Default Windows VBS Setting Slows Games Up to 10%, Even on RTX 4090


Sep 28, 2018
Virtualization Based Security (VBS) has a big impact on frame rates (especially where CPU load is involved)

having VBS turned on is now the default for new Windows installations. So you can argue that Microsoft at least thinks it's important and it should be left on. However, the fact that Microsoft also has instructions on how to go about disabling it indicates the performance impact can be very real.

The biggest improvement overall comes in Microsoft Flight Simulator, which makes sense as that game tends to be very CPU limited even with the fastest possible processors. Turning off VBS consistently improved performance in our RTX 4090 testing by around 10%, and the 1% lows increased by as much as 15%.

Not coincidentally, Flight Simulator is also one of the games that absolutely loves AMD's large 3D V-Cache on the Ryzen 9 7950X3D. ((Our CPU tests use a different, less demanding test sequence, but even there the AMD chips with large caches are anywhere from about 20% (Ryzen 7 5800X3D) to 40% (7900X3D) faster than the Core i9-13900K.)) Perhaps VBS would have less of an impact on AMD's X3D CPUs, but I didn't have access to one of those for testing.

Another game that tends to bump into CPU bottlenecks at lower settings is Far Cry 6, and it also saw pretty consistent 5% or higher increases in performance — noticeable in benchmarks, but less so in actual gaming.

Interestingly, Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing enabled also still saw about 5% higher performance. That's perhaps because the work of building the BVH structures for ray tracing calculations happens on the CPU; many of the other ray tracing games also showed 5% or higher increases.