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[Xen-devel] VGA graphics passthrough experience

Xen 4.2.0-r1, Xen-tools-r3 from portage, USE=python*2_7, hvm, qemu
Gentoo Kernel @ 3.7.10-r1,
Passed through as secondary:
05:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Tahiti XT [Radeon HD 7970]
05:00.1 Audio device: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Tahiti XT HDMI Audio [Radeon HD 7970 Series]
Primary adapter:
06:00.0 VGA compatible controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] nee ATI Cape Verde XT [Radeon HD 7770 GHz Edition] using the open source radeon driver on dom0

Mobo: Gigabyte GA-X79S-UP5
Bios: F3 (latest non-beta)
I have also passed through an USB bus for KVM-input, gaming mouse, USB soundcard.

GuestOS: Win7 Professional 64bit
Driver:, released 28/03/13

I'm just back from a game of Starcraft II, so it works, and very nicely at that, but, I suppose you want to hear the buts:

I tried some different drivers, because it was not obvious when it worked. By worked I mean it's current condition, which is:
After installing drivers, I need to do a hard reboot of dom0. I then start the domU, and launch vnc. The vnc screen then locks on "Starting Windows". I can then switch to the output on my passthrough card, which then is logged in (I have autologin set up), and the card runs nicely (Took some time before I discovered this, I used to just reboot domU when vnc froze). The standard VGA adapter "has a problem and has been stopped" as reported by Device Manager. If I reboot the domU, the standard VGA output (vnc) logs in, but then the ATI card "has a problem and has been stopped". I need to do a dom0 reboot again to get the ATI card working (and stdVGA failing).

I have not tried any of the masked versions of xen (4.2.1-r[12]), because it takes something very specific for me to unmask anything. I might test that in the future.

If that is a good as it gets for now, that's more than enough for me. Still, if you have any idea how to get this sorted, please do tell. If you want any more information, or require me to do some testing, please do ask.

I want to thank you devs for making this. Finally I can reduce windows to a true directx wrapper, while not hogging my hardware. I am so glad that doing an 2 hour Starcraft update or a 10 hour game download now does not render my computer otherwise useless for that time.

Ole Johan Væringstad
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