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Re: [Xen-users] Games

On 05/24/2013 06:36 PM, Ole Johan Væringstad wrote:

On Fri, May 24, 2013 at 2:48 PM, Gordan Bobic <gordan@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On Fri, 24 May 2013 11:59:45 +0200, <J.Witvliet@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

Hi all,

Perhaps slightly off-topic, but perhaps somebody around has tried
something like this.

I bought a game for my son, and verified that it got "platinum
status" for wine.
However, the general requirements are way too heavy for his current
machine, even without wine.

WINE overheads are pretty minimal in my experience - if you can ever
get anything to work at all regardless of the platinum rating.

So, I was contemplating if (!) it might be possible to have a
virtualized xp/w7 running the game.

So far so easy. The current caveats are that with VGA passthrough
you are likely to have problems with > 2GB of RAM in the VM. Other
issues are work-aroundable.

What do these problems look like? I am giving my win7x64 16GB RAM and
it's (mostly) working fine. (Details below)

For me the problems look like memory stomps. The PCI passthrough devices' BARs get overwritten by the OS memory which leads to application, OS and hardware crashes. Sometimes taking the host down with it. Graphical corruption on the VGA passthrough device shortly preceding a crash is fairly typical.

The piece of software (truck driving simulator) is asking:
-Dual core CPU 3.0 GHz
-4 GB RAM, graphics card with 1024 MB memory (GeForce GTS 450-class
equivalent or better)

4GB of RAM may or may not be a problem. From what has been said, it
depends on the MMIO size on your machine. On my machine that is 2GB.
You may be lucky and get away with 3-4GB.

How do you determine the MMIO size?

Here's what I was told yesterday:

I already have several virtual machines running, mix of Linux (mostly
servers) and XP (desktop chores),
But never tried virtualized gaming.

If you have an ATI card or an Nvidia Quadro, it "just works".
I have extensively tested Borderlands 2 on this setup. :)

With a non-Quadro Nvidia card things get much more problematic and
you'll have to manually patch the Xen sources and build your own
binaries. Fighting all the other issues is plenty of hard work and
I would advise against it if you can at all help it - unless your
time is worthless, investing £30 or so into an ATI 4850 is likely
to be a bargain compared to the time and effort you are likely to
spend on getting a non-Quadro Nvidia card to work.

So I presume that installing the game poses no problem, but playing
might be something else.
- with regards to CPU-load...

How many CPU cores has your VM host got and what are they? I have
no issues playing Borderlands 2 on a dual Xeon X5650 with 8 of the 24
threads (4 of the 12 cores) given to the VM.

- with regards to graphics: Could I get away with a TSC-client over
the network?

Dream on.

What you might be able to do is hook up something like a wireless
HDTV transciever (a-la Intel WiDi) and wireless mouse/keyboard
and use it that way. But sending 60fps of reasonable resolution video
over something like VNC? I don't see it happening.

Anyone who ever tried it? Worthwhile trying or forget it straight away?

Everything up to the last bit should be fine if you can live with the
current RAM limitation.


I have also tested Borderlands 2 extensively (read: played :o). I have
no issues whatsoever with
framerate, everything is maxed out in settings, and I have never seen
anything resembling slow framerates. (I have not done any
benchmarking) However, texture loading is slow for some reason, and
there is one square area on the screen which is slightly 'pixelated'.

I can attribute any slowness observed to dreadfully slow non-PV disk I/O (measured to top out at about 5-6MB/s when qemu-dm is burning through 100% of a CPU core.

(I only just noticed this some hours ago) Are you seeing any of this?
Do you have any idea of the cause of it?

I haven't observed any pixelation like what you describe. It could be memory corruption due to BAR memory stomp. What distro and qemu do you use? Any additional patches?


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