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VMWare ESXi 5.5 - Installing drivers on guests

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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Go-Bruins
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Go-Bruins
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2 Solutions
 
rindiCommented:
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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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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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Go-BruinsAuthor Commented:
Hi,

I do have VMware Tools installed on the guest machine.
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Go-BruinsAuthor Commented:
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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Go-BruinsAuthor Commented:
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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rindiCommented:
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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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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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Go-BruinsAuthor Commented:
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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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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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Go-BruinsAuthor Commented:
Thanks much.

In terms of "consumer grade" MB/GPU combinations, what are your favorites?
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rindiCommented:
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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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
SuperMicro/HP and AMD
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Go-BruinsAuthor Commented:
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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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE MVE^2)VMware and Virtualization ConsultantCommented:
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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