Any GPU passthrough success stories?

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Any GPU passthrough success stories?

Postby Nekromancer » 22. Aug 2015, 01:01

Hi all,

I've ready pretty much everything available about the subject, but the only confirmed success cases I've found were using Xen and KVM (type-1 virtualization), obviously with specific hardware on each case (IOMMU requirements, not all GPU cards supporting it, etc). However I'm a big fan of Virtualbox (type-2 virtualization) since it was in the hands of Innotek.

I've read somewhere that, with the hardware limitations, using 2 video cards may be "easier" (whatever it means!). Makes sense to me, and I'm happy to deploy a couple of the right GPU cards if required.

I'm happy to keep reading so... Does anyone have success stories of GPU passthrough using Virtualbox for a Windows guest on Linux, no matter if using 2 GPU cards?
This is mostly academic, as the few things I do which are GPU intensive either have a Linux version or run in Wine, but I would like to test once I catch the scent.

Thank you in advance!
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Re: Any GPU passthrough success stories?

Postby Perryg » 22. Aug 2015, 01:18

I haven't tried lately so it may not work now, but it did some time back. You seem to have a grasp on the requirements and the rest is in the manual, but you will need a separate GPU and monitor for the guest because pass-through is a one-to-one and that means the host will loose the device when it does work.
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Re: Any GPU passthrough success stories?

Postby Nekromancer » 22. Aug 2015, 01:28

Hi Perryg,

Thanks for the response!
Yes, I was aware of the 2x2 requirements. Actually I do have 2 monitors on a single card with two outputs, which is great for extended desktops (both on the Linux host and the Virtualbox guest), so I only need to unplug one and plug to the new card (will look into one of the big nVidia cards which support "Multi-OS", as those are confirmed to work with type-1 hypervisors; then in the worst possible case (it not working with Virtualbox) I can dedicate the card to a host with Xen or KVM.
Whenever I have the time to go ahead and investigate I'll share any interesting findings, but if it worked with you most likely will work again.

Regards.
Nekromancer
 
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Re: Any GPU passthrough success stories?

Postby Perryg » 22. Aug 2015, 01:45

Keep in mind that I have not tested this with the new API they use for V-5.* If you have issues they may need to work on it from the DEVs side. I would try but my new DEV box does not have separate cards as such I have 4 dedicated for SLI
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Re: Any GPU passthrough success stories?

Postby Nekromancer » 22. Aug 2015, 03:43

So if V5 doesn't work, it may be worth trying latest V4, at least until it works again on V5.

The easiest part is done, namely rebooting to enable IOMMU in the Northbridge BIOS configuration:

Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
# dmesg | grep IOMMU
[    1.372031] AMD-Vi: Found IOMMU at 0000:00:00.2 cap 0x40
[   93.429438] vboxpci: IOMMU found


My motherboard is an ASUS Crosshair V Formula-Z with latest BIOS v2201 (this is important as old/stock BIOS may cause problem with USB devices when IOMMU is enabled, not nice when your keyboard and/or mouse are USB).

Now I've to ponder about the right 2nd card...
No matter how much I love nVidia I guess it'll have to be an ATI to avoid further headaches caused by both trying to use the same driver.
My plan is to blacklist the driver of the 2nd card in Linux so the driver is not loaded at all.
After that, and as Perryg suggested, I'll be following the manual. The lspci command lists any devices in the bus, no matter if drivers are loaded or not.
Will see if I'm lucky trying to get a decent card next week.
In case it helps, the Xen people has a list of VGA Passthrough Tested Adapters.
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