VirtualBox 6.0 3D/OpenGL Performance With VMSVGA Adapter

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 19 December 2018 at 11:27 AM EST. Page 1 of 2. 13 Comments.

With yesterday's release of Oracle VM VirtualBox 6.0, one of the most pressing changes for Linux guests is the use of the new VMSVGA 3D graphics device emulation by default. VMSVGA is the SVGA II graphics adapter from virtualization competitor VMware, but allows for the mature SVGA Linux graphics driver stack to be used. Here are some benchmarks looking at the OpenGL performance on VirtualBox 6.0.

Indeed when trying out VirtualBox 6.0 with the VMSVGA 3D support, when firing up an Ubuntu 18.10 guest it was indeed using the VMware SVGA II Gallium3D driver and VMWGFX DRM kernel driver... With working OpenGL support although with VirtualBox 6.0 it was limited to OpenGL 2.1 support. Additionally, VirtualBox 6.0 still only allows up to 128MB of video memory to be exposed to the guest VM.

Unfortunately the 3D acceleration support for their legacy VirtualBox 3D acceleration seems to not be working on VirtualBox 6.0 as I wasn't able to get their "Chromium" 3D driver from the Guest Additions working on VirtualBox 6.0 for comparing its performance to VMSVGA. Additionally, the SVGA graphics performance itself from VMware virtualization products couldn't be compared due to VMware EULA restrictions around public benchmarking.

VirtualBox 6.0 VMSVGA Graphics OpenGL Benchmarks

But at least there are some results of VirtualBox 6.0 with VMSVGA compared to the bare metal system. A Radeon RX 580 graphics card was used on the Ubuntu 18.10 host where this VirtualBox 6.0 testing was taking place. Keeping in mind only 128MB of vRAM and the SVGA II Gallium3D driver only exposing OpenGL 2.1 under VirtualBox 6.0, the selection of OpenGL tests was very limited.

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