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Hardware For Virtualization And Arch Linux


MikalD
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Im currently looking on buying some new hardware for an computer build but I am a bit unsure.

My usage is:

- Installing Arch Linux with OpenBox and using 64Bit virtualization.

- A lot of CPU heavy task. Going to do tons of encoding/rendering.

So I just sold my rig with i7 2600k that does not support 64Bit virtualization. Since I need that I need to buy an intel processor without the "K"

Im thinking of buying an M-ATX P67 MB from ASUS.

P8P67M

Or

P8P67M-PRO

Will these support all my virtualization needs? I might install proxmox or Xen server later on the machine.

The CPU`s im looking on is the:

i5 2500

Or

i7 2600

I see the main difference here is Hyper Threading. Is HT good to have for virtualization and is it supported from apps in Arch Linux?

And the i7 2600 has 8MB of cache

The Z68 chipset has greate functions but I don`t think the GPU solution is supported? If setup it can change from the inbuilt GPU to an external GPU when the perfomance is needed.

Big thanks for any advices ;)

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For virtualization your current specs are more than enough, provided you will not be running several VMs. Which in that case, you will need a lot more RAM to support them along with your main OS.

Furthermore, HT is not as effective as a physical core and will not offer the same level of performance, as a physical core would. But if the application you are using can take advantage of the extra cores, I don't see why not buy one.

For video encoding/rendering, I would go with the I7 CPU it will perform a lot better than the I5. And if budget permits, throw in an SSD for optimum performance.

Edited by Infiltrator
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For virtualization your current specs are more than enough, provided you will not be running several VMs. Which in that case, you will need a lot more RAM to support them along with your main OS.

Furthermore, HT is not as effective as a physical core and will not offer the same level of performance, as a physical core would. But if the application you are using can take advantage of the extra cores, I don't see why not buy one.

For video encoding/rendering, I would go with the I7 CPU it will perform a lot better than the I5. And if budget permits, throw in an SSD for optimum performance.

Thanks for help. I will use SSD and 32GB ram. When I did encoding/rendering on my i7 2600k it was fast but I don`t have the need for it. The i5 2500k did perfectly for the job also since I have some rigs with i5 2500k.

So the only reason for an i7 2600 is for visualization. And it will boost encoding/rendering ofc as an bonus.

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So the only reason for an i7 2600 is for visualization. And it will boost encoding/rendering ofc as an bonus.

An i5 will do just fine, if you are only using it for virtualization.

My current rig has a Q6660 2.66GHZ quad core CPU and it can run 3 VMs simultaneously without any noticeable performance drop.

However they do get a bit slow to respond at times and that's because my hard drive has reached it maximum throughput.

And when virtualizing its very important to consider fast storage systems in order to maintain a responsive and smooth performance.

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Well I see that the P67 Motherboards does not support VT-D. And that is crucial for virtualization. (Correct me if am wrong).

So I need to rethink this setup.

It has nothing to do with the motherboard, its the CPU that must support VT-D. And the I5 you are purchasing currently supports it.

http://ark.intel.com/products/52209/Intel-Core-i5-2500-Processor-%286M-Cache-3_30-GHz%29

Edit: My current MB is an Asus Striker Extreme and its more than 4 years old. And it does not have any support for virtualization and I can till use it to run Vmware or Virtual Box.

Edited by Infiltrator
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In general, its the instruction sets of the CPU + BIOS capabilities. You can have a CPU/MOBO combination that support virtualization, with an outdated BIOS that either doesn't support it or by default, disables virtualization.

Sometimes, its as simple as going into the BIOS, and enabling it(something Intel machines might have disabled in the BIOS by the OEM manufacturer) or requires a BIOS update. AMD machines also have a setting in the BIOS to enable and disable virtualization, with AMD having some other enhancements(extra instruction sets for different VM features on different hardware) for virtualization.

I wouldn't be surprised if your old machine was capable, just needed it enabled in the BIOS first or a BIOS update to use the CPU capabilities.

edit:

by the way, looks like the 2600k DOES support virtualization - http://www.cpu-world.com/CPUs/Core_i7/Intel-Core%20i7-2600K%20CM8062300833908.html

Edited by digip
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Well. It depends a lot of the motherboard. Ive read and I see a lot of motherboards which don't support it but when you flash the bios you get support for VT-D. But Intel says that in general the P67 chipset should not support VT-D. But still some of them do.

Thanks for the link digip. I know that the K version supports VT-X which I think is almost as good as VT-D. But I am no expert in this field.

I think I will go for an Asus P8P67-M with I7 2600k.

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@Luretryne, my apologies for misinforming you, I overlooked that important aspect and in fact motherboards must support virtualization or else it won't work.

@Digip, I just realized that I did have to enable virtualization on my mobo BIOS.

Edited by Infiltrator
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IIRC, VT-d provides more access to hardware, but you will also need virtualization software that utilizes it. I have an i7-2600 (VT-x) and run Win7 x64 and BT5R1-amd64 VMs in VMWare Workstation just fine. My laptop is an i5-2430M and it also does 64-bit VMs in VMWare Workstation.

You may want to consider asking this on http://hardforum.com/

Edited by int0x80
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