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I'm using VMWare Player to run a Windows 7 VM on a Windows 7 host. I have Aero turned on and it works pretty well for the msot part but sometimes if I'm moving too fast or min/maxing a window I can see some screen tearing and lag.

Using an old GTX 275 but I'm wondering if a more powerful graphics card would increase the performance of a virtual machine (The GUI at least)?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I think graphics performance in a VM is more CPU-bound than GPU-bound.

Even if the VM software implemented stuff like OpenGL and/or DirectX passthrough, the CPU still have to be used to check each and every GPU operation to prevent them from accessing RAM/VRAM outside the virtual machine. This can add a lot of burden on the CPU and the buses connecting the CPU to the GPU and reduce the performance gained from offloading certain computations entirely to the GPU as copy back is now necessary.

Also, I can't find any documentation that indicates Vmware player implements DirectX 10.1 which is required for Areo, so it is possible that your Aero effects are completely simulated in the CPU.

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The GPU only needs to support DirectX 9 in order to be able to run Aero. – Bogdacutu Jul 11 '13 at 13:24

This really depends on the spec of the computer in question.

I haven't tested for about 5 years, but, I noticed that putting a cheap graphics card in to a machine that was using integrated graphics made general activities much faster - I can only guess that offloading stuff from the chipset increases overall performance.

That being said, from what you are saying - as you already have a graphics card, the first thing I would do is just try updating your drivers... but, I see things like that from time to time... but, a GTX 275 should be enough, so, I am inclined to say there may be another weak link in performance - perhaps your CPU just can't cope with the virtualisation - remember that graphics in the guest are most likely being emulated/run on the CPU.

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