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VM with dedicated graphics card?


NuclearJam
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Hi, newbie here but long time lurker!

 

I am planning to replace my ageing HP N40 Server (Win 2012 R2) and would like at the same time to move my desktop machine (Win 7) onto the same new hardware. What I can't figure out is whether or not I can assign specific hardware, for example the graphics card to one specific VM.

 

I would like for a Win 2012 VM to run with access being only via RDP once the set-up has been completed. Alongside this I would like to run a Windows 7 (or 8) VM which will have a couple of users login to use as a desktop OS. Ideally I would like to have a monitor, keyboard and mouse connected directly to the hardware which would have exclusive access to the Win 7 (or 8) VM.

 

I have read about hardware which supports VT-d which sounds like it would kind of achieve what I'm looking to do but am not sure whether I would need to use VMWare or Hyper-V.

 

Hopefully the above makes some sense, is any of this possible or just an absurdly weird way of wanting to do things?

Edited by NuclearJam
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Hi thanks for the reply, I guess server 2012 would be the host OS? I'm looking at an i5 4670k Haswell CPU and either a Z87 or Z97 motherboard. What features would I specifically be looking for to achieve what I want here?

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Set up a thin client then? Something that launches the RDP file by default. 

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Unfortunately, I don't think this will work the way you want.  Your best bet is to buy a new desktop, run Windows 8.1 and then setup Hyper-V on it to run servers in the background.  Make sure you have enough RAM, CPU and storage to support it.  Most new hardware will have all the virtualization options in the BIOS you are looking for.  I would also consider a second NIC to attach your virtual switch to and leave it dedicated for your VMs.  Leave the primary NIC for logged in users' web surfing and remote access.  Also make sure to set your Power and Hyper-V settings to auto-start your server(s) and to not allow the computer to go to sleep.

 

VT-d is a technology more aligned with storage hardware that allows you to assign specific drives to be accessible to VMs w/o the use of virtual disks.  RemoteFX is more what you're looking for in terms of allowing video acceleration for VMs through the use of a dedicated graphics card.  I set this up on a Windows Hyper-V Server 2012 instance (free version), and it worked pretty well.  It required a lot of PowerShell scripts and commands to get it to setup properly, but once it was setup, I could run Desktop OS's on my server with good graphics performance.  I wouldn't play any games on it, but the multimedia experience was much better.

 

You can setup certain versions of Windows to boot straight to RDP, but this requires that the virtual server it's connecting to is remote.  I don't know if any way to do this where both the server and the client are on the same hardware.

 

I hope this helps.  I'm always jacking around with a lab at my home, so I've tried a lot of these options.  Ultimately, I've landed on "simpler is better", and I always land on 3 machines.  1 Desktop, 1 Home/Essentials Server and one Hyper-V/VMWare server.  It just seems to be the easiest to keep running.

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Ultimately, I've landed on "simpler is better"

 

Funny how, as we age, we all seem to wind up coming to this conclusion.

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Thanks for everyones thoughts on this, i had a feeling what i was trying to achieve here probably wasn't going to work how I had hoped. The idea of using a client that boots directly to RDP sounds like the best option I think as I can probably use some lower spec hardware for this meaning more to spend on the server.

Thanks again.

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