I have a laptop with Windows installed that I want to keep but occasionally I need to run a program made for Linux that also requires GPU-enhancement with CUDA, i.e. Nvidia card is necessary. Finding a card is not the problem though. Laptop has two GPUs: integrated Intel and Nvidia GPU.

I'd like to figure out the best way to stay with Windows while being able to run that Linux prog.

Linux as virtual machine (VM) with type 2 hypervisor would be convenient as I would be able to use both host and guest OS simultaneously but I found posts saying no type 2 supervisor supports VMs using host GPU, not in the pass-through mode at least. But those posts may be out-of-date. Installing Linux as a VM with Type 1 hypervisor is another option but I could only find posts metioning that only VMWare ESXi hypervisor could do the job and only in the paid Pro mode at that. Plus, some posts say ESXi hypervisor won't work on a laptop at all.

As I need no other VM, using type 1 hypervisor seems to offer no advantages compared to dual-boot system (dual OS). With dual OS getting access to GPU shouldn't be a problem. But then how would a dual Windows-Linux system compare to live Linux booted form a USB. I need to run the program in question only occasionally but I'm not sure if live Linux has access to GPU installed on the laptop.

Can someone please give their opinion on the best (or the only functional) setup? And please correct any mistakes in my assumptions, which I'm pretty sure there are plenty of.

  • The major problem with passing through a GPU to the VM is that your host no longer has a GPU for its own use. So you need to install a second GPU, if you haven't already got one. For laptops with dual GPUs it can possibly be done though I haven't tried it myself. – Michael Hampton Jun 28 at 21:27
  • @MichaelHampton, thank you for commenting. I should have mentioned that the laptop does have two GPUs. I updated my post accordingly – prishly Jun 29 at 10:51
  • It looks like for these, you can only use them for CUDA compute, but not for displaying graphics. I found this guide which looks quite complex. – Michael Hampton Jun 29 at 21:34

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