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The Real-World Impact of Hyper-V on Gaming

Go to solution Solved by Zenmechanic,

I just ran PCMark 10 and 3DMark before and after installing the Hyper-V role on Win 10 Enterprise 1909. Results show negligible performance degradation upon installing.

 

System: Core i7 9700k, 32 GB RAM, GPU NV 1080

 

Before:

PCMark = 6680

3DMark = 7501

 

After:

PCMark = 6591 = 1.34 % performance loss.

3DMark = 7477 = 0.32 % performance loss.

 

I can't speculate how a lesser machine would fare.

Does anyone know of any sites or videos of folks that have done an assessment of the real-world impact of Hyper-V on gaming? From what I've seen, enabling Hyper-V in the OS means your Windows install is actually running virtualized on Hyper-V itself even if you don't have any VMs. Because of this, Hyper-V reserves part of the GPU for virtualization even if it's not used and this reduces your gaming performance.

 

While all I'm seeing online is anecdotal evidence, I would love to know the real-world impact. Also, all the articles about it reference Windows 8 instead of the more-common Windows 10. It's possible that issue has been fixed over time.

 

As far as I know, if you want to do work that involves Hyper-V, then run:

bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype on

When you want to play games, use:

bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype off

And after doing either of those commands, you'd need to restart.

 

Does anyone have any better info or links with regards to Hyper-V performance with no guest machines?

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Hyper-V is a layer that runs beside your standard Windows install.  If the Hypervisor is running in the background, it does take some resources away from the primary user facing OS, even with no VMs running.  VMWare does the same thing.

 

All of the software that handles pass through networking and devices runs 24/7 unless you disable the services.  If you disable the services, VMs no longer work properly though, because the software no longer has access to things like networking, USB, and physical storage volumes.

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On 1/17/2019 at 1:02 PM, Mira Yurizaki said:

I believe Hyper-V runs as a service on Windows. Meaning if it's not being actively used, it's not doing anything appreciable to performance of the system, if there is any performance degradation at all.

That's what I mean. It's anecdotal. Your information also doesn't line up with what I've seen. I'm looking for sources.

 

On 1/17/2019 at 12:23 PM, KarathKasun said:

Hyper-V is a layer that runs beside your standard Windows install.  If the Hypervisor is running in the background, it does take some resources away from the primary user facing OS, even with no VMs running.  VMWare does the same thing.

 

 All of the software that handles pass through networking and devices runs 24/7 unless you disable the services.  If you disable the services, VMs no longer work properly though, because the software no longer has access to things like networking, USB, and physical storage volumes.

That's interesting. So you're saying it's simple enough to gain back that performance by just stopping the Hyper-V service? If that's the case, this could be a lot easier to handle. As far as I've seen, you have to run a command through the CLI and then reboot Windows.

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40 minutes ago, Sawtaytoes said:

That's what I mean. It's anecdotal. Your information also doesn't line up with what I've seen. I'm looking for sources.

I'm getting hit and miss reports that enabling Hyper-V does impact performance, but nobody's actually come up with a core reason why. I did find a post on Reddit where they got Hyper-V from killing performance to having almost no performance impact whatsoever by reinstalling Windows.

 

However, I'm inclined to believe that impacting gaming performance is not normal behavior when Hyper-V is enabled.

 

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 1/20/2019 at 9:19 PM, Mira Yurizaki said:

However, I'm inclined to believe that impacting gaming performance is not normal behavior when Hyper-V is enabled. 

I'm experiencing exactly this currently.

 

I recently enabled Hyper-V because I need to use docker for development purposes for work. However, when Hyper-V is enabled I'm getting serious lag in games (Apex Legends, Division 2) but only when I move the mouse.

 

I can mitigate but not eliminate these performance drops by closing other software I have running but when I turn Hyper-V off I don't have any of these issues. It's really annoying as I don't like restarting or even turning my PC off.

 

I'm contemplating doing a fresh install but that's kind of a last resort and I don't have high hopes that it will resolve the issue.

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  • 2 months later...

Simply enabling HyperV, no VMs running, is taking about 5-20% CPU performance in the various AIDA64 tests. I didn't notice much of a difference in actual gaming, mostly in benchmarks, but I do have a 8700K/1070ti combo so that means that the GPU is almost never botlenecked unless I play something super unoptimized and/or old.

If you're curious how much of a hit HyperV enabled is (Vt-d is active in BIOS), here's the 2 reports from AIDA64. Cinebench and CPUZ also show differences, although CPUZ multithread is actually quite a bit better WITH HyperV /shrug 3900 points with, 3820-ish without.

 

 

AIDA64 Reports.rar

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 1/17/2019 at 8:23 PM, KarathKasun said:

Hyper-V is a layer that runs beside your standard Windows install.  If the Hypervisor is running in the background, it does take some resources away from the primary user facing OS, even with no VMs running.  VMWare does the same thing.

 

All of the software that handles pass through networking and devices runs 24/7 unless you disable the services.  If you disable the services, VMs no longer work properly though, because the software no longer has access to things like networking, USB, and physical storage volumes.

You are wrong about everything. Its not about services, Everything happens in kernel level. Vmware workstation is completely different. Let me explain: 

 

HyperV is Type1 Visor. That means that your pc runs a layer of Kernel that handles virtualization and then as a second Kernel the Windows 10 Host OS, and gives direct access to all resources. This consumes resources because EVERY resource goes through more processing, and because those systems wasn't optimized for gaming performance. When you run a VM, the primary kernel(Hyperv kernel) creates a new "container" that runs the Guest OS Kernel on top of it, like Host Kernel but with limitations and not direct access to resources. 

 

On the other hand, VMWare workstation,VirtualBox is Type2 Visor, that runs onTop of Host PC Kernel. This type of visor does not affect host pc performance when vm are not running because everything is being handled by your host Windows Kernel.

 

In normal conditions, while gaming, all resources travel through hardware to Windows Kernel and then distributed when needed. When you enable HyperVisor, all those resources travel through hardware, then to the HyperVisor, and then to the Host PC that its been treated as Virtual. And this middle layer as i specified above, is not optimized and will not be optimized for gaming performance because its optimized for server usage as failover, clustering, etc.

 

So YES it will affect gaming performance no matter what, no matter the hardware even if you have a core i2000 and rtx5080, it will affect them! Benchmarks may not show this kind of affection but real world usage will.

 

You don't have to install a type1 visor to your main gaming pc, when you can opt in for Vmware Workstation(i know that its not free). Every kind of visor is optimized for different workloads, and thats why HyperVisor is only available to Pro, Enterprise windows 10 users and Windows Server. 

 

If you have another question related to virtualization, you can ask me. I hope i covered you with the best way possible.

hvnonesting.png

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I am generally seeing 0% cpu usage out of Hyper-V when I am not running any of its VMs. No issues in gaming.

 

Edit:

 

Also, don't listen to these random ramblings about Hyper-V. Hyper-V is a Type 1 Hypervisor, also called a Baremetal Hypervisor. They are generally considered the most effective ways of running a VM, and are used in almost every enterprise, heavy-load environment in the world.

 

Windows is virtualized when you use Hyper-V. It's a "special" VM but still a VM once it's enabled. It runs on the hardware. It's generally very, very fast, and you shouldn't notice any major differences unless under very heavy load.

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Docker for Windows has 2 modes, if you’re not running Linux containers put it in Windows container mode as that doesn’t use hyper-v at all.

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  • 6 months later...

I just ran PCMark 10 and 3DMark before and after installing the Hyper-V role on Win 10 Enterprise 1909. Results show negligible performance degradation upon installing.

 

System: Core i7 9700k, 32 GB RAM, GPU NV 1080

 

Before:

PCMark = 6680

3DMark = 7501

 

After:

PCMark = 6591 = 1.34 % performance loss.

3DMark = 7477 = 0.32 % performance loss.

 

I can't speculate how a lesser machine would fare.

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  • 5 months later...
On 1/17/2019 at 7:16 PM, Sawtaytoes said:

Does anyone know of any sites or videos of folks that have done an assessment of the real-world impact of Hyper-V on gaming? From what I've seen, enabling Hyper-V in the OS means your Windows install is actually running virtualized on Hyper-V itself even if you don't have any VMs. Because of this, Hyper-V reserves part of the GPU for virtualization even if it's not used and this reduces your gaming performance.

 

That's true. HyperV runs as a bare metal hypervisor and, when enabled, the whole Windows runs in a VM.

That's called Root Partition in the Hyper-V specifications, which are public:

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  • 1 month later...

I saw a large increase in memory latency running hyper-v on my computer, this impacts the 1% lows of games and make them seem more choppy.

 

WSL2 requiring a level 1 hypervisor makes it a no-go on my desktop as I use it for gaming also.. instead I just run a VM or reboot into linux.

 

The below shows my memory latency without hyper-v, it spikes to over 70ns with it turned on.

memory latency.PNG

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  • 2 weeks later...

@sweenz In your data, you're using a different virtual machine technology for Linux because when Hyper-V is enabled on your system, gaming performance is adversely affected because of a measured 30% rise in memory latency?

To be sure, were there any other factors possible adding to this or it was simply checking and unchecking the Hyper-V box in Windows' features? I use this particular machine for work and need Docker installed (requires Hyper-V). Sounds like I have to live with a potential increase in memory latency; although, I'm on a Ryzen system.

How can I replicate your experiment to see if my system is also affected?

 

It seems AIDA64 is a paid benchmark, but has a free trial available https://www.aida64.com/downloads. Which version should I download for a memory latency test?

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  • 4 months later...

I'm not sure why, but recently I noticed pops and cracks in sounds when playing any kind of media and sudden fps drops in games
It may be a recent update breaking stuff but anyway I searched around and used LatencyMon to check whats happening and apparently vmswitch.sys was causing very high dpc routine execution times, if I remember right
so what I did was disabling all virtual adapters related to hyper-v inside network adapter settings
and the lag was gone (I wasn't using any virtual machines or docker or wsl, but the network adapter being enabled alone was causing lags)
I think hyper-v has a noticeable impact, even when not in use
I have WSL2 and docker desktop installed and I do use them regularly.
but recently (due to updates?) I get frequent microlags, specially due to hyper-v apparently (like vmswitch.sys), so I've been looking for an alternative but clearly there's no convenient one.

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  • 1 month later...
On 11/24/2020 at 2:47 PM, jd1378 said:

I'm not sure why, but recently I noticed pops and cracks in sounds when playing any kind of media and sudden fps drops in games
It may be a recent update breaking stuff but anyway I searched around and used LatencyMon to check whats happening and apparently vmswitch.sys was causing very high dpc routine execution times, if I remember right
so what I did was disabling all virtual adapters related to hyper-v inside network adapter settings
and the lag was gone (I wasn't using any virtual machines or docker or wsl, but the network adapter being enabled alone was causing lags)
I think hyper-v has a noticeable impact, even when not in use
I have WSL2 and docker desktop installed and I do use them regularly.
but recently (due to updates?) I get frequent microlags, specially due to hyper-v apparently (like vmswitch.sys), so I've been looking for an alternative but clearly there's no convenient one.

same here.  have a 20 core xeon server running and when hyperv with no active machines running no problem,  but turn a virtual machine on and bam super high dpc latency.  server is so choppy and random lag spikes.  i removed hyperv and recreated the same virtual machine on virtualbox and zero lag and  low 80's dpc latency 

 https://www.resplendence.com/latencymon

 

btw checked to see if it was the spectre or meltdown patches.  made no diff turning the mitigation off.

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  • 1 month later...
On 5/7/2019 at 1:14 PM, Jay Deah said:

Docker for Windows has 2 modes, if you’re not running Linux containers put it in Windows container mode as that doesn’t use hyper-v at all.

You are wrong. Yes, Docker Desktop can use WSL2. However, WSL2 is built on top of the "Virtual Machine Platform" feature, which is a subset of Hyper-V which does need the hypervisor to be running. You'll notice that if you do

bcdedit /set hypervisorlaunchtype off

your Docker Desktop won't start up properly anymore.

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  • 1 year later...

Sorry to bump an old thread but it's one of the few discussions online talking about WSL 2 and its relation to gaming performance. Does anyone know if the situation has improved with Windows 11? I've seen some older threads online with measurements from latencymon that seemed to show no real increase in latency with WSL 2 enabled with the NVIDIA driver being the largest source of latency. This is mostly discussion revolving around audio and video work where latency is critical. I'm not sure how this translates to gaming?

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I think it would have some impacts on performance unlike VMWARE or Virtual Box because HyperV treats every V including the host as running on top of partition in addition to other VMs for best VM performance on all VMs. So host is hurt.

 

Where as with Virtual box and others, VM performance is actually worse, but host OS is still on the bare metal, not a Microsoft Hypervisor.

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