Is VMware Player Faster than VMware Server?

I've been a VMware Player user since it was first released, but I recently decided to switch to VMware Server when I found out that it supports dual processors and snapshots. To my dismay I frequently experienced mouse lag, slow graphics, and keyboard sticking. Switching back to VMware Player resolved my issues and was noticeably faster. Has anyone else seen a performance difference between the two?

My Experiences

I ran both VMware apps from a laptop running Windows XP Professional and a screen resolution of 1440x900. My processor is a Core Duo. Both Player and Server installations are using the latest versions from VMware's website.

The guest is running Kubuntu Feisty.

My first attempts using VMware Server were without any modification to the guest OS. That was when I first noticed slower performance that what I was used to. My next step was to install VMware Tools. Unfortunately, I didn't see any improvement.

Typical problems I encountered were a general studdering that was slight but noticeable; slow response when graphics activity was happening; and multiple key presses being registered when there should have been just one. A good example of the graphics problem was going to the logout menu. The screen starts graying from top to bottom and really bogs the system down.

When I switched back to VMware Player all of these problems disappeared and I couldn't even tell I was running in a virtualized environment for most day-to-day use.


Can I conclude that VMware Player is faster? Maybe, but I'm not comfortable with that conclusion because it doesn't make sense and I only tested on a single system. It's possible that further testing would reveal the problem and a solution, but since I wasn't having any success with virtual SMP support anyway I'm going to stick with what works and move on.

Has anyone else experienced similar behaviors?