I’ve already written a detailed tutorial on VGA passthrough based on QEMU version 2.11. Time has passed and today distributions like Ubuntu 20.04, Linux Mint 20, or Manjaro come with QEMU 4.0, 4.2 or 5.1.
It wasn’t easy this time. Don’t get me wrong – the VFIO passthrough part, though challenging in some ways, went quite well. All in all I’m pleased now with the results. Here the Passmark 9.0 benchmark as uploaded onto their database (for more details, click the frame below):
Qemu/kvm provides you with a plethora of ways to configure your storage devices. Yet no other type of device shows such a variance in its performance, with disk I/O throughput anywhere from stellar to abysmal using the very same hardware.
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.
For some years I have encouraged benchmarking of Windows virtual machines (VM), to help users fine-tune the configuration and to get a general idea of how efficient virtualisation with Xen or KVM actually is. My benchmarks – posted under the username “powerhouse” – and those of other users can be found on the Linux Mint forum under Post your Passmark results of your Windows VM and UserBenchmark – post your results. When reviewing some of my benchmarks on the UserBenchmark website, it occurred to me that the information on that website can be put to practical use.
This tutorial explains how to install and run Windows 10 on Linux using GPU passthrough and VFIO drivers to achieve near-native performance – for gaming, photo or video editing, and other graphics and CPU intensive tasks. It also lists the common pitfalls and possible ways to further improve performance. Last not least it offers a comprehensive list of external resources and helpful links.
Latest update: November 25, 2020
You want to use Linux as your main operating system, but still need Windows for certain applications unavailable under Linux. You need top notch (3D) graphics performance under Windows for computer games, photo or video editing, etc. And you do not want to dual-boot into Linux or Windows. In that case read on.
Many modern CPUs have built-in features that improve the performance of virtual machines (VM), up to the point where virtualised systems are indistinguishable from non-virtualised systems. This allows us to create virtual machines on a Linux host platform without compromising performance of the (Windows) guest system.