NVIDIA enables GPU passthrough for virtual machines on GeForce GPUs

Published: Mar 30th 2021, 16:35 GMT   Comments

NVIDIA enables GeForce GPU passthrough for Windows virtual machines

Linux users can now play Windows games through Virtual Machines.

NVIDIA will now fully support GeForce GPU passthrough, a technology that enables access to GPU on a host machine from the virtual machine environment. This technology has been used for a long time and there were ways to enable it on GeForce graphics cards, however, it was never officially supported.

Starting from today NVIDIA enabled GPU passthrough on all GeForce graphics cards based on Kepler architecture and newer for Windows virtual machines. The passthrough is limited to a single GPU instance, which means that a virtual machine will have access to the graphics card exclusively. If the user needs more virtual machines to access the same GPU, then Tesla or Quadro graphics cards will be required.

This technology will enable Linux users to play Windows games through virtual machines or developers to test software in both operating systems using a single machine.

The arrival of the technology to GeForce GPUs was announced by Sean Pelletier, a Senior Product Manager at NVIDIA:

GeForce GPU Passthrough for Windows Virtual Machine (Beta)

NVIDIA has enabled GPU passthrough beta support for a Windows virtual machine on GeForce GPUs. What does this mean?

With virtualization enabled, GeForce customers on a Linux host PC can now enable GeForce GPU passthrough on a virtual Windows guest OS. There are a few GeForce use cases where this functionality is beneficial such as:

  • GeForce customers wanting to run a Linux host and be able to launch a Windows virtual machine (VM) to play games
  • Game developers wanting to test code in both Windows and Linux on one machine

What class of virtualization is supported on GeForce GPUs?
GeForce GPU passthrough supports 1 virtual machine. SR-IOV is not supported on GeForce. If you want to enable multiple virtual machines to have direct access to a single GPU or want the GPU to be able to assign virtual functions to multiple virtual machines, you will need to use NVIDIA Tesla, Quadro, or RTX enterprise GPUs.

Which driver is GeForce virtualization (beta) supported on?
GeForce virtualization (beta) is supported on R465 or higher drivers.

Which GeForce GPUs and Windows OSes support virtualization?
The feature is enabled on all GeForce/TITAN GPUs supported in the R465 driver (Kepler and later for Desktop; Maxwell and later for Notebook) for Windows 10.

Do you need to have more than one GPU installed or can you leverage the same GPU being used by the host OS for virtualization?
One GPU is required for the Linux host OS and one GPU is required for the Windows virtual machine.

Source: NVIDIA

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