Virtual Machines on UserBenchmark

For some years I have encouraged benchmarking of Windows virtual machines (VM), to help users fine-tune the configuration and to get a general idea of how efficient virtualization with Xen or KVM actually is. My benchmarks – posted under the username “powerhouse” – and those of other users can be found on the Linux Mint forum under Post your Passmark results of your Windows VM and UserBenchmark – post your results. When reviewing some of my benchmarks on the UserBenchmark website, it occurred to me that the information on that website can be put to  practical use.

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Developments in Virtualization

I haven’t had much time in recent months to follow up on what’s happening in the KVM or virtualization world. That much bigger was my surprise to find that things are moving on quickly. When I started out 6 years ago to virtualize Windows and run it on Xen using VGA passthrough, I thought I would be forever marked as a geek.

Today I’m looking at dozens if not hundreds of tutorials and websites dealing with VGA passthrough (VFIO), and an ever increasing number of followers. It seems to me this technology or concept is gaining momentum, at least among Linux users.

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IOMMU Groups – What You Need to Consider


In this post I present some of the challenges you might face with IOMMU and provide tools to identify and perhaps solve the issues. Your best friend is the pciutils package and the lspci command (see here for examples).

What is IOMMU and why do I need it?

In my tutorial on how to run Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough the first and most important hardware requirement is the support for IOMMU – VT-d in Intel jargon, AMD-v or SVM in AMD talk. But what does IOMMU support mean? Continue reading “IOMMU Groups – What You Need to Consider”

Running Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough

This tutorial explains how to install and run Windows 10 on Linux using GPU passthrough and VFIO drivers to achieve near-native performance – for gaming, photo or video editing, and other graphics and CPU intensive tasks. It also lists the common pitfalls and possible ways to further improve performance. Last not least it offers a comprehensive list of external resources and helpful links.

Latest update: December 7, 2021

The Need

You want to use Linux as your main operating system, but still need Windows for certain applications unavailable under Linux. You need top notch (3D) graphics performance under Windows for computer games, photo or video editing, etc. And you do not want to dual-boot into Linux or Windows. In that case read on.

Many modern CPUs have built-in features that improve the performance of virtual machines (VM), up to the point where virtualised systems are indistinguishable from non-virtualised systems. This allows us to create virtual machines on a Linux host platform without compromising performance of the (Windows) guest system.

For some benchmarks of my current system, see Windows 10 Virtual Machine Benchmarks Continue reading “Running Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough”

qemu-system-x86_64 -drive options

In an attempt to make the qemu -drive command line options more accessible, here is an extract from the qemu-system-x86_64 man page. You can get the complete man page by entering the following in a terminal window:
man qemu-system-x86_64


man qemu

The options below are valid for qemu-system-x86_64 version 2.5.0. Please refer to the qemu documentation at – look for the version you got and select the corresponding sub-folder.

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