I have recently written two posts centering on the Intel Server Board S1200KP and have now been made aware of an additional detail that is important about the S1200KP motherboard. When I originally found the board and wrote about it on February 19, I made a few assumptions about the board’s capabilities. Thanks to some comments on the two posts, I now know that my assumption was incorrect.
While nearly all the motherboards intended to use the Intel Xeon E3 line of processors have VT-d support, the S1200KP has the notable distinction of not supporting VT-d. Why? You would have to ask Intel on that one. It makes absolutely no sense and should be corrected by a firmware update. In the case of the only other board I know of with the C206 chipset, the Asus P8B WS, Asus initally released the board without VT-d support but added it later with a BIOS update. Intel could certainly do the exact same thing.
Why they have not, I don’t know. I understand the argument that VT-d is less useful on a Mini-ITX board since it only has a single PCI Express slot but it would still be nice as an ESXi 5.0 system in a compact case and then passing a controller or video card through to a guest. I’m planning to contact Intel and complain about this omission since it makes a big difference on whether this board is a good value for my use cases.
The lack of VT-d does not invalidate the use of the board for a NAS and/or with ZFS but it is quite disappointing for more advanced virtualization. The S1200KP will still work fine for the majority of virtualization tasks since it does have VT-x but it is a potentially drastic limitation. Hopefully Intel will take this seriously and rectify the problem soon.