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Xen VGA passthrough - Windows on top of Linux

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  • Graphics Cards
  • Graphics
Last response: in Graphics & Displays
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September 10, 2012 9:17:31 PM

Just to let you know, here are the specs for another successful VGA passthrough on Xen hypervisor 4.1.2:

i7 3930K C2 stepping
Asus Sabertooth X79 motherboard with 1203 BIOS
Sapphire (AMD) 6450 graphics card for domU on PCIe slot 1 (using proprietary AMD driver for Linux dom0)
PNY Quadro 2000 (Nvidia) graphics card passed through to Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
120GB SSD for Linux dom0 and Windows 7
Some HDDs for data
32GB RAM
Linux Mint 13 Mate 64bit on dom0
Windows 7 Professional 64bit on domU with 24GB RAM and 10 threads out of 12 from the CPU (6-core/12 thread)
LVM2 partitioned hard drives for /, /home, and win7 (domU)

Note: I had to blacklist the nouveau driver for the Nvidia card (which is passed through to the Windows domU) else the dom0 would boot.

I also used the passthrough option for xen-pciback instead of the default vpci option in Linux Mint 13 (and probably Ubuntu 12.04) kernels. This passes through the PCI IDs to the domU (Windows in my case).

To get really good disk performance under Windows 7, you must try the GPLPV drivers here: .

Here my Windows experience index:



Unfortunately someone closed the thread I wanted to reply to (full 3d gaming on virtual machine or so). I don't know why that thread was closed - it's really a good one on this subject.

More about : xen vga passthrough windows top linux

September 11, 2012 8:23:13 AM

Looks great!

Parts for my setup are arriving this week :-D

Mine will be mainly for a LinuxMCE whole house system powering 3 TV's round the house, with the ability to reboot the machines into Windows for certain games.

Asrock Z77 Extreme 4
Intel Core i7 (3770) 3.4GHz Quad Core Processor 8MB L3 Cache
16GB RAM (Expandable to 32)
128GB SSD
Etc.

Got various ATI/AMD and NVIDIA cards to try. Maybe this weekend, but I've got a wedding and a conference to go to as well agh!
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September 12, 2012 3:25:46 AM

stedaniels said:
Looks great!

Parts for my setup are arriving this week :-D

Mine will be mainly for a LinuxMCE whole house system powering 3 TV's round the house, with the ability to reboot the machines into Windows for certain games.

Asrock Z77 Extreme 4
Intel Core i7 (3770) 3.4GHz Quad Core Processor 8MB L3 Cache
16GB RAM (Expandable to 32)
128GB SSD
Etc.

Got various ATI/AMD and NVIDIA cards to try. Maybe this weekend, but I've got a wedding and a conference to go to as well agh!


Thanks! It is great. The only thing that's sub-par right now is the network bridge. It's much too slow - both in Linux dom0 and Windows domU. I get 2.3-2.5MB/s on a wired 100Mb Fast Ethernet link, and only perhaps double that with a Gigabit link :??:  .

Looks like a nice setup. Make sure to have VT-d enabled in the BIOS.

As for graphics adapters, AMD will be the easier route, unless you have a Nvidia "multi-OS" enabled card like the Quadro 2000 I have (see Nvidia website). These Nvidia cards are for graphics workstations (CAD-CAM, Photoshop, etc.) and aren't cheap. They are also less suitable for games, though I guess they will do. An advantage of my Quadro 2000 card is that it consumes only up to 60W. For other non-multi-OS cards you will most likely have to compile Xen hypervisor with David Techer's patches and newer hypervisor 4.2 version from source. See .

Good luck!
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