Home Lab Question


I’m studying for some certifications and own a yearly VMware User Group (VMUG) evaluation license for the full VMware suite, including Horizon, ESXi, vCenter Server, etc etc etc. I wish to learn about vGPU’s and wanted to reach out for some advice.

My goal is to learn how to set up multiple VM’s utilizing a single GPU, much like how the hypervisor can share a single CPU among multiple VM’s. Sadly, this doesn’t seem to be able to be done with consumer grade cards, so I’m looking at purchasing an older and affordable Quadro card for my home lab so I can learn this exciting technology.

My concern is that I’ve learned that we’re required to download a special .vib driver to import into ESXi, however from my initial research it appears that these drivers seem licensed behind some enterprise login portal. Is this accurate?

I was considering purchasing a Quadro 6000 or even a Quadro M4000 card off eBay. If I purchased one of these second-hand, am I able to get an ESXi 6.x driver for evaluation (academic) purposes? Would someone in my situation be better suited purchasing a different card? My limit is around $250.

I would greatly appreciate if anyone could point me in the right direction regarding this. I have a lot of consumer CUDA devices laying around, however I don’t think they can work in a vGPU environment because the .vib’s are designed explicitly for the professional grade cards.

Thank you very much for reading my post! Have a wonderful day!

You are right with the exception of the old K1/K2 cards. There is a public driver available and you might also get one of these boards pretty cheap. With Quadro you could only test Passthrough but not vGPU. So I would recommend to check the boards mentioned above although they still might beyond your budget.
For Quadro in Passthrough you won’t need a specific driver, so no need to have the vGPU Enterprise Account.



Do I understand correctly that the only cards with a working public driver for utilizing vGPU sharing (one physical GPU shared among multiple ESXi VMs) are the following?

NVIDIA GRID K1 (lower end GPU, 16GB RAM, less expensive)
NVIDIA GRID K2 (higher end GPU, 8GB RAM, more expensive)

So, a used NVIDIA GRID K1 card is probably the cheapest card that will utilize this technology?

Thanks for your response!

Correct. For newer boards the licensing is required and you need a portal access for downloading the drivers. For sure you can request a trial account.




Is there any updated info on this? That grid eval link is dead. Considering changes to the remote workforce over the past year seems like this would be valuable for Nvidia to make accessible for people to learn.