I have an ASUS N56VM with both onboard intel graphics (HD3000) and a discrete nvidia card (630M). My main OS is Ubuntu 12.04. I have VMWare Player installed and a Windows 7 virtual machine running.

I'd like to give the Windows virtual machine control over the discrete graphics card. That is, I want to run Windows and its applications using the discrete card.

Right now I'm using bumblebee to control the discrete card, so I invoked the player using optirun vmplayer. It runs fine, but I think it's still using the integrated graphics: neither VMWare nor Windows seems to recognize the existence of the discrete card or of the HDMI output (which is wired directly into the discrete card).

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    We should point out that virtualization isn't an all-effective solution for everything, virtualization does, of course, not always have full hardware integration with the host system. – Thomas Ward Dec 18 '13 at 18:39
  • If I were you I would switch this around. If Windows needs the graphics control, then let Windows be the host and then Virtualize Ubuntu. If you are doing gaming, don't try to Virtualize Windows and then play games on it, it will be a pain. If you really want to use Ubuntu but play Windows games then try out Wine. – John Dec 18 '13 at 18:41
  • Thanks @John, your suggestion does work. However I prefer to run Ubuntu on the physical machine for security reasons and personal preferences. – cxrodgers Dec 18 '13 at 18:45
  • @cxrodgers you should just try dual booting then. Running Windows in a VirtualBox will yield a painful gaming experience to say the least. I would highly recommend dual booting. – John Dec 18 '13 at 18:47
  • I'm not planning on gaming. Poor performance is totally fine; I mainly just want to be able to use the HDMI output port. Support for HDMI output using bumblebee is kind of kludgy (you need a new session) and there is no audio support at all. Which is not to put down bumblebee -- it's a great project and they've made it possible for me to use my discrete card at all. – cxrodgers Dec 18 '13 at 19:02

VMware Player does not allow for direct hardware connection of pci-e devices. The virtual machine uses an emulated card that is powered by your host graphics cards. If you want to directly connect a graphics card to a virtual machine you can look into other virtualization products that allow for a wider range of physical hardware inputs to a vm such as Parrallels Workstation Extreme, which is very expensive, though I'm not sure if it can assign laptop graphics cards. To get the best graphics card performance in your VM make sure you have "accelerate 3D graphics" checked in the vm options, have vmware tools installed in the guest OS, and if host os has any options regarding which graphics device to let a program run on make sure to set vmware player to run from the best graphics device.

Information about Assigning PCI-E devices in Parrallels Workstation Extreme: http://kb.parallels.com/en/9427

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