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Morv

Parallels Desktop uses (limited) eGPU

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Hi,

I needed a Ubuntu 14.04 installation for university stuff and as it turned out to be real pain to have an installation set up on an external HDD on a Macbook(Doesn't install or doesn't boot if it installs and I don't want to further split my SSD which would be easier but ye...).

So, I tried Parallels Desktop 11 after VirtualBox had sloppy graphics output and a limited set of resolutions and it turned out to be way better right off the start, had all the resolutions present and also serves with faster graphics.

I just updated the eGPU stuff on OS X 10.11.1 and launched the Ubuntu VM, started a tool called "GpuTest" for Linux and ran Furmark on 1024x768. I was surprised by the FPS it gave which were about 120. Then I saw that the title contained "Parallels using Nvidia GTX 970 OpenGL Engine" and I also heard the fans of the eGPU spinning up. I had started the VM on the external screen but didn't think about the eGPU at that moment, I just wanted to have it on the big screen.

To check for the impact the eGPU has I shut down the VM and started it again on the internal screen without eGPU acceleration. The title now contained "Parallels using Intel Iris Pro OpenGL Engine" and the FPS were only about 28. So the eGPU actually has a huge impact on the performance, roughly by a factor of 4.

I then tried to run Unigine Valley to have a comparison to the native OS X performance but sadly the driver has a limited set of supported OpenGL features and Unigine Valley won't run.

Still, I downloaded the "GpuTest" tool for OS X and started Furmark and hey, it's also got roughly around 120 FPS with the same settings :-O

So, the raw performance of the graphics card seems to be pretty straight passed through to the virtual machine with Parallels. The only limiting thing is the graphics driver and it's support for OpenGL features(I guess it's the same for DirectX) for the virtual machine provided by Parallels.

Furmark Parallels iGPU:

post-17006-14495001028253_thumb.jpg

Furmark Parallels eGPU:

post-17006-14495001029431_thumb.jpg

Furmark OS X:

post-17006-14495001030273_thumb.jpg

Unigine Valley Parallels eGPU:

post-17006-1449500103077_thumb.jpg

Just wanted to share this as I found it to be interesting :)

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I wonder if this could be used to pass through to Windows. My eGPU is working fine in OS X but not in Windows 10 - if I could use Parallels then that might be a way of getting things working in Win10.

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I wonder if this could be used to pass through to Windows. My eGPU is working fine in OS X but not in Windows 10 - if I could use Parallels then that might be a way of getting things working in Win10.

Depends on what you're about to achieve. The Parallels 11 Windows graphics driver only supports up to DirectX 10.1 so everything needing the already 6 year old DirectX 11 will fail. Unfortunately VMware Fusion 8 is also stuck with DirectX 10.

Depending on what Macbook you're using you should be able to get the eGPU up and running natively though. I only read about Optimus not working with Windows 10. Apart from this, do you have to run Windows 10? Windows 8.1 is really neat and uncomplicated and everything is working fine.

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ah, I do need DX11 support.

I'm using a 2012 Macbook Pro Retina. I'm confident I'll get Windows 10 working properly, just not had chance to really set enough time aside for sorting it. I do have to run Win 10 - I don't have a licence for 8.1. Windows 10 should work ok though.

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