Your desktop will be a rich DX11-based experience, and your virtual GPU should be too

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When you take Windows 8 Release Preview home and launch it, you’ll see a rich and immersive experience accelerated by a DX11 desktop. Your VDI solution should focus on bringing all of that to you, all while tackling the challenges of distance and connecting from anywhere.

You’ll want a touch interface, smooth animations that give a tactile feel, and the richest set of applications and compatibility. You’ll want the ecosystem of software, hardware, and the Windows operating system to bring that together.

When RemoteFX v1 released in Windows 7 SP1 early last year, we introduced a set of technologies for a rich PC-like experience for VDI. It was the first place where we introduced and emphasized host-side remoting, a render-capture-encode pipeline, a highly efficient GPU-based encode, throttling based on client activity, and a DirectX-enabled virtual graphics processing unit (VGPU). All these ideas proliferate more in Windows 8 Release Preview, and the VGPU gets better.

The RemoteFX VGPU has invested in bringing the VGPU from DX9 to DX11, as well as in increasing the user experience through support for more monitors at higher resolutions. As hardware acceleration proliferates to more applications like the web browser, the VGPU will provide direct abilities to run applications at the higher levels of DirectX within Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host). A DirectX11 experience is also available without a hardware GPU, through the software-emulated driver available in Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) and RD Virtualization Host. While this will provide a good experience, the VGPU will bring a hardware accelerated experience to virtual desktops.

By using a VGPU, we are exposing the true acceleration of the physical GPU within virtual machines. Applications that leverage DirectX can operate with higher frame rates, behave as they would on a PC, and take advantage of the GPU. The VGPU desktop not only accelerates DirectX-based applications, but the desktop itself is on DirectX11, so it too will have all the responsiveness and smooth animations that you’d expect. We see this continued investment as bringing the richness of hardware acceleration to thin clients, as well as continuing the pathway for enabling GPU-backed experiences.

As we work with partners to showcase the software in the best-in-class hardware, we will provide more communication about server models, GPUs, and drivers.  That said, we’re eager for others to share their feedback with us via our RDS Web forum:

As users get started, we’d like to share some key requirements:

  1. As in SP1, we require a SLAT enabled CPU.
  2. For Windows Server 2012, we will require a Windows 8 GPU driver (DirectX11 supporting) on the host, which will come from our GPU partners.

For more information about the current AMD GPUs that support RemoteFX and their drivers, please see Mitch’s post here:

For more information about the current Nvidia GPUs that support RemoteFX and their drivers, please see Will's announcement here:

As a final note, customers often ask me what the monitor resolutions are and how the maximum number of monitors has changed. So I wanted to provide the following tables to answer those questions. In a future post, we will add more about how the memory reservations have changed in Windows 8 Release Preview and other key changes.

As always, we appreciate your feedback and enthusiasm.

-eric han



Maximum monitor resolutions in virtual machines in Windows 8 Release Preview:


Maximum resolution

Number of monitors per virtual machine

Windows 7 SP1

Windows 8 Release Preview

1024 x 768



1280 x 1024



1600 x 1200



1920 x 1200



2560 x 1600




Monitor resolutions that can be in landscape and portrait modes:

 (UPDATE: resolution list fixed Aug. 30, 2012.)


640 x 480

1280 x 800

1600 x 1200

2048 x 1536

800 x 600

1280 x 1024

1600 x 1050

2560 x 1440

1024 x 768

1366 x 768

1920 x 1080

2560 x 1600

1280 x 720

1440 x 900

1920 x 1200

1280 x 768

1400 x 1050

2048 x 1080

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  • Please add 7 and 7 and type the answer here:
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  • What shader and open GL version support will be offered?

    Also will an OSX and IOS Remotefxv2 application be made available?

  • The drivers seem to be missing in both the Windows 8 RP media as well as the Hyper-V integration services disk for a RDVH deployment of RemoteFX (at least, on the media released to Technet on release day).  I assume that this isn't intentional, by the content of this post.    Can we get a fix to this ASAP, please?  On another note, I must give you all kudos on your RemoteFX work, to date.  I watched a full motion 720p video over RDP (connecting to a 4 year old Dell workstation) on a 65ms, 1.6mb/sec link and it was almost flawless.

  • To rahvintzu's question, we support HLSL 5. In terms of OpenGL, that is not hardware accelerated. For example, there is not 2.0 or later support for OGL. No comments on future releases, as there's so much to talk about still here. :).

    To rbrock's question, make sure you're using an Enterprise edition of the win8 client in this testing. Please let me know if you meant something else by "drivers". Thanks for the kudos.

  • I suppose there's probably more to the RemoteFX components in the OS than simply the graphics driver in device manager.  That was what I was referring to at the time.  Anyway, I would love to install the Enterprise Edition of the Release Preview, however I am not seeing that as an option.  I have downloaded both the available x64 and x86 ISOs from TechNet as well as those publically available.  They seem to be the same ISOs, giving "Release Preview" and "Windows 8" as installation options.  Based on feature set available after installation, the "Release Preview" option seems to be Professional and the "Windows 8" option seems to be Home (or what ever it is that you guys will be calling the lower end version at release).  Am I just downloading the wrong ISOs or did someone mess this up?  I'm confused because I was able to mess with features like Direct Access and RemoteFX in the CP (both, I believe, to be exclusive features of Enterprise), so I don't know why you guys wouldn't let us mess with those features in the RP..

  • Thanks for the additional info Eric.

  • What is Virtual GPU anyway? I know virtual ram which is paging file but this?

  • In this case, Virtual GPUs refer to what amounts to a virtual extension of a hardware GPU in to a virtual machine.  It allows, for instance, you to create a virtualized desktop infrastructure that is fully backed by GPU hardware installed in your servers.  This would give you the ability to work with graphics intensive software packages, like 3D AutoCAD.  In the case of RemoteFX, I believe (correct me if I'm wrong here guys) that it is also used to offload certain compute intensive items, like compression.

    Eric, any chance on some insight as to how I would get my hands on a copy of Enterprise so that I may continue my evaluation of all of your wonderful RemoteFX optimization work?  The ISOs that I've seen only have Professional..

  • I can confirm that I don't see RemoteFX in Windows8ReleasePreview as a Hyper-V VM and don't see Enterprise available anywhere as of yet. Oddly I don't even see RemoteFX in Server 2012 RC as a Hyper-V VM either.

  • Yes, just for giggles, I tried using 2012 as a guest as well.  I wasn't holding out much hope that it would work since you can't use 2008 R2 SP1 as a guest either, but I tried it anyway.  I understand that Microsoft employees aren't allowed to talk about some things regarding prerelease software, but I don't understand why they would release a release candidate and advertise (in this very article) certain features for that release candidate while simultaneously not releasing the version of the software that has those features and apparently trying to distract people from the very obvious elephant in the room by keeping mum on the subject.  The whole point of releasing these mile markers to the public is to generate interest in the product as well as productive feedback for development teams to focus their efforts.  I already know that compression performance has been majorly improved between the CP and RP when dealing with native hardware.  I would like to test to see if that is also the case in a virtualized environment.  It's just kind of difficult to do that if I don't have the proper bits...

  • I understand how RemoteFX works and advantages,

    Is it possible to enable through Free ver, Hyper-V 2012 Core?

    in this article,

    asked to install WDDM driver ,

    how to install WDDM driver in the HV Core 2012?

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Your desktop will be a rich DX11-based experience, and your virtual GPU should be too