Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud
User Guide for Windows Instances

Windows Accelerated Computing Instances

If you require high processing capability, you'll benefit from using accelerated computing instances, which provide access to hardware-based compute accelerators such as Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) or Field Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGAs). Accelerated computing instances enable more parallelism for higher throughput on compute-intensive workloads.

GPU-based instances provide access to NVIDIA GPUs with thousands of compute cores. You can use GPU-based accelerated computing instances to accelerate scientific, engineering, and rendering applications by leveraging the CUDA or Open Computing Language (OpenCL) parallel computing frameworks. You can also use them for graphics applications, including game streaming, 3-D application streaming, and other graphics workloads.

If your application needs a small amount of additional GPU resources for graphics acceleration, but is better suited for an instance type with different compute, memory, or storage specifications, use an Elastic GPU instead. For more information, see Amazon EC2 Elastic GPUs.

FPGA-based instances provide access to large FPGAs with millions of parallel system logic cells. You can use FPGA-based accelerated computing instances to accelerate workloads such as genomics, financial analysis, real-time video processing, big data analysis, and security workloads by leveraging custom hardware accelerations. You can develop these accelerations using hardware description languages such as Verilog or VHDL, or by using higher-level languages such as OpenCL parallel computing frameworks. You can either develop your own hardware acceleration code or purchase hardware accelerations through the AWS Marketplace.


FPGA-based instances do not support Microsoft Windows.

You can cluster accelerated computing instances into a placement group. Placement groups provide low latency and high-bandwidth connectivity between the instances within a single Availability Zone. For more information, see Placement Groups.

For information about Linux accelerated computing instances, see Linux Accelerated Computing Instances in the Amazon EC2 User Guide for Linux Instances.

Accelerated Computing Instance Families

Accelerated computing instance families use hardware accelerators, or co-processors, to perform some functions, such as floating point number calculations, graphics processing, or data pattern matching, more efficiently than is possible in software running on CPUs. The following accelerated computing instance families are available for you to launch in Amazon EC2.

P2 Instances

P2 instances use NVIDIA Tesla K80 GPUs and are designed for general purpose GPU computing using the CUDA or OpenCL programming models. P2 instances provide high bandwidth networking, powerful single and double precision floating-point capabilities, and 12 GiB of memory per GPU, which makes them ideal for deep learning, graph databases, high performance databases, computational fluid dynamics, computational finance, seismic analysis, molecular modeling, genomics, rendering, and other server-side GPU compute workloads.

G3 Instances

G3 instances use NVIDIA Tesla M60 GPUs and provide a cost-effective, high-performance platform for graphics applications using DirectX or OpenGL. G3 instances also provide NVIDIA GRID Virtual Workstation features, supporting 4 monitors with resolutions up to 4096x2160. Example applications include 3D visualizations, graphics-intensive remote workstations, 3D rendering, video encoding, virtual reality, and other server-side graphics workloads requiring massively parallel processing power.

G2 Instances

G2 instances use NVIDIA GRID K520 GPUs and provide a cost-effective, high-performance platform for graphics applications using DirectX or OpenGL. NVIDIA GRID GPUs also support NVIDIA’s fast capture and encode API operations. Example applications include video creation services, 3D visualizations, streaming graphics-intensive applications, and other server-side graphics workloads.

CG1 Instances

CG1 instances use NVIDIA Tesla M2050 GPUs and are designed for general purpose GPU computing using the CUDA or OpenCL programming models. CG1 instances provide customers with high bandwidth networking, double precision floating-point capabilities, and error-correcting code (ECC) memory, making them ideal for high performance computing (HPC) applications.

Hardware Specifications

For more information about the hardware specifications for each Amazon EC2 instance type, see Amazon EC2 Instances.

Accelerated Computing Instance Limitations

Accelerated computing instances have the following limitations:

  • You must launch the instance using an HVM AMI.

  • GPU-based instances can't access the GPU unless the NVIDIA drivers are installed.

  • There is a limit of 100 AFIs per region.

  • There is a limit on the number of instances that you can run. For more information, see How many instances can I run in Amazon EC2? in the Amazon EC2 FAQ. To request an increase in these limits, use the following form: Request to Increase Amazon EC2 Instance Limit.

  • If you launch a multi-GPU instance with a Windows AMI that was created on a single-GPU instance, Windows does not automatically install the NVIDIA driver for all GPUs. You must authorize the driver installation for the new GPU hardware. You can correct this manually in the Device Manager by opening the Other device category (the inactive GPUs do not appear under Display Adapters). For each inactive GPU, open the context (right-click) menu, choose Update Driver Software, and then choose the default Automatic Update option.

  • When using Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP), GPUs that use the WDDM driver model are replaced with a non-accelerated Remote Desktop display driver. To access your GPU hardware, you must use a different remote access tool, such as Teradici Cloud Access Software, NICE Desktop Cloud Visualization (DCV), or VNC. You can also use one of the GPU AMIs from the AWS Marketplace because they provide remote access tools that support 3-D acceleration.

AMIs for GPU-based Accelerated Computing Instances

To help you get started, NVIDIA and others provide AMIs for GPU-based accelerated computing instances. These reference AMIs include the NVIDIA driver, which enables full functionality and performance of the NVIDIA GPUs.

For a list of AMIs with the NVIDIA driver, see the AWS Marketplace:

You can launch accelerated computing instances using any HVM AMI.

You can also install the NVIDIA driver manually. For more information, see Installing the NVIDIA Driver on Windows.