VMWare ESXi 5.1.0 3d Video option

Before I get the usual answer, its not compatible, please humor me. ;)

Building a test server, VMware ESX 5.1.0. Supermicro with H8DMU+ mainboard. Dual quad core Opteron processors, 16GB Ram.
Have it installed nicely onto a USB, everything is working fine except for the "Enable 3D support". XP Pro, Windows 7, Windows 2008 server, doesn't matter what the VM is, all have the Enable 3D grayed out. The PC accessing the VM has a high end graphics card. I've installed a 3D graphics card into the server (don't ask how), still the option won't enable.
In a normal VM, I'd just access the configuration fine and add the 3D, but no clue how to manually edit using ESX.
Open to ideas. I've scoured the vmware forums, but the answers are either blunt "not compatible" or obscure.
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  1. Basic answer is "not compatible" with a virtual machine.

    More accurate answer is that it won't work because of the HAL that VMware runs. To run 3D graphics the computer interfaces with the graphics card via drivers, which control the graphics card. Standalone computers have a direct interface to the graphics card through the HAL (hardware abstraction layer). VMware machines are different in that the system HAL must go through VMware, which in this case is providing a HAL, to touch the hardware. VMware must directly support hardware, the supported hardware can be properly used by VMware HAL.. if its not supported there really isn't any way to get the graphics card working.

    You cannot connect to a VM with a computer that has a high end graphics card and run 3D. The VM is its own system and when remotely connecting to it all graphics that are presented are generated by the VM itself, the connecting computer graphics card is not involved in generating 3D. To do that would require that the VM have the correct drives as the connecting computers graphics card, it would require that all graphic information be sent via network to the connecting computer, once at the connecting computer it would need to access the connecting computers HAL.. its a nightmare to explain or even think about. No go on that.
  2. Daryl Sharp said:
    Before I get the usual answer, its not compatible, please humor me. ;)

    Building a test server, VMware ESX 5.1.0. Supermicro with H8DMU+ mainboard. Dual quad core Opteron processors, 16GB Ram.
    Have it installed nicely onto a USB, everything is working fine except for the "Enable 3D support". XP Pro, Windows 7, Windows 2008 server, doesn't matter what the VM is, all have the Enable 3D grayed out. The PC accessing the VM has a high end graphics card. I've installed a 3D graphics card into the server (don't ask how), still the option won't enable.
    In a normal VM, I'd just access the configuration fine and add the 3D, but no clue how to manually edit using ESX.
    Open to ideas. I've scoured the vmware forums, but the answers are either blunt "not compatible" or obscure.


    I've just encountered the same problems, I have 2 identical white box machines (dell OptiPlex 755's) and both will not support 'Enable 3D'. Ok they are old so no loss I thought. I just swapped one of them from a Q6600 to an E8400 and now it is supported (but now the servers are not identical!) It must be something to do with the CPU maybe SSSE4?

    Sorry to dig up an old post but there is so little info on this subject. What is odd is I can copy the machine to the other server (iSCSI so just adding it to inventory) and it still works with 3D, I have aero and a good score in WIE but I cant 'enable 3D' on any new VM's on this server.

    What I can say is 'Enable 3d' is nothing to do with the GPU on either the host or the client, it is pure emulation, I have it running on some more modern equipment, I only use the old PC's for testing. All the intel 1366 and 1155/1156 machines I have tried seem to support it, don't know about AMD.
  3. Plain simple, I got stuck on this also once in a while when I forget that I need to select a desktop OS when setting op a new VM, so for a 2003 server choose windows xp for a 2008 server choose vista for a 2008r2 choose win7 for a 2012 server choose win8. Only when selecting a desktop OS for your VM type you get the 3d option enabled. So this has nothing to do with your hardware. O and you can safely change the hardware type when the VM is shutdown. although I recommend you make a sensible selection like the selections I already mentioned and don't swap 32bit vs 64bit OS types.

    For those who like real graphics power in their VM read this:http://www.webbosworld.co.uk/blog/?p=471
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