[vbox-dev] Chipset support for Message Signaled Interrupts (MSI)

Vilbig, Ric ric_vilbig at mentor.com
Mon Mar 21 22:42:52 UTC 2016

Hi Experts,

I posted the following on the VIrtualBox forum, but Perry recommended I contact you by the email list.

I am working on a custom PCI device model, plugged into VirtualBox via PDM. It's mostly working, lspci for example shows it's present. But I am having a problem with Message Signaled Interrupts (MSI).

The following quote from Ch.3 of the VirtualBox User Manual implies that the ICP9 chipset must be used for MSI support, and I have seen supporting evidence in web searches and VBox source code (OSE 5.0.16 tarball).

"...VirtualBox 4.0 introduced an emulation of the more modern ICH9 chipset, which supports PCI express,
three PCI buses, PCI-to-PCI bridges and Message Signaled Interrupts (MSI)..."

Can someone confirm or refute with certainty that the PIIX3 chipset does not support MSI and ICH9 is required for device models using MSI?

How worried should I be about this excerpt from the same paragraph? A quick test of ICH9 VM did not go well. I've actually tried with Fedora 23, Fedora 18 and Ubuntu 14 guests (all 64-bit) without success, but not yet dug into it because this quote worries me.

"Note that the ICH9 support is experimental and not recommended for guest operating systems which do not require it."

Thanks in advance for your help.


Ric Vilbig
Mentor Graphics, Emulation Division
46871 Bayside Parkway, Fremont CA, 94538
Phone:  510-354-7360
Mobile: 408-529-2365
email:  ric_vilbig at mentor.com<mailto:ric_vilbig at mentor.com>

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