VM 3D Support

compdigit44
compdigit44 used Ask the Experts™
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Our environment consist of a VCSA 6.5 U2c appliance and 114 ESXi 6 host. On one of the VM's which is running Windows 2012 R2, the option under video to Enable 3D Support is grayed out.  I have read the following article https://kb.vmware.com/s/article/2092210  regarding this but do not believe is applies to us. Is this because the host requires a vGPU?
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Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Oh a topic I work on every day........(GPUs)

Enable 3D Support can be grayed out for many reasons....OS Support, virtual machine version.

and 2008/2012 it may not be enabled by default, as you don't often use 3D in a Server!

Workstations - yes e.g. Windows 7, 8 and 10.

So if you change the OS Type from Windows 2012 to Windows 7, you'll find you get the option to tick the box and enable!

Now be fore warned here, this can be a can of worms, from a requirement and admins point of view, understanding what 3D is available in a VM, and for what application!

and remember in the back of your mind, what a Hypervisor really does, it's a compromise and allows you to run/schedule lots of servers all at the same time...

Many an Admin, has got excited at thinking the hypervisor, will replace 40 servers/desktops and they can all run AutoCAD, or CATIA, Solidworks.....

and FAILED!

Author

Commented:
Great feedback!!! Is it ok to just edit the VMX file to support this? https://ryanmangansitblog.com/2012/10/04/enable-3d-support-checkbox-greyed-out-for-windows-server-2012/

For my own understanding, what would a vGPU by the App owner over enabling 3D support. Also increasing the VM 3D memory increases it overhead or overall memory assignment?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Technically editing VMX files is not supported!

But as per original VMware KB,

mks.enable3d = TRUE

Open in new window


it does add the 3D GPU button, but sometimes, you need to Power off the VM, Deregister the VM, and then Re-register the VM, to get the VMX configuration recognised!

(because VMX is cache with vCenter Server)

For my own understanding, what would a vGPU by the App owner over enabling 3D support. Also increasing the VM 3D memory increases it overhead or overall memory assignment?

Can you expand on this, do you mean differences between ticking the box and a real GPU ?

The memory overhead is increased in the host for the VM.
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Author

Commented:
Sorry for the confusion, I am asking what is the difference from using a vGPU vs Enabling 3D support on a VM. You mention that editing the VMX is not supported. What is the supported way to handle this?
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
You mention that editing the VMX is not supported.

Change the OS type.

Author

Commented:
So I tried the editing the VMX file and it did help, even tried to remove it from inventory and check it back in. I had to change the OS type to Windows 10. I am trying to find documentation explaining the 3D memory setting because what I sent in VM is not what I am seeing in the guest OS.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
What do you want the Guest OS to do ?

I'll get back to this question...as well..

 I am asking what is the difference from using a vGPU vs Enabling 3D support on a VM

been a little busy this aft!

Author

Commented:
So for the delay in responding. Here is the question I emailed support and had not gotten back to me on: "If you change the OS type to a workstation OS the Enable 3D option is available. I also found that you can change the OS back to a server OS with the 3D option still enabled but get a warning that it is not recommended for the selected OS. Does VMware support this setup? Also what is the difference between video ram and 3D rendering memory"
VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017
Commented:
If VMware can find a method to not support you they will.

Video RAM has already been required for the frame buffers, to display your screen content e.g. 1024 x 768 pixels x 32 million colours requires memory to display the video page.

If you go back far enough, video displays e.g. TSENG Labs ET3000/ET4000, video display resolution, and colour depth was dependant upon the physical memory on the card!

3D Rendering Memory is just additional memory which is used for rendered textures.

The reason why new gaming cards now have 6GB, 8GB and 12GB of memory for textures.

Author

Commented:
According to VMware support, they will support taking a VM with a Server OS, changing it to a workstation OS, enabling 3D support then changing it back to a server OS. Just wanted to pass this along to you.
Andrew Hancock (VMware vExpert / EE Fellow)VMware and Virtualization Consultant
Fellow 2018
Expert of the Year 2017

Commented:
Umm....I don't believe anything the liars state!

when times comes to support you, I hope you've got it in writing, 3 times, and signed!

other wise..... and most of the time VMware Support, refer you to Microsoft if the OS does not function....

Author

Commented:
thanks for the heads up...

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