VMware's Virtual GPU Driver Is Running Fast

Written by Michael Larabel in Display Drivers on 10 February 2012. Page 3 of 6. 20 Comments

Oracle meanwhile has no interest mainlining their guest drivers for VirtualBox in Linux. Besides that, their virtual graphics driver stack does not comply with the Mesa / Gallium3D stack but is a homegrown solution. Of course, the upstream kernel developers also think the VirtualBox drivers are tainted crap and can result in weird crashes. When installing Ubuntu 12.04 under the latest VirtualBox release, before having the VirtualBox Guest Additions installed, the "out of the box" experience was bad even with the NVIDIA binary driver being used on the host (screenshots above).

The VirtualBox guest Linux graphics driver is exposed as "Chromium" and the OpenGL vendor string of "Humper" while the GLSL version string ends up being whatever is exposed by the host's graphics driver. Previous Phoronix tests have shown the VirtualBox OpenGL performance to be very poor, but let's see how it compares to VMware's upstream Linux graphics stack.

When running some of the common OpenGL benchmarks with VMware Player 4.0.2, the NVIDIA blob on the host, and the stock (early February) Ubuntu 12.04 LTS there were just a few problems. Namely, the only problematic OpenGL workloads for the VMware guest were Lightsmark and World of Padman. The Lightsmark rendering was very wrong, but similar rendering to some other Mesa/Gallium3D bugs I've seen in the past with other hardware drivers.

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