Working with graphics and 3D applications it is always important to get the best performance for the end user. We have conducted a performance comparison of GPU-Based Instances and nVidia Drivers on AWS to understand optimal configurations leveraging the popular Unigine Heaven performance benchmark.

We have compared different GPU-based instances

  • g4dn equipped with nVidia T4 GPU (g4dn.xlarge)
  • g5 equipped with nVidia A10G GPU (g5.xlarge)

running the latest versions (April 2022)

  • nVidia GRID driver 511.65 (511.65_grid_win10_win11_server2016_server2019_server2022_64bit_aws_swl)
  • nVidia Gaming driver 492.09 (vGPUSW-497.09-Nov2021-vGaming-Windows-Guest-Drivers

The benchmarks were executed with the Unigine Heaven Benchmark 4.0 (https://assets.unigine.com/d/Unigine_Heaven-4.0.exe) installed on EBS with a full-screen resolution of 1920×1080 leveraging the high-end NICE DCV remote desktop software.

Result Overview of nVidia Driver Performance Comparison

The benchmarks have demonstrated that nVidia GRID drivers offer higher performance compared to nVidia Gaming drivers and as expected the A10G GPU performs better than the T4 GPU.

Result Details

The Unigine Heaven Benchmarks walks through a number of scenes, measures the frames per second (FPS) and computes a score:

Unigine Heaven Score for g5.xlarge and Grid Driver
Unigine Heaven Score for g5.xlarge and Grid Driver

The following chart shows the score of different combinations of nVidia Grid and Gaming drivers on AWS g4dn and g5 instances:

Heaven Score of nVidia GRID and Gaming drivers on AWS g4dn and g5 instances

The best performance is achieved on the g5 instance with the GRID driver while the least is on g4dn with the Gaming driver.

The following chart demonstrates the difference of Heaven Score, Average FPS and Max FPS GRID Driver vs. Gaming Driver on g4dn and g5 showing that the GRID driver offers between 6-13% better performance than the Gaming driver:

Difference of Heaven Score, Average FPS and Max FPS GRID Driver vs. Gaming Driver on g4dn and g5 - Performance Comparison of nVidia Drivers on AWS
Heaven Score, Average FPS and Max FPS – GRID Driver vs. Gaming Driver on g4dn and g5

Performance difference between g5.xlarge and g4dn.xlarge is between 40-50% measured by the Unigine Heaven score:

Performance Comparison of nVidia Drivers on AWS for g5 vs. g4dn
Performance difference with GRID and Gaming drivers for g5 vs. g4dn

Summary

The performance comparison of NVIDIA drivers and GPU-based instances on AWS demonstrate that when looking for the best performance for 3D applications on AWS you might want to consider nVidia GRID drivers on g5 (which also offer other advantages like multi-monitor support which is not available with Gaming drivers). The g5.xlarge is about 66% more expensive than the g4dn.xlarge ($1.19 vs. $0.71 in region us-east) so it depends what your goals are related to price vs. performance.

Here is our NICE DCV AWS Marketplace AMI with the GRID driver on g4dn for a quickstart of 3D applications on the AWS g4dn instance family equipped with nVidia T4 GPU: https://aws.amazon.com/marketplace/pp/prodview-3k22gxh7x7kdy

Any questions just let us know. Try the high-end remote desktop software NICE DCV for free!

Bonus: Superposition Benchmark

Here are the results of the Unigine Superposition benchmark on g5.xlarge with GRID driver 511.65 on A10G:

results of the Unigine Superposition benchmark on g5.xlarge with GRID driver

Bonus: HEaven Benchmark FPS Screenshots

Heaven Benchmark FPS - GRID driver on g5
GRID driver on g5
Heaven Benchmark FPS - GRID driver on g4dn
GRID driver on g4dn

The screenshots above show the different GPU clocks with A10G showing a 7.5% higher clock highlighting the performance difference between g5 and g4dn. Here is the scene showing many moving parts: