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I am running a Windows XP VM on Ubuntu. My graphics card's (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650) performance on Ubuntu is not very good. It's much better on Vista, which is also installed on my PC. At the moment, the only purpose of the VM is to run IE6 for testing sites, but I'm considering using the VM for games aswell now. Would it be the guest driver or host driver that affects graphics performance in a virtualbox VM?

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my graphics card's (ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650) performance on Ubuntu is not very good - actually, it is perfectly possible to make graphic card in Linux perform as good (or even better) as in Windows. However, that does involve a lot of time and some efforts. I was indeed surprised to see FF3/Win scroll some web-pages much slower than FF3/Linux on the same PC. – chronos Dec 6 '09 at 14:49
The radeonhd driver is unusable for my card, and fglrx is only slightly better. – Macha Dec 6 '09 at 14:55
That is weird - mine is an integrated HD 3300, using fglrx. Have you built/installed fglrx-kernel modules? I'm on Debian, so I believe something like module-assistant for building kernel modules also exists on Ubuntu. The command is (after entering root shell with sudo -s) m-a update && m-a prepare ; m-a a-i fglrx, then reboot. – chronos Dec 6 '09 at 15:51
I don't think so. I installed fglrx using the Hardware Drivers tool. – Macha Dec 6 '09 at 21:01
With that tool I'm not familiar. – chronos Dec 7 '09 at 22:22
up vote 0 down vote accepted

I would have thought that with virtualisation these days it would be both guest and host that affect graphics performance, the guest driver will pass 3d calls through to the host 3d drivers in order to draw items, though I could be wrong about how it works.

ATI drivers are notoriously bad on Linux, I tried them for a while and to be honest that was the main reason for my current choice of operating system. Granted it was about 4 months ago that I played with Ubuntu so things may have improved since then, but I doubt it. The problem I had was whenever I did anything that made use of my graphics cards 3D capabilities my CPU immediately went up to 100% and the system became sluggish to use. From what I could tell at the time it was a mixture of problems such as changing the display driver model and ATI Linux drivers being absolutely useless.

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