Step by Step Guide on How to Enable Intel® VT-d and Perform Direct Device Assignment

By Aamir B Yunus, published on February 24 , 2009

This guide shows step by step instructions on how to "direct assign" Intel 85276 NIC to a virtual machine using Intel® Virtualization Technology (Intel® VT) for Directed I/O (Intel® VT-d). For this guide I am using the following hardware and software:

  • SuperMicro X8DTN+ Server with Intel® Core™ i7 X5570 processors, American Megatrends BIOS R1.1
  • VMware* ESX Server 4.0 as the hypervisor
  • Microsoft Windows* Server 2008 Enterprise 64-bit as the guest operating system

Your BIOS, VMM and guest OS might be different from what I used, however you can apply the same methodology to your hardware and software.

1. First step is to enable Intel VT-d in BIOS. You will not find it under CPU configurations. Go to your BIOS and select "North Bridge" under chipset.


2. Select Tylersburg IOH Configuration.


3. Select Intel VT for Directed I/O Configuration.


4. Enable VT-d.


5. Save and exit. Unplug the power from your system, wait for one minute and plug it back again.

6. Power up your system, connect VIClient to ESX server.

7. On VIClient, goto "Configuration" tab, click "Advanced Settings" under hardware and then click "Configure Passthrough."


8. A pop-up dialog box will appear. We want to confiigure vmnic1 for direct assignment. Select vmnic1 and click OK.


9. Now you will see "Intel Corporation 85276 Gigabit Network Connection [vmnic1]" in the list of devices available for direct access for virtual machines. Reboot your ESX server.


10. Now edit the settings of your virtual machine to which you want to add the pass through device. In our case 85276 network adapter. Click on "Add hardware" and then select "PCI device" as shown in figure below. Click "Next."


11. Select "Intel Corporation 85276 Gigabit Network Connection" from the drop down list and click "Next" button.


12. You will see "New PCI Device" will be added. Click OK and close the dialog box.


13. Power on your virtual machine. Now guest OS will detect a new hardware device that has been added. You need to install appropriate drivers for your device.


14. For Intel 85276 NIC, download the driver file "PROVISTAX64_v13_5.exe" from Intel's website. Double click on the executable and install the driver.


15. You will see a message that "Device driver software installed successfully." You are ready to use your directly assigned Intel Corporation 85276 Gigabit Network Adapter.



Product and Performance Information


Intel's compilers may or may not optimize to the same degree for non-Intel microprocessors for optimizations that are not unique to Intel microprocessors. These optimizations include SSE2, SSE3, and SSSE3 instruction sets and other optimizations. Intel does not guarantee the availability, functionality, or effectiveness of any optimization on microprocessors not manufactured by Intel. Microprocessor-dependent optimizations in this product are intended for use with Intel microprocessors. Certain optimizations not specific to Intel microarchitecture are reserverd for Intel microprocessors. Please refer to the applicable product User and Reference Guides for more information regarding the specific instruction sets covered by this notice.

Notice revision #20110804