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How To Run Windows Inside Linux With Win4Lin

Test Setup

In these tests, I wanted to see how Win4Lin compared to a normal installation of Windows 98SE when running office applications. I installed Red Hat Linux 7.1 and Win4Lin 3.0 with Windows 98SE running inside Win4Lin. This was compared to a normal installation of Windows 98SE that was not running inside an emulator. Each OS was installed on one of two identical 7200 RPM Seagate Barracuda drives. All tests were run on a 2 GHz Pentium 4 with 256 MB of PC800 RDRAM and a Leadtek WinFast GeForce3. Win4Lin was allocated 64 MB of memory for the tests.

I should mention that I encountered some problems trying to run the benchmarks. I really wanted to use Sysmark 2001, but since Win4Lin does not support DirectX, and Sysmark 2001 refuses to install without DirectX, I had to use the slightly older Sysmark 2000. For Sysmark 2000, I was not able to get "official scores" because Adobe Premeire (which is used in the content creation suite) claims to only run on a "Pentium-class" processor. Even though I was running the benchmark on a Pentium 4, Win4Lin identifies the processor as a Cyrix 486 (presumably so the user is not allowed to install DirectX). However, I was able to get the office productivity suite to run without any problems, and those results follow.

Office Performance - Sysmark 2000

The performance is seriously degraded using Win4Lin. CorelDraw 9 showed the worst performance, down more than 70%, while Word 2000, down 50%, fared a little better. According to BAPCo, a score of 100 corresponds to the performance of a 450 MHz Pentium III (440BX) with 128 MB of memory. For most of the applications, Win4Lin has turned a 2 GHz Pentium 4 into a 300 MHz Pentium II. Certainly not fast, but it is still usable for office productivity apps. I wrote this article in Word 97 using Win4Lin on a 366 MHz Mobile Pentium II and could not detect any lag or any sluggish behavior. But then, word processing is not exactly the most demanding of applications. However, graphics professionals will notice the difference in performance when using CorelDraw.

Win4Lin is sufficient for word processing because the computer is usually waiting on you (and not the other way around). What about an application where usability depends more on performance?