Troubleshooting – Known issues, bugs and common quirks of KVM QEMU virtual machines with gpu passthrough


Error “Unknown PCI header type ‘127’ “


The ASUS Prime x370/x470/x570 pro BIOS versions for AMD RYZEN 3000-series support (version 4602 – version 5220), will break a PCI passthrough setup. Error “Unknown PCI header type ‘127’“.

BIOS versions up to (and including) 4406, 2019/03/11 are working.

BIOS versions from (and including) 5406, 2019/11/25 are working.

Host OS

Kernel versions

  • 4.15 (18.04 LTS) – is good for VFIO use cases. One should avoid kernel below that, at least in combination with an AMD Ryzen processor as 4.15 has fixed the SMT bug.
  • 4.165.0 are good for VFIO.
  • 5.15.3 should be avoided for VFIO
  • 5.4 (20.04 LTS) is good for VFIO. Starting with 5.4 the former Kernel module VFIO is now part of the kernel itself. This changes the activation syntax and break setups from former versions.
  • 5.6 – 5.7 are good for VFIO.

Guest OS 

Windows 10


Windows releases >=1803 require the Host to havekvm ignore_msrs=1 enabled, otherwise BSOD occur.

Windows 10 1903


Do not use 6ch/9ch audio devices in the virtual machine. It creates awful stuttering and performance loss. Use ac97 audio devices instead.

Error code 43 for passed through Nvidia GPUs

The Nvidia driver throws Error Code 43, if it recognizes the GPU is being passed through to a virtual machine. I wrote an separate article on that matter.

Sound errors

After some sleepless nights I wrote an separate article on that matter.


QEMU 4.0 with Q35


Starting with QEMU version 4.0, virtual machines with q35 chip will require <ioapic driver='kvm'/> under <features> tag in the libvirt configuration (respectively kernel_irqchip=on as QEMU-machine arg).

QEMU 5.0

QEMU version 5.0 – 5.0.0-6 should be avoided. 5.0.0-6.1 is the first usable version.

4 Comment

  1. […] A common issues and troubleshooting article exists here. […]

  2. Hey, small note – your link for troubleshooting for Nvidia error links to audio setup one.

    1. Mathias Hueber says: Reply

      thank you very much!

  3. Hey, I’ve succesfully setup the GPU passthrough. But sometimes my screen goes black for a second. How can I fix this?

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