Test-Driving NVIDIA's GRID Virtual GPU Cloud Computing

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News Posted: Tue, May 27 2014 10:42 AM
NVIDIA's GRID is a virtual GPU technology that allows for hardware acceleration in a virtual environment. It's designed to run in concert with products from Citrix, VMWare, and Microsoft, and to address some of the weaknesses of these applications. The problem with many conventional Virtual Desktop Interfaces (VDIs) is that they're often either too slow for advanced graphics work or unable to handle 3D workloads at all.

Now, with GRID, NVIDIA is claiming that it can offer a vGPU passthrough solution that allows remote users to access a virtualized desktop environment built around a high-end CPU and GPU. The test systems the company is using for these 24-hour test drives all use a GRID K520. That's essentially two GK104 GPUs on a single PCB with 8GB of RAM...

NVIDIA announced that it would offer a free 24-hour test drive of NVIDIA GRID to anyone who wanted to see what the technology could do. We took the company up on its offer and what we've seen is damned impressive...
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basroil3 replied on Thu, May 29 2014 5:27 AM

"If you've ever used Microsoft's Remote Desktop Protocol, a VNC program, or a service like LogMeIn, you probably have seen the problem (note: These are not VDIs -- but they're consumer applications that encounter many of the same latency and 3D support issues). Some applications -- namely, those that use an entirely software graphics solution, like VNC clients, can run 3D applications on the remote desktop, but either fail to pass back the actual image or render the displayed output in seconds per frame instead of frames per second."

1) RDP is a superset of VDI, and it is NOT a consumer application. The IMPLEMENTATION of RDP in consumer products is far from ideal, but that is not an issue with RDP itself.

2) RDP is in frames per second even in the consumer implementation, usually getting ~10fps for video intensive things over LAN at 1080p 24bit

3) RDP will work with most display methods other than hardware specific DX implementations (DXVA doesn't work because of that), you can certainly watch (choppy) video through MPC-HC over RDP.

"Others, like Microsoft's RDP, have much faster performance but use a custom driver architecture that doesn't allow for 3D acceleration. "

RDP allows GPU virtualization and full 3D acceleration though the RemoteFX. Not all systems are compatible server side, but all clients are. I personally haven't tested it, but apparently it works pretty well.

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