GPU Requirements for RemoteFX on Windows Server 2012 R2

GPU Requirements for RemoteFX on Windows Server 2012 R2

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Hi everyone! I’m Derrick Isoka, a program manager on the RemoteFX team responsible for the virtual GPU component. We’ve received a lot of feedback and questions regarding the cards we recommend for the RemoteFX virtual graphics processing unit (vGPU). In this blog post we’ll share our recommendations to help you understand the options available to you, and most importantly to help you make a decision on the cards that you can consider as you deploy a VDI solution with RemoteFX vGPU.

RemoteFX GPU Requirements

Use of RemoteFX with GPU acceleration on Windows Server 2012 R2 requires a compatible graphics card. Most likely, the servers hosting the RemoteFX workloads will be located in a datacenter and as such, we recommend using passively cooled, server class graphics cards. However, it’s also acceptable to use a workstation card for testing on small deployments depending on your needs. At a minimum, the requirements for graphics cards to be used with RemoteFX are:

• DirectX 11.0 or later

• WDDM 1.2 driver or later

Support in Windows Server 2012 R2 is provided for DX 11.0, DirectCompute, and C++ AMP. Most of the latest graphics cards will support OpenGL 4.0 and OpenCL 1.1 or later, but these APIs are currently unsupported by RemoteFX in Windows Server 2012 R2.

RemoteFX-Compatible GPUs

The following list is not meant to be exhaustive but representative of the mainstream cards from NVIDIA and AMD.







1. Grid K1

2. Grid K2

AMD FirePro series

1. AMD FirePro™ S10000

2. AMD FirePro™ S9000

3. AMD FirePro™ S7000



1. Quadro K6000

2. Quadro K5000

AMD FirePro series

1. AMD FirePro™ V9800P

2. ATI FirePro™ V9800



AMD FirePro series

1. ATI FirePro™ V8800

2. ATI FirePro™ V7800

3. AMD FirePro™ V7800P

4. ATI FirePro™ V5800



1. Best: These are server class cards, designed and certified for VDI workloads by hardware vendors like NVIDIA and AMD. They target the best application performance, experience, and virtual machine densities. Some of the cards are particularly recommended for designer and engineering workloads (such as Autodesk Inventor or AutoCad).

2. Better: These are workstation class cards that provide acceptable performance and densities. They are especially capable cards for knowledge worker workloads (such as Microsoft Office or Internet Explorer).

3. Good: These are lower-end cards that provide acceptable densities knowledge worker workloads.

Notes on Performance and Scale

In addition to a GPU’s total memory and power consumption, the performance and scale of a VDI system is determined by a variety of additional factors such as storage speed, system memory speed, amount of system memory, number of CPU cores, NUMA implementation, and CPU clock frequency.

We're completing some tests for a select set of the cards mentioned in this post, and will be sharing those results in a separate blog post.

In conclusion, deploying a VDI solution requires assembling a lot of components. We hope this blog post helps in reducing the complexity and provides guidance in selecting the right GPU component to address the appropriate experience for your end users.

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  • Hi there,

    I just read an article on the Remote FX GPU requiremnets ( and wanted to get some information. We are an organization that builds software for Radiation treatment planning system for Cancer treatment. In our software we use OpenGL and now in future we will be using the GPU computations with C++AMP.

    Usually  we deploy our software in a central server and then provide remote access to the users using the Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 with HDX 3D Pro (VDI solution with 1 Graphics assigned to 1 user) and XenAPP 6.5 with openGL feature pack (to a maximum of 3-4 RDS-ICA users from one physical host with decent graphics card).

    With the advent of RemoteFX GPU support and particluarly windows Server 2012 R2 I am just wondering if the XenAPP approach can be revised with Remote App and Remote desktop solution by Microsoft. Is there any avenue if we can test this with our present software.

    I would be very interested in getting your feedback on this as I can see a lot of potential using this approach provided that the image transfer is loss less.

    Looking forward for your advise.

  • Hello Derrick and thank yo or your post, it is useful for architecting some future systems.

    However, I have one question to you, as a vGPU engineer. In my test lab for RemoteFX deployments, I have ATi Radeon HD6990 card. It is quite clear that it is not certified for RFX, but being quite a "high-level" solution, it was providing quite decent performance with Windows Server 2008R2 VDI. To get to the figures, it was about 26k 3DMark06 points on the host system and about 12k points in the Windows 7 Enterprise virtual machine. The overall quality was quite good.

    Now, I have tried upgrading this sandbox to Windows 2012R2 + Windows 8.1 Enterprise. While keeping the same score at the host system, the VDI performance has dropped dramatically - to some 6400 points, with about 10-15 FPS almost everywhere. I've tried every trick I could find, including TCP chimney disabling at all levels, GPOs and registry editing - all with no luck. Today I've even tried a clean installation of Win2012R2 with the same results. Moreover, if I change vGPU to Intel built-in adapter, it gives absolutely the same benchmark results. Overall it looks like some internal component is blocking vGPU from accessing the physical GPU efficiently.

    Please say, is there any hope to get the same results in 2012 like they were in 2008? Because currently it looks like the system has become worse...

    With best regards,

    Victor Nikityuk

  • Haris - In Server 2012R2 our implementation is still an API intercept model (no Hyper-V pass through). We're keenly looking into whether this will have value for our customers so thanks for the feedback.

    Victor - We added some throttling in Windows 8.1 that will limit the render rates. This explains why you are observing higher render rates when using Windows 7 SP1. Throttling the render rates allows us to improve our scale since we are utilizing a GPUs resources more efficiently.

  • Dear Derrick,

    thank you for your reply! Indeed, I have just tried installing Windows 7 in Windows 2012R2 Hyper-V, and it gave me 9480 3DMarks06: still less then under 2008R2, but much more than Windows 8.

    To my opinion, if you implement a change that can lead to performance degrade (like in my case), there should be an ajustable parameter to switch it back. Would you please point me out a registry key, or whatever that can improve Windows 8 guest performance to the level of Windows 7?

    Thank you beforehand.

    With best regards,

    Victor Nikityuk

  • Victor - I wish I could but unfortunately that's something we are not prepared to share at the moment. We may make changes to that specific implementation and sharing the key publicly may lead to some support issues especially if it's used in production. Glad to chat in person if there are some things you are looking to do with the product that I can help you with.



  • Can you say anything about compatibility nVidia K20 (not K2) with remoteFX?

  • Swix - We haven't tested the k20 cards as they are targeted more for compute (CUDA) workloads and not graphics/visualization.

  • Hey Derrick, thanks for the post this has been pretty insightful so far.  I have to say that I'm observing similar issues as Victor.  We are just getting into the VDI game and are starting new in a lab environment with a Server 2012 R2 datacenter server running the Web Access, Gateway, and Connecection broker roles and two Hyper V Server 2012r2 Virtualization hosts for our VM's.  The two hosts have Nvidia K4000 graphics cards installed with the latest NVidia drivers.  When we spin up a windows 8.1 vm and a windows 7 sp1 vm the windows 7 machine out performs the windows 8.1 machine (graphically) in dramatic fashion.  We are an architectural firm and graphics is the biggest issue for our users --aside from RAM, we have to give each vm 20gb of RAM to run some of our big modeling applications--.  Any insight on the difference?  Device manager in both vms shows the remoteFX graphics device working fine.  Thanks!

  • Does anyone know how "Essentials Experience" relates to RemoteFX? When I install Essentials Experience role in R2, it disables RemoteFX and my GPU (DX 11.2 compatible) is not recognized as a compatible device. RemoteFX was working fine right up to the point when I set up the Essentials Experience role. I am using Windows Server 2012 R2.

  • Hi! We bought firepro v5800 for tests in the laboratory. Works poorly even on a single virtual machine. Twitches and video interface of VLTS transmitted artifacts delays. Are you sure that's a good job?

    Workstation: Core i5/8Gb/SSD/v5800/WinSrv2012R2

  • Hi,

    I'm a home user, and I would like to run games in a VM. I have a windows 8.1 Pro. Is there anything that I can do to have good directx performance in the VM?

    I have notices that vGPU and RemoteFX GPU are only supported with windows 2012 R2 server. Is this correct?

  • Hi Derrick,

    Please can you confirm how to increase the performance of the Windows 8.1 VM running under Hyper-V and RemoteFX. The performance is dramatically worse than Windows 7 SP1 on the name host hardware.

    This is causing problems for our graphics team. From what I have read on this blog, I believe this can be improved by removing the throttling you guys have implemented. We only runa limited number of RemoteFX vGPU guests and as it is at the moment, our server GPU is no longer being used efficiently due to the throttled capture and RDP side of the story.

    Kind Regards,


  • I apologize for the delayed responses as I've been on holiday for most of December.

    David/Darrell: In regard to Windows 8.1 vs Windows 7 SP1 performance, can you any information on the clients you're connecting to the VMs? The version of RDP one uses to connect can impact performance (e.g. connecting from Windows 7 SP1 with RDP 7 to a Windows 8.1 VM)

    digiRAMbo: Let me investigate the Essentials Experience issue and get back to you.

    Tzachi: RemoteFX is only supported on Windows Server so your observation is correct that the feature is not available on Windows 8.1 Pro.

    Сергей Торопов: I'm curious to understand how you configured your VM. Can you also provide details on the version of Windows on host and VM?

  • Hi, Derrick!

    I'm trying to get a vGPU using RemoteFX with Windows Server 2012 R2 Hyper-V and Windows 8.1 Enterprise as guest OS. I can see my physical GPU (intel HD graphics 4600) and the option "Use this GPU with RemoteFX is enabled". However in the VM settings there is no option to add vGPU. Once I try to add it via PowerShell the following message appears: "Hyper-V was unable to find S3 display controller to perform this operation".

    Could you please share your thoughts what is missing? Thank you in advance.

  • Hey Andrey!

    Do you see the option to add a RemoteFX 3D Video Adapter grayed out when you click the Add New Hardware option?

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