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AMD Dual / Quad core compatibility


We are currently running ESX 3.0.2 on a bunch of HP DL585 G2s each with 4 x Dual Core CPUs.

Do any of you guys know if these will be vmotion compatible with the DL585 G3 with the new AMD "Barcelona" quad core processor rumoured to be released in the new year?

We're thinking if we should be waiting for the new box to come out/ be certified, or in fact just buy the Intel quad core boxes that are out now.



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4 Replies

I'm not exactly sure which processors you are currently using (I'm assuming they are AMD Opteron of one flavor or another), and I don't know for sure regarding the AMD quad-cores, but if both processors are some form of AMD Opteron or another, there is a chance it will work.

The areas of concern are the issues of SSE3 instructions, Virtualization Hardware Assist, and Execution-Disable. The Virtualization Hardware Assist does not require an exact match for 32-bit VMs, and the SSE3 and Nx/XD can sometimes be worked-around with overriding (sp?) the CPU masks.

See the attached PDF (VMotion Compatitbility Matrix). I don't see the "Barcelona" quad-core processor you mentioned, but it is a good source of reference.

Here are some additional links you might find useful:

I wish I had a more affirmative/definitive answer for you.


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I am looking into this as well since AMD has released their 3rd generation Opterons, named Barcelona (23xx and 83yy). The KB article 1992 still has no reference to them just the previous Santa Rosas (22xx and 82yy). I'm not certain but the Barcelonas might be rev G and according to the article masking for VMotion is unsupported between rev F and rev G.

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I've recalled sitting with Dell Sales Engineers talking about their road map and regarding to Barcelona and the new server will support 256GB ram that's huge. It depends which family of chipset and generations as well, but you should consult with Dells Sales Engineer for details.

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Stefan Nguyen

iGeek Systems LLC.

VMware, Citrix, Microsoft Consultant

If you found this information useful, please consider awarding points for "Correct" or "Helpful". Thanks!!! Regards, Stefan Nguyen VMware vExpert 2009 iGeek Systems Inc. VMware vExpert, VCP 3 & 4, VSP, VTSP, CCA, CCEA, CCNA, MCSA, EMCSE, EMCISA
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VMware Employee
VMware Employee

Hi Shaunwhi:

Unfortunately, your AMD Barcelona stepping A (BA) CPUs are

not supported by ESX.

I can give you a bit of context.

AMD quad core CPUs of the "Barcelona" code name type,

have Family 0x10, model 02. Several different steppings

exist, some of which are preproduction only, including

steppings B0, B1, B2, BA and B3. (BA is oddly enough older

than stepping B3.) These are all 65 nm CPUs.

For "Barcelona" CPUs ESX 3.x only supports stepping B3.

More recent AMD quad core CPUs are of the 45 nm "Shanghai"

type. Shanghai CPUs have Family 0x10 and model 04. Here we

support all steppings.

The reason for restricting the Barcelona support to just

stepping B3 had to do with a combination of erratas,

performance issues, and low numbers of such CPUs making it

difficult to justify the qualification as well as engineering


That said, a kernel oops during install is a poor way to

express this limitation. Apologies for that!

You can see the ESX 3.0.3 release notes here, explaining

the supported Barcelona types (oddly enough, I was unable

to lcoate ESX 3.5 release notes just now):


Unfortunately, none of this will help you get ESX working on this

system. An upgrade to Shanghai CPUs may be the best way forward.

Hope this helps.


P.S. I found this web site helpful (see table at bottom)`:


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