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how much base and video memory to allocate for Windows XP Pro SP3 guest OS via VirtualBox/Ubuntu - p

Discussion in 'Laptops' started by Adam, Jun 4, 2011.

  1. Adam

    Adam Guest

    System: ASUS N61JQ laptop
    RAM: 8 GB
    Graphics: ATI Radeon Mobility 5730 (1 GB DDR3 VRAM)
    Host OS: Ubuntu 10.04 LTS
    Guest OS: Windows XP Pro SP3 (via VirtualBox)
    Base Memory: 4096 MB (?)
    Video Memory: 128 MB (?)

    Given the following ...

    How much base and video memory is recommended for
    Windows XP Pro SP3?
    Adam, Jun 4, 2011
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  2. Adam

    Paul Guest

    The VirtualBox manual says the emulated graphics aren't
    a hardware device as such (unlike the VPC2007 I use,
    where an actual device driver installs for the graphics).
    It's supposed to be some kind of built-in VESA driver,
    that each guest OS would be using.

    For 2D displays, you can estimate video memory usage,
    using a "frame buffer" as an estimate. If the graphics
    are 32 bit, it takes four bytes per pixel of storage.
    If the emulated screen was 1024x768 resolution,
    then 1024*768*4 = 3MB or so. You can scale that a bit, to allow
    for more than one frame buffer, off-screen memory or the like.
    A fairly small number like 16MB should be enough to get started.

    The VirtualBox manual also mentions 3D. 3D can use "texture memory",
    to hold textures for 3D. Another usage for 3D display memory,
    is for "compositing" of application windows. WinXP doesn't do
    compositing, and Vista Aero would be an example there.
    MacOSX composites. Linux has Compiz (and some corny 3D effects).

    In a quick search, I see people suggesting 128MB as a video
    memory number for VirtualBox, but that could well be overkill
    for WinXP. I think MacOSX could composite in 128MB, and Vista
    may have had that as a suggested minimum as well.


    As far as base memory goes, you'd have to go back and see what amount
    of memory was recommended for WinXP at release.


    "Memory Minimum = 64 MB RAM Recommended = 128 MB RAM or higher"

    The smallest quantity I've used, is 512MB (on a real WinXP machine),
    which is sufficient to keep several application windows open, and
    copy and paste between them. If you try and get too fancy, things
    might be getting a bit tight, and paging out to the pagefile would
    be undesirable.

    I run the majority of my virtual machines at 1GB, and that seems to work
    pretty well. When I was running Windows 7, I think I set that to 2GB,
    and that was OK. If I run Win98, purely for participation in File Sharing,
    I run that with 256MB. But for your average virtual machine, I usually
    choose 1GB. My computer has 4GB physical memory installed, and I've
    run two regular VMs and one small VM at the same time.

    Paul, Jun 5, 2011
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  3. Adam

    Aragorn Guest

    You did not state what you intend to do inside the Windows virtual
    machine. Personally I would recommend about 512 MB to 1 GB base memory
    and about 64 MB video memory. These numbers correspond to the
    specifications of a pretty decent home/office computer at the time
    Windows XP was released.

    Also, I'm not familiar with that type of laptop, but check whether it
    has hardware support for virtualization, and if so, turn that on in the
    BIOS's set-up utility. It will greatly improve the performance of
    whatever runs inside the virtual machine if you're going to use
    VirtualBox (or VMWare) as your virtual machine monitor.
    Aragorn, Jun 5, 2011
  4. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Thanks, and good point. I primarily run the system in WinXP since
    I'm a relative newbie in Ubuntu. So, I do practically everything there.
    Adam, Jun 5, 2011
  5. Adam

    Aragorn Guest

    In that case, I would advise reserving some 2 GB of main system memory,
    and perhaps 128 MB to 256 MB for video memory (if you're going to be
    doing OpenGL stuff or gaming in the virtual machine - for which you
    will need hardware virtualization extensions anyway as it will be too
    slow without them). That should give you a very royal amount of
    headroom. ;-)
    Aragorn, Jun 5, 2011
  6. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Thanks, my Display Properties Settings "currently" shows ...

    Screen Resolution: 1366 x 648 (32-bit)

    Hmmm ... will keeping it at 128 MB cause problems?
    But, if 128 MB is overkill for WinXP, how about 64 MB then?

    I usually keep many applications (FF, IE, Outlook, Acrobat,
    Word, PowerPoint, Excel, etc.) open at the same time. Sometimes,
    there can be as many as 15+ windows open. So, I figured that
    the more the better. I'm not sure, which is why I posted.

    So far, WinXP VM is my primary OS. I haven't gotten to that point yet but
    I guess when I run more VMs, I'll lower the base and video memory numbers to
    accommodate other VMs.
    Adam, Jun 5, 2011
  7. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Hmmm ... I wonder why VirtualBox only allows 128 MB max for video memory.
    Yeah, royal ... I like that. :)
    Adam, Jun 5, 2011
  8. Adam

    Paul Guest

    See the bottom posting here.


    Paul, Jun 5, 2011
  9. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Thanks, here's the post referred to here ...
    Re: More video memory?
    by Perryg » 8. Jun 2010, 17:15

    The original post was old. VBox has increased the top to 256MB. You should be
    able to change it in the GUI or by CLI.
    VBoxManage modifyvm <uuid|name> [--vram <vramsize in MB>] Up to 256MB not more.
    It is restricted to no more then 256 MB

    My VBox GUI (v4.0.8 r71778) only goes up to 128 MB max for video memory.
    Can't increase it further via the GUI, which I would like to be able to do.
    How do I make my GUI version allow more than 128 MB video memory?
    Don't I already have the latest GUI version?
    Adam, Jun 5, 2011
  10. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Seems like monitor count would have to be higher in order to
    increase video memory above 128 MB.
    Adam, Jun 5, 2011
  11. Adam

    Patok Guest

    It works, no matter how many monitors. Did you run

    VBoxManage modifyvm <uuid|name> --vram 256

    You'll have to replace <uuid|name> by the actual name or ID of your
    machine. You can get either (if you can't figure it out) by running

    VBoxManage list vms

    (VBoxManage is a command-line program in the Vbox program set.)
    Patok, Jun 5, 2011
  12. Adam

    HoneyMonster Guest

    Having read the thread, in your case I'd strongly suggest dual booting
    instead, until you are comfortable enough with Ubuntu to spend most of
    your time there. *Then* put your XP into a VM for the few applications
    you still require.
    HoneyMonster, Jun 5, 2011
  13. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Thanks, but it's too late for me to go back now.
    Too spoiled with having access to both already.
    This way, I will be more likely to learn Ubuntu.
    Adam, Jun 6, 2011
  14. Adam

    HoneyMonster Guest

    Bollocks. You are using Outhouse Excuse. If you can't even be bothered to
    switch that, what is the point?
    HoneyMonster, Jun 6, 2011
  15. Adam

    Adam Guest

    Many thanks, your post led me to more info ...
    Anyone know all those commands and when to use each? :)

    After closing VBox and VMs, running the following ...

    VBoxManage modifyvm WinXPPro --vram 256

    did the trick. And, the GUI now shows 256 MB for video memory.
    Adam, Jun 6, 2011
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