Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Discussions about using Mac OS X guests (on Apple hardware) in VirtualBox.

Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby jagalactic » 2. Nov 2017, 18:47

I use a mac guest vm (on a mac host) nearly every day. It can connect to vpn without the host being locked out of the home network, which is awesome.

However, being limited to 1920x1200 resolution has become painful. Can anybody comment on ways of relieving this limitation, or on future work that might address it?

Thanks,
JG
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Re: Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby socratis » 2. Nov 2017, 20:28

You didn't mention your host, your guest or your VirtualBox complete versions. You should always do when referring to software, otherwise we're going to start guessing. You definitely don't want that... ;)

With the VM completely shutdown, right-click on the VM in the VirtualBox Manager and select "Show Log". Save only the first "VBox.log", ZIP it and attach it to your response (see the "Upload attachment" tab below the reply form).
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Re: Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby jagalactic » 3. Nov 2017, 20:31

OK, log file attached. As of today I'm running the current version of vbox.

I set the screen resolution to 1920x1200 as follows:

VBoxManage setextradata "<VM name>" VBoxInternal2/EfiGopMode 5

where N -> Resolution
0 -> 640 x 480
1 -> 800 x 600
2 -> 1024 x 768
3 -> 1280 x 1024
4 -> 1440 x 900
5 -> 1920 x 1200


As I am running my mac vm on mac hardware, I am not violating copyrights, etc. Is there any known work on vbox that might enable higher resolution?

Thanks,
John
Attachments
jmac0-2017-11-03-13-15-44.log.gz
Log file for my VM
(27.37 KiB) Downloaded 29 times
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Re: Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby socratis » 3. Nov 2017, 21:03

jagalactic wrote:As I am running my mac vm on mac hardware, I am not violating copyrights
I had to make sure, that's why I asked for the VBox.log. By the way, you should choose an appropriate OSX version for your guest, right now it's set to the "generic" type.

jagalactic wrote: Can anybody comment on ways of relieving this limitation, or on future work that might address it?
Actually the 5.2.x updates addressed that issue. Now you can have a lot more resolutions, even some that I've only seen on paper ;). Take a look at ch. 3.14.1. Video modes in EFI for your available options and the appropriate syntax. No backporting to the 5.1.x series.
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Re: Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby jagalactic » 7. Nov 2017, 21:54

Thanks, Socratis! That worked, although it leads to a couple more questions.

On my original vm, where I had set VBoxInternal2/EfiGopMode, setting VBoxInternal2/EfiGraphicsResolution had no effect. But then I copied the disk image file to my macbook pro and created a fresh vm, and it worked. So it appears that EfiGopMode takes precedence over EfiGraphicsResolution. Is there a way to delete the EfiGopMode setting in the original VM?

On the macbook pro (which is a new 15" retina model) I was able to set 2560x1440 resolution, but the fonts and icons are SUPER TINY on the macbook screen - not really usable (altnough on a "normal" monitor it's probably good - haven't checked yet). Normally this calls for setting the display in "scalled" mode in OSX, but Sierra in the mac VM does not provide any font scaling options - the list of scaled resolutions is empty. Is there a way to get display scaling to work in a mac vm?

Thanks again!
John
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Re: Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby socratis » 17. Nov 2017, 20:25

jagalactic wrote:it appears that EfiGopMode takes precedence over EfiGraphicsResolution. Is there a way to delete the EfiGopMode setting in the original VM?
You should have both of them enabled (at the same setting). The settings work differently depending on the VirtualBox version. I choose to have them all enabled at the same time, because I switch back and forth from different versions of VirtualBox. One wants A, the other wants B. They do not "disable" them each other, they're all supported.

jagalactic wrote:I was able to set 2560x1440 resolution, but the fonts and icons are SUPER TINY
Don't blame anyone else but the late Steve J. He's the one that thought that having a huge resolution size was a good marketing sale point... ;)

jagalactic wrote:but Sierra in the mac VM does not provide any font scaling options
See above...
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Re: Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby chrisl08 » 28. Nov 2017, 18:20

As of VirtualBox 5.2, the command to run is

Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
VBoxManage setextradata "OSX-Siera" VBoxInternal2/EfiGraphicsResolution 1680x1050


just replace 1680x1050 with any of the display WxH options that are listed in the help file of Virtual Box, just search for "EfiGraphicsResolution" in the help file, section "3.14.1. Video modes in EFI"
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Re: Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby jagalactic » 12. Mar 2018, 01:06

So, until recently I had a 1920x1200 monitor at the office, and a 3440x1440 monitor at home. I finally sprung for a 3440x1440 monitor to use at work, so that I can scale my vnc/nomachine sessions up. (I'm doing system software development; I just need a bunch of emacs frames on a nice big persistent desktop that I can reach from home and the office.)

As I mentioned a few months ago in this thread, it's a big help to connect to the office VPN from a VM, because only the VM gets fenced out of the home network. I can connect at 3440x1440 from my physical mac, but I have failed so far to get a VM working with this resolution.

Per "3.14.1 Video modes in EFI" (https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch03.html#efividmode) I was able to get a mac VM working at 2560x1440

Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
BigDog:~ jmg$ vboxmanage getextradata jmac1 VBoxInternal2/EfiGraphicsResolution
Value: 2560x1440


...but 3440x1440 is not on the list.

According to 9.8.1. Custom VESA resolutions (https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch09.html#customvesa) it looks like I should be able to set 3440x1440 as a custom resolution - but I haven't had success (vms boot at 640x480, or some other tiny resolution).

Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
BigDog:~ jmg$ vboxmanage setextradata jmac2 VBoxInternal2/EfiGraphicsResolution
BigDog:~ jmg$ vboxmanage getextradata jmac2 VBoxInternal2/EfiGraphicsResolution
No value set!
(reverse-i-search)`cu': cd Documents/Zoom
BigDog:~ jmg$ vboxmanage getextradata jmac2 CustomVideoModel
No value set!
BigDog:~ jmg$ vboxmanage setextradata jmac2 CustomVideoModel 3440x1440x16
BigDog:~ jmg$ vboxmanage getextradata jmac2 CustomVideoModel
Value: 3440x1440x16


But the vm "jmac2" (which is just a copy of jmac1) boots up in tiny resolution.

So it appears that VBoxInternal2/EfiGraphicsResolution is recognized by osx, but CustomVideoModel is not.

Any illumination would be appreciated.

Edit: I'm running vbox 5.2.8 (latest as of now) and the vm is osx El Capitan (10.11.6). I suppose I should try High Sierra in the VM.

Thanks,
John
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Re: Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby socratis » 12. Mar 2018, 12:05

jagalactic wrote:
BigDog:~ jmg$ vboxmanage setextradata jmac2 CustomVideoModel 3440x1440x16

I've highlighted the mistakes in the command that you issued:

  1. It's not "Model", it's "Mode1". ONE, as in the number, not EL, as in the letter. Read again the chapter that you linked to, but carefully this time:
    The extra data key is called CustomVideoMode<x> with x being a number from 1 to 16.

  2. Why "16" bit mode? I can't remember the last time that I've seen a Mac working with 16-bit color, maybe some old PowerMacs, before the G3 era.
The correct command (and it's best if you get in the habit of capitalizing commands appropriately) should be:
Code: Select all   Expand viewCollapse view
VBoxManage setextradata jmac2 CustomVideoMode1 3440x1440x32
If you obfuscate any information requested, I will obfuscate my response. These are virtual UUIDs, not real ones.
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socratis
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Re: Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby jagalactic » 27. Mar 2018, 02:22

Thanks Socratis, for the correction. Apologies for not reading your prior advice carefully enough. I can now run VMs at arbitrary resolutions (including 3440x1440, which is what I really need).

Sadly there is a "next problem". Whether in full-screen or in a window, when I run a VM at 3440x1440, the video is not good enough to use. I see a lot of pixel artifacts (lines across windows, slow updates, flickering, distorted pixels after the mouse moves over them, etc). It is not really usable. Can anybody suggest things to try to resolve this type of problems?

My vm is currently configured as follows:

* 128MB video memory (the max, but seems light)
* 16GB RAM
* 4 processors

I'm not sure what other info would be useful, but I'm happy to provide more. I've tried both 32 and 16 bit color depth, but no difference as to the video distortion and artifacts. (I had originally tried 16 bit because I thought it might require less video memory, but it doesn't seem to help).

The host is a 2012 mac pro with dual 6-core 3.46GhZ processors (24 cores with hyper threading) and 64GB RAM - pretty much a fully loaded 2012 mac pro. Graphics card is a GeForce GTX 680 with 4GB of memory.

Further advice appreciated.

John
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Re: Mac guest resolution > 1920x1200 ?

Postby socratis » 9. Apr 2018, 11:16

jagalactic wrote: I see a lot of pixel artifacts (lines across windows, slow updates, flickering, distorted pixels after the mouse moves over them, etc).

That's because OSX expects to run on a Mac with a really good GPU, something that the virtual GPU provided by VirtualBox isn't. So, the artifacts that you're seeing are the 3D goodies that make the UI potentially prettier. That's all. VMs and 3D goodies don't play nice.
If you obfuscate any information requested, I will obfuscate my response. These are virtual UUIDs, not real ones.
Do NOT reply with the "QUOTE" button, please use the "POST REPLY", at the bottom of the form.
socratis
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Posts: 17660
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