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This thread is a work in progress. It's aim is to list graphics adapters that have been successfully passed through to Xen domU guests (virtual machines in Xen talk) to provide native graphics acceleration within a guest system on a Xen hypervisor / Linux based system.

Xen VGA passthrough can be used - for example - to run a Windows virtual machine on Linux / Xen hypervisor with native graphics acceleration. This is good news for people who want to use Linux, but at the same time would like to be able to run Windows, for example for gaming or other graphics intensive work.

Since this technology is rather new and not so common, there is little information on which graphics adapters actually work with VGA passthrough.

If you have successfully implemented VGA passthrough under Xen, please list your graphics adapter hardware here, with some information on the system and type of passthrough (primary or secondary VGA adapter passthrough).

EDIT 3.3.2014: Xen.org maintains a compatibility list here: http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Xen_VGA_Passthrough_Tested_Adapters. Some information below is overlapping with the xen.org list, which has been updated recently. In addition to merely listing the compatible graphics adapter, I post links to user reports and provide additional details where available.

AMD graphics adapters

There are a number of AMD graphics adapters that have been reported to support VGA passthrough. Please add a reply with your graphics adapter and system specs and I will update this list here.

AMD R9 270x - see here
Xen hypervisor: 4.3, xm toolstack
dom0 Linux kernel: 3.11.0
dom0 host system: Linux Mint 16
xen-pciback compiled as: module
domU guest system: Windows 7
VGA passthrough: Secondary VGA adapter
Problems encountered: none

Radeon HD 4890 - see here
Xen hypervisor: 4.2.1, xl toolstack
dom0 Linux kernel: ?
dom0 host system: Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
xen-pciback compiled as: ?
domU guest system: Windows Vista x64 Ultimate
VGA passthrough: Secondary VGA adapter
Problems encountered: none

Radeon 6450 - see here
Xen hypervisor: 4.3, xm toolstack
dom0 Linux kernel: 3.11
dom0 host system: Linux Mint 16 KDE (Ubuntu 13.10)
xen-pciback compiled as: module
domU guest system: Windows 7
VGA passthrough: Secondary VGA adapter
Problems encountered: none

Radeon 5770 - see here
Xen hypervisor: 4.3.1-5 with Radeon patch, xl toolstack, device_model_version = "qemu-xen-traditional"
dom0 Linux kernel: ?
dom0 host system: ?
xen-pciback compiled as: ?
domU guest system: Windows XP
VGA passthrough: Secondary VGA adapter
Problems encountered: Requires qemu-xen-traditional instead of qemu-dm since release 1.7 of qemu is broken

Radeon 5850

Radeon 6570 - see here

Radeon HD 6950 - see here
Xen hypervisor: 4.3
dom0 Linux kernel: 3.12.6
dom0 host system: Linux Mint 16 (Ubuntu 13.10)
xen-pciback compiled as: ?
domU guest system: Windows 7 64-bit Pro
VGA passthrough: Secondary VGA adapter

Radeon 7750 (1 GB and 4 GB versions) - thanks Rezz
Xen hypervisor: 4.1.3
dom0 Linux kernel: 3.7 (3.8 RC1)
dom0 host system: Linux Mint 14 (Ubuntu 12.10)
xen-pciback compiled as: ?
domU guest system: Windows 8 pro
VGA passthrough: Secondary VGA adapter
Problems encountered: Kernel panic with default kernel, see here

Radeon 7770 - see here
Xen hypervisor: 4.1, xm toolstack
dom0 Linux kernel: ?
dom0 host system: Debian wheezy (stable)
xen-pciback compiled as: ?
domU guest system: Windows 7
VGA passthrough: Secondary VGA adapter

Radeon 7850 - see here
Xen hypervisor: 4.3, xm toolstack
dom0 Linux kernel: 3.11
dom0 host system: Linux Mint 16 KDE (Ubuntu 13.10)
xen-pciback compiled as: module
domU guest system: Windows 7
VGA passthrough: Secondary VGA adapter
Problems encountered: none

Radeon HD 7870 - see here

Radeon HD 7870 Gigahertz edition - see here

Radeon HD 7950 - see here and here
Xen hypervisor: 4.1.x
dom0 Linux kernel: ?
dom0 host system: Ubuntu 12.04
xen-pciback compiled as: module
domU guest system: Windows 7 64bit
VGA passthrough: Secondary VGA adapter
Problems encountered:

Radeon 7970 - thanks wTheOnew

See also next post for cards listed on xen.org

Nvidia graphics adapters

General consent is that most Nvidia adapters are more challenging to make them work with VGA passthrough. Newer Xen hypervisor releases may offer better support for Nvidia cards. There are also hypervisor patches that help solve some of the issues. Here is the list of Nivida adapters that have been successfully passed through. As with AMD, please add a reply with your graphics adapter and system specs and I will update this list here. See example below.

Nvidia Quadro 2000
Xen hypervisor: 4.1.2 and 4.3 using the xm toolstack
dom0 Linux kernel: 3.2.0-30-generic and 3.11 (for Xen 4.3)
dom0 host system: Linux Mint 13 Mate 64 bit (Ubuntu 12.04 based), LM14 and LM16
xen-pciback compiled as: module
domU guest system: Windows 7 Professional 64bit
VGA passthrough: Secondary VGA adapter
Problems encountered: None
Remark: "multi-OS" (Nvidia term) specified graphics adapter

Nvidia Quadro FX 5800 - see here and here
domU guest system: Windows Vista, Windows 7
VGA passthrough: Primary VGA adapter

Nvidia Quadro K5000 - see here
domU guest system: Windows Vista
VGA passthrough: Primary VGA adapter

XenServer GPU Pass-through compatibility list

For reference, here is the compatibility list published on the Citrix XenServer website:
http://hcl.xensource.com/GPUPass-throughDeviceList.aspx
 

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FWIW, from xen.org:

Tested adapters by AMD:
Radeon 4850
Radeon 4870
FirePro V5700
FirePro M5800

User reported working adapters:
Radeon 4550
Radeon 4770
Radeon 5750
Radeon 5850
Radeon 6770
Radeon 6850
Radeon 6970
Radeon 7970

I can personally vouch for the 5850 and 7970. I should try my 3870 and 1950 for the heck of it. I'll update this post with a little more info when I'm actually in front of the server.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Quote:
Originally Posted by wTheOnew View Post

FWIW, from xen.org:
Tested adapters by AMD:
Radeon 4850
Radeon 4870
FirePro V5700
FirePro M5800
User reported working adapters:
Radeon 4550
Radeon 4770
Radeon 5750
Radeon 5850
Radeon 6770
Radeon 6850
Radeon 6970
Radeon 7970
I can personally vouch for the 5850 and 7970. I should try my 3870 and 1950 for the heck of it. I'll update this post with a little more info when I'm actually in front of the server.
Thanks for putting this list together. It would be great if you could add some more details on the two cards you passed through, such as Xen hypervisor version, kernel version & distribution, type of passthrough, problems and notes regarding specific things to look out for.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerhouse View Post

Thanks for putting this list together. It would be great if you could add some more details on the two cards you passed through, such as Xen hypervisor version, kernel version & distribution, type of passthrough, problems and notes regarding specific things to look out for.
I'll have some info on the 7870 and 69xx for both Xen and KVM (under Mint13) shortly.
I've got both working (very easy with KVM) but having issues rebooting guest with the 7870 (host crash with ats.c:62).
 

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Radeon 7750 most definitely works (Powercolor single slot. Both the 1GB GDDR5 and 4GB GDDR3 variants work).

Xen 4.1.3

HVM Dom0 (Windows 8 Pro)

Mint 14 (Cinnamon)

Kernel upgraded to 3.7 (also worked with 3.8 RC1).

A default install of Mint 14 (Cinnamon) + Xen would boot into a "kernel panic" error and hang unless the kernel was upgraded to 3.7 (or above).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
@Rezz and @ blistovmhz: Thanks for your update.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by blistovmhz View Post

I'll have some info on the 7870 and 69xx for both Xen and KVM (under Mint13) shortly.
I've got both working (very easy with KVM) but having issues rebooting guest with the 7870 (host crash with ats.c:62).
I've seen similar reports from other KVM users - passthrough works but exiting the VM and trying to restart it crashes the host. I haven't experienced this with Xen. Maybe worth trying? It might be a little pain in the neck to get it working, but I'm using it now for over half a year with no issues at all. In the meantime I even upgraded from Linux Mint 13 to 14, again no issue at all (I actually installed Mint 14, but since I have a separate /home partition it was really painless).
 

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Hi, many thanks for all your feedback. I'm asking for the HD7770, if the 7750 works, so the 7770 is supposed to be working too ?
(Actually I have only a 5450 in the first slot, it's a full AMD config)
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sorcier777 View Post

Hi, many thanks for all your feedback. I'm asking for the HD7770, if the 7750 works, so the 7770 is supposed to be working too ?
(Actually I have only a 5450 in the first slot, it's a full AMD config)
See http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Talk:Xen_VGA_Passthrough_Tested_Adapters and http://osdir.com/ml/general/2013-03/msg34678.html.

It seems the xl toolstack has some problems, so it might be best to use the xm toolstack for now. Just be aware that since Xen 4.2 the xm toolstack has become deprecated. For reference, I'm using Xen 4.1.3 which is the current Xen hypervisor in Linux Mint 14 and Ubuntu 12.10, and Xen 4.1.3 still uses xm as toolstack.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerhouse View Post

See http://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Talk:Xen_VGA_Passthrough_Tested_Adapters and http://osdir.com/ml/general/2013-03/msg34678.html.

It seems the xl toolstack has some problems, so it might be best to use the xm toolstack for now. Just be aware that since Xen 4.2 the xm toolstack has become deprecated. For reference, I'm using Xen 4.1.3 which is the current Xen hypervisor in Linux Mint 14 and Ubuntu 12.10, and Xen 4.1.3 still uses xm as toolstack.
Thank you, I confirm that you can't keep cool when using (trying to) xl toolstack... Habitually I use the xm toolstack on Ubuntu 12.04 with Xen 4.1.3, do you think I must upgrade to 12.10 (or Xen 4.2) ? Actually I'm testing 12.10 Desktop with Gnome shell and it's not very stable yet... Were is gone the time when I was working with Debian Squeeze servers...

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdoublejj View Post

HOLY CRAP!
What do you mean ?
 

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I never knew it possible. I had spoken to a number of people and gaming on VM was just straight up impossible. Probably still is for windows host.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by sorcier777 View Post

Thank you, I confirm that you can't keep cool when using (trying to) xl toolstack... Habitually I use the xm toolstack on Ubuntu 12.04 with Xen 4.1.3, do you think I must upgrade to 12.10 (or Xen 4.2) ? Actually I'm testing 12.10 Desktop with Gnome shell and it's not very stable yet... Were is gone the time when I was working with Debian Squeeze servers...
The xl toolstack under Xen 4.1.x is experimental and doesn't support all the features. Xen 4.2 was released last September, but hasn't made it yet into the Ubuntu repository, at least not the stable one.

I personally don't see any compelling need to upgrade from Xen 4.1.3 to Xen 4.2 and switch to the xl toolstack. I would absolutely not recommend using the xl toolstack with Xen 4.1.x. And even in Xen 4.2 the xl toolstack has some problems. I'll be waiting until these problems are solved, and probably even until Ubuntu picks up Xen 4.2 or later. I see no need for upgrade now, my system works very well and totally stable.

As I mentioned, I run Linux Mint 14, specifically the Mate (main) edition. Mate is the continuation of Gnome, so there is no Unity or whatever Ubuntu uses now. I can't get used to these tablet like desktops. Linux Mint is based upon Ubuntu 12.10, but with the Mate desktop. If Ubuntu 12.04 works but 12.10 is unstable, I wouldn't bother with the latter. In my case with Linux Mint the upgrade from 13 to 14 was smooth (I wiped 13 and installed 14 on the same LV).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdoublejj View Post

I never knew it possible. I had spoken to a number of people and gaming on VM was just straight up impossible. Probably still is for windows host.
Microsoft is investing a lot into Hyper-V, but for all I know there is no equivalent to what Xen can do with Windows on top of Linux. KVM, also a Linux development, has begun to support VGA passthrough too, but still has some minor issues.

Xen, by the way, is what Amazon EC2 and most of the big cloud providers use.

EDIT: The KVM team seems to be working hard on VGA passthrough and I've seen some reports on successful passthrough of Nvidia cards as well.
 

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So THIS might be how some of these companies plan to making video game streaming servers that play the game and stream the video and controls. those would be some big fat thick servers with GPUs in them. Why would Amazon EC2 and most of the big cloud providers use XEN for/and GPUs?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdoublejj View Post

So THIS might be how some of these companies plan to making video game streaming servers that play the game and stream the video and controls. those would be some big fat thick servers with GPUs in them. Why would Amazon EC2 and most of the big cloud providers use XEN for/and GPUs?
VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) seems to be a good reason. It's become popular in the enterprise world to reduce the number of actual PCs and thus the costs and pain of maintaining them.

For gaming (and desktops), see Steve Perlman's http://www.onlive.com/. They are by far the most advanced. Onlive uses custom-built servers and modified graphics boards. I have no idea what hypervisor or OS they are using, though.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerhouse View Post

VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) seems to be a good reason. It's become popular in the enterprise world to reduce the number of actual PCs and thus the costs and pain of maintaining them.

For gaming (and desktops), see Steve Perlman's http://www.onlive.com/. They are by far the most advanced. Onlive uses custom-built servers and modified graphics boards. I have no idea what hypervisor or OS they are using, though.
Good lord I couldn't even imagine the physical form factors of those servers.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by cdoublejj View Post

Good lord I couldn't even imagine the physical form factors of those servers.
Depends on how many concurrent users they got. Today you get a decent CPU density in the racks. Getting rid of desktop computers (or personal computers in general) is certainly a good thing to reduce material resources and energy waste. They can probably serve say 10,000 subscribers with less than 1,000 CPUs, perhaps even less than 500 CPUs (not all subscribers are online at the same time, nor do each use the full resources of a CPU). In large server installations they can use the waste heat to heat office buildings, or recover some of the electricity they use.

Referring to your previous post about video game streaming servers, of course these cloud providers use different video hardware. They don't need physical DVI/HDMI whatever ports on their graphics cards but need to encapsulate the rendered video into a streaming protocol. Some use PCoIP or similar, but I believe video formats such as H.264 are also used. I have no idea what Onlive uses, but it may be proprietary. It certainly looks like they achieved milestone. So, in summary, cloud providers may run desktops within VMs but they would hardly need to pass-through the graphics cards.

VGA passthrough is essentially a dual-boot killer, as you can boot your favorite OS (in my case Linux) or simply a hypervisor and the guest OS(es) of your choice without the VGA penalty of running VMs the traditional way. So right now I'm running Linux (as dom0 - a special privileged VM for admin etc. purposes), and when I need to run a Windows application, I boot my Windows VM. Hope that explains it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wTheOnew View Post

FWIW, from xen.org:
I can personally vouch for the 5850 and 7970. I should try my 3870 and 1950 for the heck of it. I'll update this post with a little more info when I'm actually in front of the server.
Hello,

Can we know if you succeed with Radeon X1950 ?
I have test my X1950 and I cannot install the driver under Win Vista/7 x64.
I use the 1950 as "secondary VGA" in the DomU.

I have try a NVidia Quadro NVS 295 as primary VGA, it failed for now (but I have miss-builded some patch, need to retry).
I will also try a HD4890 as secondary VGA.
I may try Nvidia Quadro FX 1700, FX 3500.

I will post again here if I have any success.

(Dell Precision T5500, 2 x Xeon E5620)
(Xen 4.2.1, clean rebuild)
(DomO XUbuntu x64)
(DomU Win Vista Ultimate x64 : for testing purpose)
(DomU Win 7 Ultimate x64 : for prod.)

Best regards,

Samuel
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lucie View Post

Hello,

Can we know if you succeed with Radeon X1950 ?
I have test my X1950 and I cannot install the driver under Win Vista/7 x64.
I use the 1950 as "secondary VGA" in the DomU.

I have try a NVidia Quadro NVS 295 as primary VGA, it failed for now (but I have miss-builded some patch, need to retry).
I will also try a HD4890 as secondary VGA.
I may try Nvidia Quadro FX 1700, FX 3500.

I will post again here if I have any success.

(Dell Precision T5500, 2 x Xeon E5620)
(Xen 4.2.1, clean rebuild)
(DomO XUbuntu x64)
(DomU Win Vista Ultimate x64 : for testing purpose)
(DomU Win 7 Ultimate x64 : for prod.)

Best regards,

Samuel
About installing the AMD driver under Windows: Have a look here and see if that helps.

About Nvidia cards that support VGA passthrough: See http://www.nvidia.com/object/sli_multi_os.html on the bottom for a list of "multi-OS" cards. I'm using the Quadro 2000 and it works perfect. Your cards are not listed here, so I doubt you'll make them work without patches.
 
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