XenServer documentation only covers using GPU Pass-Through ("vGPU") to run XenDesktop's "HDX 3D Pro Graphics." XenServer GPU Pass-Through cannot be used with the XenCenter VNC console and it does not appear to accelerate apps over Remote Desktop.

So is there some way to use GPU Pass-Through to run 3D apps without XenDesktop?

(My use case: I will be setting up 2 Windows 7 Enterprise VMs that 2 users need to run old specialized 3D applications on. I am fairly certain the apps use direct3d instead of opengl. My backup plan is to use ESXi 5.5 free edition with its software 3D rendering.)


Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Yes, but only with some graphic cards.

GPU passthrough is finicky, and the CPU+chipset must support VT-d for GPU passthrough to work properly on Windows guests.

Have a read of the following discussion: https://web.archive.org/web/20140829074938/http://xenserver.org/discuss-virtualization/q-and-a/gpu-passtrough-the-2nd.html

  • Yes, I am able to passthrough the GPU via the XenCenter GUI, but I have no way of using the GPU. That link only talks about using the GPU via XenApp/XenDesktop. – mikedep333 May 26 '14 at 19:38
  • Well, the link wasn't talking only about XenApp/XenDesktop, IMO. Anyways, looking around in the same forum, another guy posted that GPU passthrough works on Ubuntu 12.04, which means that GPU passthrough works even without XenApp/XenDesktop. – pepoluan May 26 '14 at 19:52
  • BTW, after configuring the GPU passthrough, had you installed the proper driver for the Graphics card? Since the VM now sees the GPU itself, it stops using the XS drivers; you must install the proper nVidia drivers within the VM. – pepoluan May 26 '14 at 19:55
  • Yes, I did install the AMD driver on my test machine w/ AMD graphics. The production machine would use the Nvidia driver for the Nvidia graphics. Both machines have VT-d. And in my use case, I am using Windows 7 enterprise. I can RDC into the machine, and the graphics card shows up with the driver loaded in device manager. However, opengl/direct3d apps are not accelerated over RDC. The fact that the GPUs can be used with Ubuntu 12.04 is a useful data point though. – mikedep333 May 31 '14 at 19:49
  • Could you please update the link - now it does not exist anymore. Thx – Peter VARGA Aug 20 '17 at 8:57

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