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PRIME GPU offloading on Desktop

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  • PRIME GPU offloading on Desktop

    Hi guys,

    As you know, GPU Offloading allow to use the discrete GPU on a laptop instead of the iGPU. Mainly on laptop with Intel/AMD or Intel/Nvidia with Nouveau.
    My question is to know if it's possible to use PRIME on a Desktop.

    Example, i have an AMD Rx550 and a Rx580. The Rx550 is like the iGPU, i launch the system with this card.
    I have the Rx580 mainly for GPU Passthrough on my VM Windows 10 but the GPU is bind to VFIO only when i launch the VM, not at boot. So when i'm only on Linux, the rx580 is not used.

    I would like to know if i can use DRI_PRIME to use the Rx580 to launch AAA games on Linux like if it's the dGPU on a laptop.


  • #2
    Theoretically it would be possible.

    I don't know too much off the details. However, it should work fine if you just configure it manually. (Unfortunately the leading auto-configure utilities all only work for laptops.) I'm sure you can figure out how to do this if you search the documentation. It shouldn't be difficult at all, really.

    As of performance impacts, you would get some performance loss over connecting the display cable directly to the Rx580. The amount of performance loss depends on your motherboard and processor, of course, but generally it the biggest loss on a sufficiently powered system will be slightly increased latency.

    There is also a new subset of GPU functions that allows you to dynamically split a GPU into multiple ones. I think the Rx580 has these functions, but I'm not certain. If your VM supports controlling these, you would be able to run exclusively on the faster graphics card and just reallocate it when running the VM (provided you don't do much background work on your hypervisor system when running VMs)