Matplotlib is a plotting library for Python which may be used interactively or embedded in stand-alone GUIs
MayaVi is a data visualization library written for use with Python.
Stuff past performance
"Personally i ve used mayavi in the past and found the performance much better than matplotlib for 3d scatter plotting though the python bindings are somewhat in question moving forward i think"
from question "Matplotlib Slow 3D scatter rotation"
"Anyway if you re willing to do advanced 3d stuff mayavi is way better than matplotlib"
from question "How do I plot the surface of a 4D plot?"
"Mayavi makes it easier to visualize the data but matplotlib looks more professional"
from question "Any easy way to plot a 3d scatter in Python that I can rotate around?"
"Mayavi has more options for moving the camera than matplotlib but it doesn t seem to have a way to rotate around the y axis so i m guessing i ll need to perform some complex calculations on the azimuth and elevation to achieve the same result - but i m at a loss as to where to start i m new to working in 3d space and my brain doesn t think that way yet"
from question "Mayavi: rotate around y axis"