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GPU Passthrough - Which GPU As Primary?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I intend to switch over to Linux soon as I do not want to have to put up with MSpy's espionage and have decided to either go with Mint or Arch. Mint is my favourite distro and I've used it several times before but the problem I have is that I don't know which GPU to use as primary. I intend to install Windows and run it in VM for games only.

This 290 will be passed to the Windows VM so now which basic GPU do I choose as primary for use in Linux or doesn't it matter at all? Also a second question is what if I want to play games in Linux with my 290, would it be possible to use the 290 or does it become unusable by the primary Linux OS once passed through?

Thanks guys.
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post #2 of 11
I believe it requires some serious work to make what you're proposing possible. I'd think that you'd be hard pressed to making that kind of thing work.
     
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
There are some guides on how it's done. Here is a guide on the Mint forums:
http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?t=112013

There is also an Arch guide but Arch is more complicated than Mint.

I understand this isn't beginner or noob friendly but it sounds interesting and I'd like to use Mint as daily OS and only use Windows for gaming.
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post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liranan View Post

I intend to switch over to Linux soon as I do not want to have to put up with MSpy's espionage and have decided to either go with Mint or Arch. Mint is my favourite distro and I've used it several times before but the problem I have is that I don't know which GPU to use as primary. I intend to install Windows and run it in VM for games only.

This 290 will be passed to the Windows VM so now which basic GPU do I choose as primary for use in Linux or doesn't it matter at all? Also a second question is what if I want to play games in Linux with my 290, would it be possible to use the 290 or does it become unusable by the primary Linux OS once passed through?

Thanks guys.

Which GPU you choose to leave for linux is basically indifferent. The one you passthrough to whatever VM will be inaccessible to the host OS, the way this works is that you tell the host to not initialize that device so a different guest os can do that later.
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post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
I see. thanks for answering that question. I thought that once passed through it was still usable by the main OS and that the primary GPU was only used by the client OS when it was activated.

So now the question is whether it's worth it or not.
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post #6 of 11
Honestly I would throw in some cheap passive gpu to be used by linux, and use in steam home streaming from your VM to play games. If you can make this work it would be a pretty neat setup smile.gif

The only thing to consider if the effort to make this work and caveats this brings is worth it for you.
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post #7 of 11
It's pretty easy actually. You need onboard graphics or a primary card for the host. Pass the secondary card to windows.

Why would you want to play games on Linux if you have that setup...

You can unbind the card from the vfio module and use it with the radeon or fglrx driver (ewww) but I THINK you can't rebind it to vfio without a reboot. I may be wrong on that entire sentence, I've never had the need.

It's easy to do with kernel 4.1 and the vfio stack. Read everything on vfio.blogspot.com.
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post #8 of 11
If your card and guest os supports uefi, it's even easier with ovmf. All you need to do is follow that guide and ensure you're using the correct recent versions of kernel qemu and libvirt. You'll need to be familiar with kernel compiles and dracut or building an initramfs.
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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd mcclendon View Post

It's pretty easy actually. You need onboard graphics or a primary card for the host. Pass the secondary card to windows.

Why would you want to play games on Linux if you have that setup...

You can unbind the card from the vfio module and use it with the radeon or fglrx driver (ewww) but I THINK you can't rebind it to vfio without a reboot. I may be wrong on that entire sentence, I've never had the need.

It's easy to do with kernel 4.1 and the vfio stack. Read everything on vfio.blogspot.com.

I've been looking at something ridiculously cheap like the 9500GT as primary due to nVidia's drivers being better.
Quote:
Originally Posted by lloyd mcclendon View Post

If your card and guest os supports uefi, it's even easier with ovmf. All you need to do is follow that guide and ensure you're using the correct recent versions of kernel qemu and libvirt. You'll need to be familiar with kernel compiles and dracut or building an initramfs.

I have no idea what you are talking about. What are dracut and initramfs?
Edited by Liranan - 11/1/15 at 9:32pm
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post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liranan View Post

I've been looking at something ridiculously cheap like the 9500GT as primary due to nVidia's drivers being better.
I have no idea what you are talking about. What are dracut and initramfs?

Don't know what dracut is but it seems like a successor to initramfs. initramfs is basically a Linux method of shortening boot time by pushing things into ram(very simplified explanation).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Initramfs

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracut_(software)

As for the Linux GPU I'd make sure I get something with good VDPAU capabilities (assuming you're going the Nvidia route) because video playback in Linux, at least to me, is more enjoyable than in Windows especially with Nvidia hardware.
     
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