NVIDIA Officially Enables GPU Passthrough On GeForce Graphics Cards For Added Functionality On Virtual Machines

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GPU passthrough on NVIDIA GeForce graphics cards has been used for a while now and it allows virtual machines to access the GPU from the host machine. However, this technology has not been supported in the past by Nvidia, but that has changed. Nvidia now fully supports GPU passthrough on GeForce cards.

NVIDIA GeForce GPU Passthrough Allows Linux Users To Finally Play Windows Games

All GeForce graphics cards that are based on the Kepler architecture or newer will be able to take advantage of GPU passthrough for Windows virtual machines. If you ever need to run a virtual machine on a laptop, the GPU will have to be based on the Maxwell architecture or newer.

NVIDIA To Retire Its Kepler GPU Architecture ‘GeForce 600 / 700 Series’ With R470 Drivers

This does include the Titan GPUs as well. The added functionality of the GPU passthrough support allows for developers to use virtual machines to test games and software in different operating systems using only one machine. For the gamers out there on a Linux-based system, the added functionality will allow Linux users to play Windows-based games using a virtual machine.

Following is the blog post:

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.

The limitations of the NVIDIA GeForce GPU passthrough technology is that it only allows for one virtual machine to access the host machine's GPU. For those needing multiple virtual machines running off a single GPU, GeForce cards will not fit the bill. In order to run multiple virtual machines or be able to assign virtual functions to multiple virtual machines on a single GPU, a Tesla or Quadro graphics card is necessary. GPU passthrough on GeForce graphics cards is currently in beta support with the R465 or higher drivers.

Although quite situational and it won't affect very many people, it certainly helps to know that NVIDIA is now officially supporting GPU passthrough for those who take advantage of it. On top of the official support, it may be seeing some upkeep with updates and such from Nvidia.

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