VirtualBox Gets Accelerated Direct3D Support
Written by Michael Larabel in Virtualization on 29 January 2009 at 08:51 PM EST. 18 Comments
Last month VirtualBox 2.1 was released with several interesting changes and among them was support for OpenGL. With this latest open-source virtualization software from Sun Microsystems, it became possible to run some OpenGL programs within a guest virtual machine while allowing the host system's graphics card to accelerate the drawing. All the modifications that are needed by the guest operating systems is to just install a VirtualBox OpenGL driver. What was missing, however, was support for the Direct3D API, but that is now emerging within the VirtualBox camp.

With a patched version of VirtualBox, it's now possible to have accelerated Direct3D support within the guest virtual machine. This newly-introduced capability isn't limited to running atop a Windows host either. In other words, you can now run Direct3D-powered games within a virtualized Windows installation when on a Linux host operating system with VirtualBox.

This VirtualBox Direct3D support is dependent upon WineD3D for translating the Direct3D calls into OpenGL, which is then executed on the hardware. Converting all of the Direct3D functions to OpenGL, however, comes at the cost of some CPU overhead, but nothing more than what WINE consumes. A screenshot showing the first signs of success for this Direct3D support can be found on the VirtualBox web-site.

The announcement regarding Direct3D support for VirtualBox was made in this VirtualBox bug entry. The (fairly simple) patch that adds in this support can be found in this attachment.

About The Author
Author picture

Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

Related Virtualization News
Popular News
Trending Reviews & Featured Articles