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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  • TGAmato - RemoteFX only works with Windows Enterprise and is disabled on other SKUs. This would explain your experience.

    Wele - Our testing does not cover every possible hardware configuration. However, we typically evaluate production GPUs such as the Nvidia K1 or AMD S9000 and these will give you better scale than a quadro 4000.

  • I have teo Nvidia K1 cards installed in a Dell R720 server with 256 GB RAM. I have installed Windows Server 2012 R2 RDS VDI with RemoteFX, and I have deployed eight Windows 8.1 client VMs to test the setup.

    Each client have been allocated 4 CPUs (8% of total CPU cores), 10GB RAM and 2 RemoteFX 1900zx1200 adaptors.

    The Windows 8.1 clients will mainly be used for Visual Studio 2013 development. RemoteFX has been enabled in clients, and WDDM mode is set on both K1 cards.

    Unfortunatly I see terrible and unacceptable performance both via RDS gateway and directly to the virtual machines. The is lagging both on mouse scrolls, and other animations. When using VS2013 lagging makes development almost impossible.

    Where can I begin to troubleshoot ? Do you have any help for me ?

  • Is there a list of how much Video Memory is assigned to to a virtual machine depending on how many virtual monitors and resolution that is set under remoteFX ?

  • Hi all,

    I've a question for DERRICK ISOKA or anyone else is able to reply.

    In your comment dated 22 of April,you said that at the moment there is no hardware acceleration for RDSH.

    Reading the document (last updated on 14 May) is specified:

    Graphics intensive applications that rely on DX11.1 features can be virtualized and run in a virtualized environment on Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2

    At the moment we are planning to deploy a new RDSH based on Windows 2012 R2 and we planned to install a Nvidia Quadro K2000 to take advantage of GPU acceleration for our sessions.

    Can you confirm your comment of 22 April?

    Thanks in advance

    Best Regards


  • Marius - Yes we do. Here is some documentation elaborating what we expose:

    Luca - The specific improvement you mention below is for a RDVH deployment not RDSH. As documented it was highlighting all the Remote Desktop Services product changes introduced in Server 2012 R2 covering both session based and desktop based deployments.

    Maloronzen - Thanks for the details on your deployment. Can you share your email so we can take a further look? We test internally with VS so I'd like to investigate further.

  • Derrick:  My email is Thank you,

  • Hello. Derrick,

    I am using Nvidia K1 with Windows 2012R2SP1 which running four VMs of Win8 ultimate.  The video performance is good if I am using a PC with Win8 Remote Desktop. But, when I use my iPad Air with the Remote Desktop App, the video is lagged.

    Would you please have any help for me?

    Any special client app can be used in iPad or other tablets?


  • Dear Derrik,

    first, thank you for giving your answers here - it is really encouraging to know that there is a way to get in touch with the engineer directly.

    Second, allow me to come back to the question I have already asked in November 2013: is there a way to have performance in Windows 8.1 guest as in Windows 7? You've said there was some throttling implemented. Are there any options yet to tune it?

    The situation is the following: I have Windows Server 2012 R2, with AMD card that shows nearly 27000 points in 3DMark06. All requirements for RemoteFX are met and it is technically running in the guest VMs - I can launch applications and see both DX9 and DX11 graphics. The question is the performance: with Windows 7 Enterprise guest I could get some 12000 points in 3DMark06, that is quite acceptable (FPS not lower than 25), while with Windows 8.1 guest it is not higher than 6400 points - FPS drops to 5 FPS at some scenes and the deployment is hardly usable. So, getting back to the question - how can I reach the performance level of the old OS (Win7) in the new OS (Win8.1)?

  • Derrick,

    Are there any plans to add GPU acceleration to RDSH?


  • Hello,

    I'm currently testing remoteFx with 2012R2 as host, virtualize a 2012R2 and win8.

    i make it work on the win8 VM but not in the 2012R2, nor 2012 and 2008R2, and also not in win7.

    So i'm confused ... are my drivers not good (i take the latest available drivers for the GPU), or is there any other problem ?

    I'm testing on a hp proliant DL360e with xeon E5-2450 and firepro v5800.


  • Hi Derrick,

    Could you say something about future support for OpenGL, any roadmap?


  • Hi Derrick,

    We have Hyper-V Server 2012R2 and looking to enable RemoteFX for our RDSH.  Our server is an ML350G8 and we're thinking of buying the AMD S7000 graphics card as suggested by your blog.  However their website says "Support for Server 2012 is planned for future release" on both the product page and the data sheet.  We're reluctant to drop $2K on a card that might not work.  AMD are unable at this point to tell me whether or not it's supported.  I've been escalated to L3 support and been waiting over a week for confirmation.  Have you tested it, and does it work?



  • Derrick - I have a 2012R2 server with the nVidia K6000 card.  We were running RemoteFX in a plain vanilla RDP environment but switched to 2012R2.  I don't see a way to utilize RemoteFX with RDP only (no VM's).  Will you point me to the setup of RemoteFX running just RDP?


  • RemoteFX needs to expand its' capability to include other NVidia GPUs such as Titan, 7xx, 9xx (et al.), especially when developers would like to do quick reference/scope checks in a VDI environment... would be great for labs and/or QA testing where having a dedicated machine may not be necessary and base code variants can be controlled more easily in VDI while having some horse power behind it with either multiple GPU(SLI) or dedicated GPU to a VM.

  • Hi Derrick,

    I have a DELL R720 server with win server 2012 r2 datacenter and 2 NVIDIA K1 cards. Now I have a problem that if I install Hyper-V, during the installation the system will reboot and it can't enter the windows any more unless I uninstall the NVIDIA K1 driver in safe mode.

    Did you meet this problem before?


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