Dual-boot or VM for Windows ECU tuning software?

Hi all, my first real post here other than a few comments.

I recently purchased a HP Envy 13-D109TU; which is dual-core i5 6200U, 8GB ram, 128GB SSD and 3200x1800 screen scaled 175% in WIn10.

My main reason for purchase was screen real-estate for (car) ECU tuning software, to view as much as possible. All these programs need Windows. I'm not keen to try and configure each and every one in WINE, as there's maybe a dozen or so that I use.

In my mind, the ideal is a VM in seamless mode, so I don't need to reboot to check maps or load one to check from a forum, but am worried about stability and speed (eg if laptop is grunty enough). I'm also unsure how I would access tune files from Linux (to share and backup) as a VM is sandboxed? Or can I give access to a folder (or parition maybe?) in Linux from the VM?

I guess the advantage of dualbooting is I get a real OS in which all the USB devices should work fine. Each tuning software has it's own USB driver to suit the ECU, or it uses a USB-Serial cable (Prolific, generally). The latest stuff is ethernet connection to the ECU, for faster connection and download speed (downloading datalogs).

I haven't run a VM before, but a couple of friends do for various reasons so I can get real life help as needed too probably. I also want to get a larger SSD before I start this adventure, and ram if needed for VM assuming 2 cores is enough.

I have put this thread here already to avoid derailing the new thing you acquired recently thread. I hope to update in about a month, as realistically my house might be sold then and I'll have charged out another after-hours job to buy an SSD.
Also, so anyone with experience can possibly point me in the right direction with what I have :slight_smile:

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1) what car you tuning
2) dual boot

1) Various, ranges from usual Evo's, WRX, RB26, JZ's, 1UZ, to speedway cars carbureted on Methanol with a datalogger and programmable ignition... so a bit of everything I guess.

I used to do it full time along with wiring cars up but got sick of chasing payments; so now it's after-hours only for those that want me specifically and can actually afford it. Day job these days is forklift technician, so think 48V AC inverters/motors and CAN-bus control modules etc. Still interesting. Same technology Tesla uses in it's cars.

2) I kinda was thinking dual-boot for practicality but was hoping to avoid it. I already know how to mount the windows drives in fstab to easily access in Linux, so I guess that's the easier route, and SSD means fast reboot time.

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I think you'll be pushing the limits of the laptop and struggle to be productive. If you keep things minimalistic on both host and VM then it may still run fine.

I'm very interested in what you may know about megasquirt3 ecm compared to OEM GM and holley HP computers (for LS1/2). MS3 seems full featured now, 10 years ago I heard they didnt have spark control. Don't want to derail your thread too much, I can start a new thread if you like.


Does your CPU have vt-d, vt-x etc? I have an i5 that doesn't, and one that does and it makes a pretty big different in type 2 hypervisor performance.

With VMWare, they got rid of seemless mode (really bummed about that), but there is an easy way to setup a share folder where all VMs and host have access to it which would be really useful in your case.

Ultimately, I'm thinking your CPU won't be a good match for VMs and dual boot will give you the best performance, but that sticks you with a Windows OS that needs to do it all (for instance Greddy EMUs will only play with XP).

I got an MS2 to run my 2jz-ge, batch fuel and wasted spark years and years ago. From there upgraded to MS3 sequential and VVTi control, then from there an MS3Pro from DIY. IMO a really cool system but the cost of the MS3Pro puts it high enough that IMO one should consider ProEFI. From my understanding ProEFI is made from the same Motorola units that OEM GM uses- so its rock solid hardware wise vs. I've heard AEM Infinity units have been having issues. I had an AEM FIC piggyback on another rig and the value to whats on paper is great, but all the nuance issues got old and I changed over to a greddy EMU so I can believe the electrical noise issues of the Infinity.

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I was thinking it might struggle, you guys are confirming what I was suspecting. All good, answers the question.

Only plugged into MS2 once to check something, more familiar with DTAfast, Link, Haltech, Motec, Microtech. I haven't touched EMU in years so not fussed on that front, win10 seems to work for everything I touch so far.
Also check out FreeEMS, a guy I know got sick of MS being proprietary so set out on his own. It's getting there apparently but I haven't used it yet.