Sunday, November 24, 2013

How to find if your computer supports Intel-VT or AMD-V

Intel and AMD are two of the most prominent PC processor providers in the world. AMD and Intel's virtualization techniques are different and incompatible, but all hypervisors hide the differences from end user. So How do I find out if the processors in my laptop, desktop or server supports resource virtualization? Does my system run on Intel-VT or AMD-V?

Three things that make VT-VTD possible

Chipset Support
Processor Support
BIOS support.

Windows System:
Download Securable
Securable is a very easy to check if you processor has virtualization support, because it requires no installation. All you have to do is run the executable (.exe) file. Right-click the file you have downloaded, and select “Run as administrator.”

Intel and AMD Tools:
AMD Virtualization Compatibility tool
Intel Processor Identification utility
Find your processor name from My computer properties and look these up on the following pages:
AMD Product Central

The Intel site is the most useful, and will tell you directly if the processor supports virtualization (Intel VT-x) and/or secure passthrough of PCI devices to guests (Intel VT-d). The AMD site is less than useful in this respect.

How to find the support on a Linux machine:
Run the following command under Linux:
# egrep ‘(vmx|svm)’ /proc/cpuinfo

If nothing is printed, it means that your CPU does not support hardware virtualization. Otherwise it does – but you still need to make sure that virtualization is enabled in the BIOS. If the SVM flag is returned then your processor supports AMD-V. If the VMX flag is returned then your processor supports INTEL-VT.

Other flags:
ept — Extended Page Tables, an Intel feature to make emulation of guest page tables faster.

vpid — VPID, an Intel feature to make expensive TLB flushes unnecessary when context switching between guests.

npt — AMD Nested Page Tables, similar to EPT.

tpr_shadow and flexpriority — Intel feature that reduces calls into the hypervisor when accessing the Task Priority Register, which helps when running certain types of SMP guests.

vnmi — Intel Virtual NMI feature which helps with certain sorts of interrupt events in guests.

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