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Did anybody try to install Hyper-V on Intel Atom platform?

Hyper-V requires:

  • x64 compatible processor with Intel VT or AMD-V technology enabled
  • Hardware Data Execution Prevention (DEP)

It seems that both requirements are satisfied with Atom as processor. However, I wonder whether there is some blocking issue (e.g. BIOS that does not support it) since all Atom motherboards I checked had quite old north/south-bridge.

My intentions are to run two low-requirements virtual machines (embedded Linux), so performance should not be an issue.

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Plenty of people have tried VMWare ESXi on Atom, and have come to the conclusion that it works if you get the right motherboard, but performance is absolutely awful.

I can't see this being different for Hyper-V. You're going to be able to buy a cheap AMD Opteron system with virtualization built-in and fully supported by Hyper-V for as little as an Atom system is going to cost you, I'd recommend going down that route.

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My intention is to make small and very-low-noise machine. It's size needs to be mini-ITX and it needs to be in closed space. – Josip Medved Sep 3 '09 at 6:17
Then you'll probably be ok, just make sure you get a motherboard that supports VT in the bios, like the Intel D945GCLF2. I'd still recommend a mini-itx running a Core 2 Duo processor though, they do exist and are pretty cheap, like the Intel DG45FC – Ewan Leith Sep 3 '09 at 15:14

just to let you know that I have just installed Windows 2008 R2 (64 bits) on my newly purchased Intel motherboard (ITX Atom D510MO) and that the HyPer-V feature refuses to install, stating it is not supported by the CPU.

Voila, we now have an answer for sure :-)

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While there's nothing specific in the system requirements for Hyper-V that contraindicates using Atom processors..

The wikipedia article on Atom processors indicates that only Z520, Z530, Z540 and Z550 "Silverthorne" processors support Intel VT.

I think if it was me doing it, I'd be using ubuntu-server as a host, running KVM, then using that for virtualising the linux guests. (but I'm not sure if that would be much better, as you'd end up doing software virtualisation! :( )

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The Atom N270 (in my Samsung NC10) definitely doesn't support VT -- based on attempting to use XP Mode in Windows 7. – Roger Lipscombe Sep 2 '09 at 9:51
I know that processors do offer support. However, my question is more related to motherboard/CPU combo which is known to cause some problems (like Roger's case). – Josip Medved Sep 2 '09 at 10:51

The Atom Z520 supports VT and very suitable for KVM.

The VT extension needs to be enabled in the BIOS however. In my Acer A075h there's no BIOS option - so I'm screwed. I can't imagine why they would disable it and leave now way for the user to turn it on.

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Intel D945GCLF2

Has the atom 330 chip which does NOT support intel-vt. It does support hyperthreading.

Somewhere at intel's website there is a way to compare atom chips and their features. This will show you which versions of the Atom include virtualization support.

I am using (or trying to) ESXi with the D945GCLF2 motherboard. If you are going to try this, you have to try compiling the r8168 driver (on a different system) and installing it in an unsupported configuration. It didn't work for me. The alternative, a far, far, better one is that the only PCI slot is consumed by a "supported" ethernet card.

I don't have throughput numbers yet. I don't expect anything stellar, but will be satisfied if I can watch stutter free video and make use of backups.

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intel VT support on Z560 , Z550 Z540 Z530 Z520 Below these are not supported.

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