I recently finally got around to installing the latest DAZ Studio version 22.214.171.124x beta.
iRay is definitely significantly faster. I use the Scene Optimizer plugin + the CPU, for iRay renders to screen-size (1200px tall). Contrary to popular belief, you don’t actually need a Nvidia graphics card to run iRay. The latest DAZ Studio makes this approach significantly easier, integrating iRay RTX 2019.1.3 — which the Nvidia developers have stated on their dev-blog runs fine on non-RTX cards and should also give a 2x speedup of CPU-only rendering of iRay. In my tests, it’s definitely faster.
The very-very latest 126.96.36.199 (15th October) even integrates “iRay RTX 2019.1.4”. No speed-improvements there though, just bug-fixes, according to the iRay 1.4 release notes.
Also interesting, in the most recent releases of DAZ Studio, is the Strand-Based Hair. This seems to be production-ready now, judging by this Store product preview of the just-released Plushies 2.0: Scamp The Fox from Lady Littlefox…
It’ll be interesting to see what sort of render-time hit this fur type makes, if any, and if render-time increases with strand-length / curliness or not. Also how it compares on render-time with a Look At My Hair preset, and with Poser’s Hair Room fur.
Carrara 8 is DAZ Studio's official 'big sister' software.
Carrara loads all DAZ and Poser characters and scenes,
and supports LuxRender for top-quality realistic rendering.