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Upgrades for vfio gaming PC

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  • Upgrades for vfio gaming PC

    I've made a few attempts at vfio/iommu pci-e pass-through setup over the years. I failed 3 times using various versions of Ubuntu, but finally had success using Archlinux in 2016 and also on Fedora 25. In both cases I used it only for a few weeks. I experienced various issues which brought me to the conclusion that it was too much hassle and I just ended up going back to dual boot.

    My current gaming/dev PC:
    cpu: Intel Core i7 3770 Ivy Bridge (Non-K with vt-d)
    m/b: Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H (official BIOS fails in many aspects*)
    ram: 32GB F3-1866C9D-16GSR Sniper 1.5V (x4 8GB)
    gfx: 8GB Sapphire Nitro+ RX 480
    sound: Asus Xonar U7 7.1 Usb Soundcard And Amplifier
    ssd: x1 256GB Crucial M550 (Windows 10 Pro)
    ssd: x1 500GB Samsung 960 EVO NVME M.2 (Fedora 27)
    hdd: x2 4TB WD RED
    hdd: x1 8TB WD RED
    *I made my own BIOS based on a Gigabyte Z97 BIOS in order to fix various BIOS bugs and to obtain NVME boot functionality.

    I am planning to upgrade the following parts. I'm looking for advice on the motherboard, hoping for good iommu groups...

    cpu: AMD Ryzen R7 1800X
    m/b: ASRock FATAL1TY X370 Professional Gaming
    ram: G.SKill F4-3200C14D-32GTZ TridentZ Series 32GB (2x16GB) 3200MHz DDR4 CL14 1.35V
    extra gfx; Sapphire 11267-00 Radeon RX 560 Pulse 4GB GDDR5 128-bit PCI-E 3.0

    I would like stop dual boot all together. Hopefully with this upgrade to will motivate me to work on the issues I've experienced to address it properly or to even attempt to fix/workaround it. Lag/small spikes in games was the biggest issue, but I also experienced game and OS cashes form time to time. I play games competitively so just a single crash will normally take me back to dual booting for a few months. Are there any people out there that do competitive gaming on pci-e pass-through setups? Do you have any advice for me?

    My steamID: 0_x
    Has anyone tried gaming on QubesOS?

  • #2
    (Reserved for updates)

    AMD/Ryzen NPT Fix
    Headless PCIe Passthrough (25 Nov 2017):

    Other (future) solutions:
    PreAlpha Virgl Windows Driver:
    Last edited by Jabberwocky; 12-01-2017, 11:37 AM.


    • #3
      There are many native Linux games that are played at the professional level. Focus to them, with win virus hoover you waste your time to virus protection, installing removing software one at the time and problem solving takes many times longer, because of of poor logging system and binary only code. I hope you get good money for your used Rx480, otherwise there is no much sense to buy a slower card. RX400 and RX500 series cards use the same Linux driver, see pci ids from amdgpu_drv.c. I do get that KVM and other low level virtualisation solutions need two gpus. However, virtualisation in the Linux kernel is made for the networked servers, not for gaming. Mostly Linux is running in those virtual machines.

      Use wine-staging csmt enabled for the rest of the games. See winehq appdb what windows games works and what not.
      Last edited by debianxfce; 12-03-2017, 07:38 AM.


      • #4
        Thanks for the reply debianxfce .

        TL;DR My problem is with dual-booting, I consider wine as a step backwards from dual-booting.

        I'm kind of happy with gaming on Windows, sure I would prefer it if all my games worked on Linux just as well as it did on Windows. I actively used/modified wine between 2004 and 2011. It took a lot of time to maintain all the different versions with the patches for each game that I used to play. I actually spent more time on wine research/patching/configuration than the amount of reboots and formatting Windows XP needed. I still considered it worth it because I'm very stubborn and everything worked (sometimes faster than on Windows). These days popular competitive games does not work on wine anymore, so it's not really an option in my books even if I had the time.

        Logically it makes sense (to me) to focus on pass-through/para-virtualization rather than translating Windows system calls into POSIX-compliant system calls, given that developer time is a finite resource and Window's system calls are still growing . I still believe Windows' place is in a virtual machine (which is why I posted under software category). For gaming it's not easy at the moment which is why I am trying to find effective solutions in terms of performance and reliability. I'm not so much phased about hardware cost. I'm hopeful that if vfio/iommu pci-e pass-through gaming becomes more popular there will be optimizations in hardware and software to reduce cost.

        PS: My Rx 480's silicon is amazing! I'm actually curious if the Nitro+ OC cards are binned. Anyways in Windows it's kicking the 1060's ass, even passing some 1070s on games like rise of the tomb raider, hitman and battlefield 1. Not going to talk about power draw LOL.