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#MacOsX : Mavericks Improve Virtual Machine Graphic Performance

I have made a short benchmark comparison of Parallels vs Fusion 5.0 HERE. VMWare Fusion has reached version 5.0.3, but it looks like VMWare has become lazy and those updates are not worth mentioning. However Apple released Mavericks recently, with an updated graphic stack which has slightly better graphics performance:

Component Lion/Mountain Lion Mavericks
Processor: 4.4 4.4
Memory (RAM): 5.5 5.5
Graphics: 5.0 5.0
Gaming graphics: 4.2 4.3
Primary hard disk: 7.7 7.7

Moreover, VMs seem to boot much faster under Mac Os X Mavericks.

N.B. you need to update VMWare Fusion to version 5.0.3 in order to have the best experience in Mavericks (or install VMWare Fusion 6).

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#VMware Fusion: Script to Easily Install VMware Tools [OUTDATED]

If you run a linux guest VM, every time you update the kernel you need to reinstall VMwareTools for optimal performances.
After selecting Virtual Machine > Install VMware Tools you need to untar the archive and then run a script that ask you many question, etc.
This can be very tedious, so this is a little script that minimize typing:

#!/bin/bash
tar xzf /media/VMware\ Tools/VMwareTools-*.tar.gz -C /tmp
umount /media/VMware\ Tools
sudo /tmp/vmware-tools-distrib/vmware-install.pl -d
mkdir -pv ~/Desktop/VMwareShared
rm -v ~/Desktop/VMwareShared/*
if [ -d /mnt/hgfs ]
then
ln -sv /mnt/hgfs/* ~/Desktop/VMwareShared/
fi
vmware-user

VMware now recommends to use the open-vm-tools-desktop provided by the Linux distribution of your choice.

NOTE: -d option implies default answers to install script (most of the time they are ok)
NOTE2: the script create a directory on Desktop with all directories shared by the host system with the VM
NOTE3: this script has been tested only on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS
NOTE4: this script install native VMware Tools, if you want you can install open tools instead, but you can’t install both at the same time!

#VMware Fusion : Fix Ubuntu Linux “Host SMBus controller not enabled!” [UPDATED]

Ubuntu guest instances in VMware sometimes come up with the boot error message:

piix4_smbus 0000:00:007.3: Host SMBus controller not enabled!

This error is being caused because VMware doesn’t actually provide that level interface for CPU access, but Ubuntu try to load the kernel module anyway.

How to fix it:

  • sudo nano /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
  • add the line:
    blacklist i2c-piix4
  • reboot

NOTE: for older versions use blacklist i2c_piix4 instead.
NOTE: it works both in VMWare Fusion 5 and 6, and Ubuntu LTS 12.04 and 14.04

#MacOsX : VMware Fusion 5 vs. VMware Fusion 6 vs. VMware Fusion 7 vs. Parallels Desktop 7 [UPDATED]

I will not present functionalities here; it will be just a really brief benchmark.

Configuration:

  • Hard Disk OCZ-AGILITY3 240 GB, firmware 1.15
  • Graphics  NVIDIA GeForce 9400M 256 MB
  • Memory  8 GB 1333 MHz DDR3
  • Processor  2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo
  • MacBook Pro 13-inch, mid 2009
  • Software
    • Hosts: Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4 (Parallels 7, Fusion 5), Mac OS X Mavericks 10.9.4 (Fusion 5, Fusion 6), Mac OS X Yosemite 10.10.4 (Fusion 6, Fusion 7)
    • Guest: Windows 7

Some info:

  • VMs have 2,5 GB RAM allocated
  • VMs have 1 CPU allocated
  • Parallels was tested when disk was new, while Fusion with half of the space occupied
  • Parallels VM has optimize Windows performance on
  • Fusion VM has disk buffering disabled
  • Fusion 5.0.5, Fusion 6.0.4, and Fusion 7.1.2 were tested with Windows Aero OFF
Component Parallels 7.15106 Fusion 5.0.[1-3] Fusion 5.0.5 Fusion 6.0.4 Fusion 7.1.2
Processor: 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4 4.4
Memory (RAM): 5.5 5.5 5.5 5.5 5.5
Graphics: 5.0 5.0 5.9 5.9 4.7
Gaming graphics: 4.4 4.2 5.1 5.2 4.2
Primary hard disk: 7.2 7.7 7.4 7.4 7.4

NOTE1: Fusion 5 seems to start and stop a bit slower than Parallels 7. Fusion 6 doesn’t improve, but SSD might be slower after this time than it was originally.

NOTE2: disabling Aero drastically improve Graphics performance, so do it!

NOTE3: Fusion 6 improve 3D Graphics performance over Fusion 5, but just slightly, so it is not worth an update. IMHO.

NOTE4: the combination of Mac OS X Yosemite and Fusion 7 has poor graphics performance. It is actually a big regression. I think Apple is to blame here.

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