While setting up one of our new rigs here FBE I decided to just do a quick test in 3ds Max with teapots. The rig is an HP z800 workstation with Dual Liquid Cooled Intel-XQC-W5590-3.33GHz, 12GB RAM, 300GBSAS-15K, SLI NVIDIA Quadro3800s and more besides. I have the 64bit version of 3ds Max Design 2010 running with the special HP drivers on a nice 26" screen. So it is a beasty box and my experiment would have barely got off the ground on most hardware.
I quickly had myself at 27000 teapots and things were still useable so I ramped it way up to 108000 teapots all in one huge array basically. Things were now tough for the system, but I could still do things. Well if I could still do things, then why not add more - so I went to 432000 and this got pretty tough for the system (or software). Then just to make sure, I drove it all the way to 864000 instanced teapots in Max - blimey, that took ages. At this point things arent useable, but it didnt actually die - it just took its time with everything :-)
Here is a shot of things at the 432000 teapots stage...
I should really get around to some more sensible benchmarking - but that was lotsa fun.