Can my ESXi Host Handle The Graphics Requirements?



  • At one remote site in particular, I'm running a single ESXi host with the following specs:

    VSphere 5.5
    Dell PowerEdge R510
    Intel Xeon E5540 quad-core processors - 2 of these
    32 GB RAM
    Ten 7200 RPM drives in OBR10
    About 5 VMs - Spiceworks RC, DC, file server, 2 application servers for shop programming software

    I'm looking to add another VM to the mix to run some software used to program milling machines. I'm not worried about RAM or CPU here but rather the graphics requirements:

    Minimum Requirements
    • Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 2003 Server, Windows 2008 Server, Windows 7 or Windows 8 (with all available Windows updates)
    • Intel Pentium 4 or newer (including Celeron 1.7Ghz (or higher) and Xeon, Pentium M, Core, Core 2, and Core i5/i7) AMD Athlon 64 or newer (including Sempron 64, Turion 64, and Phenom)
    • 1GB RAM with a minimum of 64 MB not in use by other applications
    • A quality Nvidia or AMD (ATI) 3D accelerated video card with the latest drivers installed (Click HERE for specific information)
    • 512MB of available hard drive space (for virtual memory usage and temporary file storage)

    Recommended System Configuration
    • Windows 7 or Windows 8 (with all available Windows updates)
    • Intel Pentium Core 2, and Core i5/i7) AMD Athlon 64 or newer (including Turion 64, and Phenom)
    • 4GB RAM with a minimum of 256 MB not in use by other applications
    • A quality Nvidia or AMD (ATI) 3D accelerated video card with the latest drivers installed (Click HERE for specific information)
    • 1GB of available hard drive space (for virtual memory usage and temporary file storage)

    Optimal System Configuration (for complex 3D parts)
    • Windows 7 or Windows 8 64-bit (with all available Windows updates)
    • Intel Pentium Core i5/i7
    • 8GB RAM (16GB or more is recommended for very complex parts)
    • A quality Nvidia or AMD (ATI) 3D accelerated video card with the latest drivers installed
    • 1GB of available hard drive space (for virtual memory usage and temporary file storage)


    I think if we could meet the minimum or recommended config that should be more than adequate. I don't have anything special for graphics on the server itself. Do you think I could get a VM to meet the graphics requirements by adding more video memory, enabling 3D graphics, etc.? I'd love to have this virtual instead of physical if possible.



  • Do you have a Grid box?



  • @scottalanmiller said:

    Do you have a Grid box?

    I sure don't.



  • @NetworkNerd said:

    @scottalanmiller said:

    Do you have a Grid box?

    I sure don't.

    That'll be an issue. You need a GPU to get the performance that you need. CPU and memory alone won't do it.



  • Well, what constitutes a "quality" graphics card? Are we talking AMD R290 or ATI 4350?

    Vmware does 3d acceleration, swiping memory from the pool for basic stuff. Unless you require an OpenGL accelerated card, odds are it probably will work.



  • I'll do a ton of research on this, GPU's are my thing.



  • @PSX_Defector said:

    Well, what constitutes a "quality" graphics card? Are we talking AMD R290 or ATI 4350?

    Vmware does 3d acceleration, swiping memory from the pool for basic stuff. Unless you require an OpenGL accelerated card, odds are it probably will work.

    I think I may try that first to see if it will work. Then if we really need it we can get an additional card. It will all depend on just how much interaction with solid models is needed here, which they can't even really tell me yet.



  • There's some info missing. How is this application being accessed? Are people going to be using RDP, PCoIP, or something else? Is this doing 3D modeling, or is it just the server component to a client installed on a local computer?



  • @alexntg said:

    There's some info missing. How is this application being accessed? Are people going to be using RDP, PCoIP, or something else? Is this doing 3D modeling, or is it just the server component to a client installed on a local computer?

    I had planned to have them use either RDP or VNC to access the VM. The application will be completely standalone inside a Windows VM (no client-server software) and will be either Windows 7 or 8/8.1 (whatever is supported by the software vendor). I believe they support 8 but not 8.1.



  • @NetworkNerd said:

    @alexntg said:

    There's some info missing. How is this application being accessed? Are people going to be using RDP, PCoIP, or something else? Is this doing 3D modeling, or is it just the server component to a client installed on a local computer?

    I had planned to have them use either RDP or VNC to access the VM. The application will be completely standalone inside a Windows VM (no client-server software) and will be either Windows 7 or 8/8.1 (whatever is supported by the software vendor). I believe they support 8 but not 8.1.

    You won't get a rich end-user experience with RDP, let alone VNC, even if it doesn't choke on lack of graphics hardware. VMware Horizon View does support hardware-accelerated graphics with certain video cards. If you're considering VDI for a small number of use cases, consider going full-bore and doing it out fully.

    As a side note, don't forget to address Windows licensing; VDI works differently from server licensing.


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