More VirtualBox awesomeness

Despite Bluecore being back home, I have decided to continue using Reicore as my primary working laptop for all purposes, as it is in much better condition, uses a more Linux-compatible IGP, and doesn’t suffer from uncannily low I/O throughput like Bluecore does.

The ATI mayhem isn’t over, after all.

Reicore’s CPU (an Intel Pentium T4300) does not have hardware-assisted virtualization capabilities, but it seems to compensate what it lacks in technology advances with raw power — surprisingly enough, with little to no increase in heat.

Just now I have finished migrating my Windows XP SP3 virtual machine from the latest Bluecore backup snapshot — something that should have been done the week before the big crash. Windows still runs lightning-fast on VirtualBox 4.0.8 using software virtualization, with low idle CPU usage ranging between 4% and 20%.

An idle Windows session is certainly not the best benchmark, yet compiling Wesnoth RCX in it doesn’t seem to take any additional time in comparison to the Bluecore configuration, the impact on the host’s CPU usage is not significant, and the guest’s responsiveness is unaffected. Then again, at the time Bluecore died, I was not using Linux 2.6.38 and the automatic process group scheduling code (SCHED_AUTOGROUP).

Naturally, the lack of Intel VT-x implies that I won’t be able to virtualize 64-bit operating systems, but for a virtual machine on a host with just 4 GiB of RAM that seems fair enough.

Windows Vista does not seem to represent much of a difference over Windows XP in terms of VM performance.

As for Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”, its performance on VirtualBox is so awful that one would wonder whether VirtualBox’s VM manager code has actually been optimized for Windows guests only.