I'm running Ubuntu and trying to configure QEMU with a GPU pass through. I was following those guides:




My /etc/modules:


My /etc/default/grub:

GRUB_DISTRIBUTOR=`lsb_release -i -s 2> /dev/null || echo Debian`
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash intel_iommu=on vfio_iommu_type1.allow_unsafe_interrupts=1"


$ lspci -nn | grep NVIDIA
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation GK106 [GeForce GTX 650 Ti] [10de:11c6] (rev a1)
01:00.1 Audio device [0403]: NVIDIA Corporation GK106 HDMI Audio Controller [10de:0e0b] (rev a1)
$ lspci -nn | grep -i graphic
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: Intel Corporation Xeon E3-1200 v2/3rd Gen Core processor Graphics Controller [8086:0152] (rev 09)

My /etc/initramfs-tools/modules:

pci_stub ids=10de:11c6,10de:0e0b

pci_stub seems to be working:

$ dmesg | grep pci-stub
[    0.541737] pci-stub: add 10DE:11C6 sub=FFFFFFFF:FFFFFFFF cls=00000000/00000000
[    0.541750] pci-stub 0000:01:00.0: claimed by stub
[    0.541755] pci-stub: add 10DE:0E0B sub=FFFFFFFF:FFFFFFFF cls=00000000/00000000
[    0.541760] pci-stub 0000:01:00.1: claimed by stub

My /etc/vfio-pci1.cfg:


My ~/windows_start.bash: http://pastebin.com/F7fq2Szt

After I run the bash script, vfio-pci is being used as a driver:

$ lspci -k | grep -C 3 -i nvidia
    Kernel driver in use: ahci
00:1f.3 SMBus: Intel Corporation 7 Series/C210 Series Chipset Family SMBus Controller (rev 04)
    Subsystem: ASRock Incorporation Motherboard
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GK106 [GeForce GTX 650 Ti] (rev a1)
    Subsystem: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd Device 3557
    Kernel driver in use: vfio-pci
01:00.1 Audio device: NVIDIA Corporation GK106 HDMI Audio Controller (rev a1)
    Subsystem: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd Device 3557
    Kernel driver in use: vfio-pci
03:00.0 PCI bridge: ASMedia Technology Inc. ASM1083/1085 PCIe to PCI Bridge (rev 03)

Software versions:

$ kvm --version
QEMU emulator version 2.5.0, Copyright (c) 2003-2008 Fabrice Bellard

$ lsb_release -a
No LSB modules are available.
Distributor ID: Ubuntu
Description:    Ubuntu 14.04.3 LTS
Release:    14.04
Codename:   trusty

The problem is that when I run windows_start.bash, QEMU terminal starts, but nothing is happening. The monitor that is connected to NVIDIA GPU is black, it's supposed to be turned on by QEMU, but it doesn't. What am I doing wrong? How can I debug it? What else can I try to achieve GPU pass through?

I checked using this guide and it seems that my GPU doesn't support UEFI, so maybe that's the reason it fails? It's still weird, a lot of people from had success using even older GPUs, so there must be a way.

EDIT: I've just tried to run the vm with libvirt using virt-manager, as suggested by @Deltik. Here's what my config looks like: http://pastebin.com/W46kNcrh

The result was pretty much the same as before - it started, showed a black screen in virt-manager's window and nothing else happened. There were no errors in the debug console (which I started by running virt-manager --debug). I've also tried the same approach on Arch Linux and on a newer version of Ubuntu, it made no difference whatsoever.

I've given the bounty to @Deltik, because he gave me a few good advices, but I still wasn't able to make it work. It seems that this task is impossible to complete, at least with my current hardware.

  • 2
    one thing (although it may not fix your issue): don't involve pci-stub and vfio-pci at the same time. they are two kernel modules that is basically for the same thing -- pci(-e) passthrough. EACH of them corresponds to a DIFFERENT qemu "device": you should involve vfio-pci only if you use the newer -device vfio-pci, OR pci-stub only if you use the older -device pci-assign – Tom Yan Feb 13 '16 at 9:21
  • 1
    so basically you can remove this whole part from your start script: gist.github.com/anonymous/039bd3a033210f401d0b as long as you change pci-stub to vfio-pci (yes they take the same ids= param the same way) in /etc/initramfs-tools/modules – Tom Yan Feb 13 '16 at 9:28
  • 1
    these should probably be removed from /etc/modules as well: gist.github.com/anonymous/5d19ae3c22653a282e90 , especially pci-stub – Tom Yan Feb 13 '16 at 9:34
  • 1
    btw i faintly remember you need ovmf (UEFI) instead of seabios to make gpu/vga pass through work – Tom Yan Feb 13 '16 at 9:36
  • 1
    After running your script ~/windows_start.bash, in lspci -k, do you see Kernel driver in use: vfio-pci for the devices 01:00.0 and 01:00.1? If not, vfio-pci isn't the driver in use on those devices. – Deltik Feb 26 '16 at 14:29

You're close.

Using both pci-stub and vfio-pci

It's okay to use pci-stub to reserve a PCI device (like your GPU) to prevent the graphics driver from grabbing it, since the graphics driver (like nouveau or fglrx) will not let go of the device.

In fact, in my test, I needed to claim the PCI graphics card with pci-stub first because vfio-pci wouldn't do so on boot, which is one of the problems you experienced. While unloading one driver (pci-stub) and loading another (vfio-pci) in its place may seem ugly to some, pci-stub and vfio-pci are a reliable tag team that results in a successful virtual machine with GPU passthrough. My testing has not found success using just one or the other.

Now, you need to release the PCI device from pci-stub and hand it to vfio-pci. This part of your script should be doing that already:


vfiobind() {
        vendor=$(cat /sys/bus/pci/devices/$dev/vendor)
        device=$(cat /sys/bus/pci/devices/$dev/device)
        if [ -e /sys/bus/pci/devices/$dev/driver ]; then
                echo $dev > /sys/bus/pci/devices/$dev/driver/unbind
        echo $vendor $device > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/vfio-pci/new_id


modprobe vfio-pci

cat $configfile | while read line;do
    echo $line | grep ^# >/dev/null 2>&1 && continue
        vfiobind $line

Caveat: "vfiobind" is only needed once

As noted in this comment, it is true that the switchover from pci-stub to vfio-pci only needs to be done once after booting. This is true, but it is actually harmless to run the "vfiobind" function multiple times unless a virtual machine is currently using the affected PCI device.

If the virtual machine is using the device, the unbind operation will be blocked ("D state" process). This can be fixed by shutting down or killing the virtual machine, after which the unbind will probably succeed.

You can avoid this unnecessary extra unbinding and rebinding by changing your vfiobind() function to read as follows:

vfiobind() {
        vendor=$(cat /sys/bus/pci/devices/$dev/vendor)
        device=$(cat /sys/bus/pci/devices/$dev/device)
        if [ -e /sys/bus/pci/devices/$dev/driver/module/drivers/pci\:vfio-pci ]; then
                echo "Skipping $dev because it is already using the vfio-pci driver"
        if [ -e /sys/bus/pci/devices/$dev/driver ]; then
                echo "Unbinding $dev"
                echo $dev > /sys/bus/pci/devices/$dev/driver/unbind
                echo "Unbound $dev"
        echo "Plugging $dev into vfio-pci"
        echo $vendor $device > /sys/bus/pci/drivers/vfio-pci/new_id
        echo "Plugged $dev into vfio-pci"

Check lspci -k for successful vfio-pci driver attachment

Verify that vfio-pci has taken over using lspci -k. This example is from my equivalent setup:

01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GK104 [GeForce GTX 760] (rev a1)
    Subsystem: eVga.com. Corp. Device 3768
    Kernel driver in use: vfio-pci
01:00.1 Audio device: NVIDIA Corporation GK104 HDMI Audio Controller (rev a1)
    Subsystem: eVga.com. Corp. Device 3768
    Kernel driver in use: vfio-pci

If you don't see Kernel driver in use: vfio-pci, something went wrong with the part of your script that I pasted above.

QEMU passthrough configuration

I struggled a bit with the black display.

In an earlier revision of your script, you specified:

-device vfio-pci,host=01:00.0,bus=root.1,addr=00.0,multifunction=on,x-vga=on \
-device vfio-pci,host=01:00.1,bus=root.1,addr=00.1 \

Try letting QEMU decide what virtual bus and address to use:

-device vfio-pci,host=01:00.0,multifunction=on,x-vga=on \
-device vfio-pci,host=01:00.1 \

You also should pass the -nographic and -vga none flags to qemu-system-x86_64. By default, QEMU reveals an emulated graphics card to the virtual machine, and the virtual machine may use this other video device to display instead of your intended physical NVIDIA card.

If you're still getting a blank display, try adding the -nodefaults flag as well, which excludes the default serial port, parallel port, virtual console, monitor device, VGA adapter, floppy device, and CD-ROM device.

Now, your qemu-system-x86_64 command should be able to start your virtual machine with PCI devices 01:00.0 and 01:00.1 passed through and the display connected to 01:00.0 should be showing something.

Reference / Sample Configuration

My test isn't identical to yours, but I was able to get working graphics passthrough and USB passthrough with this qemu-system-x86_64 command, after claiming all the relevant PCI devices from pci-stub with vfio-pci:

qemu-system-x86_64 \
-enable-kvm \
-name node51-Win10 \
-S \
-machine pc-i440fx-2.1,accel=kvm,usb=off \
-cpu host,kvm=off \
-m 16384 \
-realtime mlock=off \
-smp 8,sockets=8,cores=1,threads=1 \
-uuid 5c4a3e8a-6e8e-449f-9361-29fcdc35358d \
-nographic \
-no-user-config \
-nodefaults \
-chardev socket,id=charmonitor,path=/var/lib/libvirt/qemu/node51-Win10.monitor,server,nowait \
-mon chardev=charmonitor,id=monitor,mode=control \
-rtc base=localtime,driftfix=slew \
-global kvm-pit.lost_tick_policy=discard \
-no-hpet \
-no-shutdown \
-global PIIX4_PM.disable_s3=0 \
-global PIIX4_PM.disable_s4=0 \
-boot strict=on \
-device ich9-usb-ehci1,id=usb,bus=pci.0,addr=0x5.0x7 \
-device ich9-usb-uhci1,masterbus=usb.0,firstport=0,bus=pci.0,multifunction=on,addr=0x5 \
-device ich9-usb-uhci2,masterbus=usb.0,firstport=2,bus=pci.0,addr=0x5.0x1 \
-device ich9-usb-uhci3,masterbus=usb.0,firstport=4,bus=pci.0,addr=0x5.0x2 \
-device virtio-serial-pci,id=virtio-serial0,bus=pci.0,addr=0x6 \
-drive file=/dev/zd16,if=none,id=drive-virtio-disk0,format=raw,cache=none,aio=native \
-device virtio-blk-pci,scsi=off,bus=pci.0,addr=0x2,drive=drive-virtio-disk0,id=virtio-disk0,bootindex=1 \
-drive file=/media/isos/Win10_English_x64.iso,if=none,id=drive-ide0-1-0,readonly=on,format=raw \
-device ide-cd,bus=ide.1,unit=0,drive=drive-ide0-1-0,id=ide0-1-0 \
-device ide-cd,bus=ide.1,unit=1,drive=drive-ide0-1-1,id=ide0-1-1 \
-netdev tap,fd=24,id=hostnet0,vhost=on,vhostfd=25 \
-device virtio-net-pci,netdev=hostnet0,id=net0,mac=52:54:00:11:bf:dd,bus=pci.0,addr=0x3 \
-chardev pty,id=charserial0 \
-device isa-serial,chardev=charserial0,id=serial0 \
-device usb-tablet,id=input0 \
-device intel-hda,id=sound0,bus=pci.0,addr=0x4 \
-device hda-duplex,id=sound0-codec0,bus=sound0.0,cad=0 \
-device vfio-pci,host=01:00.1,id=hostdev0,bus=pci.0,addr=0x9 \
-device vfio-pci,host=00:12.0,id=hostdev1,bus=pci.0,addr=0x8 \
-device vfio-pci,host=00:12.2,id=hostdev2,bus=pci.0,addr=0xa \
-device virtio-balloon-pci,id=balloon0,bus=pci.0,addr=0x7 \
-device vfio-pci,host=01:00.0,x-vga=on \
-vga none \
-msg timestamp=on

Relevant items from lspci -k:

00:12.0 USB controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] SB7x0/SB8x0/SB9x0 USB OHCI0 Controller
    Subsystem: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd Device 5004
    Kernel driver in use: vfio-pci
00:12.2 USB controller: Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. [AMD/ATI] SB7x0/SB8x0/SB9x0 USB EHCI Controller
    Subsystem: Gigabyte Technology Co., Ltd Device 5004
    Kernel driver in use: vfio-pci
01:00.0 VGA compatible controller: NVIDIA Corporation GK104 [GeForce GTX 760] (rev a1)
    Subsystem: eVga.com. Corp. Device 3768
    Kernel driver in use: vfio-pci
01:00.1 Audio device: NVIDIA Corporation GK104 HDMI Audio Controller (rev a1)
    Subsystem: eVga.com. Corp. Device 3768
    Kernel driver in use: vfio-pci

Observed result:

Photograph of the observed result

  • It's only silly and self-confusing to bind pci-stub to the card with initramfs first and then re-bind it with vfio-pci, EVEN IF it would still work. Not to mention that it makes the script include steps that only need to run once, so they will be unnessarily run repeatedly if you perform "power cycles" on the VM. – Tom Yan Feb 26 '16 at 16:31
  • 2
    @TomYan: Both the OP and I were unable to bind with vfio-pci on boot. Reserving with pci-stub and then switching over to vfio-pci was successful in my test. – Deltik Feb 26 '16 at 16:35
  • @Deltik: Thank you for your detailed answer. I've made the changes you suggested and updated my question accordingly. It seems that my GPU uses vfio-pci after running the script now, which is good, but nothing else has changed otherwise. The screen that is connected to the NVIDIA is still black and there are no errors in the terminal. Anything else I could try to debug the problem? My biggest issue is that I don't even understand what is wrong right now. I will try the other settings from your sample configuration, maybe something will work. – Victor Marchuk Feb 28 '16 at 14:31
  • 1
    @VictorMarchuk: Can you try adding the -nographic flag and/or -nodefaults flag to qemu-system-x86_64? These flags disable the emulated graphics device that QEMU provides by default, which hopefully would force your GeForce GTX 650 Ti to be the only graphics option. – Deltik Feb 28 '16 at 15:00
  • 1
    @VictorMarchuk: Your command needs the trailing `\` on each line except the last line. It tells the shell that there are still more parameters in the command. – Deltik Feb 28 '16 at 15:05

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