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VMWare ESXi 5.5 - Installing drivers on guests

Posted on 2014-07-21
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Last Modified: 2014-07-21
Hi,

I'm experimenting with VMware ESXi 5.5 with a couple of guest Windows 7 x64 machines.

The installs went well, but I have a couple of driver questions. I have a very generic test motherboard that doesn't allow for passthrough, etc.:

1. The display driver appears as "VMware SVGA 3D".  How do I get it to recognize the Nvidia GT 640 card? Is it just a matter of installing the drivers on the guest machine?

2. There doesn't seems to be a device for the sound. Again - is it just a matter of installing the sound drivers from the motherboard CD?

Thanks in advance.
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Question by:Go-Bruins
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40209323
Just install the VMware Tools inside your guests. They include drivers for the virtual hardware. For sound you would have to connect to the VM's with Remote Desktop, in the Remote desktop client You can setup That the VM's sound will use your local PC's soundcard.
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LVL 118
ID: 40209351
You will NOT be able to use the nVidia card because your motherboard does not support VM Direct Path I/O it is not just about installing drivers or VMware Tools in the VM.

Also that nVidia graphics is not compatible with PCI pass through.

There is NO Sound.....this is a commercial hypervisor not a gaming rig.
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Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 40209357
Hi,

I do have VMware Tools installed on the guest machine.
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Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 40209367
I see - thanks.

If I do get a MB with Direct Path I/O, do all the guest machines share the video card, or is it dedicated only to one guest machine of your choosing?

Also, what kind of video card is compatible with PCI pass through?
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Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 40209421
It seems when I host the VM's in a Windows 7 environment, the guests have sound enabled.

Is the loss of sound just part of using ESXi as the host environment?
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Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 40209458
As I mentioned above, if you use RDP to connect to the VM's you get sound (sometimes you need to make sure the audio services are started in the VM's).
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LVL 118
ID: 40209586
Are you trying to do VDI?

If you use PCI pass through the resource is to the VM only not shared.

If you do VDI you can share that compatible GPU between VMs
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Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 40209599
Sorry, don't know what VDI is, but I'm trying to use a decent video card that will enable the guest VM's to run things like Windows Media Center, which doesn't seem to want to run with the generic VMware video driver.

Ideally, I'd like all the VM's to have access to the video card and its capabilities. If the Nvidia GT 640 is not the right card, I'd go and purchase a different one. Are the AMD cards better for this application?

Thanks.
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Accepted Solution

by:
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE) earned 350 total points
ID: 40209687
If you want to have multiple users using the same graphics card in VDI, you need to use nVidia K1 and nvIdia K2 GPUs, and these cards are expensive as they are designed for servers and VDI instances, and not for the home user.

As for finding and getting a GPU working with VM Direct Path I/O is complicated, and no nVidia GPU work correctly, and you will need to use an AMD card.

The real problem is finding the correct combination of motherboard and AMD GPU to get it working with ESXi.

I've answered this question many times, ESXi is not designed as a home OS, it's a Commercial Corporate Enterprise Hypervisor designed to run Servers and VDI (Desktops using nVidia Grid K1 and K2).

Mileage varies alot, when using non-qualified hardware, and suck it and see comes to mind, and a great deal of experimentation, to get it to work.

Some have said, you may be better off with Citrix Xen than ESXi.

I'll dig out our tried and tested AMD GPU card list.
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Author Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 40209708
Thanks much.

In terms of "consumer grade" MB/GPU combinations, what are your favorites?
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Assisted Solution

by:rindi
rindi earned 150 total points
ID: 40209782
Media center etc works fine when you use Remote Desktop, you just have to enable Windows 7 Aero display. With Aero disabled, it won't work.
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LVL 118
ID: 40209807
SuperMicro/HP and AMD
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Author Closing Comment

by:Go-Bruins
ID: 40209825
Thank you one and all.

I'm understanding that ESXi is a "business-class" tool, and should be used in business environments.
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LVL 118
ID: 40209839
These are the cards we've had success with!

AMD Radeon ATI HD5450
AMD Radeon ATI HD6450
AMD Radeon ATI HD7970
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