Multi Monitor setup with Linux Passthrough

I am not entirely sure what section this should go under so I posted here.

My question is I have x6 monitors atm running off 2 GPU’s. I’m looking at upgrading my current crappy MOBO/CPU system with newer Ryzen system.

Thinking of going with the following:
CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 2600
MOBO: Asus Prime x470
RAM: 16 gb DDR4 @3000mhz

GPU: RX 580 Red Devil
ALSO Will buy a:
Workstation GPU: AMD FirePro W600

Question is, what would be the best method of setup, and how would this work trying to figure it out before i go slinging money around.

I would like to setup a VM with passthrough for Gaming on windows within linux, which runs on the RX580 and be able to use the x6 monitors with the workstation GPU. Just curious how this would work as to the plugs all monitors plugged into the Workstation x6 ports, then the VM just loaded visually through the workstation but VM utilizes the GPU RX 580 for the processing?

Is there any hardware I might be missing to get this setup working to spec? Is the above hardware capable of VM passthrough or is there any incompatibilities im not thinking of.

Thank you!

So if I understand correctly, you are planning to use the FirePro W600 for the Host Linux, and then passthrough the RX 580 to the Windows VM, then also plugging in all six of your monitors into the W600?

In a standard VM from KVM, Virtualbox, or VMware, the window that you see the VM OS in is coming from the virtual GPU. That virtual GPU, in general, has poor or nonexistent 3D(gaming) performance. That is why people use GPU passthrough to get good 3D performance. But to use that performance you need to use the output from the passed through GPUs.

That means you have a couple of options.

  1. Dedicate one or more monitors for the VM by plugging them into the passed through GPU.
  2. Have both VM and host GPU plugged into one or more monitors and switch inputs as needed.
  3. Use a KVM switch
  4. Use a remote desktop software from the host to the guest.
  5. Use looking-glass.

I would recommend either option 3 or 5.

Also, a Ryzen 2600 and 16gb ram is fine. The motherboard is ok I think, the main thing you want to check is what the IOMMU groups are on any motherboard before you buy if possible. See link below.

I would recommend getting a second keyboard+mouse set if you do not already have one. It may only be used for troubleshooting and setup, but can be very handy to have. If you are going for looking-glass or the remote desktop, you probably will want an EDID emulator. Be careful before you buy a KVM switch, I know many have issues but someone else would have to fill you in on specifics. It is nice to have a USB PCIe card passed through so you can hotplug USB devices for windows, although many do not play nice with passthrough, I think Renesas chipsets tend to have the least issues.

I would use Option 3 as I already have a KVM switch. Good idea on the 2nd keyboard/mouse which I already also have for trouble shooting my linux mining rigs in case i need to get in when ssh isnt working.

You’re also spot on with issues with KVM’s this one I bought was kinda cheap and it has problem with like double printing Keys when using a keyboard on it. Which I can just bypass with another keyboard. Till I get a better one.

Thanks for tips.

I assume the Pro Prime board is good, based on that reddit link.

Oh as to the GPU’s I have not yet picked up a workstation card was looking at going to Ebay for it a used one to get it cheap. But I am currently using my 580 and an older Nvidia card to use x6 monitors atm. If I picked up a 1070 instead you think would be a better idea?

Use 1070 for Windows VM and 580 for Linux host? I assume using those GPU’s would be better/easier for setup vs workstation or older nividia im currently using (460)

For GPUs lets see-

For most relevant AMD cards, they use AMDGPU on linux and are plug and play, so they are fine for the host. However, many have a reset bug, so they stop working if you shutdown the VM and will not work until a full reboot. This can be somewhat ameliorated by a couple of tricks, and not every card is affected to the same extent as some have issues with any VM shutdown, others only have issues with a force shutdown. I am not sure if the reset bug effects firepro cards.

For Nvidia cards, the gaming drivers are gimped so that they throw a code 43 error in windows if they detect that they are running in a VM. The workstation drivers(which only work on workstation cards) do not have this gimping. The code 43 can be worked around currently, but who knows for driver versions next month or next year. Also, to use OVMF, the GPU needs to be UEFI compatible. If it is not, compatibility can be added to the vBIOS without to much issue, going back to at least the gt(x) 500 series and possibly further back.

The GTX 700 series and older work well with Nouveau on Linux, while 900 and newer need the Nvidia proprietary driver for good performance.

I just dont see why I would buy a workstation card, if they same price as what I can get a 1070 for, So I could use the RX 580 as Linux host, and 1070 as windows.

I’ve had issues in the past with same amd cards in machine with conflict of drivers, so i prob think its best to keep one amd and other nvidia.

Considering I dont need them all plugged into 1 card, makes workstation gpu one pointless i guess.

I assume I just throw all 5 into the RX580 then 1 into the GTX 1070 that will utilize the kvm for the vmware.