VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Discussions related to using VirtualBox on Mac OS X hosts.

Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby envelope » 11. Jul 2019, 09:22

Can you confirm that you have tried to disable HiDPI with QuickRes or other similar tools? It would be nice to bust this solution for others if it only works for me. And yes, you need a separate tool, changing the resolution in the mac settings won't work.
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby Samuele » 11. Jul 2019, 10:13

No, I didn't do this but I could try. I need to find software similar to QuickRes but freeware. Do you have any suggestions?
However I don't like the idea of working with a lower resolution on macOS. I expect VB to work without workarounds.

Instead I'm trying the same Ubuntu virtual machine on Parallel Desktop and it works fine here. The system is responsive and fast. So in my opinion, it's a VB problem that doesn't work well on the latest Macs that have macOS Mojave as a host. I will come back to VB when the developers fix the problem.
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby socratis » 11. Jul 2019, 11:14

Samuele wrote:I need to find software similar to QuickRes but freeware
Samuele wrote:Instead I'm trying the same Ubuntu virtual machine on Parallel Desktop

Interesting train of thought... ;)
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby Samuele » 11. Jul 2019, 11:46

Last edited by socratis on 11. Jul 2019, 13:13, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby andyp73 » 11. Jul 2019, 13:53

Samuele wrote:However I don't like the idea of working with a lower resolution on macOS. I expect VB to work without workarounds.

You need to reduce your expectations - probably somewhere equivalent to the amount you paid for VirtualBox. All software has bugs, some more difficult to track down than others and all of which depends on developer priorities. If you want more impact on that you need to put more money into Oracle's pot.

Samuele wrote:So in my opinion, it's a VB problem that doesn't work well on the latest Macs that have macOS Mojave

That is too general a statement. It affects either some Macs whether that be as general as specific models or those of some users who have other things installed that cause VirtualBox problems. There are plenty of users of recent Macs that don't have any problems with their VirtualBox guests.

-Andy.
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Please don't ask me to do your homework for you, I have more than enough of my own things to do.
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby pamarcos » 15. Jul 2019, 12:59

I have a MacBook Pro 13" 2018 and I've been experiencing these performance issues since I first installed VirtualBox 6 and started using Ubuntu 16.04.

The same way others have stated, in my case the VM works ok as long as the main window of VirtualBox is on the external monitor which uses FullHD resolution. The moment I either move the window to the retina display screen or disconnect the external monitor, the VM becomes extremely slow. I have tried setting different scale factors but nothing has helped.

In the end, what solved it for me is disabling HiDPI for the MBP retina display. There is an open-source free application called RDM that allows selecting the resolution at HiDPI or non-HiDPI: https://github.com/avibrazil/RDM
Check it out to see if that solves the issue for you. I installed it and setting the resolution to any of the non-HiDPI ones works like a charm for me. No more sluggishness on my VM. In any case, disabling HiDPI for the retina display just for VirtualBox to work ok is just a workaround, but it'll do it for the time being.

Another option is QuickRes (which is not free) or SwitchResX, which has a 10-day trial period.
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby alyandon » 22. Jul 2019, 15:45

pamarcos wrote:In the end, what solved it for me is disabling HiDPI for the MBP retina display. There is an open-source free application called RDM that allows selecting the resolution at HiDPI or non-HiDPI: https://github.com/avibrazil/RDM
Check it out to see if that solves the issue for you. I installed it and setting the resolution to any of the non-HiDPI ones works like a charm for me. No more sluggishness on my VM. In any case, disabling HiDPI for the retina display just for VirtualBox to work ok is just a workaround, but it'll do it for the time being.

Thanks for this. I can confirm that using this utility to set the resolution of my 2016 MBP to any non hidpi resolution works around the performance issue.
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby wildfire » 24. Jul 2019, 09:33

Does anyone know if there is a bug ticket to address this retina issue? I wonder if there is a way to disable HiDPI for specific applications, ie, Virtualbox?
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby socratis » 24. Jul 2019, 11:00

wildfire wrote:Does anyone know if there is a bug ticket to address this retina issue?
The Bugtracker holds all the answers... ;)
Filtered for Status="Not Closed", Host="OSX", Description contains "performance". The most prominent ones are #18564, #18592, but the most important comment of them all, is in comment 108 of ticket #16436.

wildfire wrote:I wonder if there is a way to disable HiDPI for specific applications, ie, Virtualbox?
On my 10.11.6, there's an option to "Open in Low Resolution", I don't remember if it still applies on later OSX versions. Two points:
  1. The problem seems to occur with later OSX versions, mainly 10.13.x and 10.14.x.
  2. Even if that option is still there, that will affect only the VirtualBox Manager, not sure if it will affect all the apps that are bundled with VirtualBox.app, for example "Applications/VirtualBox.app/Contents/MacOS/VirtualBoxVM", which is actually the responsible app for running a VM.
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby nean.0 » 24. Jul 2019, 23:39

pamarcos wrote:In the end, what solved it for me is disabling HiDPI for the MBP retina display. There is an open-source free application called RDM that allows selecting the resolution at HiDPI or non-HiDPI: https://github.com/avibrazil/RDM
Check it out to see if that solves the issue for you. I installed it and setting the resolution to any of the non-HiDPI ones works like a charm for me. No more sluggishness on my VM. In any case, disabling HiDPI for the retina display just for VirtualBox to work ok is just a workaround, but it'll do it for the time being.


FINALLY! A working solution! Thank you for that pamarcos! :D

Here is a brief screen recording showing the difference. Strangely there are two of the same resolution listed at 1920x1200 of which only one is HiDPI. Finally I can use my VMs again on the laptop screen and not only connected to an external monitor. It's been unusable since November last year! Crazy!

Prior to trying RDM I also tried removing MagicPrefs as hinted by comment 108 of ticket #16436 but that didn't improve anything.
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby nunyabusiness1992 » 13. Aug 2019, 01:54

OKAY CAN U PLEASE PUT SOME INSTRUCTIONS. JUST SAYING HEY DOWNLOAD THIS ISNT HELPING ANYONE. I DOWNLOADED IT AND NOW I HAVE A ZIP FOLDER NOW WHAT?? THANKS FOR YOUR HELP
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby socratis » 13. Aug 2019, 17:55

@nunyabusiness1992

First of all, fix your keyboard. Or your attitude. Or both. You do not come on your first post with an all caps shouting raging message, which on top of all doesn't seem to belong to the thread!

What ZIP folder do you refer to? What download? Please use specific terms.
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby mpack » 13. Aug 2019, 19:06

I assume he means the zip download from github: pointless for non-developers I'd think. I imagine you'd need someone to compile it for you, unless OS X is closer to Linux than I thought.

[Later] The zip includes a readme which includes a download link for a pre-built version: http://avi.alkalay.net/software/RDM/.
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby socratis » 13. Aug 2019, 20:17

If we're talking about the https://github.com/avibrazil/RDM project, there's no ZIP to download, unless we're talking about the source code bundle. At the last line of the page, which is literally a README, it includes a link to the .pkg files to install the program to the site that mpack pointed!
"https://github.com/avibrazil/RDM" wrote:Want installable binary package? It is here.

Inability to read the README can lead to inability to have proper anger management... :roll:
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Re: VirtualBox runs slow on MacBook Pro 2018 (screen refreshes slow)

Postby mpack » 14. Aug 2019, 14:56

socratis wrote:unless we're talking about the source code bundle.

That's my assumption, given that it's the only zip in evidence. I personally thought that a file in the zip called README (in caps) was a decent clue as to what should be done next.
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