AMD or Nvidia GPU for pass-through?

Last time this was discussed was 2013 so I thought it would be time for another discussion.

Some AMD GPU’s have reset problems. There doesn’t appear to be a rhyme or reason to know which GPU’s are handicapped. There is also the higher power usage.

Nvidia has the VM death mode until you tell the VM to lie. The workaround is good unless Nvidia kills it with a driver update.

So what are the opinions and why, should I go with an AMD or Nvidia GPU for PCI pass through?

Considering Nvidia’s anti-consumer practices I’d go for an AMD card. While it AMD cards use more power than Nvidia, AMD cards can be undervolted heavily which everybody who does PCIe passthrough should be able to do :wink:
I haven’t heard of this reset problem…


Pretty sure it was on Wendell’s stream.

Also, here:

If you shut down the guest you need to shutdown the host to get the GPU to behave correctly. It was a pretty miserable experience with an RX580. Then again, I guess that statement applies regardless of passthrough in my experience.


Doesn’t the Sapphire not suffer from this problem or am I thinking of something else?

I’m in agreement here.

Nvidia puts software checks into their drivers to prevent GPU-passthrough. It has been worked around by the Qemu authors, but the fact that they even had to is reason enough for AMD to be the right answer to this question.

I would roll nvidia. there are reset issues like you said on AMD GPU’s they cause downtime annoyances and inconveniences… Nvidia is just easier… It just works better in most cases Ive found. Im having major issues with AMD GPUs in linux lately… I love both companies products but Ill have to nod my head to nvidia on this one. The QEMU workaround works just fine… NVIDIA only implemented the software check on the Consumer cards I believe…

Rolling AMD is fine to… do what works for you… at the end of the day it needs to work for you… AMD does have solid support for passthrough but any very recent card has driver issues in general and sometimes requires a grub argument that gimps power staging significantly… hindering the performance of the card… Not all cards behave this way so do your research… We can aid witht hat research

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I think it’s more about what GPU than about what company. Unless of course ethics matter to you as a consumer. Then it gets complicated.


Thank you all for the reply.

The work around for the AMD GPU reinitialization was in my understanding broken with the newest Windows 10 update.

There are not very many ethical companies in my opinion, maybe I am a cynic or I’ve been around the block to many times.

Here is the AMD card I was considering.

275€, Sapphire Nitro + Radeon RX 590 8GB GDDR5, 11289-01-20G

It is my understanding that the Linux problem with this card is now fixed. I also read that the card works in a VM however only one poster and the author never returned to confirm. So this feels like a roll of the dice.

If I go with Nvidia I haven’t picked a card yet. The price jumps at least 75€. I am looking at 1070 based cards.

I wanted to reward AMD with a purchase however I feel like they have let Linux users down with the current state, reset bug and RX 590 Linux problem. Although I admit new devices often have problems out of the box.

I really can’t see a great choice either way.

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Well, of course every company tries to earn as much money as possible. But there are differences, which is why I spend my money on more ethical companies if possible.

This can and should be a separate discussion. Specific to passthrough, the arguments of who or who isn’t evil is not relevant. Let’s reign in the judgement and morality lectures and stay on topic


First of all, I don’t apply a binary classification of good/evil.

Second, when deciding which product to buy this should always be a contributing factor. (And might be ignored, I still buy products using Amazon). I also didn’t digress or elaborate at length as to why he must not buy it. Furthermore, I only wrote one sentence on this particular subject, so I didn’t try to hijack this thread either :wink:

Back on topic, the Nvidia cards in my neighborhood just went up in price so I guess I take a chance on the RX 590 card. I still have just over a month to ponder the purchase. Hopefully by then something more concrete will form.


Hey! Have you bought RX 590 yet?

I’m also looking too buy one for passthrough, but now when Nvidia GTX 1660 is comming up that looks quite promising in price (maybe not if you see it as an renewed 1070…). RX 590 in general also seems loaded with more vram for the buck.

About 9 more days and I’ll buy a RX590. I’ve decided I am not comfortable with Nvidia blocking the driver for a single user running a passthrough config. I think that is simply greed.

With the 1660ti there is a rumor the Vega 56 will drop in price and that may push down the RX590 as well. As may the 1660 when it launches.

I’ve only heard little about that blocking with Nvidia, I need to read up on that, thanks for pointing that out!

@Marten Yes, that would be very interesting to follow. I’m not in hurry to buy so that is ok. Vega is something I have looked too aswell but it I especially like the looks of that blue Sapphire RX 590, it will fit nice in my case :slight_smile:

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I thought of that too. I’ve been waiting since November, held back by money so I may not wait.

The blocking is only Nvidia.

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