Creating a Windows 10 Virtual Machine Using the Virtual Machine Manager (virt-manager)

Before you get your hopes high, this post is not (yet?) a tutorial on creating a Windows 10 virtual machine using the Virtual Machine Manager (virt-manager) GUI. It should have been, though. I spent the better part of a week trying to configure and install a Windows 10 VM that delivers the performance that I’m used to.

As it turns out, it was a failure. Don’t get me wrong, I did manage to configure and run Windows using virt-manager and virsh. I even installed it multiple times, changing the configuration to what I hoped would improve performance. But whatever I tried, I never got even near the speed and snappiness that I achieve by following my tutorial using a start script.

Continue reading “Creating a Windows 10 Virtual Machine Using the Virtual Machine Manager (virt-manager)”

New PC Build

Back in 2012 I built a PC around the Intel i7 3930K 6-core/12HT processor which I have been using ever since. While it’s still a strong PC, especially with the upgrades (GPU, SSD) I made, I’m starting to feel that editing photos isn’t as snappy as it used to be. I am also curious in how well the new generation of CPUs lend themselves to VGA passthrough. In short, I’m considering building a new PC. Continue reading “New PC Build”

Linux Virtual Gaming Machine

You may wonder what’s wrong with this fellow (meaning me, the author). Has he completely lost his mind when he proposes a Linux virtual gaming machine? Before you discredit the idea, let me explain. Continue reading “Linux Virtual Gaming Machine”

Installing a Linux Mint 19 (Ubuntu 18.04) VM with VGA Passthrough

Introduction

Installing a Linux Mint 19 VM (or Ubuntu 18.04) with VGA passthrough is surprisingly straightforward. This tutorial follows the Running Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough almost step-by-step. I will therefore focus on what’s different from the above tutorial.

While booting the Linux Mint 19 life installation media (ISO) as a VM was easy, the installation of Linux Mint invariably ended with the following error:

The ‘grub-efi-amd64-signed’ package failed to install target/

The following tutorial will describe the steps to overcome this problem (bug?). Continue reading “Installing a Linux Mint 19 (Ubuntu 18.04) VM with VGA Passthrough”

Windows 10 Virtual Machine Benchmarks

Benchmarking Performance of a Virtual Machine

I have run  a number of benchmarks to document the performance of Windows 10 running as a virtual machine on Linux, in the hope other PC users will dive into the fascinating world of virtualization.

Benchmarks are helpful in comparing one system with another, and one configuration with another. I use them for optimizing my Windows 10 performance and for making sure that updates/upgrades haven’t produced unwanted side effects. Continue reading “Windows 10 Virtual Machine Benchmarks”

Low 2D Graphics Benchmark with Windows 10 (1803) KVM VM

Problem: bad 2D performance in Windows VM versus Windows on bare metal

For the past few months I noticed sluggish 2D graphics in my Windows 10 VM, something that hadn’t happened before. Below are the Passmark 8 results and comparisons between different configurations/releases: Continue reading “Low 2D Graphics Benchmark with Windows 10 (1803) KVM VM”

Upgrade to Linux Mint 19 (Ubuntu 18.04)

I recently upgraded from Linux Mint 18.3 to the latest version, Linux Mint 19. I did this so I could test and eventually update my VGA passthrough tutorial. There was no other practical reason for me to upgrade.

I did the upgrade twice:

  1. Using the mintupgrade tool provided by Linux Mint. This allowed me to upgrade my existing Linux Mint installation and all installed applications.
    The upgrade went surprisingly smooth, with only minor glitches. However, in the end I decided to reinstall the Linux Mint 19 system from scratch (see 2. below).
  2. Install the entire operating system from the downloaded ISO, while preserving the /home director (my user directory) and all other data.
    This was quite a pain in the neck, as it turned out.

Continue reading “Upgrade to Linux Mint 19 (Ubuntu 18.04)”

Upgrade to Linux Mint 19 – Windows 10 VM Benchmark

I just upgraded my Linux Mint Mate 18.3 installation to Linux Mint Mate 19, using the mintupgrade utility. It required some manual fixes, but all in all it went smooth.

Below the first UserBenchmark using Linux Mint 19 with updated qemu/kvm packages:

UserBenchmarks: Game 60%, Desk 76%, Work 67%
CPU: Intel Core i7-3930K – 86.8%
GPU: Nvidia GTX 970 – 58.5%
SSD: Red Hat VirtIO 140GB – 72.1%
HDD: Red Hat VirtIO 2.5TB – 87.1%
HDD: Red Hat VirtIO 2TB – 51.7%
RAM: QEMU 1x16GB – 77.3%
MBD: QEMU Standard PC (Q35 + ICH9, 2009)

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Qemu and libvirt security – ppa:jacob/virtualisation

I’m running Linux Mint 18.3 which is based on Ubuntu 16.04 Xenial. Until yesterday I used the Personal Packet Archive ppa:jacob/virtualisation to get more up-to-date releases of Qemu, libvirt, and virt-manager.

Ubuntu and Linux Mint recently released security updates for their official (but old) qemu and libvirt packages to address the Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. Unfortunately the Ubuntu 16.04 releases in the ppa:jacob/virtualisation archive have not been updated, judging from the upload date. Continue reading “Qemu and libvirt security – ppa:jacob/virtualisation”

Prime95 Benchmark: Linux Host versus Windows VM

This is yet another benchmark of my Windows 10 VM. This time I used the free Mersenne Prime Search software Prime95 (mprime under Linux) available at www.mersenne.org. I wanted to see if there is a significant difference between running the benchmark on the Linux host, versus the Windows virtual machine. Continue reading “Prime95 Benchmark: Linux Host versus Windows VM”