IoMmu model

This page describes the IoMmu model introduced in WDDM 2.0. See IOMMU-based GPU isolation and IOMMU DMA remapping for more recent IOMMU updates.


An Input-Output Memory Management Unit (IOMMU) is an MMU component that connects a DMA-capable I/O bus to system memory. It maps device-visible virtual addresses to physical addresses, making it useful in virtualization.

In the WDDM 2.0 IoMmu model, each process has a single virtual address space that is shared between the CPU and GPU and is managed by the OS memory manager.

To access memory, the GPU sends a data request to a compliant IOMMU. The request includes a shared virtual address and a process address space identifier (PASID). The IOMMU performs the address translation using the shared page table. This is illustrated in the following diagram.

Diagram that shows IOMMU process address space translation in WDDM 2.0.

The kernel-mode driver expresses support for the IoMmu model by setting the DXGK_VIDMMCAPS::IoMmuSupported caps. When this flags is set, the video memory manager will automatically register any process using the GPU with the IOMMU and obtain a PASID for that process address space. The PASID is passed to the driver during device creation.

Primary allocations are mapped by the video memory manager into the aperture segment before being displayed, ensuring that the display controller has physical access to these allocations.

In the IoMmu model, the user-mode driver continues to allocate video memory for the GPU using the video memory manager's Allocate service. This allow the user-mode driver to:

  • Follow the residency model.
  • Support the Microsoft DirectX resource sharing model.
  • Ensure that primary surfaces are visible to the kernel and are mapped into aperture before being displayed.

The first level of translation (tile resource address to shared CPU/GPU address) is entirely managed in user mode by the user-mode driver.