More people are adopting virtual machine (VM) usage for different needs. While primarily used for business operations, there is also a growing segment using VMs for gaming. Overall, the market is expected to see significant growth in the next decade. By 2029, the market size is projected to hit $4.45 billion.
You can usually see gamers making use of VMs to optimize their resources for test builds, modded playthroughs, and emulators with minimal risk to their main system. The isolated environment works well for QA testing under different parameters and even enables players to try out games that usually wouldn’t be compatible with their operating system. With such a potentially demanding use case, it’s good to know the potential issues and ways to improve gaming performance for virtual machines.
Potential Issues with Virtualized Gaming
Because the virtualized environments primarily run through cloud computing, a certain degree of latency can be expected. This isolated system requires a network connection that allows it to make use of online functionality but also comes with potential delays.
On top of that, virtualization also makes use of its own CPU within the host machine. This introduces a higher chance of delays that result in input lag. Any latency above 100 milliseconds becomes noticeable for many gamers, and this can be especially troublesome for games that are first-person and require quick reaction time.
Hardware resource issues could also prove troublesome in terms of performance. For starters, dedicated graphics can be a hassle to set up for compatibility. Having the right drivers in the virtual environment will help avoid any complications, but there is still a higher chance of running into problems with display and rendering. This may require users to lower their resolution or limit certain tasks. It’s worth considering this issue as developers continue to push more demanding games that can overextend rigs.
How to Improve Your Virtual Machine for Gaming
Allocate More Host Resources
A guide to virtual machines explains that VMs are built to maximize resource efficiency by creating an independent layer with its own operating system, files, storage, networks, and virtualized “components.” As such, users should be able to allocate more of the host computer’s resources to provide more power to the virtualized environment.
You’ll most likely need to dedicate more RAM and GPU memory to ensure that your virtual rig can handle the constant stream of data being produced by games. This allows assets to load efficiently and keep operations running smoothly. Just make sure you don’t allocate too much into the VM that the host suffers.
Optimize Your Connection
If it’s network issues that prove to be the culprit in slowing down your VM performance, you’ll want to configure your gateway to allow more bandwidth. At the very least, online games use around 10 to 300 megabytes of data per hour (and this can go even higher.) This generally helps cloud-based performance as it allows traffic to be routed toward your game with prioritization.
If the host machine is connected to a powerful router with good bandwidth, it will be important to allow the VM access to wired network access. This will allow the VM to make use of the full network connection provided by ethernet cables. It should still be able to maintain its isolated OS and data while connecting to the main internet line. Of course, this also means that bandwidth will be shared with any other devices that are actively connected.
Go for NVME Drives
Even if your VM has its own systems, it is still dependent on the capabilities of its host. So, make sure you invest in some good hardware – especially when it comes to storage. A breakdown of storage-class memory shows that the move past spinning hard drives is simply a necessity to maximize performance these days.
SATA SSDs are the popular choice for storage, but you can get the best read-write performance from an NVME form factor. This minimizes the risk of file corruption and ensures higher data transfer speeds. Since a VM needs to allocate its own resources, you can get better output from a storage drive that has fewer bottlenecks.
Close Unnecessary Programs
If you’re still experiencing stuttering and other performance concerns, you may want to close any other running programs. Despite its ability to run independently from the host, you may still be getting hit by your own hardware constraints if you are trying to run plenty of demanding applications at once.
This will also be dependent on the type of hypervisor you have. Type 1 hypervisors tend to be more efficient since they directly connect to the host’s resources without having to pass the OS.