How to optimize VMWare Fusion performance?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by jon08, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. jon08 macrumors 65816

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    Nov 14, 2008
    #1
    I'm running my Windows 7 BootCamp partition on VMWare Fusion 3.0.2 with 1 core and 1024 MB RAM. My MBP specs are in my signature.

    I don't really use VMWare for anything else than VOIP and an online streaming program for movies, TV shows etc.

    I've noticed that when I watch movies through VMWare, the sound will lag, which I find annoying. In Parallels 5, for instance, there is no lag, yet the sound will pop/skip every 10-15 secs (sometimes even less than that), which also spoils the viewing experience.

    Now in VMWare tutorial it says that 1 GB RAM + 1 core is ideal for Office and Internet activities, but still, as I've realized it's not that perfect, since the sound lags (and sometimes picture is a bit choppy).

    Is there a way I could watch the online streaming program in VMWare without the lag? How could I optimize my VMWare? (I think I tried 2GB RAM before, but as far as I remember it didn't help). Any other settings I could use?
     
  2. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    Yay Area, CA
    #2
    Go into Advanced for your virtual machine settings and disable "Hard Drive Buffering". Apparently, there's a slight bug in this area which causes Fusion to steal all available ram and throw stuff into swap. I noticed an increase in performance when I changed that setting.
     
  3. jon08 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #3
    I had it set to "Automatic" - so I should completely disable it?
     
  4. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #4
    Yes.
     
  5. jon08 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #5
    I tried disabling it but it totally messed things up - my entire OS became unresponsive and it took a long time to even boot into Windows on VMWare...so unfortunately disabling it is a no-go for me. :/

    When I set the disk buffering thing back to Automatic, it was fine again.......
     
  6. ae3265 macrumors member

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    Feb 3, 2009
    #6
    Hmmm....uninstall Fusion and stick with Parallels?

    I think both say it's best not to install multiple VM software from different companies due to potential conflicts. You will get more daemons running, and more virtual networks, etc.

    Fusion 3 has had several issues, be sure you are keeping up with the VMware forums. There's also a guide floating around for advanced features, you want to find that.

    All that being said, Parallels has been benchmarked by some reviewers as having much better performance than Fusion. For running Windows, in my experience, Parallels 5 is the way to go.

    After that I'm using VirtualBox for some things (Solaris, linux) and Fusion 2 on my server for it's headless mode. VB can run headless, but still consumes more CPU than I'd like compared to Fusion 2. Fusion 2 has also given me issues when running on SSD.

    Also, why bother watching movies in a VM for Pete's sake?? I haven't found much that requires Windows to play.
     
  7. jon08 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #7
    I have tried both Parallels and VMWare, and as I said in my post above VMWare seems to be playing those internet streaming movies better than Parallels - just because the sound won't skip as it does in Parallels. However, the sound in VMWare will lag slightly, and as a result lots of movies will appear like they have been dubbed, yet in reality they weren't. Why bother watching movies in a VM? Because I'm a Chinese Studies major and I use this certain Chinese program called PPStream that's only for Windows and let's you watch LOTS of Chinese movies, TV series, news and whatnot. It's convenient for improving one's listening comprehension, or just to watch non-western movies for that matter.
     
  8. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #8
    My dad uses PPStream on the iMac. It runs in a VMWare Fusion XP virtual machine with 2 cores and 3GB ram. It runs pretty well for a virtual machine.
     
  9. jon08 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #9
    Btw, what's the best bet when using VMWare/Parallels - installing Windows anew through VMWare/Parallels or using running BootCamp partition through VMWare (which is what I'm doing)?

    Is there any difference in performance?
     
  10. ayeying macrumors 601

    ayeying

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    #10
    They say running it just solely as a VM gets better performance then linking with Boot Camp. I'm not sure about it, never tested it before. The iMac's XP virtual machine is just a virtual machine, not linked with boot camp. There was no need and just recently I created a boot camp XP just for Star Trek Online lol...
     
  11. Transporteur macrumors 68030

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    #11
    Not at all. They both share the same drive in case that you've got only one hard disc in your computer and they both share the same hardware requirements of your VM.

    Using a BootCamp partition isn't the best way to deal with virtual machines since you can't suspend a BootCamp VM and sharing files and folders is much easier with a VM that has a normal disc image.

    Software wise, you can't really speed up your VM. That all depends on the right hardware and since you are very limited with a MBP, you have to deal with the speeds you get.
     
  12. Zortrium macrumors 6502

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    Jun 23, 2003
    #12
    My subjective opinion is that my regular VM definitely feels snappier than my Boot Camp partition through Fusion. This might have to do with the fact that my VM is XP while my BC is Win7, but I don't think that accounts for all of it.
     
  13. cutcopypaste macrumors regular

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    Nov 28, 2008
    #13
    I've had the same experience with separate VMs under Fusion. I also suspected the 7 vs xp could be a contributer, but it's so hard to know. i just know that my fusion bootcamp windows 7 is slow as hell. the hard drive buffering thing might help bc i did notice the vm is preallocating all the memory i let it have which makes the mac side of things get reaaaal bad, and if i have less than 1.5 gig ram available when i launch it, it basically freezes the computer for a good 5 minutes
     
  14. jon08 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #14
    Yeah, which is what happened to me when I turned off the hard drive buffering...

    So should I try installing Windows through VMWare then instead of running Fusion-Bootcamp?
     
  15. cutcopypaste macrumors regular

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    Nov 28, 2008
    #15
    i don't have experience enough on the issue to know whether there would be much of a difference bootcamp vs native vm. i'd love for you to try and report back though ;)
     
  16. jtara macrumors 65816

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    Mar 23, 2009
    #16
    VMWare is much faster accessing a virtual disk than it is accessing a dedicated partition. I know it may seem counter-intuitive.

    The problem with accessing an underlying dedicated partition is that VMWare has to virtualize access to the partition at a low level. The driver is making many more context switches in this case than it does when accessing a virtual disk.

    If you have no need to boot directly into the guest OS, skip BootCamp and use a virtual disk. This will allow you to suspend/resume AND give you better performance.
     
  17. jon08 thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #17
    So by "virtual disk" you mean installing Windows through/within VMWare?
     
  18. Amdahl macrumors 65816

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    Jul 28, 2004
    #18
    Yep... Also use a SCSI virtual disk. (This might be default in Easy mode.) With IDE, Windows can only issue one read request at a time. SCSI allows Windows to issue multiple read requests, and those can then all be passed to OSX, which can also issue multiple requests to the AHCI/SATA disk with NCQ.

    WinXP 32-bit needs the virtual floppy driver to be inserted (F6 key) at the beginning of setup in order to support SCSI, when not using Easy mode.
     
  19. dtrimble macrumors member

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    Jan 7, 2008
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA, USA
    #19

    How does one change their VMWare Fusion configuration to use SCSI instead of IDE?


    dt
     

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