12 Years GPU Passthrough

Time flies. 12 years have passed since I built my first PC with GPU passthrough. Back in the old days there was little documentation on how to do it. I found a tutorial written for Fedora, plus some messages here and there. VGA passthru, as it was often called, was very restrictive. You had to have the right hardware to make it work, including a graphics card that was supported (like the Nvidia Quadro series).

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Sharing Files between the Linux Host and a Windows VM using virtiofs

I often transfer files between my Windows virtual machine (VM) and my Linux host. Up until now I used a Samba server on the Linux host, with the Windows guest connected via a network bridge. That worked great and never gave me any problems.

Recently I tried out the new virtio-fs shared file system that allows you to share a folder on the Linux host with a Windows or Linux guest. Before you rush and follow my tutorial below, check out the “Performance” and “Conclusion” sections at the end. Here is my tutorial:

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QEMU 7.2 and Raw Disks

Update January 27, 2023: The issue described below is limited to users of RAW partitions. But there is a workaround. See under “What to do?”

A recent update from QEMU 7.1 to QEMU 7.2 caused my Windows 10 VM to show 100% utilization of the C: drive. Performance of the Windows VM dropped to the bottom – the VM was pretty much unusable.

Users at the VFIO Reddit reported similar issues. However, as it turned out, it seems to affect only storage on LVM raw volumes. In other words, if you have your VM in a qcow file, all should be well.

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Kernel 6.0 and VFIO

Kernel 6 not booting with VFIO – workaround

Recently I upgraded to kernel 6.0 on my Manjaro rig, but that didn’t go well. The PC booted but there was no screen output. I was able to ssh into the Manjaro host, though.

Searching for an answer led me to the “Linux Kernel 6 seems to be incompatible with the vfio_pci module needed for PCI passthrough” on Level1Techs. If you go further down the thread, you’ll see how someone posted a working solution “Using the driver_override feature“.

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Why Long Tutorials?

Anyone who follows this website will notice that the tutorials are rather long. In these long tutorials I usually give reference specs, explain basic terms or processes, and expand on the how and why.

I wish I could write short, easy, step by step tutorials titled “GPU passthrough made easy” or the “Quick guide to VFIO bliss”. In fact, there are plenty of those out there in the great Internet. Some of the most popular ones are on Youtube, showing you how to get your Windows gaming VM up and running in no time.

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Nvidia And The “hidden state”

No more need to hide the hypervisor

Ever since I started to run a Microsoft Windows VM with GPU passthrough, Nvidia graphics drivers would only support their professional Quadro line of graphics cards in a virtual machine. Ten years ago I bit the bullet and bought an outrageously expensive Nvidia Quadro 2000 GPU. Truth be told – it’s been and still is a great GPU and I currently use it for my Linux host. Back then the Quadro was passed through to a Windows 7 VM running on Xen. It worked great.

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Manjaro Linux Kernel 5.10

I was so busy studying, writing, and processing photos that I didn’t touch my Manjaro Linux host for a long long time. Then one day I decided to upgrade my PC from a 5.4 kernel to the most recent LTS or “Long Term Support” Manjaro Linux kernel 5.10.

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Manjaro Linux

A look at Manjaro Linux from a VFIO passthrough user perspective – the benefits and downsides of using Manjaro as a Linux host

Last year in April I switched from Linux Mint via a short detour to Pop_OS to Manjaro Linux as my host OS. The reasons I chose Manjaro Linux were its up-to-date kernel and software and its well-rounded selection of software packages. However, the latest and greatest kernel and software can come at a price of being less stable. In this post I like to weigh in the pros and cons for Manjaro Linux and what you might want to consider before jumping on the wagon.

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Passing Through a Nvidia RTX 2070 Super GPU

Tutorial for passing through a Nvidia RTX graphics card to a Windows 10 virtual machine using a modified VBIOS

Last update: September 14, 2021

Starting with the GeForce 1000 series, vfio passthrough of a Nvidia GPU has become a little more complicated. If, when starting the VM, you get a black screen, chances are you need to pass along a VBIOS file to the VM so the GPU can properly initialize.

This post is about passing through a Nvidia RTX 2070 Super GPU or any other modern Nvidia GPU to a Windows 10 guest.

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AMD Radeon 6800/6800XT for VFIO?

Up until November 18, 2020 I would have suggested against the purchase of an AMD GPU for VFIO. But yesterday AMD launched its Radeon RX 6800 line of GPUs. Are the AMD Radeon 6800/6800XT suitable for VFIO?

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