After being removed from version 2017 in favour of Arnold, mental ray has returned to Maya with a variety of new features.
NVIDIA says that the new global illumination feature GI-Next “can slash a one-hour render to a 5-minute coffee break by adding an NVIDIA Quadro P6000 graphics card alongside a 14-core CPU.”
Mental ray will also now have backwards compatibility, interactive viewport rendering and huge improvements on GPU rendering.
The plugin will be free for single-frame production rendering from 30 November but for sequence rendering though, mental ray will cost $295 a year per machine. For those rendering with an NVIDIA Professional GPU (Quadro or Tesla though, mental ray will cost $95 a year.