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OSX on Parallels Workstation (Extreme) - partial success (SL)


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#1
maxiuca

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Parallels Workstation Extreme is so far the only desktop virtualization software that allows video card passthrough (with Windows as host) to a virtual machine using Intel's VT-d. My goal is to run osx in a VM that has direct access to a GPU and therefore full QE/CI acceleration.

Since I haven't found any information about a similar project anywhere on the web I decided to start a topic here, hoping to get some attention and help from more experienced osx86 fans :)

My hardware is: Asus Rampage IV Extreme, 32 GB of RAM, i7 3930K stepping C2, OC'ed to 4.7 GHz, GTX 680 as main card, Quadro FX 1800 for passthrough.

The tricky thing about Parallels is that you need a Quadro card (and only several are tested and "guaranteed" to work) to passthrough. For some reason regular GTX cards don't work (I've tried several: GTX 470, GTX 570, GTX 680, GT 120 and GT 240). I've chose FX 1800 cause it was the cheapest of the supported ones but also and mainly because a Linux program that I'm using requires this particular graphics adapter...

Here is what I was able to achieve so far:

1. Working and so far quite stable installation of SL 10.6.8 with sound, network and shared folders

2. Passthrough seems to be working, the card is recognized by the system, the nvidia kext is being always loaded (no matter if I use Graphics Enabler, Injectors or gfx strings), but I always get a black screen when the graphics driver kicks in (although the monitor wakes up for a moment as if some kind of initialization was happening)

So the system starts fine, I can log into it via TeamViewer, but when I check the graphic card in system profiler the "Display" entries are empty as if no monitor was connected.
I've tried Graphics Enabler, several injectors, GFX strings in Chameleon as well as DSDT (although I probably did something wrong, cause DSDT method gave the same results as plain startup)

I'm out of ideas. My last guess is that I may have a wrong NVCAP, cause FX 1800 had one DVI and two DP ports and NVCAP Maker generates a string that closely resembles strings of regular (2xDVI or DVI and VGA) GTX cards.

#2
sebus

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Wow, it cost $1,299.00 which is more then I paid to Precision T5500 itself....

You are running this setup on a completely unsupported Platform (System Requirements), which might be a reason why this is happening.

Could you test the passthrough by installing Windows 7 as a guest?

Even on their own forums there is hardly any help available... but worth checking

PWE is not the only one that does the graphics passthrough, XEN 4 does it as well

Maybe you should try CentOS as host, you see that a user reported it as a working solution?

sebus

#3
maxiuca

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Wow, it cost $1,299.00 which is more then I paid to Precision T5500 itself....

I know, the price is crazy. I got the license for PWE as a part of a specialized software bundle, that comes with a PWE and preinstalled Linux VM.

You are running this setup on a completely unsupported Platform (System Requirements), which might be a reason why this is happening.
Could you test the passthrough by installing Windows 7 as a guest?

It was the first thing I did and yes it works perfectly in both Linux and W7 as guests (with Windows 7 as host).

BTW. I think unsupported platform is one of the last arguments for one to use on this board ;)
But seriously, as long as the mobo manufacturer doesn't cripple VT-d then it should work on PWE regardless of the chipset.

Even on their own forums there is hardly any help available... but worth checking

No use, they'd just say osx is not supported.

PWE is not the only one that does the graphics passthrough, XEN 4 does it as well
Maybe you should try CentOS as host, you see that a user reported it as a working solution?

OSX on PWE is just a side project. Windows needs to be my primary OS. Of course I can just instal osx on another drive but that not the point :)

#4
sebus

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Nobody is interested in Parallels (here or elsewhere, as I found from experience).
I think it is a pity, as Mac Desktop 5/6 (did not yet try 7) were way better then anything else (Fusion) on Mac - at least at that time, it might have changed ever since

So while wishing you luck with this one, I would not bet any money on it to be ever sorted (if it does not work, it does not work, especially that guest OS is rather limited on in PWE, beyond Windows there is only Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.7 6 x64 & Fedora 14 15 16 x64)

sebus

#5
maxiuca

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Well, I'm not going to give up yet. I know that more exotic/unsupported GPUs can be problematic and I haven't found a single post anywhere on boards regarding the support of QFX1800.

The list of guest OSes on Parallels website is indeed short, but probably most of Linux distros will run just fine. I run CentOS and I've got the whole package, so network, shared folders, GPU passthrough and mouse being released from host to guest and back when the cursor reaches the border of the screen.

As for OSX, you can copy the guest os installation package from the MAC version of Parallels and install it in the guest running in PWE for Windows, which enables sound and shared folders. The virtual GPU drivers also works but for some reason the mouse cursor is gone, so I had no way to test it further.

#6
sebus

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CentOS works, as it is RH anyway. Wonder if Debian or Suse would also work?





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