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This guide will show you how to configure PCI(e) Passthrough on Proxmox VE, version 6.3-3 at the time of writing. In this case, we’ll be using a GPU as the passthrough device.

This guide assumes that the Proxmox VE OS was installed using ZFS RAID1 or similar, knowledge of vim and basic Linux administration. The big difference between this type of install is that it uses Systemd-boot instead of the typical GRUB install. If you don’t know vim, use nano instead.

If you are unsure of your settings, please refer to the setup guide post here.

Hardware used in this tutorial:

  • Motherboard: Supermicro X9DRL-3F/iF
  • CPU: 2 x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2650 v2 @ 2.60GHz (2 Sockets, 32 Cores)
  • RAM: 32GB (8 x 4GB) DIMM DDR3 1333 MHz ECC Memory
  • OS Disks: 2 x 500GB SSDs
  • Data disks: 9 x 3TB SATA Disks
  • GPU: Nvidia GTX 960 SSC

NOTE: Although it’s preferable to use a PCIe x16 slot, a PCIe x8 slot will actually work just as well. The only requirement for using a x8 is that it must be a “cut” slot, meaning that the slot is open in the rear where a larger slotted card can be used. You might notice that the motherboard I am using is this case exactly. Usually the only downside to running a GPU in this way will result in a few lost FPS, but that’s about it.

Pre-flight Checks

PCI(e) Passthrough depends on a number of requirements to work properly. Be absolutely sure that these items have been taken care of or you will waste countless hours.

Here are those strict requirements:

  • A GPU that is UEFI Boot capable. Most cards equivalent to a Nvidia GTX 600 series or newer will work. However, I’d suggest using something newer like a GTX 900 series. AMD graphics cards will work just as well, but again, they must be a similar series.
  • The BIOS/UEFI must be set to boot into the Proxmox VE OS in UEFI mode. PCI(e) passthrough requires this.
  • Virtualization flags enabled in the BIOS/UEFI, specifically VT-d and Virtualization.

Proxmox VE Host Configuration

Official Proxmox VE PCIe Documentation

IOMMU Systemd-boot

Systemd-boot Kernel Commandline Documentation

Add the intel_iommu=on iommu=pt settings to the Systemd-boot command line.

Edit the /etc/kernel/cmdline:

vim /etc/kernel/cmdline

Before modification:

root=ZFS=rpool/ROOT/pve-1 boot=zfs


root=ZFS=rpool/ROOT/pve-1 boot=zfs intel_iommu=on iommu=pt

Update the Systemd-boot scripts:

pve-efiboot-tool refresh

Kernel Modules

Add the required kernel modules:


Edit /etc/modules:

vim /etc/modules


# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
# This file contains the names of kernel modules that should be loaded
# at boot time, one per line. Lines beginning with "#" are ignored.


# /etc/modules: kernel modules to load at boot time.
# This file contains the names of kernel modules that should be loaded
# at boot time, one per line. Lines beginning with "#" are ignored.

Refresh the initramfs:

update-initramfs -u -k all

Reboot PVE host


Verify IOMMU/PCI(e) Passthrough

Verify loaded kernel cmdline:

$ cat /proc/cmdline
initrd=\EFI\proxmox\5.4.73-1-pve\initrd.img-5.4.73-1-pve root=ZFS=rpool/ROOT/pve-1 boot=zfs intel_iommu=on iommu=pt

Verify that IOMMU is enabled and Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O:

$ dmesg | grep -e DMAR -e IOMMU -e AMD-Vi
[    0.013784] ACPI: DMAR 0x000000007E2CAB18 000130 (v01 A M I  OEMDMAR  00000001 INTL 00000001)
[    0.155343] DMAR: IOMMU enabled


[    1.474961] DMAR: Intel(R) Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O

Verify vfio:

$ dmesg | grep -i vfio
[   16.913623] VFIO - User Level meta-driver version: 0.3

Look for GPU:

$ lspci -nn | grep NVID
03:00.0 VGA compatible controller [0300]: NVIDIA Corporation GM206 [GeForce GTX 960] [10de:1401] (rev a1)
03:00.1 Audio device [0403]: NVIDIA Corporation GM206 High Definition Audio Controller [10de:0fba] (rev a1)

Look for IOMMU_groups and grep using hardware address above:

find /sys/kernel/iommu_groups/ -type l | grep 03:00

If you have similar output, congratulations! You have sucessfully passed through your PCI(e) devices. If for some reason you don’t show this output, go back and re-verify all the above steps.

Install Windows

Get Installer ISOs

Download the following:

Upload them to the Proxmox VE host:

  1. Login to the web UI: https://<pve-ip>:8006
  2. Click on hypervisor hostname on the left, then click local (<pve-hostname>), then ISO Images, then click Upload, browse and upload the two files above.

You should see something like this after you are done:

ISO Images

Create Windows VM

  1. Click Create VM in the upper right.
  2. General
    1. Set VM ID:. E.g. 111, anything above 100 will do
    2. Set Name:. E.g. windows-10
    3. Click Next
  3. OS
    1. Select Win10_20H2_v2_English_x64.iso as the ISO Image:, under Use CD/DVD...
    2. Select Microsoft Windows for Type:
    3. Select 10/2016/2019 for Version:
    4. Click Next
  4. System
    1. Select VirtIO-GPU for Graphic card:
    2. VirtIO SCSI for SCSI Controller:
    3. Qemu Agent:, Checked
    4. OVMF (UEFI) for BIOS:
    5. q35 for Machine:
    6. Add EFI Disk:, Checked
    7. local-zfs for Storage:
    8. Click Next
  5. Hard Disk
    1. SCSI for Bus/Device:
    2. Write back for Cache.
    3. local-zfs for Storage:
    4. 80 for Disk size (GiB):, or any size you prefer
    5. Check the following: Discard, SSD emulation:, IO thread:, Skip replication:.
    6. Click Next
  6. CPU
    1. 4 for Cores, 1 for Sockets:
    2. Type:, this one is the most important setting. Set this to IvyBridge if you have this family of processors. If you don’t know, see the mast list here: Intel CPU Architechture List
    3. Enable NUMA, Checked.
    4. pcid, + in the bottom under Extra CPU Flags:
    5. Click Next
  7. Memory
    1. 8192 for Memory (MiB), or any size you prefer. Just multiply the number of GB by 1024. For example: 8 * 1024 = 8192.
    2. Click Next
  8. Network
    1. Intel E1000 for Model:. This one could vary for you. However, I use this one because Microsoft has drivers for this. If you use anything else you may have to install drivers when installing Windows from the ISO.
    2. Click Next

You should see something like this on the Confirm page.

Windows 10 VM Confirm

Click Finish.

Add hardware before first boot

Perform the following:

  1. Click on the VM ID you created, in this example 111 (windows-10) on the left side.
  2. Click Hardware
  3. Add a secondary DVD drive, Click Add, CD/DVD Drive, Bus/Device: SATA, Storage: local, ISO Image: virtio-win-0.1.190.iso, Create.
  4. Add the GPU, Click Add, PCI Device, Select the GPU you wish to pass through, E.g. 0000:03:00.0, Check all boxes but Primary GPU, Click Add

Install Windows

  1. Select Console on the left, then click Start in the upper right.
  2. As soon as you see the Press any key to boot from CD or DVD.., Hit ENTER on your keyboard. If you miss it, reboot and try again.
  3. Once the Windows installer loads, fill out all the details until you hit Where do you want to install Windows?, then hit Load driver. Load driver
  4. Click Browse, then Browse again, double click on the virtio-win-0.1.190 disk under This PC, then scroll down and click on vioscsi, then w10, then amd64, then hit OK. Hit Next until you get back to the install menu. NOTE: If you used the non-Intel network driver, the driver can be found here as well. Select driver RedHat driver
  5. Now that the disk is found, select Drive 0 Unallocated Space and hit Next.
  6. Finish the Windows install.
  7. On first Windows boot while going through personalization settings, be sure to DISABLE all the settings on Choose privacy settings for your device, they love to track you…

Configure Windows and install GPU drivers

Perform the following:

  1. Make sure that a password is set for this user. Select Start, Settings, Accounts, Sign-in options. Under Password, select the Change button and follow the steps.
  2. Enable Remote Desktop. Select Start, Settings, System, Remote Desktop. Use the slider to enable Remote Desktop.
  3. Connect to host using RDP.
  4. Install the Qemu Agent. Click on Windows Explorer, This PC, virtio-win-0.1.190, guest-agent, then install qemu-ga-x86_64.
  5. Open Device Manager by right-clicking the Windows logo (start button) and selecting Device Manager. Once open, install all the missing drivers for the Other devices/PCI *. Right-click each one and select Update driver, then Browse my computer for drivers, Click Browse then select the virtio-win-0.1.190 disk under This PC and hit Next. Install the drivers until there are no more exclamation drivers under Other devices. It should look like this when complete: Before: Install other driver After: After other driver install
  6. Download and install the Nvidia drivers. Download the drivers from this link.. Install the drivers, but don’t install the GeForce Experience.
  7. Shut down the VM through Windows.
  8. Select Hardware, click PCI Device, then enable all check boxes, i.e. Primary GPU.
  9. Start up the VM.
  10. Verify that the GPU is working properly. Right-click start menu, and hit Device Manager, if it’s working you won’t see an exclamation point on the GPU. Open up the Display adapters and right-click the GPU and

    Properly working GPU (No Code 43): Device-manager-GPU

    Check Task Manager too: Task-Manager

  11. If everything is working properly, you can connect the GPU to an external display. You may have to reboot the VM, but once it comes up, you should see the external display show video. If you don’t, or if you only see the background, you may have to set the display to: Duplicate these displays. I’d also recommend setting the resolution to 1920 x 1080. You’ll get better gaming performance and will be able to have a better streaming experience.
  12. Last, but not least, set a static IP address so that it’s easier to connect to this host. If you’re ever in a situation where you don’t know the IP, you can click on the VM on the left side, hit Summary and you should see the VM’s IP under the IPs section.

If you made it this far without issues, congratulations!

Configure remote gaming

This section will likely vary depending on how you want to use this VM. Instead of repeat steps from other guides, I’ll just link them here.

Configure streaming

I’d strongly suggest you set up streaming so that this host can be used remotely. This is a great guide put together by the extremely helpful folks at serverbuilds.net.

This guide was built for UnRAID, which we aren’t using here, but the streaming part of this guide directly applies here. Go ahead and follow the instructions outlined here.

I’d recommend installing the following:

Configure VM as a physical host

If you plan to use this VM as a physical machine, there are a few things to consider. It might be helpful to set this VM to start on Proxmox boot, click on the VM on the left, hit Options, double-click Start at boot and check the box.

In order to use this VM, you’ll need to have a way to hook up a keyboard and mouse. I’d suggest passing through an entire USB port so that you can attach a USB hub to connect a series of devices. To do this, be sure the VM is shutdown before you do anything, then click the VM on the left-hand side, click Hardware, click Add, then select USB Device, click the option Use USB Port and select a port. Once it has been attached, boot the VM. You should be able to use those newly attached devices.

If you use an external monitor, or TV, I’d recommend using an HDMI port because you’ll be able to get audio from the video card so that you don’t have to install an external audio card. You could also use a USB audio card, but it’s up to you.

More documentation for USB passthrough can be found here.


  • PCI Passthrough errors/issues
    • Re-check all the setup and verification steps above.
    • Be absolutely sure that the system booted via UEFI.
    • Make sure that Display is set to VirtIO-GPU.
    • Also verify that the resolution is set properly for you displays.
  • GPU (Code 43) Error
    • This can be a real tough one, with an absolute TON of potential issues that would cause this, so be patient and look over your settings.
    • First try all the steps in the bullet-points above.
    • Try to uninstall and re-install the drivers for the GPU. Here’s some helpful resources for this option here.
    • Make sure that your video is new enough to support PCI passthrough.
    • Double-check your hardware for compatability.
    • Re-verify that VT-d has been enabled in the UEFI/BIOS.
    • Be absolutely sure that your kernel has loaded the iommu settings.

If all else fails, check out the resources below. Take your time and check off each item as you verify it. It’s truly shocking how one tiny setting being off can cause it all to fail.