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Choice Of Motherboard For Linux Virtualization Who knows which ones work well?

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Virtualization is a relatively arcane subject, but it is one which is very rapidly growing, and apparently very "hot" in commercial enterprises. For the hobbyist with multiple computers (I have 8), it offers the possibility of taking snapshots of running, fully configured applications and operating systems, and transferring some or all of them onto a single computer platform. First, it saves energy. Second, once the conversion has been made from real hardware to a virtual "guest," the driver problems associated with moving from one hardware platform to another are solved. In addition, virtualization solves other problems: {1}Want to browse virus-infested websites? Set your "guest" so it can't save anything. It doesn't know it can't, but the next time you start it, it goes back to the previous guest image. {2} Want to always have a current backup in case of a crash? Let the guest image update (default case), and you always have a backup.


My primary interest is in Linux hosting of the virtual systems, so I was inclined to go with a straight Intel CPU and chipset, which should mean drivers are available. I just took a look at the ASUS website which was suggested here (post #13), and I find it very frustrating. This virtualization thread is far off-topic there, so I am starting a new topic with it.


The most recent computer I got was about 6 months ahead of the hardware-virtualization instructions. I now have an RFQ out for a virtualization platform. Since I have no hands-on experience with hardware virtualization, I would welcome any suggestions anyone might have. The options I am considering include:

MSI P45 Neo -- LGA775 package, DDR2 memory

MSI P45 Diamond -- LGA 775 package, DDR3 memory

MSI E7520 Master -S2M Dual Xeon

MSI K8D Master3-133-FA4R Dual AMD Opteron

I have not looked at Dual Xeon or Dual Opteron systems before. That was recommended by one of the guys at the systems integrator. I really don't understand why the memory in their specs is so much slower than the others. Here are 3 ASUS products:



I find the ASUS description has lots of pretty promotional text and graphics but it omits the stuff I really want to know. For example, it tells me its memory speed, but not how much memory it can support! I also want a system that can host a minimum of 6 sATA and 2 IDE hard drives. Again, I am unable to find the information. It is not clear that the promotional material even applies to the motherboard to which it is attached. For example, the F5E is a pure Intel system, yet it is claimed to have AMD CrossFire graphics.


Have you had any experience with virtualization? Good or bad, please share it here!

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Sorry, what do you mean by "hardware virtualization" ?Do you mean that you are not going to youse vmware or another virtualization environment ?

Modern cpu's have extra instructions for optimized virtualization, so that's hardware virtualization :) . I personly have not much experience with linux and different motherboards, but I do know that newer motherboards aren't fully supported by linux (or partialy/unstable). Things you realy have to look for are SATA support (do not that most motherboards have 2 different SATA controllers, one on the soutbridge and one extra for more ports). The same thing goes for PATA support, modern soutbridges don't offer a single PATA port so manufacturers have to use a seperate chip for this.

About your question concerning the slower memory on dual Xeon/Opteron motherboards, there is a good reason for this. Normal people want bigger nummers and manufacturers push hardware to their limit to get to these numbers. To problem with pusing things to their limits is that they get unstable and are very sensitive. In server environments (where Xeons and Opterons are used), these errors aren't acceptable, so they use 'slower' memory (it's actualy not slower, it's just the right mix between stability and speed) with extra error protection.

Last thing, a while ago, AMD bought ATI so all ATI products are now AMD. So basicaly, when you say AMD Crossfire you're referring to the graphics part of AMD.

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Normally, I spend $400-$600 for the guts of a computer (no monitor, keyboard, just a small hard drive) then add stuff. This time, I intend to get a more expensive "keeper," which is why I want to pick the brains of this very sophisticated collection of geeks! :)


The history of the "hardware instructions" I mentioned is really quite interesting. The University of Cambridge developed the Xen⢠virtual machine monitor. Along the way, they commented that if a few new instructions were added to the x86 architecture, a collection of virtual guests could run at near-native speed on otherwise normal x86 hardware. Both Intel and AMD listened, and came up with Intel VT and AMD-V extensions to their standard instruction sets. Recently-developed virtualization software can recognize and use either of these.


Unfortunately, one can't just get a current CPU with these instructions and put it in a motherboard. The motherboard can disable these instructions. According to reports, some do. Naturally, columns that say this, do not say which ones do, and I have not seen a list of which ones are suspect. I would guess they are probably proprietary motherboards, such as from Dell or HP, where they don't want to sell a "cheap" computer that can do "expensive" tasks, but that is purely a guess on my part. In any case, I would very much like to hear from you if you have successfully run hardware virtualization on your motherboard.


My remark about the AMD Crossfire was noting that on a pure Intel motherboard, the ASUS description claimed to have AMD Crossfire capability. Trust me, I'm certain Intel is not paying royalties to AMD for a proprietary graphics engine! :P

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My remark about the AMD Crossfire was noting that on a pure Intel motherboard, the ASUS description claimed to have AMD Crossfire capability. Trust me, I'm certain Intel is not paying royalties to AMD for a proprietary graphics engine! :)

They are not paying AMD for a proprietary graphics engine. AMD Crossfire capability means you can insert two AMD graphics cards and couple them so them works together, it's the same thing as nVidia's SLI technology. It would be kinda stupid if Intel wouldn't support Crosffire or SLI on their high end chipsets because these two technologies are what the market wants.

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Linux motherboard

Choice Of Motherboard For Linux Virtualization


Hello, I know I am out of the topic, but very keen to find out if anyone here know which motherboard would get along with linux operating system (ubuntu 8.10) well, I need to build a very basic linux box which only need Postfix service to be running, of course I am worry about the driver hardware, not too sure if all the latest motherboard would support linux. Hope I can find an answer here.


Thanks guy



-reply by sportivo

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Linux and M/BChoice Of Motherboard For Linux Virtualization

I've used Linux for years and have had no issue with recent M/B's.

Any ASUS or MSi board should run linux, with or without integrated graphics, Even bottom end  boards like the ECS A740Gm-M $63AU or the ASUS M2N68-Am PLUS $74Au run Ubuntu perfectly and you driver CD required.

Stick with AMD CPU's if you are thinking Virtual as ALL current, (except for Sempron) AMD cpu's have AMD-V support. Most of the lower end Intel CPU's have VT disabled, even some of the more expensive models.

Check you M/B bios supports it first or at least does not diable it. I'm haviong issues with the ECS board mentioned above running ESXi 4.

-reply by Zorrek

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