View Accelerated – 3D Graphics with Horizon View 5.2

View 5.2 brings Hardware accelerated graphics for 3D and high performance graphical workloads. vSGA (Shared Accelerated Graphics) in View 5.2 will allow uses cases such as Adobe, CAD, CAM, HTML5 and will even give better user experience to Microsoft Office that is increasing using more 3D features.

vSGA will also help to increase user densities by allowing multiple VMs sharing single GPU. vSGA supports DirectX and OpenGL and doesn’t prevent the use of vMotion, HA or DRS. vSGA will allow you even to vMotion from a host with a supported physical GPU to host without a physical GPU. Desktops remain portable regardless of the Hardware.

There are two ways to configure your enviroment, either you can configure through vSphere or with the View Admin Console.
If you select Hardware from the drop down you can break break vMotion and have power-on issues. By selecting hardware you are makeing that a restriction. Also realize if you change the vRAM after the desktops have been created you will need to power off and power on the desktops for the setting to take effect.

Requirements for vSGA

Component Requirement
Host PCIEx16 slot – Need to watch for power and space. These are cards are not small.Also make your sure the PSU can support the juice needed. NVIDA is the only game in town right now but other will follow suit
ESX >ESX 5.1
HW ver 9 or higher
Only available for Win 7 and Win8
Support for up to 8 GPUs per host
vCenter 5.1 5.1 or later
View Agent 5.2 or later
Support for up to 512 MB of VRAM per VM, minimum 64 MB is needed
View Client Nothing specfic, 5.2 preferred, Tear2 Zero Client for the best performance

As of this post, Supported Servers are:

SuperMicro SYS-1027GR
SuperMicro SYS-2027GR
Cisco C240 M3 with GPU kit
Dell R720 with GPU kit
HP WS460 with Graphics Expansion
HP DL 380
IBM DX360 M4
IBM X3650 M4
IBM Flexsystem

3D Tips for Making it Work

Turbo-charge View Video Performance – Registry changed on a windows VM will be needed to see the performance gains. UPDATE: View 5.2 Agent installer will take of this.

Make sure your BIOS sets the primary display to the integrated graphics device or low-end display. The display device for 3d graphics must be a secondary display.

You will need to install the NVIDA vib on every ESXi host.

Registry change on the VM – [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\VMware, Inc.\VMware SVGA DevTap]
“MaxAppFrameRate”=dword:00000000 – If it does not exist it defaults to 30. Set it to 0 to disable any frame cap.


  1. Nice work πŸ™‚

  2. Joel Lindberg says:

    The super-charge setting you have linked is no longer needed in View 5.2 as this is set by the View Agent installer.

    Also be careful with the MaxAppFrameRate as this can increase CPU and GPU usage and affect consolidation ratios.

  3. Which videocards are supported for this? the new nvidia vgx cards or also other cards?

    • NVIDIA cards supported:
      Quadro 4000, 5000, and 6000
      Tesla M2070Q
      GRID K1 and K2(coming)

      Other vendors will be able to slot in

    • I’m having trouble finding if the NVidia Quadro K5000 is supported – I ran across something that said ‘soon’ at the start of 2013.

      Anyone know the answer to this?

  4. Does this also mean that vSphere will support GPU passthrough to XenDesktop with the certified hardware?

  5. Kevin Wilcox says:

    How does one obtain the nVidia VIB? Is this available today from nVidia?

  6. Just cooming grid K2-K1 with diferent servers:ibm-asus are ready,…HP, dell o cisco is cooming soon…

    View 5.2 Horizon + 2K2 + Teradici + Zero thin client.. yuhu!

  7. Nathan Graham says:

    Do you have any links to references for the supported hardware lists? We are interested in adding 3D graphics capabilities to our VDI environment. We had considered the Cisco C240-M3 but didn’t want to be limited by the form factor of the GPU. Do you have any information on the “GPU kit” mentioned?

    • dlessner says:

      I don’t have a list other than what I had posted. I know at Nutanix we building nodes with GPU cards. The great thing will be the admin won’t have to go through all of these steps.

  8. sdo@businessmann says:


    Its my undestanding you should set “MaxAppFrameRate” eq to the framerate you permit PCoIP to use, no reason to have a mismatch between what is generated and what is sent to the user imo ..


    • dlessner says:

      that’s right, the MaxAppFrameRate however will be higher that 30 most often when dealing with a GPU so you need\should scale it back. Thanks for visting my blog.

  9. Have you tried vDGA at all. We use AutoCAD and vSGA does nothing for us as the VMware driver isn’t compatible with AutoCAD. We are attempting vDGA with a Dell R720 and a couple Grid K1 cards but can’t manage to get the View machine to utilize the Nvidia GPU. Thanks, Andy

    • dlessner says:

      Did you install the NVIDA VIB?
      esxcli software vib install -d /pathtoVIB/vibName.zip?
      I haven’t played with vDGA. AutoCad seems like a use case that should have been tested already

      • Yes we did load the Nvidia VIB.

        It appears the R720 may not work with vDGA. The first step in the vDGA Installation instructions says to run this command
        # esxcfg-module –l | grep vtddmar
        Which returns no results which VMware says is the issue which points to VT-d not being enabled. Dell just got back to me and also said that they don’t support the server running with VT-d enabled.

        • Hi Andy

          Thank you very much for the very useful info!

          I was trying yesterday exactly what you trying to do – getting vDGA to work on a R720. I also didn’t get any output with:
          # esxcfg-module –l | grep vtddmar
          and was planning to explore more today on enabling VT-d. If Dell says they don’t support R720 with “VT-d enabled”, I wonder what we should do with the new K2’s we just purchased πŸ™

          • I don’t know I talked with another Dell rep that says turning on SR-IOV in the bios will enable the VT-d but I did that and I still don’t get any output from that command.

          • I have contacted Dell Tech Support and they are looking into this. Will update once I hear from them.

            By the way, were you (or, anyone) able to get a Grid K2 working with sVGA on an R720?

          • Hi, wondering if you have heard anything back on this? We just received 2 R720’s today under the assumption we could do this, and now I’m a little worried. Please advise if you’ve gotten it working? Thanks.

          • Hi, just FYI. I installed ESXi today and the VIBs for the Nvidia cards. The esxcfg-module -l | grep vtddmar still does not return a result, however I am able to enable the card for passthrough using the vSphere client. After a reboot it shows up with the green icon which means it should be available for passthrough. I’ll be racking the servers and putting some VM’s on them tomorrow, so will report back if passthrough works when assigned to a VM.

          • Thanks Mike for the info! My apologies for not updating this before.

            I got the passthrough mode (vDGA) working with a Grid K2 on a Dell R720 few weeks ago. One thing I had to do as one of the last steps was to manually disable the VMware display adapter in the host VM. For me, without this step, when I was running dxdiag, it was showing the VMware SVGA 3D adapter, instead of the Nvidia adapter.

          • I have a ticket open with VMware that they bundled with a couple people having the same issue. The ticket was sent to VMware’s development engineering. Our ticket number is 13337420906. We did see some performance gain with the vDGA setup even though it didn’t appear to be setup properly. Unfortunately that gain wasn’t comparable to our CAD laptops so we’ve returned the servers and the Nvidia cards back to Dell.

          • Andy,
            Have you had any luck with your ticket with VMware? We are in the same situation – R720 servers with a K1 card. Just wondering if VMware made any progress or if you still tracked the issue after returning the hardware.

    • Rajesh Sharma says:


      I am also looking to use Grid K2 in vSGA with View 5.2 for a AutoCAD and Revit use case. Did you install the NVIDIA vib on the ESXi hosts? Please advise.


      • Hi Rajesh,

        Yes we did load the Nvidia vib on our hosts. We tried vSGA but saw not performance gain with the K1 or K2 cards with AutoCAD. The reason being is likely because AutoCAD chooses whether to use hardware or software rendering based upon the video card and the driver it is using. Since the VMware video card appears not to be supported or certified with Autodesk it uses software rendering. That is why we are trying to got he vDGA route.


        • Aleks Saul says:

          Hi Andy,

          Since the main consideration on going with Auto mentioned to be the incompatibility with vMotion and vDGA will also have the same limitation. Have you tested this with Hardware acceleration forced in the View Pool?

        • The best cards to use right now are the nVidia Quadro 6000 series. These will provide you better performance on vSGA than the K1 or K2.

          Also to explain further vSGA does not expose the card directly to the VM like vDGA does. vSGA will still render on the GPU, you just will be able to take advantage of any of the specific hardware rendering enhancements you would get if the video card was directly exposed.

          In a large engineering firm 80 – 90% of the CAD users will be able to use vSGA. Why you ask? In most cases, engineers are simply reviewers and do not need the intense graphics rendering that an actual “creator” would need. The folks who need this type of power will definitely need vDGA to expose the graphics card and be able to use the specific nVidia driver for CAD, and take advantage of all the hardware rendering features.

          On a side note a good design for a 20 VM or more host server for vSGA, is something with at least dual processors, plenty of RAM, decent IO, and 2 – Quadro 6000’s. vSGA can support up to 8 by the way. Obviously this build may vary on the use case.

          • dlessner says:

            Thanks Scott for replying, great info

          • After messing with settings we now have vSGA working with AutoCAD not sure why we were unsuccessful in the beginning. Now I have to do some performance testing.

            Scott do you use NavisWorks at all. So far that is our biggest issue walking through models is jerky and if you are trying to turn 180 degrees you have to guess where you want to stop.

          • Scott,
            We are an engineering firm and I have 12-16 people that fall into the 10% of high demand Autocad/Revit users so I’m trying to get them setup with a K1 card in one of our R720 servers. Sounds like I need to go with vDGA. With vDGA, am I limited to a one-to-one relationship between a VM and the GPU? We were sold this by a consultant being told we could share the GPU among up to 16 of our Revit users. False advertising? Thanks for your help.

          • Hi Chad,

            Yes with vDGA its a 1 to 1 relationship. Now I’m told by an EUC specialist here at VMware that with the K1 & K2’s, the multiple GPU’s per “physical” card should show up as separate GPU’s in vSphere. So like Raj said with the K2 has 4 GPU’s per card, so a server with 2 of them would effectively have a total of 8 GPU’s to be mapped directly with vDGA to 8 VM’s. All these VM’s will have direct access to the GPU and will require the nVidia driver installed on the VM. You will need this if you want to play 3D games over Horizon View, or take advantage some hardware acceleration features in the Autodesk suite of products.

            I unfortunately haven’t personally set this up yet, but I’m working with a customer implementing this very solution, and I will make sure to post an update.

            Also to clarify on what I said before about the Quadro’s before… we have noticed some slightly better frame rates with the Quadro over the K1 or K2. This however does not diminish how awesome the K1 and K2 cards are. They are clearly the future as folks move more and more engineering class workstations to virtual.

          • With vDGA you can get 4 users with a K1 card, but if you’re a designer you probably will want a K2 card. K2 only has two GPU’s but they have more horse power.

            When using vSGA you really need to check for DirectX and OpenGL support.

            Check out my links to GPUauthority.com, great stuff over there.

          • Chad Kinney says:

            Thanks for the feedback. I did get one user set up with vDGA and she reported a significant increase in performance. We were mis-informed by consultants at the beginning of all this that the K1 would provide horsepower for 32 Revit users and the K2 16 Revit users. Are there any other cards that you are aware of that host multiple GPUs on one card. Our current server (Dell R720) can only host two GPU cards so we are limited to 4 users with the K2 and 8 with the K1. Tomorrow I will be setting up user for the other three GPUs on our current K1 and provide feedback. Please keep my updated on your progress with you customer. Thanks again.

        • Rajesh Sharma says:


          Thanks for the reply, have you found any way to map multiple VM’s to a single card with multiple GPU’s like k1 has 4 GPU’s and K2 has 2 GPU’s.

          Check this article.


          Between k1 and k2, which one works better with vSGA?


          • Andy

            Have you gotten the vdga working with the cards yet ? I have tried this and the pass through seems to work ok but the vmware view vm wont use it – it just defaults back to svga. I am not getting any output from the command above either.

            ANy word back from dell support ?

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