Well, you must have heared about “Virtualization”. Sometimes in advertisement also, Intel and AMD use this term. They advertise their some processors as “supports Virtualization”. So lets learn what this Virtualization feature is and how it helps.
Basically, this Virtualization feature in Processors, enables a CPU to act as if there are several CPU’s working in parallel. This is to achieve the task of running several OS (operating systems) at the same time and in the same machine. Virtualization means you can run several operatinng systems in parallel at the same time and each running with several different programs. Each of the operating system runs on a “virtual machine” or a “virtual CPU”.
You must have heared about a software called VMware. On virtualization, you can have several operating systems running in parallel, each one with several programs running. Each operating system runs on a “virtual CPU” or “virtual machine”. And HyperThreading simulates two CPUs were there is just one physical CPU for balancing performance using SMP (Symmetric Multi Processing), and these two CPUs cannot be used separately. Even if your processor does not support Virtualization, still you can use this software and run multiple operating systems at the same time, and each running a different program. You may ask, that if there is VMware, then why do we require this “Virtualization” feature in processor. The answer is also quite simple. Processor’s that has this Virtualization technology have some new and improved instructions to control Virtualization.
Now talking about Intel and AMD. Intel uses the term “Intel Virtualization Technology for x86 (Intel VT)” and AMD uses the term “AMD virtualization (AMD-V)” . E.g. AMD Phenom II X2 550 BE supports Virtualization. This processor costs around 5500 INR ($110). So if you’re thinking to upgrade and want to have this Virtualization feature then I recommend to go with this one. Ofcourse there are many other processors also from Intel and AMD that supports Virtualization, for a list of them, visit here, however this list is also not complete.
Another popular Virtualization software is VirtualBox. Download it from here