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GPU Passthrough for VMs

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#1 DeimosChaos


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Posted 19 February 2016 - 10:46 AM

If you play any games, chances are you have a dual boot with Linux and Windows. Windows to play the games, and Linux to do everything else. As most people know, you can't game in a Virtual Machine. Virtualbox has very limited graphics performance, and while VMware has more, it is still pretty limited. So you are pretty much stuck with doing the dual boot option.


I am not sure how I had came across the whole idea about passing the physical GPU through to a VM, it may have been when I was hanging out with a super smart friend who knows Linux like the back of his hand,, but I digress. One way or another a couple years ago I had heard about doing this whole passthrough thing, though there wasn't much on it at the time.


Fast forward to a couple days ago... while sitting at work talking with someone the visualization technology "qemu" came up. It sounded super familiar but I couldn't place where I heard it from. I looked it up on the web and went to their website. Low and behold right on the homepage you see this:


When used as a virtualizer, QEMU achieves near native performance by executing the guest code directly on the host CPU.



It then hit me, qemu was able to bypass the host OS and directly utilize the actual hardware. I then remembered the whole discussion about passing the GPU through directly to the VM and being able to fully utilize it. I decided to do some research and see what changed from a couple years ago until know, and wouldn't you know, there are a bunch of discussions and tutorials on how to get the GPU passthrough to work!


I would love for this to be a thread on how I got my system to have a guest VM running Windows and me playing the most recent games inside a VM... unfortunately though you have to have hardware that supports specific technology. Specifically the IOMMU or VT-d Intel technology (if you are running Intel CPU). My i5-2500k from way back in 2011 does not support it. So testing this out will have to wait for a bit until I get a new CPU, which may be a while since I just got an apartment and had to spend a good amount furnishing the place.


So why am I posting this, who knows. I find the whole thing fascinating and have wasted a good couple hours just searching around and reading the different tutorials on how to get this setup. Hopefully in the future I can try it out and get rid of my dual boot system and just have a one OS with a guest OS inside that. Would be nice, and rather cool.


Anyway, for your reading enjoyment.


Tutorial 1

Tutorial 2

Tutorial 3

Google search for "GPU Passthrough"

OS - Ubuntu 14.04/16.04 & Windows 10
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