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Dual boot, VM or two physical machines


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#1 jrdmellow   Members   -  Reputation: 118

Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:14 PM

Hello,

I'm struggling to come to a decision. In the past I've had my system dual booting Windows 7 and Ubuntu, however I always come back to just a clean Windows installation because I get sick of rebooting my machine to switch to a Windows program or the partitions start becoming a pain. Now I want to switch back to Ubuntu, but I can't make the move 100% (because I really want to keep Visual Studio + Visual Assist and my Windows games although but I don't use the games much).

So, I have a few options;
1) Dual boot with Windows 7 and Ubuntu again (although this time I'd like to do it on separate drives, not partitioned, how difficult is it to set this up?)
2) Install Ubuntu and use VirtualBox to run Windows (how will VS react to this? bad idea for games I assume?)
3) I'm looking at building a dedicated server for media sharing and some other experiments anyway, should I simply use 2 different machines?

Do you guys have any suggestions that might help me choose? Another option? Had problems with one of the above I should know about?

Thanks for any advice/warnings Posted Image

P.S. I'm not set on Ubuntu either, so if you have any suggestions for another distro they're appreciated too!
Jordan M. www.jordanmellow.com

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#2 Cornstalks   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 6966

Posted 07 March 2012 - 12:22 PM

1) Dual boot with Windows 7 and Ubuntu again (although this time I'd like to do it on separate drives, not partitioned, how difficult is it to set this up?)

About as easy as two partitions on one drive (read: easy).

2) Install Ubuntu and use VirtualBox to run Windows (how will VS react to this? bad idea for games I assume?)

Bad idea for games, performance will suffer. I'm not sure exactly how Visual Studio will react, but it'll be slower too.

3) I'm looking at building a dedicated server for media sharing and some other experiments anyway, should I simply use 2 different machines?

That entirely depends on if you want to pay for another machine and don't mind getting up and moving from one to another.

Do you guys have any suggestions that might help me choose? Another option? Had problems with one of the above I should know about?

If you do use two different machines, and they're nearby (as in you can sit in a chair and see both their screens at the same time), you may want to look into Synergy (depending on your workflow), which allows you to seamlessly share a mouse and keyboard between the two.
[ I was ninja'd 71 times before I stopped counting a long time ago ] [ f.k.a. MikeTacular ] [ My Blog ] [ SWFer: Gaplessly looped MP3s in your Flash games ]

#3 TheUnbeliever   Members   -  Reputation: 957

Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:34 PM

Inbetweenie option: Wubi. Installs (and uninstalls) like a normal program under Windows with no repartitioning required, but boots into it as if you had installed it more traditionally. Apparently there's a slight overhead from some sort of I/O emulation, but I can't say I've noticed it (although my project's heavily dependent on CPU and barely touches the disk). I certainly can't imagine it's worse than that under VirtualBox.

I've wondered recently if it'd be possible to persuade VirtualBox to boot that image under Windows without breaking anything.
[TheUnbeliever]

#4 jrdmellow   Members   -  Reputation: 118

Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:41 PM

Bad idea for games, performance will suffer. I'm not sure exactly how Visual Studio will react, but it'll be slower too.

I figured performance would be a big problem. I guess VM is out of the question then as Windows is my main development target so debugging through VM doesn't seem like it will be a great idea.

That entirely depends on if you want to pay for another machine and don't mind getting up and moving from one to another.

If you do use two different machines, and they're nearby (as in you can sit in a chair and see both their screens at the same time), you may want to look into Synergy (depending on your workflow), which allows you to seamlessly share a mouse and keyboard between the two.

Actually they would be at the same workstation, hooked up to the same monitors (I figure I'll have one switch between 2nd screen and the server). I've seen synergy before actually, I was looking at it for my laptop/HDTV (a laptop which I no longer have Posted Image ).


Inbetweenie option: Wubi.

I've tried this before too, it seemed pretty easy to install, which is a plus. Are there any performance issues with running Ubuntu this way? (actually, Ubuntu is the one I'm less concerned about performance-wise so this might be the way I go) I assume I can install it on an independent drive?

Thanks for the answers so far Posted Image
Jordan M. www.jordanmellow.com

#5 TheUnbeliever   Members   -  Reputation: 957

Posted 07 March 2012 - 01:48 PM

I've tried this before too, it seemed pretty easy to install, which is a plus. Are there any performance issues with running Ubuntu this way? (actually, Ubuntu is the one I'm less concerned about performance-wise so this might be the way I go) I assume I can install it on an independent drive?


See my edit. ;-) Basically, there's a theoretical performance hit but I can't say it's noticeable. As for installing, it's completely native. There's a folder C:\ubuntu which contains two (interesting) folders: .\winboot with a backup of the original bootsector for the uninstaller and .\disks, containing two huge files: images of the root and swap disks.
[TheUnbeliever]

#6 jrdmellow   Members   -  Reputation: 118

Posted 07 March 2012 - 03:51 PM

If I remember correctly, it still requires a reboot to switch to Windows, right? It's not an emulation?

I'm tempted to go that route again, but I know the constant rebooting is going to drive me up the wall. Maybe I'll just have to bite the bullet and switch IDEs. Is there anything out there like Visual Assist X for other IDEs? (VAX is about the only reason I'm using VS still) I mainly use it for the better auto-complete and syntax colouring. Searching by symbol/reference is nice too.
Jordan M. www.jordanmellow.com

#7 ddn3   Members   -  Reputation: 1250

Posted 07 March 2012 - 05:46 PM

I remember trying a VM solution for my Mac and older version of windows it didn't seem slow. The VM is supported at the hardware level and it's probably in the range of 80% as fast as native performance. What i did run into was virtual drivers for the GPU, games didn't like it.. I suggest giving the VM a try it doesn't hurt anything and u can always duo-boot if worse case..

#8 daviangel   Members   -  Reputation: 600

Posted 07 March 2012 - 10:16 PM

Try latest version of VirtualBox with latest version of OpenSuse.
I just did the other day and I was suprised if I enabled 3D support it actually seemed to take advantage of itPosted Image
Latest version of Ubuntu on the otherhand just crashes and burns with error since it can't find any video hardware accelration Posted Image
I haven't bothered to actually partition my windows install in a long time to do a dedicated install since I haven't really done any Linux 3D work in a while and it hasn't really been necessary.
As you can see with latest version of Ubuntu though it seems some distro's have regressed i.e. can't even run them reliably in virtualization software since they are dependent on video hardware support it seems which is kinda stupid to me.
Anyways, like I said seems OpenSuse is ahead of Ubuntu in this area since their video acceleration actually seems to work in VirtualBox anyways.
Other than 3D performance is okay since I use SSD drives.

VirtualBox 4.1 OpenGL 3D Guest Performance
Don't talk about writing games, don't write design docs, don't spend your time on web boards. Sit in your house write 20 games when you complete them you will either want to do it the rest of your life or not * Andre Lamothe

#9 slayemin   Members   -  Reputation: 2051

Posted 07 March 2012 - 11:14 PM

For what its worth, I use VMWare Workstation 7.1.3 and run three virtual machines (domain controller, SQL 2008, and sharepoint 2010). The sharepoint server runs multiple instances of visual studio 2010 and the performance is great. I use 8Gb of ram and have an intel i7 processor (8 cores), so my laptop can handle quite a bit :) So, VS2010 inside of a VM works without problems. I haven't tried any apps which require graphics card hardware though...

Eric Nevala

Currently a self-employed indie game dev





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