hardware for workstation

rootbert

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hi guys,

After more than 9 years with my current computer it is time for me to upgrade. My view on how one should life is quite radical when it comes to environmental topics, thus this system should be as environmentally friendly as possible, ready for some upgrades in a few years.

For my job I need quite some VMs to run, so basically for me this leaves 3 topics to give me some enlightenment:

*) CPU: I tend to use the newest generation of AMDs Ryzen CPUs. Is FreeBSD (-stable) really running stable on AMDs or are there some quirks? (as I have always been given the suggestion to buy Intel CPUs)

*) bhyve: I have read about bhyve GPU pass-thru, however could not find out if that was on -current. I plan to use one monitor as an additional virtualized desktop with its own passed throuh USB keyboard and mouse. Is this scenario already possible in -stable 12 and as a side note, it would be cool to also have sound passed through for some gaming in a VM. So basically 2 persons working on the machine simultaneously, one on the host and one in the VM.
Also: how is it with bhyve pause/resume or migrate - will this feature be in 12.1? (OpenBSDs vmd is so nice in this regard but does not offer a good filesystem ;-)

*) Graphics: what is the suggested chip manufacturer or graphics card (or maybe a 2nd equivalent card for bhyve passthrough) for the scenario mentioned above?

thanks for your tipps and comments!
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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(And if somebody mentions nonsensical BusID workaround for Nvidia, punch them in the face.)
That's not fair. You know I had it working and others did as per the web posts that started this.
Plus it was featured on the FreeBSD video site with Allan Jude.

I think this comes down to hardware. Both SuperMicro X9SRL and X10SRI work with GT7xx Nvidia. 3 video cards to be exact.
Where I had trouble was getting keyboard/mouse to each desktop.

Look at the mailing list. We might be gaining VGA and HDA audio too with Bhyve.
 

shkhln

Aspiring Daemon

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That's not fair. You know I had it working and others did as per the web posts that started this.
It's your hardware configuration, the kernel driver doesn't care about Xorg configs.

I think this comes down to hardware. Both SuperMicro X9SRL and X10SRI work with GT7xx Nvidia. 3 cards to be exact.
Yes, but we don't have enough information to make an educated guess whether it would work on even a slightly different hardware.

Plus it was featured on the FreeBSD video site with Allan Jude.
Meh.
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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I think the video card assigned to VM is a BIOS thing. You must set everything to EFI Including Option ROMS.
Some boards do not have EFI settings for option ROM. The SuperMicro board have settings on top of settings.

For the original poster, this is what I want to try. EPYC on SuperMicro H11 boards. That is some serious hardware
 

shkhln

Aspiring Daemon

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You know I had it working and others did as per the web posts that started this.
By the way, I only know about you. The original "BusID" tweet didn't specify hardware and I'm not aware of any other people with working GPU passthrough (with Nvidia's blob).
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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Yes but there was a picture of the box on his tweet. It was a GT710.
I went and bought 4 of them for testing by that picture alone. They are useful to me because they come in 8x PCIe format.
I had previously been enamored by some Nvidia Quadro 1X PCIe NVS290/NVS300 video cards I put in some headless servers with only a 4x free slot.
 

shkhln

Aspiring Daemon

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You are mixing things up a bit. Nobody ever was able to make the card from https://twitter.com/bhyve_dev/status/760265198070411264 work, or, at least, it was never reported to work. The "BusID" tweet features an RTX 2070, but that tells us precisely nothing.

I have no beef with that person either, I assume that BusID bit is a genuine mistake. It just that people uncritically repeating the same bullshit get on my nerves. It shows how little interest there is in bhyve GPU passthrough.
 

Phishfry

Son of Beastie

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What I did was tie all three Bhyve video cards into my Belkin KVM switch. That way I could flip between my hpyervisor and VM desktops with the flip of a switch or hotkey. That was my goal and it worked.
Once I scaled the peak I had to ask myself, What exactly do you need 3 desktops for? I do all my desktop work from a laptop.
I keep a Linux laptop for a Linux desktop. Same with Windows. I have a CAD laptop I use only for work.

I could see one bhyve server serving up 4 workers desktop in a small office.
You would need a motherboard with 8-10 slots unless you want to software emulate keyboard/mouse..
 

Alain De Vos

Active Member

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The future is bhyve, but the drivers are "work in progress". On the other hand the sound and video drivers for Virtualbox are stable. Then there is qemu which is very slow.
 
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rootbert

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don't know exactly what you mean.
but my workstation should also be a showcase for using freebsd in an office, I want to suggest this scenario to some of my customers...
 
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rootbert

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what would be a good graphics card - AMD or nvidia? gpu passthrough is off the list if it is not stable ... might evaluate linux for this stuff. but I would use several monitors for work and maybe some gaming once in a while when I reboot to linux/steam (though thisbis not important and my 9 year old 1GB nvidia card can be used for my games)
 

steveoc64

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There is a "new" ASUS X570 / AM4 board that officially supports ECC DDR4.

No gamer bling - just very understated flat black with a "built for pros" logo on the VRM heatsink. Dual nics, etc.

Being sold through mainstream channels, at mainstream++ pricing ... looks like a good option for a BSD Workstation.

 
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rootbert

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looks nice, but the supermicro suggestion also sounds nice. what graphics card manufacturer do you recommend?
 

olli@

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what graphics card manufacturer do you recommend?
I'm very happy with my Nvidia GT 1030. It's inexpensive, low power consumption, more than enough power for office / desktop / video use. Also, 3D acceleration is supported, so those cool 3D screen savers work fine (for showing off). Also, 3D OpenGL games like CrackAttack run flawlessly with maximum quality settings. I'm using a curved UWQHD screen (3440 × 1440), but also tried it with my 65" UHD TV, which also worked fine and produced an amazing image quality. Unfortunately, that TV is a tad large for my desk …

My previous mainboard had on-board AMD graphics. It was more difficult to get it working reliably with FreeBSD, the experience was not as smooth as with the Nvidia card. Therefore, my recommendation is Nvidia. But that's based on my personal experience only, yours may differ.

As far as VMs are concerned, I'm using VirtualBox because it supports passing my Blu-Ray drive into the guest (Linux VM). Bhyve does not support that.
 
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rootbert

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concerning mainboards: just read that the supermicro X11SSH-TF which is compatiblebwith coreboot, which sounds awesome! it also comes with two Intel X550 10Gbit cards which are supported by FreeBSD
 
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rootbert

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one more thing: does anyone know if nested virtualization with bhyve is being worked on?
 
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rootbert

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oh, no. thanks. I was suspecting this because there are various threads on the forums concerning AMD cpus ... but I did not want to believe it because I really want to avoid Intel cpus.
 
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