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VirtualBox 4.0 Acceleration Leaves Room For Improvement

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  • VirtualBox 4.0 Acceleration Leaves Room For Improvement

    Phoronix: VirtualBox 4.0 Acceleration Leaves Room For Improvement

    VirtualBox, the Sun/Oracle virtualization platform, has supported OpenGL acceleration and Direct3D acceleration within virtual machines for more than two years. When the host system has hardware GPU acceleration, OpenGL/Direct3D calls can be passed from the guest to the host when the VirtualBox guest driver is installed. There has been the Linux 3D support since VirtualBox 2.2 and was initially limited to OpenGL 1.4 support and in the summer of 2009 it turned to OpenGL 2.0. We had not delivered any early benchmarks as the initial support was too buggy, but even with the recently released VirtualBox 4.0, while the support is usable and stable for the most part, it is still far from being very efficient and will crash under some OpenGL software.

    http://www.phoronix.com/vr.php?view=15743

  • #2
    KVM/QEMU still lacks OpenGL acceleration support for guests.
    Does it? I thought I saw something about this just the other day.

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    • #3
      VMware 3d accel is quite good indeed, but I notice that the Windows guest support is much better than the Linux guest support. They support Direct3D pretty well on Windows -- regardless of whether your host is Linux or Windows.

      The Linux guest support, OTOH, is officially limited to just 2d accel; but if you install the svga gallium3d driver, you can get some basic 3d.

      Problem being that it seems to have some mode switching weirdness still (for months and months); I can't get it to render correctly at any guest resolution above 800x600. It works pretty well for compiz at 800x600 though.

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      • #4
        Has anyone actually used the Gallium3D Direct3D 10/11 state tracker for anything? I'm guessing it doesn't do anything right now (like much of the linux graphics world).

        How is VMWare's virtual Direct3D very good regardless of host-OS if they're supposedly using gallium as well?

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        • #5
          I never got 3D support to work with a windows xp guest, but the other day I tried a live-cd image of openSUSE 11.3 (which already includes the virtualbox guest additions installed by default) and I was pretty amazed by how good the desktop effects run. I guess it's the only thing that works, judging from this article.

          Originally posted by cruiseoveride View Post
          Has anyone actually used the Gallium3D Direct3D 10/11 state tracker for anything?
          That was also on my mind. Has anyone ever done anything with that state tracker? I mean anything that we can look at?

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          • #6
            I have been using VBox for testing purposes ever since it added 3d support. I don't know how well D3D works, but OpenGL runs pretty nicely on both Windows and Linux guests. You get OpenGL 2.1 plus extensions, which is quite good.

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            • #7
              What else is new? "3D Acceleration" never works well for me in VirtualBox 3, why should VirtualBox 4 be any different? I think it all depends on the hardware you're using and how it works with Linux (or whatever your host OS is.)

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SciFiDude79 View Post
                What else is new? "3D Acceleration" never works well for me in VirtualBox 3, why should VirtualBox 4 be any different? I think it all depends on the hardware you're using and how it works with Linux (or whatever your host OS is.)
                That's silly. A new version might be better because, you know, it's a new version with new changes. And those matter because the acceleration layer is obviously a lot more than just a thin shim between the client application in the client VM and the host's GPU drivers. API calls are received, passed through to the host, and then re-executed on the host. Or something; not sure, haven't looking at the implementation. Point is, one would expect a new version to possibly have a huge impact. Maybe this one didn't, but the next very well might be.

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                • #9
                  Is it correct that the guest was Linux? I think Windows guests are using Wine code in VirtualBox? If so, how good performance does Windows guests have? Playable? People on VB forums say they can play Windows games. Would be interesting with a benchmark of Windows guests...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by oliw View Post
                    Does it? I thought I saw something about this just the other day.
                    KVM with Redhat's SPICE protocol can provide remote access to your virtual machine's desktop with 2D acceleration.

                    It's actually very slick and very fast. Remote desktop using Spice is much faster then Microsoft's RDP or Citrix ICA by a long shot.

                    By itself 'unoptimized' just using VGA compatibility there is window tearing and such when you move things around. But it's still much faster then VNC.

                    With proper QXL drivers installed it's as quick as using unaccelerated graphics on bare hardware. That is when running Spice + QXL drivers it has the same experience as if you were running unaccelerated on real hardware.

                    There is no 3D acceleration yet. It's in the planning stages according to the spice-space documentation.

                    You'll probably be able to use SPICE quite easily with Ubuntu Natty.

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                    • #11
                      I'm currently a regular user of Virtualbox (Ubuntu 10.10/Xfce/Compiz guest on Win 7 64-bit host) and while it's mostly sufficient, the 3D acceleration still has a tendency to crash my VM. With 4.0.2, the crashes were only caused by full-screening an app in the guest. I updated to 4.0.4 the other day, rebuilt my guest addons and now I'm getting crashes for no discernible reason whatsoever. Yay.

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