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Virtual machine software

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July 28, 2013 1:29:52 PM

Hope this is the right forum. So I ordered my new SFF build:

i5 4670k
GTX 770 2 GB
16 GB RAM

What, what?! That was exactly my thought process as I woke up this morning. I held back on the GTX 780 as its substantially more than the 770 and on the screen sizes I'm playing on, getting the potential out of the 770 will be difficult, let alone the 780. Yet when I came to the checkout, I added another 8 GB RAM as £70 seemed like relatively little compared to the extra £170 for the better card. After pondering what I'm going to do with more RAM than I will probably ever use, I stumbled upon the idea of a VM. I have a Linux machine running Ubuntu which I enjoy a lot but duel booting isn't desirable for me. I was thinking with a VM I could use a Linux environment for more general tasks, ideally as a more secure web browsing environment and use the windows 8 machine for gaming + work. I would be running across a duel monitor set up so the idea would be to stick the VM on one monitor and use the other for Windows 8.

I was therefore looking for some opinions on the best VM software. Also, regarding system demand, am I correct to assume RAM is the key component here. I'm aware processing speed comes in but ideally I would want to kick back and enjoy some BF3 and Bioshock with the option to switch over and use the VM Ubuntu when I wish. I'm not sure how much of my processor the VM would demand however.
July 28, 2013 1:44:36 PM

Your video card is good, your ram is good (I run 3 operating systems at once and the most it ever took was 13 GB of RAM with a minimum of 8 GB RAM set to each OS) I am really not sure if your processor would be good at running games and VMs at once. Im sure it can handle one at a time though.
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July 28, 2013 1:44:55 PM

RAM is the most important thing you can add to your system to increase VM performance.

If you want to play games, either on Linux or Win8, make that OS your primary installation on your computer (we call this the host OS).

Then, install a Virtual Machine software, a good free one is VirtualBox from Oracle. Install that on your host system, and then install the virtual linux into VirtualBox.

You must have your host OS be the one you want to play games on because you will never get good graphics performance in a virtual machine.

And yes, you an put the VM on one monitor no problem.
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July 28, 2013 1:55:48 PM

VM video performance will not be up to the tasks for gaming.
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July 28, 2013 1:57:00 PM

VirtualBox from Oracle.

I use this daily. In the Linux VM, video plays seamlessly. Pop it into fullscreen, and you'd never realize it is a VM.
3 OS's, spread across 2 screens. I have a screenshot that also includes WinServer2012, but can't find it right now.


Games do not play well in a VM, so those go on the host system.
Just be sure to allocate enough RAM for each VM.
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July 29, 2013 12:45:36 PM

Sorry if my original post lacked clarity. I would be gaming on my host machine Windows 8 64 bit. I'll definitely check virtual box out. I was thinking of designating ,8gb ram to the VM leaving 8 for my host. Hie much of ny processor would I have to designate to the VM? A good example of what I intend to do is game in Windows 8 and surf/ download files via the VM.
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July 29, 2013 1:09:20 PM

jonnycb said:
Sorry if my original post lacked clarity. I would be gaming on my host machine Windows 8 64 bit. I'll definitely check virtual box out. I was thinking of designating ,8gb ram to the VM leaving 8 for my host. Hie much of ny processor would I have to designate to the VM? A good example of what I intend to do is game in Windows 8 and surf/ download files via the VM.


Only designate as much RAM to a VM as is actually needed. For a Linux that will only be downloading and surfing, maybe 2GB. And if it seems to lag, you can change that later. It is not a 'set once and only once' type of thing.
And only one core(CPU).
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July 29, 2013 7:38:17 PM

I give each of my VMs one core. It only uses what it needs out of that. I have a quad core desktop and have run 8 VMs at once on it. Same thing for RAM. Windows XP gets 2-4GB, Windows 7 gets up to 8GB. But honestly, if you are only downloading stuff in a VM, and it's linux, you can easily get away with 512MB.

You can change all of this of course. Bump it up, drop it down. Doesn't matter. All that is required is a restart. Once you set up a machine in VirtualBox, you will understand all of this.

Ask if you have questions. :) 
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