Dec 30

Video card Passthrough in ESXi

Ths is one of my pet project to have on my Vmware ESXi host a working machine as desktop PC.

In order to achieve this I dig for a video card that can be used for this project. That is not officially supported by Vmware ( this statement is for non server video cards) but on some forums they say it works, so I choose an ATI HD6450 graphic card with passive cooling,  as I want to be as quite as possible my white box with  ESXi .

So for this setup I choose the ESXi 6.5a release . After installation of the hypervisor OS the following steps I took :

I create the VM with win 10  with the following tweaks:

1. On CPU I Expose Hardware assisted virtualization to the guest OS

2.Reserve all guest memory.

I installed the guest OS win 10 and the vmware tools and reboot the machine

I installed the ATI drivers prior to add the passthrough device, should go without any glitch, i recommend the latest drivers as  possible.

An alternative solution of remote connection to the VM as the console might go unresponsive to command. my choice was tightVNC

All this has been said. i passed to the passthrough part . On the ESXi host I enable this for the video card and USB controllers as I need keyboard and mouse to interact with my VM directly.

I rebooted the host ESXi to take effect my changes.

After this with my win 10 VM closed I edit the virtual hardware and add the PCI devices

After this i powered on the VM .  As my console from vmware worked erratically, I took a tight VNC connection to the win 10 and i edit the  display adapter drivers and disable vmware SVGA driver

In that moment the monitor attached to your vmware server should come alive and have your keyboard and mouse attached to the server working inside your VM.

Now you have a ESXi server and a PC on a same box!

I presume it works same way for Nvidia cards too. For the compatibility video cards please check on forums.

 

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