Your desktop will be a rich DX11-based experience, and your virtual GPU should be too

When you take Windows 8 Release Preview home and launch it, you’ll see a rich and immersive experience accelerated by a DX11 desktop. Your VDI solution should focus on bringing all of that to you, all while tackling the challenges of distance and connecting from anywhere.

You’ll want a touch interface, smooth animations that give a tactile feel, and the richest set of applications and compatibility. You’ll want the ecosystem of software, hardware, and the Windows operating system to bring that together.

When RemoteFX v1 released in Windows 7 SP1 early last year, we introduced a set of technologies for a rich PC-like experience for VDI. It was the first place where we introduced and emphasized host-side remoting, a render-capture-encode pipeline, a highly efficient GPU-based encode, throttling based on client activity, and a DirectX-enabled virtual graphics processing unit (VGPU). All these ideas proliferate more in Windows 8 Release Preview, and the VGPU gets better.

The RemoteFX VGPU has invested in bringing the VGPU from DX9 to DX11, as well as in increasing the user experience through support for more monitors at higher resolutions. As hardware acceleration proliferates to more applications like the web browser, the VGPU will provide direct abilities to run applications at the higher levels of DirectX within Remote Desktop Virtualization Host (RD Virtualization Host). A DirectX11 experience is also available without a hardware GPU, through the software-emulated driver available in Remote Desktop Session Host (RD Session Host) and RD Virtualization Host. While this will provide a good experience, the VGPU will bring a hardware accelerated experience to virtual desktops.

By using a VGPU, we are exposing the true acceleration of the physical GPU within virtual machines. Applications that leverage DirectX can operate with higher frame rates, behave as they would on a PC, and take advantage of the GPU. The VGPU desktop not only accelerates DirectX-based applications, but the desktop itself is on DirectX11, so it too will have all the responsiveness and smooth animations that you’d expect. We see this continued investment as bringing the richness of hardware acceleration to thin clients, as well as continuing the pathway for enabling GPU-backed experiences.

As we work with partners to showcase the software in the best-in-class hardware, we will provide more communication about server models, GPUs, and drivers.  That said, we’re eager for others to share their feedback with us via our RDS Web forum: http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/winserverTS/threads.

As users get started, we’d like to share some key requirements:

  1. As in SP1, we require a SLAT enabled CPU.
  2. For Windows Server 2012, we will require a Windows 8 GPU driver (DirectX11 supporting) on the host, which will come from our GPU partners.

For more information about the current AMD GPUs that support RemoteFX and their drivers, please see Mitch’s post here: http://blogs.amd.com/work/2012/06/13/taking-virtualized-graphics-to-new-heights/.

For more information about the current Nvidia GPUs that support RemoteFX and their drivers, please see Will’s announcement here: http://bit.ly/L4mxXs.

As a final note, customers often ask me what the monitor resolutions are and how the maximum number of monitors has changed. So I wanted to provide the following tables to answer those questions. In a future post, we will add more about how the memory reservations have changed in Windows 8 Release Preview and other key changes.

As always, we appreciate your feedback and enthusiasm.

-eric han

 

 

Maximum monitor resolutions in virtual machines in Windows 8 Release Preview:

  

Maximum resolution

Number of monitors per virtual machine

Windows 7 SP1

Windows 8 Release Preview

1024 x 768

4

8

1280 x 1024

4

8

1600 x 1200

3

4

1920 x 1200

2

4

2560 x 1600

-

2

 

Monitor resolutions that can be in landscape and portrait modes:

 (UPDATE: resolution list fixed Aug. 30, 2012.)

Resolution

640 x 480

1280 x 800

1600 x 1200

2048 x 1536

800 x 600

1280 x 1024

1600 x 1050

2560 x 1440

1024 x 768

1366 x 768

1920 x 1080

2560 x 1600

1280 x 720

1440 x 900

1920 x 1200

1280 x 768

1400 x 1050

2048 x 1080