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GA-P55A-UD4P and VT-d experience needed

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January 11, 2010 6:47:58 PM

We are building some systems for virtualization under Linux, and have narrowed down our choice to the Gigabyte GA-P55A-UD4P motherboard with the Intel i7 860 CPU. In the MB manual I don't see any setting for, or mention of, Intel VT-d.

Other MB's (like the Asus P7P55D-EVO) have a specific setting to enable/disable this feature in addition to normal virtualization, and older 775-based MB's have received BIOS updates to support VT-d. So it's not clear if the GA-P55A-UD4P supports this or not. (What does the BIOS have to do with VT-d anyway?)

Can anyone confirm if VT-d actually works on this board? And if so, what OS, VM software, and/or special tricks were required to make it work?
a c 177 V Motherboard
January 11, 2010 10:25:38 PM

Quote:
What does the BIOS have to do with VT-d anyway?

Pretty much all DMA (shared memory devices, like video...) and real-time interrupt devices are managed, at the basic level, by soft interrupt calls through the BIOS - so, any mechanism to re-map, restrict, or simulate these devices must, likewise, have BIOS-level support; what, exactly, are you trying to accomplish - the technology is highly specific, and supported by almost no devices/device driver structures yet, anyway...
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January 11, 2010 10:55:38 PM

bilbat said:
what, exactly, are you trying to accomplish - the technology is highly specific, and supported by almost no devices/device driver structures yet, anyway...


We want to pass through a video adapter for better performance in CAD work, and also would like to pass through PCI industrial communications adapters.
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a c 177 V Motherboard
January 12, 2010 12:23:25 PM

Ah-ha! A noble cause! (I'm a 'controls guy - twenty-five years, albeit currently unemployed :cry:  ) I assume you're talking about an OPC driver? The CAD sounds 'doable'; which flavor of video do you intend, ATI, or the dreaded nVidia? And how do you want to implement - windoze in a vbox hosted by linux, or have you found a decent industrial product that's 'native' to linux itself?

The reason I asked in the first place, and would like details is that, to help with research effectively, I need a more coherent idea of what you're really trying to do - and, more importantly - how... I may be able to help - I'm at a workstation that runs four 'flavors' of seven, vista, xp, and two 'flavors' of linux, so I'm in a good position for testing - and, generally, am a pretty fair researcher - I can usually determine if something can be done and how - or, if it can't, why not... If you'll just search here for 'thanks bilbat' (shameless self-promotion :sol:  ), I think you'll consider 'launching' me at this problem...
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January 14, 2010 11:54:08 PM

bilbat said:
I assume you're talking about an OPC driver?

We hope to run PLC programming software in a Windows VM under a Linux. The PCI hardware may be an RS232 Digi-board, a CAN interface, or some such proprietary (yuck) interface. The problem with PLC communications software is in the timing requirements: It's often quite difficult or impossible to get reliable serial communications routed through an intermediate medium such as ethernet. Going direct just sounds so much more appealing.
bilbat said:
The CAD sounds 'doable'; which flavor of video do you intend, ATI, or the dreaded nVidia?

Probably nVidia, given the allegedly better Linux support, historically anyway. Have you seen a Windows VM hosted under Linux access a PCI video card through VT-d?
bilbat said:
And how do you want to implement - windoze in a vbox hosted by linux, or have you found a decent industrial product that's 'native' to linux itself?

Various Windows VMs, Linux host.

The key word here is 'hope'. I don't know much about VT-d at all, but the promise of direct access to PCI devices makes it seem like good insurance to have. Trying to move from Windows to Linux is nearly impossible.
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January 14, 2010 11:57:15 PM

So here I am replying to my own post:

I received an answer from Gigabyte technical support: VT-d is indeed supported by the GA-P55A-UD4P. It is enabled along with VT-x under the common "Virtualization" BIOS setting.
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July 13, 2010 3:34:27 PM

aced said:
So here I am replying to my own post:

I received an answer from Gigabyte technical support: VT-d is indeed supported by the GA-P55A-UD4P. It is enabled along with VT-x under the common "Virtualization" BIOS setting.



I just purchased a GA-P55A-UD4P (rev 1.0) and VT-d does NOT seem to be supported, according to VMWare ESXi 4u1. I verified the "Virtualization" BIOS setting and even updated the BIOS to the latest version (F11) with no difference.

When I emailed their technical support department, they indicated VT-d was not supported by this motherboard...
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a c 177 V Motherboard
July 13, 2010 8:49:17 PM

For any board in the 'desktop' genre, I would pretty much assume no VT-d, unless specifically noted in the specs - and don't think you'll find many at all... Although the P55/P55m/3400/3420 all support VT-d, I think you're more likely to find actual hardware implementations on 3420-based, 'server/workstation' segment boards - and there aren't even a lot of those around - not many people have uses for 1156-limited servers...
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July 23, 2010 4:03:16 PM

Best answer selected by aced.
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