SVM Mode is a virtualization security layer available within BIOS/UEFI for motherboards with AMD CPUs. Virtualization is a powerful technology for improving the efficiency of your computer and allowing you to run multiple instances of a virtual computer from a single hardware setup. You can run outdated programs or other operating systems using virtualization.
SVM mode won’t affect the performance of your computer to any noticeable degree unless you are trying to run multiple virtual computers simultaneously. Continue reading if you’d like to learn more about SVM and how to enable SVM for multiple motherboard manufacturers.
BIOS is a bit of code stored in a chip on your motherboard. The BIOS software is the first software that runs during active startup. BIOS identifies your hardware and helps it interact with your operating system.
While BIOS is the term still widely used today, most modern computers now use UEFI firmware. BIOS stands for basic input/output system, and UEFI stands for unified extensible firmware interface. Many system settings are only available from within the BIOS, including:
- SATA settings
- Boot Order
- Secure Boot
- SMV Mode
What is SVM Mode?
SVM stands for Secure Virtual Machine. SVM Mode is an option found within the BIOS of AMD motherboards. When enabled, SVM is a virtualization mode that allows you to set up a virtual machine environment on your computer. The SVM security layer can split resources across multiple programs using hardware virtualization. For most AMD motherboards, SVM mode is enabled by default. But some motherboards require you to manually enable AMD’s SVM mode.
What are Virtual Machines?
Virtualization is a technology for running the virtual instance of a computer. You can run multiple operating systems on a single hardware system simultaneously with it. Each VMs runs on its own operating system while running on only a portion of the actual computer hardware. Virtualization is the backbone of cloud computing.
Virtual machines are not as powerful as a standard operating system, and you can expect a 5% drop in CPU and memory performance for VMs. Virtual machines can run operating systems and programs just as a regular computer. They increase the overall efficiency of a computer by allowing computer resources to be distributed among multiple VMs as needed.
You may want to use a VM to run an operating system or program that you can’t normally run on your computer. You can also run older or incompatible software with a virtual machine that’s set to Windows XP or some other outdated operating system. Developers often use VMs to develop an application across multiple platforms to ensure everything works as intended.
Virtual machines are also a safe way to engage in riskier computer activities like surfing the dark web or using torrents.
4 Things You Can Do with Virtualization
1. Backup Your Operating System
You can easily back up your entire operating system, just like you’d create a backup of other kinds of files. This is a great option to protect your entire OS from a cyberattack. Don’t create a copy of a licensed operating system, like Windows, to distribute to friends or family, though.
2. Browse Without Risk
If you want to protect your personal information and computer from cyberattacks, you can use a virtual machine to prevent the corruption of your actual OS. Some cyberattacks, like ransomware, can be devastating. Ransomware usually encrypts your system files and demands a ransom to be paid to have your files decrypted. But if a security attack compromises a VM, it can be shut down immediately without impacting your system.
3. Run Linux or macOS
If you are running Windows operating system but want to use macOS or Linux operating systems, you can do that with a virtual machine. Mac and Linux users have been doing this very thing for years to use Windows-only programs. Ubuntu is a popular Linux distro where Windows users started experimenting with VMs.
4. Test Your Software
If you are developing a software application, you can use virtual machines to test and check that the application is working correctly on other operating systems before deploying.
Does Intel have SVM Mode?
Intel does not use the term SVM Mode. Instead, Intel’s comparable feature is called Intel VT or Intel Virtualization. Intel’s virtualization technology offers the same features as AMDs SVM mode.
How does SVM Mode Impact Performance?
Virtualization only affects performance when a virtual machine is running. This means that enabling SVM won’t affect your computer’s everyday performance. Virtual machines may tax the CPU, but the effects are usually marginal. You shouldn’t experience a drop in framerates when gaming or any interference with other applications. If you enable Hyper-V Windows in conjunction with SVM, you might experience slight performance degradation.
How to Check if Your PC Supports SVM Mode
If you’re uncertain if your computer supports virtualization, follow these steps to find out:
- Use Windows Search to search for System Information and click Open.
- Within the System Information window, scroll down to find Hyper-V Virtualization Enabled in Firmware. If this option says Yes, then your device supports virtualization.
How to Check if Virtualization is Already Enabled
Before hassling with your motherboard’s BIOS and enabling SVM Mode, you can check if virtualization is already enabled using the Task Manager:
- Open Task Manager by searching for Task Manager using Windows Search or pressing Ctrl + Alt + Del and selecting Task Manager from the menu.
- Click on the Performance tab and then select CPU on the left-hand side.
- Underneath the CPU % Utilization graph, find Virtualization and check if it’s Disabled or Enabled. If Enabled, you can start using virtualization.
How to Enable SVM Mode?
If you’d like to enable SVM mode to take advantage of the benefits of virtualization, you will need to access the BIOS. For your motherboard to have SVM mode, you must have a motherboard running an AMD Ryzen CPU.
- After powering on the computer, press Del or F2 on the first loading screen, you’ll need to react quickly here. But if you miss the small window of opportunity to enter the BIOS, you can shut down your computer and try again.
- Press F7 to enter the Advanced Mode to access advanced features and settings. There’s no need to press F7 for ROG series motherboards because the advanced features are available by default.
- Click the Advanced tab and then select CPU configuration from the options.
- At the bottom of the CPU Configuration page, you’ll find SVM Mode. Click Disabled to expand the drop-down menu and then select Enabled.
- After powering on the computer, press Del on the first loading screen. You only have a short window to enter BIOS from this point, so you’ll need to react quickly. In case you miss it and your computer has already booted, you can shut it down and try again.
- Select OC or Overclocking Settings.
- Scroll down through the options to find and click CPU Features. If you can’t locate CPU Features within your BIOS, select Advanced CPU Configurations instead.
- From the CPU Features page (or Advanced CPU Configurations), locate SVM Mode.
- Click Disabled and select Enabled from the pop-up window.
- Now select the X in the top-right-hand corner and click Yes to the prompt ‘Save configuration and exit?’
- After enabling SVM Mode, restart your PC to ensure these new features are fully applied.
NOTE: If you’re still having issues locating SVM Mode, try clicking on the Search icon in the top-right corner to search for SVM Mode.
- After powering on the computer, press Del on the first loading screen. Just like in other motherboards, your reaction should be on point. Once your computer has booted you won’t be able to access BIOS anymore. In case you missed the window of opportunity, you can shut down your PC and try again.
- On BIOS, select the M.I.T. tab.
- Within the M.I.T page, click Advanced Frequency Settings.
- Now select Advanced CPU Core Settings and find SVM Mode from the list.
- Click Disabled to switch SVM Mode to Enabled.
- Press F10 to Save and exit BIOS, then restart your PC.
- After powering on the computer, press Del on the first loading screen.
- Within the BIOS interface, find and select the Advanced tab.
- Then click on CPU Configuration and toggle SVM to Enabled.
- Now click Exit and save the changes. Be sure to restart your computer so the settings are fully applied.
SVM Mode In a Nutshell
Virtualization technology made major strides in recent years and is widely used in software development. Most modern computers have virtualization features that can be enabled via the BIOS/UEFI.
Motherboards with AMD Ryzen chips use a virtualization feature called SVM Mode. The feature is specifically available only with AMD CPUs, as Intel CPUs have their own version called Intel VT or Intel Virtualization. SVM Mode allows you to run a virtual computer (or multiple VMs) from a single hardware setup, so you can run different operating systems, browse safely, or use outdated software.
If you’d like to start experimenting with virtual machines, it’s super easy! Just enable the SVM Mode in your AMD-powered PC. Find your motherboard manufacturer above (Asus, MSI, Gigabyte, or ASRock) and follow the steps to enter your BIOS and toggle on SVM mode.