When you create or edit a Windows 7 or later desktop pool, you can configure 3D graphics rendering for your desktops. Desktops can take advantage of Virtual Shared Graphics Acceleration (vSGA) and Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration (vDGA), which are vSphere features that use physical graphics cards installed on the ESXi hosts and manage the graphics processing unit (GPU) resources among the virtual machines.

When you select the 3D Renderer hardware-based options, users can take advantage of 3D applications for design, modeling, and multimedia, which typically require GPU hardware to perform well. The 3D Renderer setting also offers a software option, which provides graphics enhancements that can support less demanding applications such as Windows AERO, Microsoft Office, and Google Earth.

Requirements for 3D Rendering

To enable hardware or software 3D graphics rendering, your pool deployment must meet the following requirements:

  • The virtual machines must be Windows 7 or later

  • The pool must use the PCoIP as the default display protocol

  • Users must not be allowed to choose their own protocol

To support hardware-based 3D rendering, a pool must meet these additional requirements:

  • To use vSGA, the virtual machines must run on ESXi 5.1 or later hosts and be managed by vCenter Server 5.1 or later software. This feature allows multiple virtual machines to share the physical GPUs on ESXi hosts. You can use 3D applications for design, modeling, and multimedia.

  • To use vDGA, the virtual machines must run on ESXi 5.5 or later hosts, be hardware version 9 or later, and be managed by vCenter Server 5.5 or later software. This feature dedicates a single physical GPU (graphical processing unit) on an ESXi host to a single virtual machine. Use this feature if you require high-end, hardware-accelerated workstation graphics.

    To use vDGA, you must enable GPU pass-through on the ESXi hosts and configure the individual virtual machines to use dedicated PCI devices after the desktop pool is created in View. You cannot configure the parent virtual machine or template for vDGA and then create a desktop pool, because the same physical GPU would be dedicated to every virtual machine in the pool. See "vDGA Installation" in the VMware white paper about graphics acceleration.

    For linked-clone virtual machines, vDGA settings are preserved after refresh, recompose, and rebalance operations.

  • GPU graphics cards and the associated vSphere Installation Bundles (VIBs) must be installed on the ESXi hosts. For a list of supported GPU hardware, see the VMware Hardware Compatibility List at http://www.vmware.com/resources/compatibility/search.php.

  • Windows 7 machines must be virtual hardware version 8 or later. Windows 8 machines must be virtual hardware version 9 or later.

To support software 3D rendering, a pool must meet these additional requirements:

  • The virtual machines must run on ESXi 5.0 or later hosts and be managed by vCenter Server 5.0 or later software.

  • The machines must be virtual hardware version 8 or later.

When you configure or edit the 3D Renderer setting, you must power off existing virtual machines, verify that the machines are reconfigured in vCenter Server, and power on the machines to cause the new setting to take effect. Restarting a virtual machine does not cause the new setting to take effect.

Configuring 3D Rendering

You select options to determine the way View manages 3D rendering. For details, see 3D Rendering Options.

When you enable the 3D Renderer setting, you can configure the amount of VRAM that is assigned to the virtual machines in the pool by moving the slider in the Configure VRAM for 3D guests dialog box. The minimum VRAM size is 64MB. For virtual hardware version 9 virtual machines, the default VRAM size is 96MB, and you can configure a maximum size of 512MB. For virtual hardware version 8 virtual machines, the default VRAM size is 64MB, and you can configure a maximum size of 128MB.

The VRAM settings that you configure in View Administrator take precedence over the VRAM settings that can be configured for the virtual machines in vSphere Client or vSphere Web Client, unless you select the Manage using vSphere Client option.

When you enable the 3D Renderer setting, you can configure the Max number of monitors setting for one or two monitors. You cannot select more than two monitors. Also, the Max resolution of any one monitor setting is set to 1920x1200 pixels.