Windows 11’s VBS Feature Reportedly Cripples Gaming Performance by Up to 28 Percent

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Image: Microsoft

Similar to its predecessor, Windows 11 will include a security setting called Virtualization-Based Security (VBS) that utilizes hardware virtualization to increase system security and reduce vulnerabilities in the operating system. New tests are suggesting that VBS can still have a dramatic impact on gaming performance, reducing frame rates by as much as 28 percent in select titles such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider under certain configurations.

VBS is enabled by default on fresh Windows 11 installs, according to an article from UL benchmarks:

In our testing with pre-release builds of Windows 11, a feature called Virtualization-based Security (VBS) causes performance to drop. VBS is enabled by default after a clean install of Windows 11, but not when upgrading from Windows 10. This means the same system can get different benchmark scores depending on how Windows 11 was installed and whether VBS is enabled or not. We plan to add VBS detection to our benchmarks in a future update to help you compare scores fairly.

PC Gamer had a different experience, in that VBS wasn’t enabled by default and required some registry editing and BIOS tweaking, but here’s what the publication found in its tests with the current release build of Windows 11:

Far Cry New Dawn […] barely shrugs at VBS, with just a 5 percent reduction in frame rate. But Horizon Zero Dawn drops by some 25 percent, Metro Exodus by 24 percent, and Shadow of the Tomb Raider by 28 percent. Interestingly, the 3DMark Time Spy score only dropped by 10 percent.

PC Gamer’s Test Rig:

  • CPU: Intel Core i7 10700K
  • Motherboard: MSI MPG Z490 Gaming Carbon WiFi
  • Graphics card: Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti Founders Edition
  • Memory: 32GB Corsair Vengeance RGB Pro DDR4-3200
  • Cooler: Corsair H100i RGB Pro XT
  • Chassis: DimasTech Mini V2
  • OS: Windows 11 Build 22000.194

ComputerBase has also published benchmarks to show how various titles perform with VBS enabled on a system with a Ryzen Threadripper 3970X and GeForce RTX 3080 Ti at 1080p. The differences seem to be far less significant here, but there’s a 30 percent drop in performance in one of the 3DMark tests.

Image: ComputerBase

Microsoft’s official description of VBS:

Virtualization-based security, or VBS, uses hardware virtualization features to create and isolate a secure region of memory from the normal operating system. Windows can use this “virtual secure mode” to host a number of security solutions, providing them with greatly increased protection from vulnerabilities in the operating system, and preventing the use of malicious exploits which attempt to defeat protections.

Windows 11 will officially launch in just a few days on October 5, but the release version is already available for download via Microsoft’s Windows Insider program.

Sources: PC Gamer, ComputerBase, UL

Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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