VMware's Virtual GPU Driver Is Running Fast

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

With the Nexuiz resolution dropped to 800 x 600, the VMware graphics driver was now 2.75x faster than VirtualBox. At 1600 x 1200 on Nexuiz with the same graphical settings is where VMware was 2.5x faster.

OpenArena at 800 x 600 also continues to have a big lead over VirtualBox.

VMware's 2008 acquisition of Tungsten Graphics has now really come to fruition and strengthened their virtualization platform on the desktop front. With new installations where the guest operating system supports the latest "SVGA II" driver, the experience is really great. Installing Ubuntu 12.04 on VMware Player resulted in a clean "out of the box" experience (when using the NVIDIA driver on the host) and the level of acceleration was great. VMware's OpenGL acceleration was generally multiple times faster than what is currently offered by Oracle VM VirtualBox.

While some Linux users may not like VMware virtualization since it is commercial-focused and the platform is not open-source, the graphics driver is fully open-source and living in the upstream repositories. Additionally, VMware continues to let the former Tungsten Graphics developers work on upstream Mesa/Gallium3D in areas not directly related to VMware's driver. KVM/QEMU virtualization is working towards virtual Gallium3D support with SPICE, but that is still a ways out from being comparable to VMware's driver.

Stay tuned for more VMware graphics benchmarks when Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is officially released in April. The next round of benchmarks will also include a greater selection of 3D/OpenGL benchmarks along with 2D benchmarks of the XA state tracker.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via TwitterLinkedIn,> or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.