By Fredrik Brattstig @virtualbrat
24 May 2021 – There is a new IGEL hardware release around the corner, the New IGEL UD7 (UD7-LX 20). I had the chance to put this device in the test bench to see what it can do when it comes to graphics.
First off, lets review the hardware piece, the full hardware specifications can be read here: DS_UD7_85-EN-11-13-0.pdf (igel.com), at a glance here is what we have to play with:
- AMD Ryzen Embedded V1605B which gives you Quad-core CPU with stock speed of 2.0 GHz, turbo speed up to 3.6 GHz
- 8GB DDR4 RAM
- AMD Radeon Vega 8 GPU (Up to 4GB shared frame buffer)
- Quad DisplayPort connectors supporting Quad 4K monitors, that’s alot of screen size!
- Select between RJ45 (10/100/1000) (standard) OR Fiber SFP
- Optional WLAN+ Bluetooth
- Enough USB ports for most use cases, there’s a total of 7 of them to be found 4x USB2.0 Type-A, 2x USB3.2 Type-A and one USB3.2 Type-C
- Optional smart card reader for all those super secure workspaces
The hardware is designed to function using Fanless convection heat dissipation which makes the device to ALWAYS stay quiet! Who wants to have that fan spinning up while you are on those Microsoft Teams calls?
All this is packaged in a format not much bigger than the current IGEL UD3! The physical dimensions (HxWxD) = 196 mm x 48 mm x 196 mm. It sits nicely on your desk, doesn’t look clunky, and as the hardware housing has the new IGEL case design, its looking really nice!
Enough of the hardware piece and head over to the more important thing, optimized software stack! The UD7-LX 20 comes with IGEL OS preinstalled. It’s using the regular x86/64 version of the operating system and includes features and connection protocols like Windows Virtual Desktop, Citrix Workspace App, VMWare Horizon, Remote Desktop Protocol, Teradici PCoIP, NoMachine, Parallels and much more, it actually comes with VirtualBox allowing you to run a virtual machine in your thin client (what is a thin client 😊)
But we are going to look at the cool piece of hardware accelerated graphics and specifically multi monitor setups.
When it comes to hardware accelerated graphics on IGEL OS, there are some included protocols that supports this, I focus the tests/demos below three protocols
- Citrix Workspace App
- VMWare Horizon
- Teradici PCoIP Ultra
I have recorded three different videos on the UD7 in action with multi monitor setups, but lets have a look at the characteristics of the GPU in the UD7-LX 20 (back to the hardware pierce again 😁:
(The method of determining the h264 decoding capabilities applies to any hardware, not specifically the UD7, which is very usable when you are designing your EUC endpoint setup )
Using PuTTY i remotely connected to the UD7 and issued the command vdpauinfo, which will give me some info on what the device can do in terms of h264 hardware decoding etc. The result of the command is here:
The output of vdpauinfo (or vainfo) will report back characteristics of the GPU. To find out the maximum resolution that the h264 decoder can handle I’m looking for the H264_MAIN output. On this device it tells that the decoding pixel area is 4096×4096 pixels. This is not the ‘physical’ dimensions though, because it is broken down in to micro blocks. On a high-level description we can calculate 4096×4096= 16.777.216 pixels will ‘fit’ into the hardware decoder. What can that tell us? Lets look at a table of a few single and multi monitor resolutions to describe what the h264 decoding capabilities are:
|Resolution||# screens||Total Pixels||Fit in 4096×4096|
|4K UHD (3840×2160)||1||8.294.400||✔|
|Dual WQHD (2560×1440)||2||7.372.800||✔|
|Dual 4K UHD (3840×2160)||2||16.588.800||✔|
|Quad WQHD (2560×1440)||4||14.745.600||✔|
|Quad 4K UHD (3840×2160)||4||33.177.600||✖|
So, now we know that the GPU in the UD7 can decode quite some different monitor setups, and it will help you to determine viable monitor setups for any hardware on the market when base-line designing your endpoint offerings.
This will though not tell you at what refresh rate/FPS the decoding can be done though. This needs to be tested on the hardware you are about to use. The difference between a cheap GPU and a more expensive one can be just that. Both can decode h264 in 4096×4096, but the cheaper solution might only be capable of doing the decode in 30 FPS or even less, while adding a few bucks will give decoding in 60FPS. What do the users need?
For the videos below on the UD7-LX 20 I have been using 30Hz/FPS if some thing else isn’t announced.
Lets have a look at a the videos showcasing the performance of the upcoming UD7-LX 20 shall we?
The first video is showing the performance of the UD7 using ‘Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops‘ with dual 4K UHD 3840×2160 monitors connected. This video feature Nvidia vGPU, MS Teams Optimization and much more (note, screen grabber for the left screen is causing frame drops):
The settings I applied to the IGEL OS UD7 is basically very simple. I have enabled H264 Deep compression Codec and Accelerated H.264 Deep Compression Codec, which you will find @ Sessions->Citrix->Citrix Global->Codec in the IGEL Setup, plus I have configured the storefront connection and that’s it! Microsoft Teams HDX optimization is enabled by default in IGEL OS so nothing needed to be done there to bring the camera to MS Teams.
Lets jump right in to the second video, here I’m using Quad WQHD monitors in 2560×1440 resolution on each monitor. I’m connected with the IGEL OS UD7 to a ‘Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops’ Windows 10 VDA powered by a NVidia P40 vGPU that is split into 4 pieces, equals to that I have 6GB of frame buffer for the GPU acceleration.
The third movie you can find below, the grand finale! Here we are still using Quad WQHD 2560×1440 monitors connected to the UD7, the difference here is that each monitor is displaying a separate full screen session. On the left side you see two independent Citrix HDX h264 hardware accelerated, on the top right we have a VMWare Horizon Blast h264 hardware accelerated session and on the bottom right we have a Teradici PCoIP ultra session.
The price/performance comparison of this device will be very difficult to match for other hardware. If you want a graphics powerhouse endpoint for your cloud workspaces I encourage you to have a look at the UD7-LX 20. The IGEL UD7-LX 20 will be available to order in June 2021 – Read more at www.igel.com
With Love! /Fred