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Xen - VGA passthrough is the way to go!!!

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  • thorgas
    Think about passing a SATA controller through as well.
    This would provide awesome speed and as many HDDs as you like or the controller can handle.

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  • powerhouse
    Got it working !!!

    I finally got it working! Thanks to this thread: posted by another member here.

    Some remarks thou:

    1. I used PCI passthrough, not VGA passthrough. The latter gave me only troubles. I couldn't load the xen-pciback module before the nouveaux driver took control of the graphics card. Short of compiling the xen-pciback statically into the kernel, I chose to buy a second graphics card. So now I have one graphics card dedicated to dom0, and another to domU.

    2. I also got myself a KVM switch to connect keyboard and mouse to two different USB2 ports on two different host controllers. My screen has two DVI ports and I can select between the two via button.

    I'm still missing a vital component for my setup - a second DVI-DVI cable which I'll get after the weekend.

    So far I managed to install Win7 Ultimate 64 bit into the domU and it even recognized my 2nd video card. I installed the latest driver for it (via the virt-manager vncviewer under dom0). Windows complains about some problems, but this should hopefully be solved once I'm able to connect my display to the second video card (missing cable, how stupid of me).

    Once everything is fully functional (with the display connected), I report back with more details.

    For those interested, here some system details:

    Asus Sabertooth X79 board
    i7 3930K with C2 stepping, 10 threads for domU, 2 threads for dom0
    AMD 6450 video card for dom0
    Nvidia Quadro 600 card for domU
    32GB memory, 24GB for domU
    120GB Sandisk Extreme SSD
    2x 2TB WD hard drives for data (I need to install 2-3 more drives from my old PC)
    Linux Mint 13 Maya 64 bit Mate edition with Xen hypervisor as dom0
    Win7 Ultimate 64bit as domU

    I use LVM partitions for /root, /home, and win7, as well as for the data drives.

    Now I need to check how I can make hard drives accessible from within the domU. I've got a lot of data to use under Windows. I guess I need to modify my /etc/xen/win7.cfg file.
    Last edited by powerhouse; 08-31-2012, 06:14 PM.

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  • grantek

    Looks like a good intro to Xen, I'd just like to note that this is "native Xen", using their xm tool. Xen SHOULD also support creation and management of machines via libvirt, but last time I used libvirt with Xen it didn't present me with all of the features I needed, I assume this is the same with VGA passthrough.

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  • thorgas
    Now I hopefully can give something back to you, the ones supporting me very good.

    My Tutorial for PCI Passthrough:

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  • thorgas
    The following error didn't have anything to do with LVM or my virtual hard drive:
    Error: Device model isn't ready for commands
    Looking into the logs I found out that qemu is missing a file so I did the following:
    ln -s /usr/share/qemu-linaro/keymaps/en-us /usr/share/qemu/keymaps/en-us
    everything running now, tutorial wil follow soon

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  • thorgas
    Originally posted by jockinator View Post
    vif = [ 'type=ioemu, bridge=br0' ]
    disk = ['phy:/dev/sda7,ioemu:hda,w','phy:/dev/sda9,ioemu:hdb,w']
    acpi = 1
    Jockinator, how did you set up sda in general and specifically sda7?

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  • thorgas
    modprobe xen-pciback did the trick
    now I'm getting:
    Error: pci: improper device assignment specified: pci: 0000:01:00.1 must be co-assigned to the same guest with 0000:01:00.0, but it is not owned by pciback or pci-stub.
    #radeon 7950
    remove_device "0000:01:00.0"
    remove_device "0000:01:00.1"

    together with

    did the job but now there is:
    Error: Device model isn't ready for commands

    This error seems to have to do with LVM...
    Last edited by thorgas; 08-16-2012, 01:04 PM.

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  • thorgas
    Does this work for pci-e GPUs too?
    If yes: What do I have to change in the config?

    EDIT: Do I need something special to use pciback?
    Get the following error when using the 7: cannot create /sys/bus/pci/drivers/pciback/new_slot: Directory nonexistent 9: cannot create /sys/bus/pci/drivers/pciback/bind: Directory nonexistent

    Seems I'm missing pciback, how could this happen?
    modprobe pciback
    FATAL: Module pciback not found.

    Kernel is Xen 4.1
    Last edited by thorgas; 08-16-2012, 12:33 PM.

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  • unknown2
    Originally posted by grantek View Post
    No, you need 2 display cards (eg. a built-in one on the motherboard and a discrete PCI-E graphics card or a laptop with something like an Optimus setup with 2 GPUs)

    What I want to know is if it's possible for Windows to have accelerated graphics display on an output with no 3d acceleration. Eg. for a physical machine, you might have one of those USB GPUs with a second display on it, would it be possible to display part or all of a game window on that output, with the 3D work being done by a PCIE GPU and redirected back via the PCIE bus to the other output, even if it's a significant performance hit.

    If that's possible, then you could have Xen pass through a discrete GPU, and also emulate the usual Cirrus graphics. The guest sees 2 heads, but you only really work on the Cirrus display with the discrete GPU doing 3d work and passing it back to the emulated display. Basically you could have a hardware-accelerated guest display in a window on the Dom0 desktop without having to dedicate a monitor (or monitor input) to it.

    Like I said, it'd likely cause a big performance hit, but if it's less than 50% it'd probably be acceptable for a lot of cases.
    i have 1 intel SandyBridge CPU (on-chip graphic) + AMD display card, then i can use the intel GPU for normal Linux work and dedicate the GPU to windows, right?

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  • cb88
    I have a friend taht has been running this setup for quite awhile with older nvidia drivers I've seen it as well. In fact im have his old geforce 8800gtx 320Mb in my box right now > .

    The lastest Nvidia drivers don't work... they ripped out support for it.

    AMD is pretty much the way forward for this technology.

    Dunno if the open source drivers work.. they ought to but who knows.

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