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Enable virtualization on Gigabyte AM4 boards

·2 mins

Tearing your hair out because virtualization won’t work on your new Ryzen & Gigabyte K7 PC? Make sure Secure Virtual Machine (SVM) mode is enabled in your Gigabyte motherboard’s bios, it’s buried in an unexpected spot.

You can find it under: “M.I.T” > “Advanced Frequency Settings” > “Advanced CPU Core Settings” > “SVM Mode”.

SVM Mode BIOS Screenshot

Even when SVM mode is disabled the following will return expected results.

egrep '^flags.*(vmx|svm)' /proc/cpuinfo

However, when you run Virtual Machine Manager you’ll get “KVM is not available.” If you attempt to add the kvm_amd module with sudo modprobe kvm_amd you’ll get "ERROR: could not insert 'kvm_amd': Operation not supported". This lsmod | grep kvm will list kvm but not kvm_amd and VirtualBox will complain that “AMD-V is disabled in the BIOS (or by the host OS).” That last one finally tipped me off to the BIOS setting.

Stay away from Gigabyte motherboards if you are building a Linux based machine. Currently Ubuntu 17.04 fails at install with the error “unexpected irq trap at vector 07.” In the Canonical bug report there is a quote from Gigabyte which reads “Gigabyte do not guarantee Linux Platform on the desktop motherboard.” On the bright side the bug got me to try out Fedora 25 which I am loving so far.

Update (2020-05-31): When I first built this machine Ubuntu would fail with the above mentioned error. Thankfully that has been fixed and I’ve been running Ubuntu for well over a year now.