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AMD vs NVidia for GPU pass-through, native gaming

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  • AMD vs NVidia for GPU pass-through, native gaming

    I am in the process of trying to consolidate an ESXi homelab setup (that had GPU pass through working very well) and my old i5-3570k gaming rig into a single Ryzen 7 desktop. I’m lucky enough to have both AMD and NVidia GPUs at most disposal, and I’m pondering how best to set up GPU pass through with a Linux type 1 hypervisor for gaming in a Windows VM. I'd like to do native gaming on Linux, but I also have several games that are Windows exclusives.

    The cards I have at my disposal are: GTX 970, GTX 1050 Ti, RX 580, Quadro FX 3800. The new system came with a wimpy 460w PSU, and I can’t change it without modding the case. Since it doesn’t require a PCIe power connector, and my PSU doesn’t have two separate PCIe power cables, it looks like I’ll have to use the 1050 Ti for one of my GPUs. The question is whether I should use the 1050 Ti for Linux or for Windows. And the other question is whether or not I should use an AMD or NVidia card for the other OS.

    I’m also wondering about software and distro. I’d just stick with ESXi, which makes it pretty easy to set up GPU pass through, but it’s proven unstable on Ryzen. In the past, I’ve set up Proxmox (which was a little hairy to set up GPU/USB pass through with) or Debian + KVM + virt-manager. Would either of those work better, or should I consider a 3rd option? How easy is it to convert ESXi VMs to KVM?

  • #2
    Since I'm on Debian Stretch, I don't want to confuse apt by installing code compiled from source. So the most current wine I can use is wine-development-2.0-3+b2. I can run Skyrim with that, but performance stinks and it locks up frequently. Instead I went ahead and used the 1050 Ti for Linux and set up KVM+virt-manager to use the RX 580. The 580 is much simpler to set up for GPU passthrough thanks to Nvidia applying Code 43 to the Windows Geforce driver. Sadly, I'm only getting about 2/3 of native performance from the RX 580 under Windows. For example, Assassin's Creed Origins runs at ~60 fps under Windows, but only hits 40 fps with KVM+Windows. Other games take similar performance hits.