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Re: [Xen-users] Windows guest accelerated 3d?

To: "Mark Williamson" <mark.williamson@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Subject: Re: [Xen-users] Windows guest accelerated 3d?
From: "Emre Erenoglu" <erenoglu@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2007 10:43:28 +0100
Cc: Gryffus <gryffus@xxxxxxxxxx>, xen-users@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
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In the past, I was able to run 3D in Dom0 with NVIDIA ( I can't compile it on current > 2.6.21 dom0 kernels though), and use 3D functions in a linux DomU through XDMCP (though indirect rendering).

I installed nvidia libraries both in Dom0 and DomU. Using XDMCP login, DomU showed all possible opengl extensions, just direct rendering was off (due to IP based communication).

However, I was able to run compiz successfully in DomU, but milage may vary..


On Dec 4, 2007 5:14 AM, Mark Williamson <mark.williamson@xxxxxxxxxxxx > wrote:
Hi there Gryffus,

> I have few questions, so if some1 could answer them i would be very
> thankful...
> I wanna use xen for following purpose:
> I'm planning to buy shiny new box and i wanna run a linux (xen?) kernel and
> i want to run window$ 3D applications accelerated (with working directx)...
> All of this without reboot...
> 1) What i need to run windows XP in xen with _accelerated_ 3D? IOMMU, or
> something more than that? 2 graphics cards? And which processors does
> support IOMMU and what graphics card is the best for this?

At the moment you can't get 3D accelerated graphics with only one graphics

Code supporting IOMMU has recently been added to xen-unstable so it's possible
that you could pass through a PCI device to a Windows guest.  In practice, I
suspect that graphics cards haven't been tested, so passing them through may
not work.  It is very new support, anyhow.

I don't know of any companies who'd support 3D accelerated virtual machines
for you just yet :-(  I expect that will change in a year or two, though.

FYI, getting 3D graphics drivers to load under Xen can be a pain even for
dom0.  For that reason, you might find another VMM is more convenient to use.
Still, people have managed to get versions of the Nvidia and ATI drivers
working in the past...  That doesn't solve the problem of accelerating
Windows, though.

> 2) Is the best solution work normally on xen kernel (kde desktop, compiz,
> etc....) and have window$ the only 1 guest, or 1xen kernel, and 2guests - 1
> linux for working and 1 window$ for gaming? And how do i switch between all
> the VMs? Or better way is to have 1st VM running on 1st display and 2nd VM
> on 2nd display? How?

Typically you have VNC connections to each guest in order to access the
virtual screen.  Because Xen is server-oriented, most people don't do a lot
of interacting with the display device (which is currently a little slow).
For Unixy guests, you can also just use something like X-forwarding.

Because it's just VNC, the virtual machine displays appear in Windows.

If you're going to use the machine as a desktop, it makes sense to interact
with dom0 directly for normal work.  I don't think you'll be doing much
gaming with Windows if you have to use the emulated graphics though :-(

Something you might find cool is VMGL - a project (still a bit experimental, I
think) to give 3D acceleration to X11 (Linux, FreeBSD) virtual machines.
It's actually independent of Xen and can work with VMware.

Sorry I couldn't give you more positive news about Windows gaming under Xen.
In consolation, I guess I'd note that if you're running really demanding 3D
games you mightn't want the CPU overhead / network of running under


Dave: Just a question. What use is a unicyle with no seat?  And no pedals!
Mark: To answer a question with a question: What use is a skateboard?
Dave: Skateboards have wheels.
Mark: My wheel has a wheel!

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