have changed entirely.

How does the cost compare to perpetual licences?

Buying a full licence of Autodesk 3ds Max or Maya costs £3625 (all prices are SRP), and a Maintenance Subscription to keep your licence up to date will cost £1280 every year thereafter. An annual Desktop Subscription includes maintenance, so will just cost you £1280 per year. Over time, you end up with a cost comparison that looks like this:

So if you’re going to need your licence for any longer than four years, you’re better off buying a perpetual licence. AutoCAD gives much the same result, as a perpetual licence costs £4350 with an annual £595 maintenance fee, whereas a Desktop Subscription costs £1360 annually.
Our helpful graph for AutoCAD LT looks markedly different:
A perpetual licence with Maintenance Subscription costs you £1140 for the first year and £190 thereafter, putting it far ahead of a Desktop Subscription’s £300 annual payment.
Obviously, this is a sizeable investment either way, and we recommend that you drop Kim and the ever-knowledgable autodesk@Jigsaw24.com team a line before you buy, but hopefully our charming graphs have cleared things up a bit.
Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email autodesk@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Jigsaw24 Benchmarks: NVIDIA’s Quadro K5000 vs Quadro 4000

Jigsaw24 Benchmarks: NVIDIA’s Quadro K5000 vs Quadro 4000

Now that the Quadro K5000 for Mac has finally shipped, we wanted put it through its paces. Our friends at NVIDIA kindly agreed to lend us one to test, so we broke out our Mac Pro, upgraded it to OS X 10.8.3 to get the latest GPU drivers (you’ll need to do this too if you want to use the card) and cracked on.

The test

We decided to test the K5000 against the Quadro 4000, as these two cards represent the only professional grade NVIDIA GPUs available for the Mac Pro, so we thought it would be a nice illustration of how the GPU power available to the Mac Pro has progressed. We were hoping that the K5000 would be faster across the board, as on paper it’s a far more powerful card.

We chose a range of tests designed to represent a cross-section of the GPU-centric media and entertainment workflows the K5000 has the potential to accelerate. All of our benchmarks were run on a clean copy of OS X 10.8.3 and repeated three times – we’re quoting the average score below.

Davinci Resolve 9

Firstly we tested Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 9.1.1. Resolve is a colour grading application that makes heavy use of CUDA acceleration for both transcoding and colour grading.  Our (relatively simple) test involved transcoding a 2K DPX sequence into a 1920 x 1080 ProRes 422 Proxy file. So as not to cause a bottleneck that would skew the cards’ performance downward, the files were read/written to very fast storage.

Here the Quadro 4000 averaged 37fps transcoding speed and the K5000 averaged 53fps, which means that the K5000 offers roughly 40% more performance than the Quadro 4000 for this workflow. As almost all of Resolve is CUDA accelerated, this performance gain should translate to an overall increase in speed across DaVinci Resolve.

Adobe After Effects CS6

The next test used Adobe After Effects CS6. AE CS6 includes a new ray traced render engine, which is fully CUDA accelerated. This render engine allows very realistic rendering of things like shadows, reflections and glossy materials, and we planned to time how long it took each card to render a test scene setup.

The K5000 managed the render in 10 minutes and 5 seconds with the Quadro 4000 clocking 18 minutes and 3 seconds, making the K5000 almost twice as fast as the Quadro 4000 – again, a great upgrade for this workflow.

OpenGL benchmarks

Finally we wanted to gauge the general OpenGL performance of the cards to get an idea of how they would perform in 3D Applications such as Maxon CINEMA 4D and Autodesk Maya.

We used a benchmark called FurMark, which tests a card’s ability to draw complex 3D images on to the screen. Higher performance in this benchmark indicates that the card will be able to handle more complex geometry inside the viewport in apps like Maya or C4D, meaning a smoother editing experience with complex scenes.

The Quadro 4000 managed 24 frames per second and the K5000 managed 54 FPS. (To give some perspective we also ran this test on the Radeon 5770 that shipped with our Mac Pro and it scored 31 FPS.) Again, this indicates that the K5000 is over twice as powerful as the Quadro 4000 when it comes to manipulating geometry in the viewport of a 3D application.

The conclusion

Much as we love it, the Quadro 4000 is getting a little long in the tooth and the K5000 looks to be a solid upgrade performance-wise. The Quadro K5000 is in fact the most powerful officially supported CUDA GPU available for a Mac Pro – and as CUDA will not run on the Radeon cards that most Mac Pros ship with, it’s an essential upgrade for anyone who needs CUDA acceleration in their application.

The K5000 also offers significantly better OpenGL performance than the Radeon cards that ship with Mac Pros as standard, so is a solid upgrade for anyone doing complex 3D modelling or animation.

Buy your NVIDIA K5000 for Mac now

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference shows post-production some love

NVIDIA GPU Technology Conference shows post-production some love

We’ve not talked much about NVIDIA’s GTC in previous years, as it tended to focus on using NVIDIA GPUs to accelerate supercomputing and scientific calculation. However, recently NVIDIA have made a huge push to bring the latent power of their GPUs to bear in the M&E space, where they can be used to accelerate several types of workflow (simulations, rendering and realtime play back of video content among other things). To reflect that, they now have several M&E industry power houses speaking at GTC, making it a very interesting prospect for those looking to leverage NVIDIA hardware to speed up their workflow.

Topics on the slate so far include:

  • High frame rate and 4K workflows (presented by no less than VFX pioneer Douglas Trumbull)
  • Using GPUs to speed up work on pre-viz and dailies
  • Image processing, physics-based effects and GPU rendering in VFX workflows
  • Live broadcast graphics and augmented reality

Interested? You can register here, and snag up to $250 off the ticket price if you book before January 20th.

Want to know more about GPUs in your workflow? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.