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Re: [Xen-users] Primary VGA Passthrough Status

On Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 11:29 PM, Gordan Bobic <gordan@xxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
On 10/07/2013 09:33 PM, David Erickson wrote:
Hi All-
Is it possible yet to pass through a ATI or Nvidia GPU as the primary
VGA card to a Win 7/8 VM, and have it fully functional there (DXVA etc),

Why exactly do you need the card to be primary in domU? IME this doesn't gain you anything other than being able to see the BIOS splash screen and boot animation on the external monitor (which in itself isn't worth the extra effort).

Primarily it is for htpc functionality like Blu-ray playback software and Digital Cablecard based playback using devices like a HDHR Prime.  I believe the code that tests for playready (or equivalent) compatibility always looks at the primary video card and finds it totally missing any of these features and refuses to play back properly.  I need to verify that having a passed through card as the primary actually solves these issues, but I think it is a reasonable hunch (unless anyone else has already tried this and proved it wrong).

without crashing the guest or the host during operation or when
resetting the guest?

It works fine with Nvidia Quadro cards (real or modified GeForce), provided your hardware works properly (e.g. no dodgy PCI bridges (such as Nvidia NF200) bypassing the IOMMU). The latter is, it turns out, quite rare - an awful lot of hardware seems to have IOMMU support broken to some extent.

Is there something special in the bios/firmware that is enabled when converting these to Quadros?  I could pick one up but I prefer to have a low power single slot card for a low power htpc, and I'm not sure I've seen anything that can be converted to a Quadro fall into this category.

ATI cards having ongoing issues with reinitialization on domU reboots.

For hardware I have an E3 v2 Xeon, Tyan S5512 board, and an ATI 7750.

I don't recall anyone here mentioning this board so you'll have to try it yourself and see how you get on. ATI cards are still problematic, as I mentioned. For domU rebooting you might be able to get away with setting a delayed shutdown/reboot on the command line and then ejecting the card in domU. ATI drivers still don't seem to be clever enough to do this themselves on shutdown. Then again, I find ATI hardware sufficiently deficient to not recommend it for anything but the simplest of configurations (single monitor setups on bare metal). For anything else I find the drivers are just not fit for purpose.

Ya I hate to deal with nasty hacks like that, but if there were some scripted way to trigger a shutdown I suppose I could get behind that.

Thanks for the feedback!


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