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VMware Virtual GPU Driver Gets Fake Page-Flipping

Virtualization

Published on 11 February 2012 08:06 AM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Virtualization
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After thoroughly testing the VMware graphics driver stack yesterday and providing benchmarks, there's some new "vmwgfx" developments to report on.

Namely, a patch-set was published to the mailing list that provides fake page-flipping support for the vmwgfx DRM kernel driver for VMware's virtualization platform. "A series of updates that brings in fake pageflipping support and sets initial preferred mode in a way similar to how the legacy Xorg driver does it. We bump minor to indicate availability of the pageflipping ioctl."

Page-flipping with some of the other DRM drivers has resulted in some performance improvements, but more testing will have to be done at Phoronix to see if this yields any improvements for VMware's virtual graphics processor.

Page-flipping is done for flipping the pointer between the front and back-buffers rather than copying the buffer around. Besides the potential performance boost, page-flipping can ensure that tearing doesn't happen assuming that the flipping is done during the vblank.

The other VMware Linux graphics item to point out is that Thomas Hellstrom (one of the VMware developers formerly from Tungsten Graphics) commented in the forums about the expected graphics performance.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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