I've recently tried to install Ubuntu 18.04 LTS on Oracle VM VirtualBox, cause I wanted to give this version of Ubuntu a chance. So far, I was using Ubuntu Mate 16.04 which caused no trouble at all.

The first thing I noticed with Bionic Beaver was that the input lag is particularly high: I know the virtualization slows down the operating system, but it was not this much on Mate desktop environment. After some testing, I came up with these results on the two platforms:

  • ~ 0.15 seconds of input lag with Mate desktop when using text editors like VSCode or Atom
  • ~ 0.30 seconds of input lag with Gnome desktop on the same programs, and even on the default terminal

My question is:

  • is it possible that all the difference is related to the desktop environment I use?
  • if so, is there any tricky way to sensibly reduce the input lag (maybe without changing environment :P) ?

Further details

  • Dell XPS 13 9370 on Windows host
  • Both run with 4 processors, 4GB of RAM, 64MB for graphics and 3D Video Acceleration enabled

...and yes, I've tried out VMWare and the differences still remain.

  • I can confirm your discoveries, but it is expectable with all bells and whistles of modern GNOME. It eats whole RAM and CPU :) If you need to do your work - use MATE DE. Or Xfce, or LXDE. – N0rbert May 1 '18 at 21:02

I'd recommending using virt-manager and kvm-qemu as this seems to always be more responsive and snappier than VirtualBox for the virtual machines that I run on my x86 hardware. I believe the virtualization is possibly more efficient with this than VirtualBox, but it depends on your hardware and what is being virtualized and/or emulated.

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