Posted by: Nathan Simon
Update October 3rd 2013
In case you are having issues with GPU/USB pass-through you may want to check out this forum post…
Great article that steps you through configuring a VM to use a Video card via VMDirectPath I/O. Here is a little insert.
Following on from the previous post about a recent white-box VMware ESXi 5.1 build I was hoping to enable GPU pass-through to one of the VM’s. Initially this was to make use of things like Adobe Photoshop via XenApp to aid in GPU rendering, but having played around with Plex I was too tempted to divert the resources to a media based VM to output via HDMI as my existing WDTV Live is feeling a little dated.
First I tried with an old Nvidia Geforce 7300 I had lying around but this appeared a no go, it was detected by the VM but Windows couldn’t seem to start the device driver for it. Reading further it appears AMD cards have the best results for pass-through so I went ahead and purchased an ASUS 7750 1GB DDR5 card for around £75. I opted for the DirectCU model as this is a completely fanless design further aiding in a silent ESXi host. source article
Note that most Nvidia or AMD cards are supported, but it should be a discreet card. This is not the same concept of VMware View 5.2 and a single card hosting multiple VM’s. In this article you are giving the VM direct access to the video card, a one to one relationship.
About VMDirectPath I/O pass-through devices
- Devices cannot be plugged in after a PCI Bridge.
- Device must be behind a PCI Switch that supports ACS. For more information, see PCI Passthrough with PCIe devices behind a non-ACS switch in vSphere (1036811).
- Devices cannot be plugged in after a non-ACS switch. For more information, see PCI Passthrough with PCIe devices behind a non-ACS switch in vSphere (1036811).
- You cannot have two devices in two different contexts — such as one used by VMkernel and one in pass-through – using the same PCI slot. For example, the dual head NIC is dedicated to the VMkernel OR is available for pass-through. If you select one, the other is automatically selected as well. A dialog informs you why this occurred.
VMDirectPath limits in ESXi 5.1
- VMDirectPath PCI/PCIe devices per host 8
- VMDirectPath PCI/PCIe devices per virtual machine 4 (6 if 2 of them are teradici devices)
So if you are asking if you can use more than one video card to VM, the answer would be yes…