GPU optimized virtual machine sizes

GPU optimized VM sizes are for specialized virtual machines targeted for heavy graphic rendering and video editing. Available with single or multiple GPUs. This article provides information about the number of vCPUs, data disks, and NICs as well as storage throughput and network bandwidth for each size in this grouping.

The NC and NV sizes are also known as GPU-enabled instances. They are specialized virtual machine sizes that include NVIDIA's GPU cards, optimized for different scenarios and use cases. The NV sizes are optimized and designed for remote visualization, streaming, gaming, encoding, and VDI scenarios utilizing frameworks such as OpenGL and DirectX. The NC sizes are more optimized for compute-intensive and network-intensive applications and algorithms, including CUDA- and OpenCL-based applications and simulations.

The NV instances are powered by NVIDIA’s Tesla M60 GPU card and NVIDIA GRID for desktop accelerated applications and virtual desktops where customers are able to visualize their data or simulations. Users are able to visualize their graphics intensive workflows on the NV instances to get superior graphics capability and additionally run single precision workloads such as encoding and rendering. The Tesla M60 delivers 4096 CUDA cores in a dual-GPU design with up to 36 streams of 1080p H.264.

The NC instances are powered by NVIDIA’s Tesla K80 card. Users can now crunch through data much faster by leveraging CUDA for energy exploration applications, crash simulations, ray traced rendering, deep learning and more. The Tesla K80 delivers 4992 CUDA cores with a dual-GPU design, up to 2.91 Teraflops of double-precision and up to 8.93 Teraflops of single-precision performance.

NV instances

Size vCPU Memory: GiB Temp storage (SSD) GiB GPU Maximum data disks
Standard_NV6 6 56 380 1 24
Standard_NV12 12 112 680 2 48
Standard_NV24 24 224 1440 4 64

1 GPU = one-half M60 card.

NC instances

Size vCPU Memory: GiB Temp storage (SSD) GiB GPU Maximum data disks
Standard_NC6 6 56 380 1 24
Standard_NC12 12 112 680 2 48
Standard_NC24 24 224 1440 4 64
Standard_NC24r* 24 224 1440 4 64

1 GPU = one-half K80 card.

*RDMA capable

Size table definitions

  • Storage capacity is shown in units of GiB or 1024^3 bytes. When comparing disks measured in GB (1000^3 bytes) to disks measured in GiB (1024^3) remember that capacity numbers given in GiB may appear smaller. For example, 1023 GiB = 1098.4 GB
  • Disk throughput is measured in input/output operations per second (IOPS) and MBps where MBps = 10^6 bytes/sec.
  • Data disks can operate in cached or uncached modes. For cached data disk operation, the host cache mode is set to ReadOnly or ReadWrite. For uncached data disk operation, the host cache mode is set to None.
  • If you want to get the best performance for your VMs, you should limit the number of data disks to 2 disks per vCPU.
  • Expected network bandwidth is the maximum aggregated bandwidth allocated per VM type across all NICs, for all destinations. Upper limits are not guaranteed, but are intended to provide guidance for selecting the right VM type for the intended application. Actual network performance will depend on a variety of factors including network congestion, application loads, and network settings. For information on optimizing network throughput, see Optimizing network throughput for Windows and Linux. To achieve the expected network performance on Linux or Windows, it may be necessary to select a specific version or optimize your VM. For more information, see How to reliably test for virtual machine throughput.

  • † 16 vCPU performance will consistently reach the upper limit in an upcoming release.

Supported distributions and drivers

NV instances - NVIDIA GRID drivers

Distribution Driver
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3

CentOS-based 7.3
NVIDIA GRID 5.0, driver branch R384


Microsoft redistributes NVIDIA GRID driver installers for NV VMs. Install only these GRID drivers on Azure NV VMs. These drivers include licensing for GRID Virtual GPU Software in Azure.

NC instances - NVIDIA Tesla drivers

Distribution Driver
Ubuntu 16.04 LTS

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.3

CentOS-based 7.3
NVIDIA CUDA 9.0, driver branch R384


Installation of third-party software on Red Hat products can affect the Red Hat support terms. See the Red Hat Knowledgebase article.

For driver installation and verification steps, see N-series driver setup for Linux.

Deployment considerations

  • For availability of N-series VMs, see Products available by region.

  • N-series VMs can only be deployed in the Resource Manager deployment model.

  • When creating an N-series VM using the Azure portal, on the Basics blade, select a VM disk type of HDD. To choose an available N-series size, on the Size blade, click View all.

  • N-series VMs do not support VM disks that are backed by Azure Premium storage.

  • If you want to deploy more than a few N-series VMs, consider a pay-as-you-go subscription or other purchase options. If you're using an Azure free account, you can use only a limited number of Azure compute cores.

  • You might need to increase the cores quota (per region) in your Azure subscription, and increase the separate quota for NC or NV cores. To request a quota increase, open an online customer support request at no charge. Default limits may vary depending on your subscription category.

  • One VM image you can deploy on N-series VMs is the Azure Data Science Virtual Machine. The Data Science Virtual Machine preinstalls and configures many popular data science and deep learning tools. It also preinstalls NVIDIA Tesla GPU drivers for NC instances.

  • You shouldn't install X server or other systems that use the Nouveau driver on Ubuntu NC VMs. Before installing NVIDIA GPU drivers, you need to disable the Nouveau driver.

Other sizes

Next steps

Learn more about how Azure compute units (ACU) can help you compare compute performance across Azure SKUs.