PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Discussions related to using VirtualBox on Windows hosts.

PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby lentilbean » 13. Oct 2011, 01:35

Hi. I recently purchased a new computer and have noticed a substantial decrease in the VM performance. Here are the details of the two machines:

Old PC:
Lenovo ThinkPad T500
2081CTO
Intel Core 2 Duo CPU (T9400 @ 2.53GHz)
8GB RAM
ATI Mobility Radeon HD 3650, 256MB adapter RAM
Windows 7 64-Bit Enterprise (trial)
Paging file disabled

New PC:
Lenovo ThinkPad W520
4270CTO
Intel Core i7-2820QM CPU @ 2.30GHz, 4 Cores, 8 Logical Processors
8GB RAM
NVIDIA Quadro 2000M, 2GB adapter RAM
Windows 7 64-Bit Pro
Paging file disabled


- I was running VirtualBox 4.1.2 r73507 on both systems (I have upgraded to 4.1.4 r74291 on the new PC).
- I used the same appliance on both PCs. Guest OS is Windows XP 32-bit.
- I have tried the following on the new PC without getting any improvements:
- disable HyperThreading (BIOS)
- disable multi-cores (BIOS)
- IO APIC enabled/disabled (VBox)
- PAE/NX enabled/disabled (VBox)
- VT-x/AMD-V enabled/disabled (VBox)
- Nested Paging enabled/disabled (VBox)
- Video acceleration enabled/disabled (VBox)
- Setup a new appliance with IO APIC, PAE/NX, VT-x/AMD-V, nested paging, and video acceleration disabled
- Performance was even worse until I enabled 3D and 2D acceleration


If anyone has any suggestions (other than going back to my old PC!), I would like to hear them.

Thanks.
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby mpack » 13. Oct 2011, 01:52

I would say: have a look at the task list on your Win7 host, look for a CPU or I/O hog that wasn't on your old system (look in particular at resident antivirus apps: they often seem to emulate the malware they allegedly guard against). I would hope Lenovo have not screwed up the design of your new laptop, e.g. by going for a slower data bus, slower RAM, slower hdd etc.
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby lentilbean » 13. Oct 2011, 15:08

Thanks mpack. While I'm running simulation software in the VM, the guest OS CPU total usage averages around 13%, while the host OS CPU usage averages around 25% (VBox contribution is around 21%). There seems to be plenty of CPU horsepower. I also adjusted all the NVIDIA settings to maximum performance (minimum power savings). After doing this I noticed my laptop has become a furnace!...but still not improved performance.

Last night I setup a new appliance with all the acceleration settings to enabled, and CPU cores set to 8. The guest OS (Windows XP) recognized the 8 cores (4 physical cores, 2 threads/core, 8 logical processors) and seems to be utilizing them, though no improvement in performance.

I disabled the anti-virus software on the host OS - no improvement.

In the host OS I tried setting the priority (via Task Manager) for VirtualBox to Realtime - no improvement.

I tried my old PC again just to make sure I wasn't dreaming, and the same simulation software runs silky smooth. I wonder if I can return my new Lenovo :s
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby mpack » 13. Oct 2011, 15:48

I wouldn't necessarily expect to increase performance just by increasing the number of cores. It very much depends on whether the software you are running is able to recognize and benefit from extra cores.
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby lentilbean » 13. Oct 2011, 17:52

I agree, but I was grasping at straws! I have managed to get the simulation performance to a more usable state. I updated the graphics driver (needed to take the manual approach - Lenovo didn't list this update in the System Update program), ensured all NVIDIA settings were at max performance, set all monitors to 60Hz (59 by default for external displays), ensured 32-bit colour depth, and forced lower graphic quality in simulation software running on guest OS.

Thanks!
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby felipeieder » 1. Dec 2011, 12:24

Hi, I am dealing exactly with the same issue. Same laptop : Lenovo w250, Windows7 64 bits, 16Gb ram, corei7 processors, Solid state disk (SSD), etc.

I am using Vbox 4.1.6 r74713 and using a pre-built Oracle image with WLS, SOA, BPM, etc.

If I run it on my Dell Precision M6500, similar characteristics except for the SSD - just got a normal HD (so performance should be poorer), it runs way faster which is no sense.

Startup of WLS, SOA, BPM, etc takes 10 minutes in my Dell whereas in my Lenovo it takes more than 40 minutes!

Any tip, advice, experience would be very much appreciated. I have tried all things described in this thread before.

Felipe
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby rogerdpack » 1. Dec 2011, 21:48

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=5511&start=15#p200725 might help, if it's using 100% of one core (13% is 100% of one core on a 8 core box)
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby lentilbean » 1. Dec 2011, 22:23

Changing the CPU affinity for all processes would be a bit painful, as they have to be done individually, at 132 processes = painful :?

In my case I was no where near CPU capacity on any of the cores/threads. I'm wondering if there is some new technology in the Intel hardware causing grief.
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby vbox4me2 » 1. Dec 2011, 22:35

My guess is the nvidia stuff, their drivers are very picky on how the rest performs, try the autodesk certified drivers and don't be scared to go back to older driver versions. Also see the Australian autocad usergroup related to the nvidia drivers to help figure out which version works best as that will be the same for VBox.
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby rogerdpack » 3. Dec 2011, 03:35

lentilbean wrote:Changing the CPU affinity for all processes would be a bit painful, as they have to be done individually, at 132 processes = painful :?

In my case I was no where near CPU capacity on any of the cores/threads. I'm wondering if there is some new technology in the Intel hardware causing grief.


I was suggesting setting the affinity on the executables, not the processes.
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby AngryJedi » 5. Dec 2011, 17:44

I also have the same laptop as you guys (Lenovo W520) and I've noticed that every now and then my image gets very slow and lags a lot. But I find that doing a clean restart of the machine fixes the issue and makes it run smooth again.
However, I'm having issues with Windows Aero as it doesn't seem to work at all for me even with the Direct 3D drivers installed from the guest additions.

Do you guys have that same issue as well?
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Re: PC upgrade = VM downgrade :(

Postby rogerdpack » 8. Feb 2012, 21:44

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