CPU: Can you live without VT-d?

Last updated: 2013-10-18

Three years ago I got myself my first I7 laptop – a Dell Studio 1557. (Here is an analysis from that time)

The CPU i7-720QM Processor (6M Cache, 1.60 GHz)  only supports up to 8 GB RAM, the USB bus’s are only 2.0, so now it might be time for an update. I could use some more RAM for SharePoint.

Just by scanning the weekly advertices I noticed HP Pavilion G6-2209eo.

Its CPU is i7-3632QM Processor (6M Cache, up to 3.20 GHz) rPGA. This one supports up to 32 GB RAM and of course has USB 3.0 now. But it does not support direct I/O (VT-d) for my virtual guest.

Can I live with that? I think not. It is important to me that the virtual guests are fast. With USB 3 I could let the guest live on an external SSD drive, but I think this VT-d must be just as important for speed.

Mark i7 CPU Release Date Area Clock Power Max Mem Mem type Hyper-Threading VT-x VT-d
7,914 i7-4700MQ Q2’13 22 nm 2.4 GHz 47 W 32 GB DDR3/L/-RS 1333/1600 Y Y N
7,099 i7-3632QM Q3’12 22 nm 2.2 GHz 35 W 32 GB DDR3/L/-RS 1333/1600 Y Y N
3,064 i7-720QM Q3’09 45 nm 1.6 GHz 45 W 8 GB DDR3-1066/1333 Y Y Y

In the table above notice that when the area has been halved, then speed has increased and power decreased – that is a physical gain in three years time. I wonder how much longer down they can come. There must be some interference between the lanes, when the lanes are placed that close.

As to the rest of the PC there can be several limitations set by the chipset, motherboard, connectors, video, audio and a lot other.
I have only added the info, that I am interested in.
Check if also the chipset supports VT-d!

PC Motherboard CPU Socket i7 CPU ChipSet VT-d Connections Display 
Toshiba P50 G3 / rPGA 946B i7-4700MQ HM86 N  1920X1080
HP Pavilion G6-2209eo BGA-1224 i7-3632QM HM76 Express N
Dell Studio 1557 G1 / rPGA 988B i7-720QM PM55 Express Y 3 USB 2.0, 1 Firewire, 1 VGA, 1 HDMI, 1 Kensington Lock, 1 eSata 1920X1080

The chipsets QM77 Express and QS77 Express does support VT-d.

The current CPU’s with VT-d are

So I will have to keep on looking and I can come back and update this blog when I find something interesting.

AMD has two names for VT-d: AMD-Vi and IOMMS. Here is a list of supported HW, but not including laptops.



The End.


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