Blast Extreme vs. PCoIP – Which Protocol is Right For You?

With the release of VMware Horizon 7 featuring Blast Extreme, there is good reason to be questioning and researching the difference between it and PCoIP. While there is no “one-fits-all” scenario, this will shed some light on their individual capabilities.


Blast Extreme

Blast Extreme was designed with mobile networks and devices in mind, being based upon H.264 video format coding. Nearly any type of device can decode this protocol. It can be used on general purpose hardware, resulting in acceleration of operation where H.264 hardware decoding is supported. It requires less bandwidth than PCoIP and supports TCP and UDP, so it is more suitable for mobile and lossy networks. Additionally, Blast Extreme works well for new deployments where servers are equipped with server-based GPUs that support H.264 encode capability. Such cards are able to offload H.264 encoding tasks from server CPU resulting in increased server scalability.


Blast Extreme may be a good option if you have invested in a NVIDIA GRID (Telsa M cards) and have many mobile users, affording longer battery lives and better performance.


Best for multi-monitor set ups, PCoIP supports multiple codecs for different displays like text, image, and video. It also supports configurable server/client CPU and bandwidth use. Unlike Blast Extreme, it allows for the compression and decompression of images, i.e. lossless support. To allow for increased server scalability, encoding is optionally offloaded onto APEX 2800 LP hardware, a dedicated and separate interface card. The card is a cost-saving value when compared to Blast Extreme functionality, which requires server-side GPUs to support graphics rendering H.264 encode. A Teradici zero client is required, or if using general purpose hardware (x86 architecture), a mid-to-high end CPU is recommended, for decoding PCoIP.


PCoIP may be a good consideration for Healthcare, Financial, CAD, and Media sectors, and/or if you require multi-monitor lossless support with configurable bandwidth and tuning options.

Let’s be clear: where both protocols are suited for any one deployment, VMware Horizon 7 supports both, simultaneously. And, whether your deployment is better aligned for Blast Extreme or PCoIP, the good news is that there is a protocol and client that matches your VDI scenario.

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