Saturday, January 17, 2009

Experimental 3D acceleration in Sun xVM VirtualBox 2.1.0 works really great

With the new major version of Sun xVM VirtualBox, Sun introduced experimental 3D support via OpenGL. You can enable it in the virtual machine General settings panel:


I've been playing with it just to use Google Earth and, despite the experimental tag currently applied to this feature, I'm really pleased that the enabling this feature produces a notable improvement on the performances of Google Earth in OpenGL mode. My workstation is pretty powerful but working with such software without 3D acceleration was a pain. I suppose that whoever needs OpenGL acceleration in an application running in a VirtualBox host would be very pleased of this new feature.




According to the user guide (pag. 67), the current experimental implementation has the following limitations:
  • It is only available in Windows XP and 32-bit Vista guests with the Windows Guest Additions installed.
  • Only OpenGL acceleration is presently available in those guests; Direct3D is not yet supported and will be added in a future release.
  • Because the feature is experimental at this time, it is disabled by default and must be manually enabled in the VM settings.
Great work, VirtualBox guys.

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