Useful tools for working with GPUs

Monitoring GPUs

GPU Monitoring Tools
  • nvidia-smi (looping mode via the -l option has minimal impact on the GPU performance)
  • GPU-Z
  • Fraps - a product that can measure framerates in guest
  • If working with Citrix technologies involving HDX, such as XenDesktop you can use HDX monitor 3.3 (Advanced thin wire graphics) to monitor many performance metrics including framerates. See
General XenServer Performance Metrics

Benchmarking Software

Factors to consider:
  • OpenGL or DX
  • Level of automation
  • Licensing
  • Whether suitable for the GPU/vGPU being used (does the GPU/vGPU have sufficient framebuffer?) 
  • Do you manually have to configure / turn on hardware (GPU) acceleration in the application
  • Full screen / Windows
Some Benchmarks that may be useful (in no particular order)


Test mode OpenGL or DirectX


Google Earth


The “Tour” mode is somewhat automated.

Viewperf 11


Free, automated, produces benchmark results.
Available from

Autodesk Maya 2013


Requires a licensed version. It has a benchmark mode.

Dassault Catia V6


Requires a licensed version, the VM environment may causes some challenges with licensing and this should be checked with the vendor.
The app can be automated with some minimal setup.

Dassault  Solidworks 2013


Requires a licensed version. Includes a performance test that runs automatically.
(Separately, Viewperf includes a Solidworks benchmark capture that runs without requiring Solidworks be installed)

Autodesk 3DSMax 2013


Requires a licensed version. Includes automated benchmark modes. Also includes an i-ray benchmark that’s not currently run on vGPU as it has a dependency on CUDA but may be suitable for GPU pass-through.

FutureMark 3DMark 06


DX9 benchmark, used for basic checkout and stress.
Fullscreen only so probably won’t work with XenDesktop. complements Unigine (see below).
There is a licensed version and also free version available from

Unigine Heaven


DX9/10/11 benchmark, used for basic checkout and stress.
Runs in fullscreen or windowed mode, i.e. works with XenDesktop.
There is a licensed version, free version also available from

Adobe Photoshop CS6


Requires a licensed version. The app doesn’t currently have any automated test modes.

Batman Arkham City Demo


Demo includes a test mode that can be started to generate load.

Windows Media Player


The Wildlife HD sample may be useful

DX SDK samples


These are free with the DirectX SDKs from Microsoft.
In most cases they require some user interaction to generate load (e.g. zoom in/out, pan, etc.)

  • DX9 LocalDeformablePRT.exe
  • DX9 ShadowMap.exe
  • DX10 NBodyGravity.exe
  • DX10 HDAO10.1.exe
  • DX11 NBodyGravityCS11.exe
  • DX11 FluidCS11.exe

HTML5 Fishbowl

DX and OGL

Run this on IE and Chrome browsers:

Windows Experience Index

Particularly well suited for knowledge worker targeted virtualised GPUS e.g. NVIDIAs K100/K200

Redway3D Turbine

WebGL Aquarium

If you have feedback on any of the suggested applications, or think we should add to the list please do comment on the feedback thread for this page, here.


Our developers, support, QA and solutions lab often post blogs on benchmarking and test automation at

Some that may be of particular interest include:





About XenServer

XenServer is the leading open source virtualization platform, powered by the Xen Project hypervisor and the XAPI toolstack. It is used in the world's largest clouds and enterprises.
Technical support for XenServer is available from Citrix.