Virtual Dedicated Graphics Acceleration (vDGA) provides direct pass-through to a physical GPU, providing a user with unrestricted, dedicated access to a single GPU. Before you attempt to create a desktop pool that has vDGA capabilities, you must perform certain configuration tasks on the virtual machines and ESXi hosts.

This overview is an outline of tasks you must perform in vSphere before you can create or configure desktop pools in Horizon Console.

Note: See the VMware Hardware Compatibility List at Also, for Intel vDGA, the Intel integrated GPU is used rather than discrete GPUs, as is the case with other vendors.
  1. Install the graphics card on the ESXi host.
  2. Verify that VT-d or AMD IOMMU is enabled on the ESXi host.
  3. Enable pass-through for the GPU in the ESXi host configuration and reboot.
  4. Add a PCI device to the virtual machine and select the appropriate PCI device to enable GPU pass-through on the virtual machine.
  5. Reserve all memory when creating the virtual machine.
  6. Configure virtual machine video card 3D capabilities.
  7. Obtain the GPU drivers from the GPU vendor and install the GPU device drivers in the guest operating system of the virtual machine.
  8. Install VMware Tools and Horizon Agent in the guest operating system and reboot.
  9. The virtual machines must be virtual hardware version 9 or later.
  10. 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 Horizon. You cannot configure the golden image 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.
  11. Set the 3D Renderer option to Manage using vSphere Client.

After you perform these tasks, you must add the virtual machine to a manual desktop pool so that you can access the guest operating system using PCoIP or VMware Blast Extreme. In a PCoIP or VMware Blast session, you can then activate the NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel display adapter in the guest operating system.