The Problem: 5 Laptops [4 personal, 1 work, mostly Windows], and tired, tired, tired of MS and Windows. Tired. And wanting to diversify above beyond Win10 / Server 2016 + VMware virtualisation and EUC.
The Solution: Enter my Dell Precision M6700 [i7-3740QM 4C / 8T > 3.7GHz, 32Gb, 128Gb mSata [OS], 1TB SSD [VMs] + 500Gb SSD [Data], Intel HD 4000 + Nvidia K5000M 4Gb. The best laptop I currently own with my shiny new 4k external monitor connected.
I have a homelab server running various VMs for mucking around with but this is generally home production stuff, but I needed something a bit more portable for running VMs, hopefully consolidating machines, and being able to test bits and bats for work such as staging changes and upgrades. So, I picked up the M6700 and looked at running Ubuntu 18.04 as the base OS from the mSata, running my VMs off of SSD, virtualising my laptops, and being able to do a little gaming. Nothing too heavy, a bit of GTA V online plus a little Counterstrike Source or CS GO [maybe].
The P2V and getting things to run under KVM > Virtual Machine Manager has so far being interesting and ‘fairly’ straight forward until I started going down the road of GPU Passthrough and that’s where I’ve got into a bit of a mess.
I was hoping to run the Host OS off of the Intel GPU and then output the desktop of a Ubuntu or Win10 VM to the Nvidia, out of the HDMI port on the laptop and into my external monitor. I’ve looked at various tutorials to do this, but all roads end in no signal being displayed on the monitor as soon as I passthrough the Nvidia. After a bit more digging, I’m guessing that I’ve ended up down the rabbit hole of Muxed and Muxless GPU’s, Nvidia Optimus and that’s why I’m getting nothing via Passthrough. Something about the Nvidia rendering a game for example but then passing it to the Intel so that it can be displayed on the laptop LCD or an external monitor - even though the Nvidia is supposed to be the boss of both the HDMI and Displayport outputs on the laptop.
So, I’ve looked around to see what other options are available and feeling inspired [albeit] slightly lost by the other options available in terms of Bumblebee / Prime and Looking Glass. I’m not sure if I’m going down the right rabbit hole, or if I’m about to hit another dead end.
My ideal scenario would be, I switch on my laptop which loads the Host OS Ubuntu. I can then launch my work Win10 guest VM which would span across both the laptop screen and the external monitor. Then for personal use be able to run a guest VM on each screen [1 Win10 and 1 Ubuntu]. And also be able to game on a Win10 or Ubuntu VM [or / Pop OS looks quite interesting] on my external at monitor @ 1080p seen as my aging Nvidia won’t be able to output games @ 2160p at a decent FPS which is fair enough.
I’m sure there will be others out there who have gone down a similar route so I’m looking for a bit of inspiration please as to where you ended up and how you got there. And I’m a Linux / Ubuntu n00b so be gentle!
Answers on a postcard please…