My configuration:

  • Intel i5 M 460 processor (doesn't have VT-d).
  • 4GB of RAM
  • enough memory on HDD and SSD for everything I need. :D

I'd like to make few virtual machine OS which I want run smoothly on my laptop.

  • Ubuntu with JDK, Eclipse and CDT
  • Windows with Eclipse and CDT
  • Some OS with Python, RStudio and SQL developer.
  • Something on which I will run databases if I need them.
  • Some Windows version (7 or 10) for my family/guests/..., running movies and similar 'free-time' things.

At the same time, there would be only one virtual machine running. Or 2, if I need DB online at the same time and I put it on separate VM.

Is there a way to effectively run those VM's on my hardware? I feel that processor not having VT-d limits my options significantly.


You don't need VT-D for most things. VT-D is for Hardware/PCIe passthrough. There's very little need for PCIe passthrough on a laptop, since you have, at most one or two PCIe slots, and non suitable for video.

VT-X is quite often really useful, and is either a hard requirement for VM host software or required for specific setups, but most modern systems have it. You have that but occasionally manufacturers disable it on their systems for some inscrutable reason.

There's other considerations though.

Ram - in general, for desktop virtualisation, you don't want to oversubscribe ram. This is where your current setup is going to hurt. Assuming you run windows at minimum requirements, we're looking at a gig or 2, depending on architecture per VM. Linux will run on less, but databases can be memory hungry. This will need some babying.

Cores/threads. In general, your VMs will be sharing cores, and you'll be running more threads than a single OS for certain. Higher corecount is better.

That said, I've run single windows VMs on lesser systems(tho, ram would worry me). However with intelligent setups - settling for 32bit for windows, and thinking about what choices you make when setting up linux VMs.

For linux systems consider setups people use for low end VPSes when setting up things like databases.

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  • From my personal experience, core count is less important than storage speed and RAM capacity for most applications. Dual core CPU's are usually enough for most typical desktop use. – Larssend Jul 3 '15 at 4:32
  • Assuming you're running a single VM, his 2 cores, 4 threads is probably ok. There's some stuff I prefer more power for. – Journeyman Geek Jul 3 '15 at 6:50
  • Thanx for the answer and comments. I'll try to find something. Do you think, is some hypervisor like Oracle Virtualbox (on, let's say Arch/lubuntu) good way to go, or should I for something simpler on my OS? – tbukic Jul 4 '15 at 18:50
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    That's really dependent on what you want to do. I run KVM on my lower end machines, and it works well, but I've also run virtualbox for different reasons. I'm afraid I can't answer you on what would be a perfect solution for your needs. – Journeyman Geek Jul 5 '15 at 1:12
  • Core i3 with VT-x and without VT-d owner here. Thank you OP and @JourneymanGeek: found your answer better suited than wikipedia to plan for virtualization (Qemu/KVM here). – tuk0z Aug 12 '16 at 17:52

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