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Is there free VM tools that will virtualize different hardware than what I have?

Specifically the graphics card?

Is this something that VM Tools can even do (even the not-free ones)?

Note: I tried the free VM Ware Player and it does not let me specify a type of graphics card that I want to try to emulate.

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2 Answers 2

You're looking for emulation, not virtualization. You'll have more luck if you search for it that way. You can essentially think of the difference as emulation creates a new layer that emulates a piece of hardware for an OS to use. Virtualization splits up and manages the usage of a physical device that is already there. Some virtualization software also does emulation of various pieces of hardware. For instance, both VMWware Workstation and VirtualBox will give you the choice of various hard drive controllers and sound cards. I think qemu and bochs can even emulate different CPU architectures that you don't have, which is cool. But you'll have to check on that. I'm not sure about software that will emulate a graphics card, haven't seen that in any of the apps I've used. I think it would be a lot slower than you might expect it to be if you're wanting to do 3d acceleration or something.

What are you trying to accomplish by emulating a different graphics card?

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Qemu and KVM provide emulated videocards. The emulated cards have basic funtionality. Emulation of modern videocards could require massive amounts of CPU power to emulate the GPU. High end graphics cards often have more computing power in the GPU than the CPU in the system. Some emulators will allow passthrough to the the graphics card, but I don't believe it can be shared. –  BillThor Jan 29 '11 at 21:03

Virtual Machines do have different hardware by default, check the device list of the Guest OS.

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