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Having recently installed a RDP app on my mobile device and got me wondering: this small device which has a limited amount of resources compared to the PC I'm connecting to, is still able to operate my remote machine to almost full capacity. With that, how much of the local machines resources are actually used in the connection to the remote machine?

Also how much of the resources are used on the remote machine?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Bandwidth is the main resource; UI actions are transmitted to the RDP host and processed there, and drawing operations are transmitted back (in a nutshell).

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There is no clear answer to this, as desktop elements are sent to the client machine as symbols, while third party apps would be transmitted as bitmaps. Also, DirectX works through the lastest version of RDP, so more resources would be used on the client for that, where the processing is done locally.

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Good point about active X on RDP 7 that would add some over head for the client. – Not Kyle stop stalking me Mar 9 '11 at 19:37

Very little resources are used on the client side as well as the host. The RDP protocol uses bandwidth but not much, we run 20-30 per office off a 2Mbps MPLS without any issues (we also run a IAX trunk over the same pipe), QOS is enabled but on only to cut down on hiccups when users send large emails. Everything with the exception of the screen image is handled by the remote pc you are RPDing into. Prior to upgrading to MPLS we ran WYSE thin clients that rendered full desktops over an IPsec connection for years (I think they started this in the early 90's). It's only been in the last 10 years that we have seen more people using MSTC and citrix on full blown desktop PC's. Terminal services were designed to be used on dummy terminals (it's in the name) and thin clients so the whole process is streamlined to use as little resources, particularly on the client, as possible.

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Mark is right. As far as resources on the remote machine, it depends on the client being used, and how well written it is. If they're doing bitmap caching and supporting the latest (more complex) compression schemas, then its going to require more resources obviously. I work on a Java-based RDP client and we do our best to be thin and lightweight so that we can still run on devices like Blackberries and Android phones, etc. I haven't heard of anybody testing our latest versions on there, but I know they used to run pretty smoothly for a Java app.

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