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How to do a multiheaded gaming setup?

post #1 of 15
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Ok first off, i've been using stuff like vmware workstation and virtual box (albeit not much).

Right now all i do on the virtual machine is play games (at the same time as my main)

Now i'm trying to play games on a virtual machine (obviously), as i have two monitors and a good cpu and lots of ram and am willing to buy a new graphics card when Rx480 comes out.

What are the best ways to have a multiheaded gaming setup? (two at most)

Now what im doing right now is playing the game on my host, and having the same game on the virtual machine (but the performance is garbage so im carrying myself with the host), but id like to be able to play on both (which i assume is going to be impossible on vmware workstation as theres no pci passthrough, i also have to turn off vmware tools, i think, to avoid virtual machine detection)

Now im thinking what's the best way to approach this, do i have a ubuntu (or other linux) host and then ALWAYS boot up a windows virtual machine? (i do my work on windows like chatting and... work lol).

I'd rather stick with vmware because windows host, play games on host do everything on host, and then MAYBE time to time setup a virtual machine to play some games. But i have no idea how i setup a virtual machine strong enough to play games. My requirements is basically just one extra head (virtual machine) to play games on as i have two monitors.

Can someone either tell me step by step how to setup vsphere/esxi or whatever is strong enough to take a pci passthrough. (im basically pretty stupid)
or some other alternatives
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post #2 of 15
What's keeping you from just running games on one monitor and working on the other, all on the same OS environment? I'm not sure what benefits sandboxing your games is providing you with the sort of scenario you describe. Sounds needlessly complex to me.

Anyway, if you want a real multi-headed gaming setup where each VM has direct access to it's own hardware and near native gaming performance, you don't have a host at all, you have a bare metal hypervisor (Xen or VMware ESXi, for example) and a separate VM for each GPU.

Anyway, Puget had a good article a few years back and much of it is still applicable: https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Multi-headed-VMWare-Gaming-Setup-564/
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blameless View Post

What's keeping you from just running games on one monitor and working on the other, all on the same OS environment? I'm not sure what benefits sandboxing your games is providing you with the sort of scenario you describe. Sounds needlessly complex to me.

Anyway, if you want a real multi-headed gaming setup where each VM has direct access to it's own hardware and near native gaming performance, you don't have a host at all, you have a bare metal hypervisor (Xen or VMware ESXi, for example) and a separate VM for each GPU.

Anyway, Puget had a good article a few years back and much of it is still applicable: https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Multi-headed-VMWare-Gaming-Setup-564/

What i mean is i run the game twice, like two battlefields or whatever.

And yeah i have the puget thingy bookmarked already but i dont know how esxi etc works.

What i mean is i have one 'pc/host/vm' which i do all my normal stuff (aka everything youd normally do), this includes gaming, wok, and everything i do everything on the first as if its a normal computer like what im doing right now. (this will always be on so its essentialyl the host or whatever)

And the second one will be on time to time when im playing games twice over lol (hardly ever but considering what i have lying around the house i could do it so why not?)

In the event i want to start up another game client i obviously cant just open battlefield twice, id have to do something like open up a virtual machine and get battlefield in there but obviously the performance is going to be garbage. which is why i asked about the virtual machine stuff. So what i was thinking about doing was doing some pci passthrough, what i thought is that esxi isnt a host, (actually i still have no clue what esxi is, is it something i boot into, then load virtual machines from there? all the videos i watch on youtube skip from the esxi installation straight to the vsphere configuration) (sorry im just new to the non vmware/virtualbox virtual machine type thing)
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post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by damnwebsite View Post

What i mean is i have one 'pc/host/vm' which i do all my normal stuff (aka everything youd normally do), this includes gaming, wok, and everything i do everything on the first as if its a normal computer like what im doing right now. (this will always be on so its essentialyl the host or whatever)

And the second one will be on time to time when im playing games twice over lol (hardly ever but considering what i have lying around the house i could do it so why not?)

Generally, if you have a bare metal hypervisor, there is no OS on the system that runs outside a virtual machine. There is no host, only VMs, and depending on the hardware you have allotted them, they can can have any level of performance you need, up to everything that's in the system, with very little overhead, as everything can be passed through natively with VT-d and the like.

Windows cannot passthrough hardware to VMs. Linux can, with the right setup, but since Linux can't natively run most games there is little advantage to using it as a host when a Windows VM running on a hypervisor can have essentially native performance.
Quote:
Originally Posted by damnwebsite View Post

In the event i want to start up another game client i obviously cant just open battlefield twice

I don't have Battlefield, or any games that require any 3rd party clients like Steam, Origin, or uPlay, etc, so I'm not really sure what's keeping you from opening multiple instances if you have two installs of the game and two accounts.
Quote:
Originally Posted by damnwebsite View Post

what i thought is that esxi isnt a host, (actually i still have no clue what esxi is, is it something i boot into, then load virtual machines from there?

ESXi is a hypervisor and yes, your system would boot to the hypervisor and then load virtual machines from there.
Quote:
Originally Posted by damnwebsite View Post

all the videos i watch on youtube skip from the esxi installation straight to the vsphere configuration) (sorry im just new to the non vmware/virtualbox virtual machine type thing)

That's because in current versions of ESXi (which I am less familiar with), there really isn't anything else to do. Virtually all of the hypervisor configuration is done over the network via the vSphere client.
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post #5 of 15
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by N0rm View Post


I pretty much wanted to do this but without having to wipe my os and i was also hoping i could try to keep it like a vmware workstation environment where i can operate two monitors, if the second virtual machine is off. (so like vmware workstation but with extra performance)

TLDR all i want is a virtual machine like vmware workstation, but with better performance, currently my vm's are kinda choppy, but what do you expect.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blameless View Post

Generally, if you have a bare metal hypervisor, there is no OS on the system that runs outside a virtual machine. There is no host, only VMs, and depending on the hardware you have allotted them, they can can have any level of performance you need, up to everything that's in the system, with very little overhead, as everything can be passed through natively with VT-d and the like.

Windows cannot passthrough hardware to VMs. Linux can, with the right setup, but since Linux can't natively run most games there is little advantage to using it as a host when a Windows VM running on a hypervisor can have essentially native performance.
I don't have Battlefield, or any games that require any 3rd party clients like Steam, Origin, or uPlay, etc, so I'm not really sure what's keeping you from opening multiple instances if you have two installs of the game and two accounts.
ESXi is a hypervisor and yes, your system would boot to the hypervisor and then load virtual machines from there.
That's because in current versions of ESXi (which I am less familiar with), there really isn't anything else to do. Virtually all of the hypervisor configuration is done over the network via the vSphere client.

Ok a few things since i dunno how to multiquote stuff neatly (or im too lazy)

For the linux bit, i had a look at qemu + kvm, and basically the dude just had a ubuntu host (i think), then started up windows virtual machines with the pci passthrough and played games on there. (however i was just looking at videos, i understand youll need some linux stuff to passthrough geforce cards, but ill have a few amd cards lying around)

As for those games, they dont let you open up multiple clients, they just dont work like that i think.

For the last part, i can still run vsphere from the host or whatever im running from right? i dont need a laptop connected to the network to open up the clients on the pc where esxi is installed on?


Also lastly, the mouse feels pretty choppy on vmware workstation. Ive had to run the line monitor_control.restrict_backdoor = "true" to stop virtual machine checks, this disables vmware tools i think. Am i stuck with a virtual machine that runs like this?
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post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by damnwebsite View Post

I pretty much wanted to do this but without having to wipe my os

No practical way to do this without installing Windows on to a VM from scratch.
Quote:
Originally Posted by damnwebsite View Post

For the last part, i can still run vsphere from the host or whatever im running from right? i dont need a laptop connected to the network to open up the clients on the pc where esxi is installed on?

Once you get it configured, you can run the vSphere client configuration from anything connected to your network, even a VM on the system you are configuring. You do need a second system for initial configuration.
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post #8 of 15
Unraid.

Dunno if Vmware has the power even with PCI pass through and all that jazz.
Keep in mind that mutliple OS on one PC at once when gaming or doing work do eat a lot of CPU cores and memory if you are doing something intensive. Means it's quite the Xeon territory if you want any decent experience with more than 2 machines running at once.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackCY View Post

Unraid.

Dunno if Vmware has the power even with PCI pass through and all that jazz.

vsphere/esxi can do it i just dont know how
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blameless View Post

No practical way to do this without installing Windows on to a VM from scratch.
Once you get it configured, you can run the vSphere client configuration from anything connected to your network, even a VM on the system you are configuring. You do need a second system for initial configuration.

what i meant was how do i setup the virtual machines after setting up esxi, i havent used a type1 hypervisor before so its a new concept to me.
as there is no os, how do i install a new virtual machine, do i use vsphere from another computer to install a virtual machine on the pc?
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post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by damnwebsite View Post

do i use vsphere from another computer to install a virtual machine on the pc?

You use the vSphere client to configure the virtual machine(s), which you then use like any other system.
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
5820K @ 4.2/3.5GHz core/uncore, 1.175/1.15v Gigabyte X99 SOC Champion (F22n) Gigabyte AORUS GTX 1080 Ti (F3P) @ 2025/1485, 1... 4x4GiB Crucial @ 2667, 12-12-12-28-T1, 1.34v 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Plextor M6e 128GB (fw 1.06) M.2 (PCI-E 2.0 2x) 2x Crucial M4 256GB 4x WD Scorpio Black 500GB Noctua NH-D15 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1 BenQ BL3200PT Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless (MX Brown) Corsair RM1000x 
CaseMouseAudio
Fractal Design Define R4 Logitech G402 Realtek ALC1150 + M-Audio AV40 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
X5670 @ 4.4/3.2GHz core/uncore, 1.36 vcore, 1.2... Gigabyte X58A-UD5 r2.0 w/FF3mod10 BIOS Sapphire Fury Nitro OC+ @ 1053/500, 1.225vGPU/1... 2x Samsung MV-3V4G3D/US @ 2000, 10-11-11-30-T1,... 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
1x Crucial BLT4G3D1608ET3LX0 @ 2000, 10-11-11-3... OCZ (Toshiba) Trion 150 120GB Hyundai Sapphire 120GB 3x Hitachi Deskstar 7k1000.C 1TB 
CoolingOSPowerCase
Noctua NH-D14 Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1 Antec TP-750 Fractal Design R5 
Audio
ASUS Xonar DS 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7-6800K @ 4.3/3.5GHz core/uncore, 1.36/1.2v ASRock X99 OC Formula (P3.10) GTX 780 (temporary) 4x4GiB Crucial DDR4-2400 @ 11-13-12-28-T2, 1.33v 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Intel 600p 256GB NVMe 2x HGST Travelstar 7k1000 1TB Corsair H55 (temporary) Windows Server 2016 Datacenter 
PowerCase
Seasonic SS-860XP2 Corsair Carbide Air 540 
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(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
5820K @ 4.2/3.5GHz core/uncore, 1.175/1.15v Gigabyte X99 SOC Champion (F22n) Gigabyte AORUS GTX 1080 Ti (F3P) @ 2025/1485, 1... 4x4GiB Crucial @ 2667, 12-12-12-28-T1, 1.34v 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Plextor M6e 128GB (fw 1.06) M.2 (PCI-E 2.0 2x) 2x Crucial M4 256GB 4x WD Scorpio Black 500GB Noctua NH-D15 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 7 Professional x64 SP1 BenQ BL3200PT Filco Majestouch Tenkeyless (MX Brown) Corsair RM1000x 
CaseMouseAudio
Fractal Design Define R4 Logitech G402 Realtek ALC1150 + M-Audio AV40 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
X5670 @ 4.4/3.2GHz core/uncore, 1.36 vcore, 1.2... Gigabyte X58A-UD5 r2.0 w/FF3mod10 BIOS Sapphire Fury Nitro OC+ @ 1053/500, 1.225vGPU/1... 2x Samsung MV-3V4G3D/US @ 2000, 10-11-11-30-T1,... 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
1x Crucial BLT4G3D1608ET3LX0 @ 2000, 10-11-11-3... OCZ (Toshiba) Trion 150 120GB Hyundai Sapphire 120GB 3x Hitachi Deskstar 7k1000.C 1TB 
CoolingOSPowerCase
Noctua NH-D14 Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1 Antec TP-750 Fractal Design R5 
Audio
ASUS Xonar DS 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7-6800K @ 4.3/3.5GHz core/uncore, 1.36/1.2v ASRock X99 OC Formula (P3.10) GTX 780 (temporary) 4x4GiB Crucial DDR4-2400 @ 11-13-12-28-T2, 1.33v 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Intel 600p 256GB NVMe 2x HGST Travelstar 7k1000 1TB Corsair H55 (temporary) Windows Server 2016 Datacenter 
PowerCase
Seasonic SS-860XP2 Corsair Carbide Air 540 
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