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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
1. Linux/Windows dual boot users
2. Users running virtual machines (VM)
3. Xen hypervisor users
4. VMware users
5. kvm users
6. Geeks interested in virtualization technology
7. IT/Computer professionals
Those of you upgrading or building a new system with virtualization in mind - specifically PCI or VGA passthrough - should pay close attention as to which motherboard supports VT-d (NOT to be confused with VTx) or AMD-V (for AMD processors).

Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (or VT-d) provides the virtual machine manager (for example Xen) with the following capabilities:

I/O device assignment
DMA remapping
Interrupt remapping

These are needed to give a virtual machine direct access to a PCI device, without going through the underlying host. The PCI device can, for example, be a graphics card, a SATA controller, or a USB host.

AMD provides similar functionality in their chipsets and CPUs and calls it AMD Virtualization or short AMD-V, often referred to as IOMMU.

Using for example a Xen hypervisor with VT-d/AMD-V enabled hardware allows you to build a system with 2 or more virtual machines (VM) where each VM can be assigned to a different graphics adapter/GPU for (near-)native graphics performance within the VM. Here some application examples:

1. Linux host (dom0) for everyday use with Windows gaming VM (domU)
2. Windows gaming rig (VM) and a virtual HTPC (another VM) running on a Xen hypervisor
3. Windows 7 graphics workstation (VM) running on a Xen hypervisor with Linux dom0
4. 2-seat gaming PC running 2 Windows VMs
In order to use VT-d/AMD-V, you need the following hardware components:

1. A VT-d (Intel) or AMD-V (AMD) compatible motherboard and chipset (see below)
2. A motherboard BIOS release that supports VT-d / AMD-V
3. A CPU that supports VT-d (some older CPUs don't have an integrated memory controller, in which case VT-d support is entirely up to the motherboard/chipset) or AMD-V
4. A passthrough capable graphics adapter for VGA passthrough - see also xen-vga-passthrough-compatible-graphics-adapters

VT-d or AMD-V compatible motherboards

Intel desktop motherboards supporting VT-d

http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/CS-030922.htm*

* Scroll down to "The following Intel® Desktop Boards support Intel VT with Directed I/O:"

Here a summary of the VT-d compatible Intel desktop motherboards as of August 21, 2013 (see link above for updated information):

H87, Q87, Z87 chipsets: DH87MC, DH87RL, DQ87PG, DZ87KLT-75K

B85 chipset: DB85FL

X79 chipset: DX79SI, DX79SR, DX79TO

H77, Q77, Z77 chipsets: DH77DF, DH77EB, DH77KC, DQ77CP, DQ77KB (see here), DQ77MK, DZ77BH-55K, DZ77GA-70K (see here), DZ77RE-75K, DZ77SL-50K

B75, Z75 chipsets: DB75EN, DZ75ML-45K

Q67 chipset: DQ67EP, DQ67OW, DQ67SW

H61 chipset: DH61AGL

Q57 chipset: DQ57TM, DQ57TML

Q45 chipset: DQ45CB, DQ45EK

Q35 chipset: DQ35JO, DQ35MP

Asrock motherboards supporting VT-d

Asrock B85M (see here)

Asrock Z77-Pro4-M (see here)

Asrock Fatal1ty X79 Professional (see here)

Asrock 226WS (see here)

Asrock Z87 boards - see thread

ASRock Z87 Extreme6/ac (see here)

Asrock Z77 Extreme6 with BIOS 2.40 (see here)

Asrock Z77 Extreme4 (see here)

Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M (see here and here)

Asrock H61M-VS R2.0 (see here)

Asrock Z77E-ITX with BIOS 1.40 (see here and here)

Remarks:
Some Asrock motherboard BIOS releases are NOT supporting VT-d. Please check the vendor site under BIOS updates, and if in doubt, contact the vendor.

Examples:
ASRock Z77E-ITX - BIOS 1.60 breaks VT-d, but BIOS 1.70 again supports VT-d.
ASRock Z77 Extreme6 - BIOS P2.30 breaks VT-d, but there is a report that BIOS P2.40 enables it. Best to verify with vendor.

Asrock motherboards supporting AMD-V

Asrock A55MD2 (see here)

Asrock FM2A85X-Mini ITX (see here)

Asrock 970 Extreme3 R2.0 with Bios Ver 1.3 and FX-8350 CPU (see here)

Asrock Extreme3 990fx (see here)

See next post!

ASUS motherboards supporting VT-d

ASUS Z87I-Pro (see here)

ASUS Sabertooth X79 (for SB-E CPUs only!!! - see here; IVB-E CPUs are currently not supported)

ASUS Rampage IV Extreme (for SB-E CPUs; for IVB-E CPUs, use BIOS release 4802 or newer, or beta BIOS here)

ASUS Rampage IV Formula (for SB-E CPUs only!!! - see here)

ASUS Rampage IV Gene (for SB-E CPUs only!!! - see here)

ASUS P9X79-E WS (for IVB-E use BIOS 1406 - see here)

ASUS motherboards supporting AMD-V

ASUS M5A99FX PRO R2.0 with BIOS v2005 !!! (see here)

ASUS Sabertooth 990FX R2.0 with BIOS v2005 !!! (see here)

ASUS Z8NA-D6 (see here)

Gigabyte motherboards supporting VT-d

Gigabyte Z77MX-D3H (see here)

Gigabyte Z68MA-D2H-B3 (see here)

Gigabyte H77N-WIFI (see here)

Gigabyte motherboards supporting AMD-V

Gigabyte 990FX UD7 rev3 (see here)

Gigabyte 990FX UD5 rev1 (see here)

MSI motherboards supporting VT-d

MSI Z77A-G43 (see here)

MSI Z87-G45 Gaming (see here)

Supermicro motherboards supporting VT-d

Supermicro X10SAT with Xeon CPU (see here)
 
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Here is a list of a bunch of ASrock motherboards that I looked up. I went through the manuals and found that more than 95% of ASrock's current socket 1155 motherboards support VT-d and 100% of their socket 2011 as well. Items listed in red do not feature VT-d.
X79 Extreme 11
X79 Extreme9
X79 Extreme7
X79 Extreme6
X79 Extreme6/GB
X79 Extreme4
X79 Extreme4-M
X79 Extreme3
Fatal1ty Z77 Professional
Fatal1ty Z77 Professional-M
Fatal1ty Z77 Performance
Z77 Extreme11
Z77 Extreme9
Z77 Extreme6
Z77 Extreme6/TB4
Z77 Extreme4
Z77 Extreme4-M
Z77 Extreme3
Z77 OC Formula
Z77 Pro4
Z77 Pro4-M
Z77 Pro3
Z77 WS
Z77M
Z77E-ITX
Z75 Pro3
H77 Pro4/MVP
H77 Pro4-M
ZH77 Pro3
H77M
H77M-ITX
H67DE3
H67M-GE
H67M-GE/HT
H67M
P75 Pro3
B75 Pro3
B75 Pro3-M
B75M-DGS
B75M-GL (and R2.0)
B75M (and R2.0)
B75M-ITX
Z68 Extreme7 Gen3
Fatal1ty Z68 Professional Gen3
Fatal1ty P67 Performance
P67 Extreme4 Gen3
P67 Pro3 SE
P67 Pro
Too many to list and too long to check right now, but the few I looked up have VT-d. I assume that 95-100% of these will.

I also found out that 6 ASrock AM3+ boards support IOMMU (AMD version of VT-d)
Fatal1ty 990FX Professional
990FX Extreme4
990FX Extreme3
970 Extreme4
970 Extreme3
970 Pro3

NOTE: These are the current motherboards that support this technology. Other discontinued boards do too. If I remember correctly, about 60% of ASrock socket 1156 support it and many other socket 1155 boards like my H67M-ITX/HT do too.
 

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I have an Asus P9X79 Deluxe that supports VT-d. It has a BIOS option to enable VT-d support. Support was not originally included, but a firmware update enabled it once the C2-stepping chips were released.

I assume that all the P9X79 boards have VT-d support, since the main differences between the 4 different boards are modifications to the power regulation portions of the board (which allow increasing heat mitigation hardware) and a few addon features like Bluetooth and Wifi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks for your posts / additions - I definitely will look into ASRock boards next time!

I am using an Asus Sabertooth X79 board which supports VT-d with BIOS release 1203. HOWEVER, it has some shortcomings:

1. Marvell SATA controller is not supported under Xen - it has a bug and it's unsure the kernel dev team will come up with a workaround. The X79 chipset SATA controller works fine, though.
2. It's been reported that newer BIOS releases break VT-d support, but I couldn't confirm. The catch is if I update to a newer release, there is no going back, according to Asus.
EDIT: In the meantime I upgraded and all is well - perhaps some user-side mistake?
3. Asus doesn't support Linux.

@N0BOX: Which BIOS release are you running on your P9X79? Were there any problems installing and running Xen, or during PCI/VGA passthrough?

EDIT: I've gained some confidence in Asus through reports that Asus is actually doing something about VT-d support, and through my own experience with Asus BIOS updates. The Sabertooth X79 BIOS releases support VT-d for SB-E CPUs.

Unfortunately Asus support and documentation is a tragedy. From their response to my questions, as well as posts on this and other forums, I get the feeling that they don't know what they are doing. Here some examples:
http://vip.asus.com/forum/view.aspx?id=20120519215856079
http://communities.intel.com/thread/28389
http://forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/33730-VT-d-enabled-motherboards-and-CPUs-for-Paravirtualization
Google for "Asus VT-d" to see more.

EDIT: I definitely don't recommend Asus.
 

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My boards definitely supports vt-d. It stated in Gigabyte's manual, so if you like something particular from them, check the manual (just search for vt-d).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerhouse View Post

@N0BOX: Which BIOS release are you running on your P9X79? Were there any problems installing and running Xen, or during PCI/VGA passthrough?
I haven't yet had the chance to attempt vga passthrough yet, so I can't report on whether there is definite support. I just wanted to make note of the fact that they have a BIOS option for enabling VT-d. I don't know exactly which BIOS firmware I'm running, but I remember that the version just before 1203 was the one to which VT-d support for C2-stepping chips was added. I have a version that is after 1203, I believe... if not 1203 itself.

If I do get a chance to try it out, I'll report back.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeXel View Post

My boards definitely supports vt-d. It stated in Gigabyte's manual, so if you like something particular from them, check the manual (just search for vt-d).
Thanks for posting. So I take it that you are running Xen with PCI / VGA passthrough on a Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD5H motherboard?
 

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Nah, I am just saying there is that option in the BIOS with the appropriate CPU if that helps...

You are looking for list of supported boards, aren't you?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeXel View Post

Nah, I am just saying there is that option in the BIOS with the appropriate CPU if that helps...
You are looking for list of supported boards, aren't you?
Yes I am. Still, some vendor infos are unreliable (Asus comes to mind, though in my case it worked).
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by dizzy4 View Post

I went through the manuals and found that more than 95% of ASrock's current socket 1155 motherboards support VT-d and 100% of their socket 2011 as well.

Z77E-ITX
The Z77E-ITX is definitely supported in firmwares 1.30 and 1.40 (I've tried these).

I'm not too sure if it does for 1.60 and 1.70:

1.70 12/17/2012 Add "Multi-Core Acceleration" for k series CPU.

1.60 12/7/2012 1. Improve monitor compatibility. 2. Support UEFI PXE boot. 3. Modify VT-d Capability will be unsupported after update BIOS.

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z77E-ITX/?cat=Download&os=BIOS
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rezz View Post

The Z77E-ITX is definitely supported in firmwares 1.30 and 1.40 (I've tried these).
I'm not too sure if it does for 1.60 and 1.70:
1.70 12/17/2012 Add "Multi-Core Acceleration" for k series CPU.
1.60 12/7/2012 1. Improve monitor compatibility. 2. Support UEFI PXE boot. 3. Modify VT-d Capability will be unsupported after update BIOS.
http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z77E-ITX/?cat=Download&os=BIOS
good find!

I think that just means it will be on by default if the CPU supports it, not that it will not be available. Hopefully we will see a report soon.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rezz View Post

The Z77E-ITX is definitely supported in firmwares 1.30 and 1.40 (I've tried these).

I'm not too sure if it does for 1.60 and 1.70:

1.70 12/17/2012 Add "Multi-Core Acceleration" for k series CPU.

1.60 12/7/2012 1. Improve monitor compatibility. 2. Support UEFI PXE boot. 3. Modify VT-d Capability will be unsupported after update BIOS.

http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z77E-ITX/?cat=Download&os=BIOS
Thanks for your post! This is exactly what I was looking for. There are enough rumors going around about this or that board supporting VT-d. I hope very much that we can get a list here that is based on facts and experience. When I have some more time I will update my original post and add the input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

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Quote:
Originally Posted by powerhouse View Post

ASRock Z77E-ITX: BIOS release 1.60 (and later ?) will NOT support VT-d. See http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Z77E-ITX/index.us.asp?cat=Download&os=BIOS.
Ah this is where semantics fail us! It reads: "Modify VT-d Capability will be unsupported after update BIOS." In BIOS terms this means the capability to modify VT-d will be disabled, meaning that if the chip supports it, it will be enabled. I have a feeling that maybe people were attempting to turn it on when their CPU didn't support the feature and running into problems. For instance, I can modify the VT-d option, but it was enabled by default on my system.

Unfortunately (as is the case in many instances) something might be lost in translation. It could mean that it is not even available.

Still even more interesting about how this is worded is the term "Unsupported." They could have said "Discontinued" or "Removed," but they chose another word that is very ambiguous. This could simply mean that they do not support any issues that arise from using this feature (like not booting, etc.)

Only time will tell, but let's not be hasty.
 

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I contacted Asrock a few days ago and got this reply this morning (I asked about 1.60 and 1.70):

Thanks for contacting ASRock.

Z77E-ITX support VT-D in BIOS P1.70.

Please feel ease to use BIOS P1.70.

Maybe this will also be the case for all Z77 Asrock bioses after the one that says "Modify VT-d Capability will be unsupported after update BIOS.".
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rezz View Post

I contacted Asrock a few days ago and got this reply this morning (I asked about 1.60 and 1.70):

Thanks for contacting ASRock.

Z77E-ITX support VT-D in BIOS P1.70.

Please feel ease to use BIOS P1.70.

Maybe this will also be the case for all Z77 Asrock bioses after the one that says "Modify VT-d Capability will be unsupported after update BIOS.".
Thanks for updating us! I'm sure some people will be glad to hear that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rezz View Post

This person seems to have tried it (they have an i7 3770, which supports VT-d):

http://mo.kerosoft.com/0198

Unfortunately I can't read Japanese and a Google translation into English just makes it more confusing.
It seems the guy got a 2.3 BIOS on his ASRock Z77 Extreme6 motherboard and flashed it to 2.40, upon which VT-d was available again. That's how I read the Google translation, which is quite a challenge.

I guess for anyone out to buy that board or perhaps upgrade the BIOS, they should first contact Asrock to get confirmation that it will work.
 
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