1 2 Previous Next 15 Replies Latest reply on Feb 7, 2012 12:34 PM by khuffmanjr

    Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation

    peterboulton Novice

      Hi,

       

      I'm intending to build a new desktop using one of the Intel Sandy Bridge i7 processors and have limited the choice to the i7-2600 and the i7-2600K.  (See http://ark.intel.com/Compare.aspx?ids=52215,52213,52214)

       

      It seems that the (cheaper) i7-2600 supports a couple of options which might be relevant for virtualisations. The Intel explanations of these features and their VMware relevance are not clear (to me):

       

      • Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)
      • Intel® Trusted Execution Technology

       

      I understand that the "K" designation means that this version (which does not have the virtualisation features bulleted above) is unlocked for overclocking (no interest for me) and also more graphics processing grunt (I am planning to use the on chip gpu as I'm not a gamer).

       

      So, my question is which is the better choice of cpu?  Are those virtualisation options important either now or likely to be in the future for running VMWare (Windows) guests (on Windows hosts)?

       

      Thanks!

       

      Pete

        • 1. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
          rickardnobel Virtuoso

          peterboulton wrote:

           

           

          • Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)

           

          From what I understand from vSphere: VT-d is the possibility to dedicate a certain hardware adapter, say a fibre channel HBA or a NIC directly and exclusive to a virtual machine. It should mean better performance, but makes vMotion and similar not working.

           

          On a Workstation I can not see the benefit of VT-d.

           

          I built a PC for running Workstation this summer and I choose the Intel i7 860, with four cores and hyperthreading, and support for Intel-V (CPU virtualization) and Intel-EPT (Memory virtualization in hardware). It has been working great.

          1 person found this helpful
          • 2. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
            grasshopper Virtuoso

            You should purchase the board that has Intel VT.  This is an absolute requirement for workstation users on the intel platform that want to run 64 bit guests/virtual machines.  Once you obtain your hardware, go into the bios (usually under the security section) and enable VT.  Once configured, power off the system (reboot is not enough) then you will be ready to virtualize nearly anything including 64 bit guests.

             

            Additionally, having the Intel VT capable board will also allow you to run enterpsrise class vSphere software on the baremetal or as a virtual machine, should you choose to play with that down the road (i.e. to work on vcp certifications, test environments, or high performance computing with the free ESXi hypervisor).

             

            I currently use the older Intel DP55WG with VT-d and it runs workstation nicely (including 64 bit guests) on my internal raid10 array.  When I want to play with the enterprise products I boot to ESXi on a usb stick and talk to my iSCSI box that stores all my VMs.  Fun!

             

            Supporting Docs:

            http://www.vmware.com/pdf/ws71_manual.pdf (page 23)

             

            http://kb.vmware.com/kb/1003944

            • 3. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
              peterboulton Novice

              Thanks for this!  But please let me clarify my question.  The Intel comparison page on my original posting referred to 2 processors, not motherboards, though I do understand that the motherboard has to support the virtualisation options too.

               

              The comparison page shows this:

               

               

               

              Advanced Technologies
              Intel® Core™ i7-2600S Processor (8M Cache, 2.80 GHz) Intel® Core™ i7-2600 Processor (8M Cache, 3.40 GHz) Intel® Core™ i7-2600K Processor (8M Cache, 3.40 GHz)
              Intel® Turbo Boost Technology2.02.02.0
              Intel® Hyper-Threading TechnologyYesYesYes
              Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x)YesYesYes
              Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d)YesYesNo
              Intel® Trusted Execution TechnologyYesYesNo

               

              So, the 2600K does not support VT-d and Trusted Execution Technology.  However, it is the most expensive i7 and has the best on board gpu.

               

              My question is whether the lack of these options is relevant to VMware Workstation performance or flexibility.  Or maybe it would just be safest, if there is no clear answer, for me to get the 2600 which supports all the virtualisation options and accept I may need a graphics card as well.

               

              Sorry for not explaining my question properly to start with!   And thanks for any further advices.

               

              Pete

              • 4. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
                grasshopper Virtuoso

                The VT technology will increase your performance in VMware Workstation.  See page 8 of the following:

                http://www.vmware.com/pdf/ws7_performance.pdf

                 

                Edit:  sry I neglected to list my processor type which is an Intel Core i7 860 @ 2.80GHz.  Quite old now but since it has the VT technology it suits my purpose.  Your post was very clear I am just speed typing

                 

                So in summary, based on the choices you presented I would buy the the middle item which gives you the VT technology:

                http://ark.intel.com/Product.aspx?id=52213

                1 person found this helpful
                • 5. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
                  byrneit Novice

                  The correct answer is to use an AMD CPU and compatible mobo. All AMD processors support virtualization, and they are less expensive per unit performance, and more power efficient, than their Intel counterpars.

                   

                  Intel is playing the same games they did with the 486 and 486sx, selling their QA fails with degraded capabilities. With AMD, you don't need to pay attention to the small print. You get x cores, at y clock, and z on die cache. Much simpler, and easier to work with.

                  • 6. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
                    DanGilbertTX Lurker

                    While this answer is late for your purchase it may help other people.

                     

                    There are 3 features we are discussing here:

                     

                    VT-x

                    VT-d

                    TXT

                     

                    VT-x is hardware virtualization assistance. This is an absolute must have for running VMware Workstation nowadays. Both the i7-2600 and the i7-2600k have this.

                     

                    VT-d is Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O. This is Intel's specification for an input/output memory management unit (IOMMU) enables guest virtual machines to directly use peripheral devices, such as Ethernet, accelerated graphics cards, and hard-drive controllers, through DMA and interrupt remapping. This is sometimes called PCI passthrough. This is not supported on all motherboards and (as far as I know) is not supported in VMware Workstation version 7.1. This is really something that is used by ESX and ESXi. VMware uses VT-d through their VMDirectPath feature.

                     

                    TXT - Trusted Execution Technology is a hardware extension to allow for the creation of multiple separated execution environments. A part of this is TPM. This paired with VT-d to protect certain areas related to TXT from DMA access. TXT requires specific support in the processor and the chipset. Furthermore, there has to be a TPM chip present on the motherboard. As far as I know the only P67 motherboard with TPM is the Asus P8P67. Still, this isn't something you would necessarily care about when running VMware Workstation.

                     

                    So, for the purposes of running VMware Workstation both the i7-2600 and the i7-2600k will work. There is no difference as far as VMware Workstation is concerned. I know the OP said that they did not want to overclock, but the i7-2600k should be overclocked and it is the processor anyone who cares about performance should get. It runs stock at 3.4Ghz and it is easily possible to get it to 4.4Ghz on air cooling with very little change in temperature or core voltage. In all the tests I have seen this nets around 15%-20% more performance. Most of the P67 chipset motherboards have overclocking features built-in and you can get these results in 5 minutes or less. For the extra $20 I would say the i7-2600k is definitely worth it.

                    • 7. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
                      marcins Novice

                      I had gone through the same process not that long ago. I ended up going with i7-2600k and Asus P8P67 Pro with 16GB of Ram and SSD storage for VMs. So far I had 7 VMs running at the same time and I barely noticed any load on the CPU, so the CPU is very capable and I am very happy with the purchase. I could have saved myself $100 by going with i5-2500k, but I since I am not going to upgrade any time soon, I figured i7 was a better choice.

                      • 8. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
                        navchd08 Lurker

                        Hi Marcins,

                         

                        I am going to assemble a pc with i7 2600k because i use VMWARE Server 2.0 for Virtual Machines. My main moto is to use VM guest machines as ORACLE Databases. Oracle DB Server cause too much impact on performance. So I decided to go with i7 2600K but please suggest for correct motherboard. I will use my PC for ORACLE DB Server practice & not for gaming. So which board should I choose : (ASUS P8Z68  V-PRO ) OR ( ASUS P8P67) board.

                        Rather than SSD for VMs , I think to configure RAID 0 HDD setup. Will RAID setup for VMs will be as helpful in performance boost up as I can have with SSD.

                        Also , plz suggest any good Cabinet model for ASUS Motherboard ( as described above) ATX. I wouldn't install any separate graphic card.

                         

                        Please help , which vendor for RAM will be best. Is 8GB (8*1 bank) DDR3 ram available in market. I searched , but I could find 4GB DDR3 RAM. As motherboard have 4 DIMM banks , so choosing 4GB bankswill limit maximum RAM upto 16 GB.

                         

                        Thanks a lot!

                         

                        Regards,

                        Naveen

                        Oracle Tech. Professional

                        • 9. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
                          rickardnobel Virtuoso

                          navchd08 wrote:

                           

                          So which board should I choose : (ASUS P8Z68  V-PRO ) OR ( ASUS P8P67) board.

                           

                          ...

                           

                          Also , plz suggest any good Cabinet model for ASUS Motherboard ( as described above) ATX. I wouldn't install any separate graphic card.

                           

                           

                          I think you will need a separate graphic card if choosing the P8P67, I do not think it includes any onboard graphics.

                          • 10. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
                            navchd08 Lurker

                            Thanks Riconb.

                            Could you please suggest good configuration for a pc. I need to configure it to use around 3 or 4 guest VMs capable of running Oracle DB server. Detail Description you can get from my preivious post.

                            • 11. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
                              VaemonGuy Novice

                              Hi,

                               

                              it's a late reply but just came on time

                               

                              because LGA2011 is coming next month, and it will allow you to have 8 memory slots, which means you can have at most 64GB physical memory. for workstation, vt-d is less important, and you will need a Q series chipset to run, so don't worry about it, just buy the K version

                               

                              vaemon

                              http://vaemon.com

                              • 12. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
                                marcins Novice

                                Like others have said, if you can wait for LGA2011 motherboards, that might the best option; being able to run 8x4 GB memory configuration would definitely be 10x cheaper than 4x 8GB configuration.

                                If you can’t wait either board would work just fine (I have p8p67 only because the other wasn’t available at that time). Both boards are limited with 4 memory sockets and either though they support 8 GB modules; financially it makes no sense as they are about 10x expensive than 4 GB module for only twice more capacity.

                                As far as the memory brand, I would recommend to consult a motherboard user guide for approved/certified modules. In most cases, most modules should work, but if you are looking for peace of mind you can’t go wrong with what was tested and approved by the vendor.

                                 

                                Marcin

                                • 14. Re: Plse help me choose best Intel desktop processor for VMWare Workstation
                                  navchd08 Lurker

                                  Thnks Marcins.

                                  Can you share your ideas about the performance of VMs using SSD vs HDD Raid setup ? SSD is much expensive . You are using SSD , what about if I use 4 HDD in RAID setup?

                                   

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