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I'm trying to build a server. Recently I purchased a motherboard that comes with a Matrox G200eW chip but I'm having doubts as to its ability to support 3 or more virtual servers (running Windows 7 and Debian mostly - all with GUIs).

Will the G200eW be able to singly support the operating systems (without CPU performance loss or RAM consumption)? If not, how good should the graphics card be?

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Since when do more virtual machines imply a better graphics card?! – Tom Wijsman Oct 12 '12 at 13:17
Logically, 3 virtual machines running simultaneously should require higher graphics performance than 1 virtual machine running, right? – Jason Tzen Oct 12 '12 at 13:19
But that shouldn't imply a better graphics card these days, I think. We're talking about a few MB here. And you actually referred to "server" and "servers" so you don't even need a rich graphical interface either, so I doubt if this is going to be relevant to your server building process. And even if you want to check it out you should probably determine how much graphical memory you will assign to the virtual machines, before being able to draw further conclusions; as in the current state the lack of details in your questions makes it hard to make such conclusion. – Tom Wijsman Oct 12 '12 at 13:25
I doubt if Windows 7 alone runs on that card as it needs DX9. I'd think the card is too old... – Tom Wijsman Oct 12 '12 at 13:31
@TomWijsman Thanks, by now it's clear that I need a GPU. If I got a card with enough VRAM (1GB or so), would the other aspects of the card make much difference in regards to the video performance required by the (basic) server GUIs? – Jason Tzen Oct 12 '12 at 13:39
up vote 0 down vote accepted

Looking up the G200eW, which seems to be a Matrox G200 type of card, the card only has 8 MB of RAM and is extensible to 16 MB of RAM. This seems on the rather low end and will surely make your computer use RAM instead to do the virtual machines.

But that's not the sole problem with the card, if you look at Windows 7's hardware requirements you'll note that at least a DirectX 9 card is required. The Matrox G200 cards date back from 1998 so they at best has only DirectX 5. So yeah, this card is surely going to have a lot of trouble keeping up with the virtualized server business of the current day...

As you suggested yourself down the comments, it's best to look for something like a 1 GB card. You can safely assign 250MB of video memory to the three virtual machines and be left with another 250MB for the host operating system. And if you don't look for the cheapest card the core speed should be sufficient enough as well, it won't use the core the whole way anyway as you don't plan to run any heavy graphical stuff on it but rather use it as a server.

And when in doubt, buy something you can use for at least the next four years; it's a nice golden rule.

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