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”

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 – 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”

Virtual Machines on UserBenchmark

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.

Continue reading “Virtual Machines on UserBenchmark”

Running Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough

The Need

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.

For some benchmarks of my current system, see Windows 10 Virtual Machine Benchmarks Continue reading “Running Windows 10 on Linux using KVM with VGA Passthrough”

Glossary of Virtualization Terms

For those of you not (yet) familiar with VGA passthrough, here some common terms used in the how-to: Continue reading “Glossary of Virtualization Terms”

qemu-system-x86_64 -drive options

In an attempt to make the qemu -drive command line options more accessible, here is an extract from the qemu-system-x86_64 man page. You can get the complete man page by entering the following in a terminal window:
man qemu-system-x86_64

The options below are valid for qemu-system-x86_64 version 2.5.0. Please refer to the qemu documentation at qemu.weilnetz.de – look for the version you got and select the corresponding sub-folder. You find the latest documentation (qemu 3.0.0) here. Continue reading “qemu-system-x86_64 -drive options”