QEMU/Devices/Video cards

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Video/Graphic cards can be added to QEMU through the -vga <model> argument.

How to add a video card

You can add a video card with the following:

qemu-system-(arch) -vga <model>



Model Name Bus Description Minimum OS
std Standard VGA ISA/PCI Virtually every OS has a driver for the "standard" VGA. It is the recommended card to use, since it has universal support. If the guest OS your using supports VESA 2.0 VBE extensions, you can access high resolution modes. All
cirrus Cirrus Logic GD5446 ISA/PCI Cirrus Logic GD5446 video card, from the mid 1990s. Most Linux distributions and all Windows versions from Windows 95 include support for this video card. It is recommended for older guests (operating systems from the 90s), like Windows 9x. There is also a Windows 3.1 driver available on Vogons. Windows: Windows 3.1
vmware VMWare Virtual SVGA PCI Virtual SVGA II video card, which has some bugs but is usable. It is recommended to use this card on Windows 9x operating systems, because it allows higher resolutions and a True Color (32-bit) mode. Note: This card only supports 32-bit mode and 16 color mode, so anything that strictly requires 256 colors will not run. It also requires a special driver to be installed. Windows: Windows 95
qxl Red Hat QXL PCI Red Hat QXL graphics card, which comes with support for 2D games and basic 3D animations/games. Recommended if you want very high resolutions. Most Linux distributions automatically detect this card and install it appropriately, but Windows requires installation of a special driver. ?
virtio Virtio Graphics Card PCI The Virtio Graphics Card, which comes with support for 2D and 3D games, and support with 3D rendering. Currently, this graphics card is for Linux only, as a driver for Windows currently is not available. Linux: Linux 4.2 (4.4 recommended)
none None N/A No graphics card inserted (only QEMU monitor) All


Model Name Bus Description Minimum OS
tcx Sun TCX Framebuffer ? This is the default framebuffer for sun4m machines. It only works on sun4m machines. It allows 8-bit and 24-bit color depths and is set to a fixed resolution of 1024x768. ?
cg3 Sun CG3 Framebuffer ? Sun CG3, simple 8-bit framebuffer. It only works on sun4m machines. It allows a resolution of 1024x768 (in OpenBIOS) and 1152x900 (in OBP) resolutions. This is useful for running older Solaris versions. It seems also that most SPARC Linux distributions require you to use this driver or it doesn't work properly. ?