Can you play graphic intensive 3d games on type1 hypervisors

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Can you play graphic intensive 3d games on type1 hypervisors

Postposted on Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:25 am

Seems like a simple question, but my googling was unsuccessful. I'm simply wondering.....

When using type 1 bare metal hypervisors like ESXi, are you able to play 3d games, stream hd content, or do other graphic intensive activities on the client (assuming they are within spec of the host server)?

Example: Could you use an old outdated thin client PC to play a modern 3d game that is way above the client's specs, but within the server's specs? Will it perform at an acceptable level without any graphics lag? Is there much performance lost due to the virtualization?

Or are these types of virtualized guest OS's primarily more for simpler, productivity related type tasks.
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Re: Can you play graphic intensive 3d games on type1 hypervi

Postposted on Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:44 am

There is zero chance you're going to get acceptable performance with a thin client streaming 3D video, etc. from a server. Too much latency, too much data to cram down your 100 Mbit or gigabit pipe.
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Re: Can you play graphic intensive 3d games on type1 hypervi

Postposted on Sat Aug 02, 2014 11:54 am

mxmaniac wrote:Seems like a simple question, but my googling was unsuccessful. I'm simply wondering.....

When using type 1 bare metal hypervisors like ESXi, are you able to play 3d games, stream hd content, or do other graphic intensive activities on the client (assuming they are within spec of the host server)?

Example: Could you use an old outdated thin client PC to play a modern 3d game that is way above the client's specs, but within the server's specs? Will it perform at an acceptable level without any graphics lag? Is there much performance lost due to the virtualization?

Or are these types of virtualized guest OS's primarily more for simpler, productivity related type tasks.



On thin client, I doubt it. On the machine running a hypervisor like Xen however it is entirely doable providing your hardware has proper IOMMU support.

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Re: Can you play graphic intensive 3d games on type1 hypervi

Postposted on Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:12 pm

Deanjo wrote:On thin client, I doubt it. On the machine running a hypervisor like Xen however it is entirely doable providing your hardware has proper IOMMU support.

The IOMMU support is likely to be a stumbling block, unless you have a true workstation/server class motherboard. Some of Asus' desktop boards claim to support it, but the BIOS support is (allegedly) so buggy that it is effectively unusable; this may have improved in the past year or two, but I would not count on it.
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Re: Can you play graphic intensive 3d games on type1 hypervi

Postposted on Sat Aug 02, 2014 2:34 pm

For bare metal hypervisors, raw performance should be slightly below native (<10% maybe?). There is also some configuration that needs to be done on the hypervisor end to enable guest VM's to obtain full access to the hardware. So if your use-case was running a Windows guest for gaming and a linux guest to act as a game server, this would be possible on the same set of hardware.

As others here have pointed out, the catch is in the usage of a thin-client. The encoding and network transmission adds latency while often lowering quality. There are cards like AMD's FirePro R5000 that have hardware encoders and dedicated networking interfaces for this task that lower latencies than software based solutions. At work I've been looking at a PCoIP solution for a presentation system. It does uncompressed 1280 x 720 with a reduced color space to YUC 4:2:2 (PC displays are typically YUC 4:4:4). The results aren't bad for what you get but I'm likely going to pass on it as I'm for 1920 x 1080 support. Units I've looked at all have some form of compression involved to reduce the bandwidth requirements (and to be fair, I haven't yet looked at if/what compression the R5000 does).

Another alternative I've come across is HDBaseT. While it uses standard RJ-45 and Cat6 cabling, it is not compatible with Ethernet (so don't plug it into your switch). Basically it is a cost effective means of running tens of meters of wiring in a more cost effective manner. If you need a display far from where your system is at (but at the same general location) this would be an alternative.
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