Building a VFIO PC

What is VFIO?

I’ve been hearing about VFIO PCs for a little while now and have been intrigued.  VFIO (Virtual Function I/O) allows a virtual machine to have full access to a dedicated GPU.  This makes gaming in a Windows VM easy and offers great performance.  Dual booting an OS is longer necessary!

I have been seeking a new project and I figured a VFIO build would be fun.  After going down the rabbit hole I wanted to share my findings and detail my build.

The VFIO Build

CPU Intel i7-6800K with cooler – This has VT-d/-x and will work fine.  More cores are better for virtualization so go with six.

Motherboard – ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII – Solid LGA 1151 motherboard, a favorite of a few VFIO builds I researched.  Should be easy to configure. Integrated GPU support so the host has a GPU to work with.

RAM – Corsair LPX 32GB – Not messing around here. Again with virtualization, more is better.  You should be OK with 16 GB to start, this is always easy to upgrade later.

GPU – MSI Radeon RX 480 – This is the pass-through card that will do the heavy lifting.  An AMD card should be easier to configure than nVidia but still may need some tweaking.

HDD – Samsung 850 EVO 500GB – These haven’t let me down yet.

Case – Corsair Obsidian Series Black 450D – I’m partial to Corsair cases, clean and high quality for the price.

PSUCorsair CX750M 750W – Plenty of juice.  Modular.

Wrap Up

That should be everything you need for a nice VFIO machine.  I’m running Arch and the RX 480 pass through works great.  To get it to unbind from amdgpu I needed to blacklist amdgpu and reboot. Arch gets the integrated GPU.

/r/VFIO is your friend for getting this all working.





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