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Phenom II X6 vs i5-2500 vs i7-2600

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January 20, 2011 12:44:55 PM

Time to buy a new computer. I've had the last one for almost 7 years so I'd like to get something that will last.

So here are my needs: budget is less than $1k, used for home/office mostly, but also want to set up numerous virtual machines, minimal graphics outside of watching movies/occasional video/photo editing. Would like to run Xen with Debian for managing the VMs.

I had originally planned on the Phenom II X6 since I figured that VMs might actually take advantage of the two extra cores. But that was before the Sandy Bridge CPUs arrived. I've read that the 6 cores in the phenom aren't really worth it if you're gaming so you should go with the i5 or i7. But will the VMs actually be able to take advantage of the Phenom?

If I decided to go Intel (thinking of the non-k version for VT-d support), should I got i5 or i7? Seems I don't need the extra boost of the i7 for what I'm doing.

Are the integrated graphics in the Intel chips worthwhile or would I want an external GPU?

Thanks!

More about : phenom 2500 2600

January 20, 2011 1:53:34 PM

in the benchmarks ive seen the i5 performs fairly similar to the x6 1100 at stock and in some things it even beats it.
if i could afford to get the i7 i would. ive always been a fan of amd for the price but those sandy bridge chips are pretty amazing.

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/sandy-bridge-efficienct-3...

a comparison between a few of them. i dont use VM's so can't advise which would be best for that. your best looking up wether your vm program takes advantage of more cores or not.
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January 20, 2011 3:29:46 PM

For what I'm doing, the Phenom looks very comparable. I think what might set them apart is the lower consumption and the price. I can get an i5 2500 for $20 less and it eats a lot less power, especially when idle.
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January 20, 2011 3:43:49 PM

If your concern is over power usage buy an Atom processor; If you want speed, buy the 2660K.

Either way, right now buy the 2600K. It's lightyears ahead of the Phenom1100T (and I'm an AMD guy). Note the below PassMark ratings...

Intel Core i7-2600K @ 3.40GHz 9,850 $329.99*
Intel Core i5-2500K @ 3.30GHz 6,707 $224.99*
AMD Phenom II X6 1100T 6,150 $269.99*

There's no reason whatsoever to buy older technology when you can have the latest at a faction more. In one year from now, you will regret not buying the 2500K or 2600K processors.
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January 20, 2011 3:49:22 PM

^agreed. If your budget allows, go with the new SB chips. If is ahead of the AMD in many ways. The extra 2 cores don't make up for the SB raw performance. Most of the time I recommend the AMD 965 or 1090T, but your budget will allow you to get something better, so no reason to look at the AMD unless you want to wait a few more months to see how the new AMD bulldozer stacks up. But if you got $1000 now, just get the 2600k. That way you can overclock later if you want to. And yes you will want a discrete graphics card. Even if you don't play games, it helps to divide the gfx card resources up in your VMs also. Don't rely on integrated graphics for anything but watching movies or web browsing. :bounce: 
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January 20, 2011 4:42:36 PM

Thanks everybody. I think I'll go with the 2500 (no-K for VT-d support and no plans to overclock). Can you recommend a board and GPU?
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January 20, 2011 4:47:10 PM

The graphics card can eat your budget. Sometimes it is better to run 2 smaller graphics cards than one big one. And depending on the graphics you choose, that will decide your motherboard more. If you want dual or triple graphics, then you need a different and more expensive board.

What is your total budget. Whole system, what are we talking? Truly less than 1K or a few dollars more. Because than can be a lot in the end.
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January 20, 2011 5:06:03 PM

^+1 That is what I'm trying to say... AMD is really just for budget builds.
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January 20, 2011 5:13:11 PM

Quote:
Amd's going to be good till intel releases the Sandy Bridge dual cores at the end of February


a sandy bridge dual cores sounds like a step back to me :p  im sure itll be damn good though.

i'd love to see a sandy bridge with 6 physical cores and 12 threads if its possible
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January 20, 2011 5:18:04 PM

griztown said:
Thanks everybody. I think I'll go with the 2500 (no-K for VT-d support and no plans to overclock). Can you recommend a board and GPU?

I think that's not a good idea because 2500 doesn't support HT. I thought since you cared for Vt-d then why not for HT? In my experience, HT boosts the performance in many ways. Example, if you are going to use it for encoding and for VM tasks it's a great feature. Check more about it at sites such as Parallels. Anyway, I chose 2600 over 2600K for Vt-d feature.
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January 20, 2011 5:22:43 PM

For around $1250 you could have a much better setup.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

This SuperCombo includes:

* Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor (Model:BX80623I72600K)
* ASUS P8P67 Deluxe Intel Motherboard LGA 1155
* ASUS GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card (Model:ENGTX470/2DI/1280MD5/V2)
* OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory (Model:o CZ3RPR2133C9LV4GK)
* Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (Model:ST31500341AS)
* COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Blue Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case (Model:RC-932-KKN3-GP)
* COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 850W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply (Model:RS850-AMBAJ3-US)

Combo Price: $1,231.98
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January 20, 2011 5:25:29 PM

1965ohio said:
For around $1250 you could have a much better setup.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/ComboBundleDetails.aspx?I...

This SuperCombo includes:

* Intel Core i7-2600K 3.4GHz LGA 1155 95W Quad-Core Desktop Processor (Model:BX80623I72600K)
* ASUS P8P67 Deluxe Intel Motherboard LGA 1155
* ASUS GeForce GTX 470 (Fermi) 1280MB 320-bit DDR5 PCI Express 2.0 x16 HDCP Ready SLI Support Video Card (Model:ENGTX470/2DI/1280MD5/V2)
* OCZ Reaper HPC 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM 2133 (PC3 17000) Desktop Memory (Model:o CZ3RPR2133C9LV4GK)
* Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB 7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive (Model:ST31500341AS)
* COOLER MASTER HAF 932 Blue Black Steel ATX Full Tower Computer Case (Model:RC-932-KKN3-GP)
* COOLER MASTER Silent Pro 850W ATX12V v2.3 / EPS12V v2.92 SLI Ready 80 PLUS BRONZE Certified Modular Active PFC Power Supply (Model:RS850-AMBAJ3-US)

Combo Price: $1,231.98


that rig would cost the equivelent of about $2000 -$2500 here in the uk :'( 
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January 20, 2011 5:25:46 PM

What's wrong with VTx... what software are you using for VM that has a specifically needs VTd? I am running Windows 7 with Mac OSX on virtualbox with VTx, also run Windows XP in it at the same time. What is the specific need for extra hardware level functions other than virtual CPUs?
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January 20, 2011 5:27:51 PM

Haha... about $3000 here in China... that is why I went with the 965 BE for now, until it comes down. Hard to believe all this $hit is made in China and all the people in China have to pay more than 150% more than real world market value.
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January 20, 2011 5:28:00 PM

Quote:
From what i've heard the fasted SB I3 will be on par with the X4 955 so we'll see. 6 core SB won't be out till the end of the year


if those hex cores are on par with the performance of the i5 and i7 they will wipe the floor with everything. intel really has pushed the bar up with the sandy bridge. the hex sandy bridge is the only hex i would consider getting because that thing will put out great performance for years.
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January 20, 2011 5:30:41 PM

If you want a SB system and you don't live in the US, just wait a few months. If you live in the US, go to NewEgg and just get it. Has some mail in rebates too. $1250 is pretty darn good for all the stuff on that list. If I could have gotten that last month, I would have.
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January 20, 2011 5:31:08 PM

1965ohio said:
Haha... about $3000 here in China... that is why I went with the 965 BE for now, until it comes down. Hard to believe all this $hit is made in China and all the people in China have to pay more than 150% more than real world market value.


in the uk its down to rediculous import rates and the fact we have to pay 20% tax on anything thats not essential and the only thing that is considered essential is cold food.

like psycho said a couple of days ago the 6870 is going to be sub $200 in the US soon over here it's still the equiv of $300-$350.

the uk really F**cks you over for pc parts.
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January 20, 2011 5:33:59 PM

China really likes to screw the Chinese people. Cars, houses, and technology is through the roof here. Can't afford anything and they only get paid $150 a month. Even you want to buy a cell phone, you need to pay $200-300... even if you get a 1 year contract with China Telecom, they only give you a 10% discount. The only thing cheap here is gasoline. Most of it is still 104 octane too.
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January 20, 2011 5:34:04 PM

1965ohio said:
If you want a SB system and you don't live in the US, just wait a few months. If you live in the US, go to NewEgg and just get it. Has some mail in rebates too. $1250 is pretty darn good for all the stuff on that list. If I could have gotten that last month, I would have.



not even sure if you can get the unlocked i7 here yet its not on the sites i usually buy from anyway
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January 20, 2011 5:35:02 PM

Haha, in the US, you can get an iPhone for $100 with a 2 year contract. In China I can get that same iPhone for $500 and they removed the wifi card.
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January 20, 2011 5:37:20 PM

I was planning on using the VT-d to pass through devices to the VMs. I wasn't aware that the non-K version did not have HyperThreading. That could definitely change my mind. I thought the only difference was the VT-d and the HD3000 versus HD2000. So it sounds like I'd want the i7 2600 for both VT-d and Hyperthreading?
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January 20, 2011 5:38:32 PM

same here i have the iphone even though i have nothing but pure hatred for apple and i certainly would not of got it if icouldn't of jailbroken it.

anyway i was going to update to the iphone 4 after seeing the us prices being around $100-$200 they wanted £500 for it about $800-$900

it's rediculous i plan on moving to america when im a bit older. heard it can be hard to get a work visa at the moment though :( 
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January 20, 2011 5:39:21 PM

1965ohio, thanks for the build recommendations. I think the GPU you recommended is probably overkill. Could you buy a more scaled down GPU and use it with the onboard GPU for dual monitors? I assume not. I'd ultimately like to have a GPU with good stability and driver support for linux, primarily Debian. Something around $50.
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January 20, 2011 5:45:28 PM

griztown said:
1965ohio, thanks for the build recommendations. I think the GPU you recommended is probably overkill. Could you buy a more scaled down GPU and use it with the onboard GPU for dual monitors? I assume not. I'd ultimately like to have a GPU with good stability and driver support for linux, primarily Debian. Something around $50.


you can get a fairy cheap gpu that will support dual monitors. my 9800 was cheap 2 years ago and it has no problem with runnning dual monitors
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January 20, 2011 5:45:32 PM

kinth said:
same here i have the iphone even though i have nothing but pure hatred for apple and i certainly would not of got it if icouldn't of jailbroken it.

anyway i was going to update to the iphone 4 after seeing the us prices being around $100-$200 they wanted £500 for it about $800-$900

it's rediculous i plan on moving to america when im a bit older. heard it can be hard to get a work visa at the moment though :( 


Hard to get a work visa? LOL! I married a Chinese girl almost 3 years ago, and she can't get a visa to come back with me because I don't make $60,000 or more a year. So even I'm married, they still don't even let her have a 2 week visitor pass to meet my parents. So I just moved to China.
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January 20, 2011 5:48:48 PM

If you use Virtualbox and VTx... you can still pass through most devices. Also, the better graphics card might seem like overkill, but you can run dual monitors from that graphics card easily. The onboard graphics are still 2-3 generations behind when it comes to speed. With Virtualbox you can also allocate video memory and depending on the OS you have as a guest... you can also use the 3D hardware acceleration of the card to work on the guest. You can allocated how much memory from the graphics card in the settings menu. Allocating graphics memory from the onboard graphics is wasting valuable system RAM and resources because you have to share it.

Also, what VM are you running that requires VTd... I never used VTd before. All my USB devices and my internal SATA devices have all been able to pass through with VTx and Virtualbox. Does your current setup support VTd?
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January 20, 2011 6:33:12 PM

griztown said:
I was planning on using the VT-d to pass through devices to the VMs. I wasn't aware that the non-K version did not have HyperThreading. That could definitely change my mind. I thought the only difference was the VT-d and the HD3000 versus HD2000. So it sounds like I'd want the i7 2600 for both VT-d and Hyperthreading?


The K designates an unlocked multiplier, used for overclocking.

The 2500 does not have hyperthreading whereas the 2600 does.

For video card, you are absolutely right, that GTX 470 that 1965ohio keeps pushing is overkill for what you need.

If all you want is dual monitor support and occasional video editing but nothing special, look to a nVidia GT 240 or ATI Radeon 5670.
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January 20, 2011 6:35:55 PM

I'm not pushing anything. Just recommend a bundle deal and that he use discrete graphics and not onboard. I don't care if he uses a 8800GT. Do I look like a graphics card salesman?
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January 20, 2011 6:37:25 PM

I'm also just trying to figure out how much VTd comes into play. If his current system doesn't have it and he can use it, why does he need it? VTx and software assisted virtualization like virtualbox manages fine without VTd.

Now I am pushing Virtualbox too? LOL :D  Comments here always feel like attacks. I like being kicked for helping. :pt1cable: 
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January 20, 2011 6:48:31 PM

1965ohio said:
If you use Virtualbox and VTx... you can still pass through most devices. Also, the better graphics card might seem like overkill, but you can run dual monitors from that graphics card easily. The onboard graphics are still 2-3 generations behind when it comes to speed. With Virtualbox you can also allocate video memory and depending on the OS you have as a guest... you can also use the 3D hardware acceleration of the card to work on the guest. You can allocated how much memory from the graphics card in the settings menu. Allocating graphics memory from the onboard graphics is wasting valuable system RAM and resources because you have to share it.

Also, what VM are you running that requires VTd... I never used VTd before. All my USB devices and my internal SATA devices have all been able to pass through with VTx and Virtualbox. Does your current setup support VTd?


In the past I've used VirtualBox. I'm hoping to use Xen for the new build. If I understand this correctly, VT-x allows direct access to the CPU for the VM. VT-d allows the VM direct access to devices like the HDD, GPU, network card, etc.

How is the support for the higher end GPUs in Linux? I'm under the impression that the ATI cards have sporadic support in Linux and that nVidia is better but also sporadic.
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January 20, 2011 6:52:07 PM

1965ohio said:
I'm also just trying to figure out how much VTd comes into play. If his current system doesn't have it and he can use it, why does he need it? VTx and software assisted virtualization like virtualbox manages fine without VTd.

Now I am pushing Virtualbox too? LOL :D  Comments here always feel like attacks. I like being kicked for helping. :pt1cable: 


Please don't think that I think you're pushing anything. I definitely appreciate the advice. Here's a decent wiki discussing the differences between VT-x and VT-d.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86_virtualization

My old build was from 2004 and had nothing and was ridiculously slow. I'm hoping that what I get now will last me as long as possible. Not sure if I'd actually use VT-d but would rather have the option than regret it later. And I'm pretty much 100% sure I don't care about overclocking or HD3000.
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January 20, 2011 6:55:28 PM

What about mobos or memory to go with my i7 2600? I know I need LGA 1155 but am unsure if all of them support VT-d, or just some. Would like more memory slots if possible. Hopefully around $150. Don't care about crossfire. Raid support but most seem to have lots to offer.
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January 20, 2011 6:55:40 PM

I've got a HD5550 and it sucks in Ubuntu. My 9800GTX does well, just install the proprietary driver and enable the 3D support and extra effects. Does well. I run Ubuntu 10.10 studio 64bit BTW. I run the closed source virtualbox also, I don't care for the limited support of the open source version. I've run virtualbox with VTx enabled, but in the virtualbox menu, you can choose directly to use your real network card or a virtual one in NAT or bridged mode. The optical drives can also be passed through directly. I have no needed to pass through any physical hard drives, I just setup my hard drives as shared folders and access them through the browser directly in the VM. The less access the VM has with your actual host, the less chance to fudge something up. I like to run XP in the VM with no virus software... and have also played around with a VM of Windows Server 2008 trial... runs fine with just the VTx and Nested Paging enable.
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January 20, 2011 7:08:20 PM

This is a decent motherboard by Gigabyte that fits your needs. Unless you want mATX, but ATX had more features and more RAM slots usually. $130 But no integrated graphics.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am more of an ASUS guy myself. This next board is good to start you off. $130 also.
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
You can use the integrated graphics on this one until you settle on a graphics card. But remember that integrated graphics need to share your system RAM. So if you run a lot of VMs, they need system RAM and video RAM which is shared from your total system RAM... that is why I suggest a decent video card.

Most boards these days support some RAID modes. Which RAID modes do you want? Certain controllers can bring the price up substantially.

And as for memory, if you do not want a graphics card yet, might as well get 8GB of RAM if you can afford it.

Also another reason to get a good graphics card like the GTX460 or 470 is because they have a lot of GDDR5 memory on them which is fast. If you want to run multiple VMs, you can assign up to 128MB video memory to each one without effecting your main system RAM.
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January 20, 2011 7:19:24 PM

1965ohio said:
What's wrong with VTx... what software are you using for VM that has a specifically needs VTd? I am running Windows 7 with Mac OSX on virtualbox with VTx, also run Windows XP in it at the same time. What is the specific need for extra hardware level functions other than virtual CPUs?

You lack clear understanding about Virtualization basics. Nothing wrong with Vt-x but Intel developed Vt-d for going beyond the benefits of Vt-x. You should Google about it or read this specification:
http://download.intel.com/technology/computing/vptech/I...

I don't run any of my Workstation class PCs just for the sake of running a few OSes! Those machines are used by the Scientists/Researchers for solving lot of things in my Pharmaceutical and Biotech manufacturing businesses. Vt-d does lot of good things so that feature is a mandatory requirement to me. Naturally, all 'K' models are ruled out. So, we buy and build after carefully considering everything because it costs a lot to us.
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January 20, 2011 7:22:14 PM

griztown said:
I was planning on using the VT-d to pass through devices to the VMs. I wasn't aware that the non-K version did not have HyperThreading. That could definitely change my mind. I thought the only difference was the VT-d and the HD3000 versus HD2000. So it sounds like I'd want the i7 2600 for both VT-d and Hyperthreading?

It's up to your requirements because I don't know what you wanna do. As far as mine are concerned, 2600 is my processor.
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January 20, 2011 7:35:59 PM

I might lack understanding, but VTx helps a lot because you do not need to emulate a CPU, which takes a lot of resources. The person in this post is coming from a 7 year old system that doesn't even have VTx. Sure, VTx does not emulate or give access directly to the system resources. But I did however ask him exactly why he needs it. So far it is unsure what he will be specifically using it for.
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January 20, 2011 7:38:27 PM

I am surprised though, only took a week before people on Tom's act this way. They always ignore what I say then attack my intelligence. Lovely. If you can read, you will notice above I asked him why does he need VTd, and told him how I only use VTx... but apparently you cannot read that. See no evil, hear no evil... and I must be evil. :D 
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January 20, 2011 7:41:53 PM

BTW, here is the list of all CPUs that support VTd

http://ark.intel.com/MySearch.aspx?VTD=true

And to griztown... I'm gonna sit this one out. Because I am an idiot and know nothing about computers apparently. So if you have VT questions in general, I will let everyone else answer them. If they can't get you on the right path, PM me. I am stupid cause I just wanted to know your specific need for VTd and that equals I don't know what it means. I should stick my tongue in the electric socket now.... :pt1cable: 

And PS, not your fault, just the other knuckleheads who follow me around and say I am stupid, not you!
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January 20, 2011 7:42:32 PM

1965ohio said:
I might lack understanding, but VTx helps a lot because you do not need to emulate a CPU, which takes a lot of resources. The person in this post is coming from a 7 year old system that doesn't even have VTx. Sure, VTx does not emulate or give access directly to the system resources. But I did however ask him exactly why he needs it. So far it is unsure what he will be specifically using it for.


All new Intel processors have VT-x so whatever I get will have that. Question is if I should go for VT-d or not though I don't see a need for the k model so I should be fine.

Thanks for the tips on the mobos. I think I might lean towards the full ATX though they both have the same number of memory slots.

Thoughts on memory?
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January 20, 2011 7:47:48 PM

akula2 said:
It's up to your requirements because I don't know what you wanna do. As far as mine are concerned, 2600 is my processor.


akula2, do all LGA 1155 mobos support VT-d?
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January 20, 2011 7:47:53 PM

I don't know. What do you think akula2?
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January 20, 2011 7:52:19 PM

On my machine with VTx, I use the software level to pass through my network or other devices. You can choose to use your real network device or virtualize one. Of course the VTd with hardware support for direct IO access is easier. But even if you don't use it, most software like virtualbox can pass through most of your devices with a software remapping, not a hardware remapping.
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January 20, 2011 7:58:34 PM

griztown, I don't see listed on any of the new motherboards where they specify VTx or VTd... like the Asus P8H67-M PRO. I downloaded the manual and it says it support virtualization technology and hyperthreading. But it doesn't say any specific version of VT. Page 2-18 of the Manual.... http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=oztxS9uaDrwQwO2Y
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January 20, 2011 8:03:46 PM

griztown said:
akula2, do all LGA 1155 mobos support VT-d?

All? No. Never.
Well, I started using Vt-d with Core i7-870/860 processors running on Gigabyte P55A MOBOs from last year. I'm yet to close on P67 MOBOs. Mostly, Asus or Gigabyte. Model not yet decided.
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January 20, 2011 8:05:41 PM

1965ohio said:
griztown, I don't see listed on any of the new motherboards where they specify VTx or VTd... like the Asus P8H67-M PRO. I downloaded the manual and it says it support virtualization technology and hyperthreading. But it doesn't say any specific version of VT. Page 2-18 of the Manual.... http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=oztxS9uaDrwQwO2Y


Thanks for checking that, I couldn't find anything either. My guess is it is included in the chipset which would make sense. Perhaps the real question is, does the BIOS support it.
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