Player uses the same virtualization engine as Workstation, so that's not really a difference. Workstation is pretty much just a different GUI with more options.
Does the problem occur in your case when there's I/O in the host, or in the guest? For example, does it happen when you copy a directory containing many files in the host? Or only when you do the same in the guest?
Also, compare guest machine configurations. There's a lot of options that could potentially have a very meaningful impact on some hardware. Number of cores, choice of emulated hardware, CPU virtualization configuration, etc.
CPU: Core i7 920 (original Nehalem, quad core, HT)
Mobo: Asus P6T Deluxe
RAM: 16GB dual channel DDR3 1600
GPU: Radeon HD7970
Audio: Sennheiser USB 2.0 headset
Physical monitor config:
2011 model Panasonic 1920x1080 HDTV connected by native HDMI 1.4a (no cable adaptors between monitor and GPU)
2008 model commodity Dell 1680x1050 LCD connected by DVI converted to Mini-DisplayPort (uses DVI on the monitor end, plugs into Mini-DP on the video card)
2004 model commodity Dell 1920x1200 LCD connected by DVI converted to Mini-DisplayPort (same connectors as other LCD)
OS: Linux Mint 12 with Cinnamon desktop
Memory: 4GB (even with this I still have 4 to 8GB of completely unused RAM on the host)
CPU: 1 x 4-core CPU
"Virtualization Engine": Default setting of "Automatic" with the "Virtualize Intel VT-x/EPT" setting unchecked
HDD: 200 GB SCSI virtual disk residing on a separate physical HDD than the host operating system HDD, but mapped as a file on an NTFS filesystem
Monitor config: "Dedicated" full screen on a 1680x1050 LCD (Host OS programs configured not to start on second monitor so it's always just VMware on that monitor)
Graphics: "Accelerate 3d Graphics" checked
Kernel: 3.3 rc7-precise from Ubuntu Mainline Kernel Builds
DDX: Latest VMware stable driver release, hand-compiled
Mesa: From Xorg Edgers repository; it's "pretty recent" from git
OpenGL renderer string: Gallium 0.4 on SVGA3D; build: RELEASE;
OpenGL version string: 2.1 Mesa 8.0.1
3d graphics performance in the guest is actually quite impressive -- for a virtualization solution. I really can't complain because it's light-years more stable and more usable than anything we've ever had before, as far as VMs go.
Only problem that remains is the seemingly random micro-lags within the guest, where the entire guest will hang for extremely short periods of time whenever the host does something "interesting", which can be triggered by something as trivial as playing a youtube video on the host. These events are unpredictable to the point that they sometimes happen when I'm doing absolutely nothing except playing an audio stream on the guest; I'm guessing some background service on the host is causing disk I/O when this occurs.
But... but... if RealNC gets the same problem with a *Linux* host, it can't be the Windows host! He says he even gets this problem with Linux guest Linux host, so Windows is totally out of the picture.
So I'm confused.
CPU: Intel i5 2500K
Mobo: MSI MSI P67A-C43 B3
RAM: 12GB (8GB 1666 + 4GB 1333, both running at 1333)
HD: Western Digital WD5000AAKS-00V1A0
FS: EXT4 (and disabling barriers doesn't help)
Audio: Asus Xonar D1 (PCI)
GPU: GTX 560 Ti
Only one monitor connected through DVI-D at 1920x1080
To the guests I give 2GB RAM and an 8GB HD. 3D disabled/enabled doesn't matter.
Might be CPU related. A while ago when I was using a Core 2 Duo, I/O blocking wasn't that bad. But I was using older software too then, so I can't be sure.
I'm gonna try something later on, and start with 1 core, test, and increment the cores to 2, then 4 then 8 and see if the behavior changes. It may have something to do with the virtual IOAPIC, which is required if you have greater than one core.