I want to switch completely over to linux

So, I want to switch completely over to linux but I have a couple hurdles to jump over.

1. I play games with my buddies and they tend to play games on windows only, I've found wine to be to much of a hassle is there an alternative option, perhaps some sort of visualization software I can use to put windows on?

2. I will be getting a new graphics card soon, would you recommend going nvidia or amd? (Not sure what os i will be using i have tried a bunch and i'm leaning towards mint but i want to try xbuntu or even arch before i decide)

Cpu: amd 8350

Motherboard: Crosshair v

Video cards: 2 nvidia 570 gtx in sli (currently but i will be upgrading as soon as i decide what to buy)



I wouldn't reccomend going only linux for gaming. It's too much of a hassle and no benefits. You could keep both linux and windows. At the same time if you really want to you can just use qemu and play in a virtual win7 machine, I'm not sure how well the fx8350 handles virtual machines but the thing is you can allocate as many resources as you want (even more threads than you have), so for games like bf4 or crysis it might be good.

As for the video cards I wouldn't bet on nvidia/amd making any better drivers on linux than on windows for sli/xfire. Just go with one enthusiast card and sell your older 570s.

Gaming is still in immature stages in linux. Not everyone can get any pc parts and hope they'll work with the reccomended drivers, and if something doesn't work it will always be on top of other problems which make it so inconvenient you'd rather not play anything on linux xD.

I posted a short hardware virtualization howto recently, let's you run windows as you're used to with all your programs, just faster and safer, in a linux kvm container. It's a very convenient and user friendly solution that radically enhances the quality of the windows-experience.

Your system is entirely hardware virtualization compatible, since it's and AMD chipset and AMD CPU.

If you're going to use compute intensive applications, I would strongly recommend an AMD graphics card, they work great in linux, even with open source drivers, and they perform many times faster than any other card with OpenCL, which makes your system faster overall in linux (even LibreOffice Calc uses OpenCL for faster computation). It's also more bang for the buck, it's possible to benchmark cards at a certain moment in time, but most depends on the driver optimizations in Windows, and that can change from one day to the other. AMD graphics has good open source drivers, the cards generally have a wide data bus, which is the most important feature for raw performance, and they scale very well in linux, because the AMD CGN graphics cards are basically a kind of standalone coprocessing units, they don't need a proprietary technology to integrate in a system or work together (e.g. crossfire is not necessary in linux, you can stack as many cards as you like and let them scale over the PCIe bus, for instance if you want to build a HPC cluster). Since quite some time, AMD cards also have a "mystery connector" that indicates that AMD has been developing technologies that they haven't revealed yet, and all AMD GPU cards have those, from consumer cards to firepro cards. So don't buy just based on benchmarks that have few reality value, think about what you want to do with your system long-term and make your buying decision based on technology platform choices. For people that seriously want to run linux on an enthusiast level, AMD is probably a wiser choice for the moment than nVidia, since nVidia sees it's future more in the ARM branch, whereas AMD just makes cards with ever bigger data buses and more compute performance, to the extent where - if AMD didn't have a long term plan for that - it would make absolutely no sense at all, and Intel is doing something similar than AMD, they're also ignoring nVidia Windows-focused trickery (like V/G-sync that requires expensive monitors for no real added value at all except in really niche applications that have little to do with computing, PhysX, CUDA, which receive ever less software support, etc...), but at the same time they're making x86 standalone compute plug-in cards like the Xeon Phi and are making damn sure that it works in linux.

At this time, there is very little sensible info that can be derived on how everything is evolving, and marketing slogans that all 3 graphics manufacturers use mean absolutely nothing for the technology and software that will necessarily come to market in the near future. If I were you, I'd hold off just a few more months before buying a new graphics card, see what happens, see what Intel and AMD are cooking up for the post-Windows x86-platform (I personally think that it will be a real eye opener, Intel has already shown open compute based graphics technologies, AMD packs a huge amount of open compute power in all its cards whereas that's not something it needs to compete on with nVidia, because nVidia cards, even compute oriented cards like the Titan, don't perform that well in compute, and are hindered by a bunch of proprietary licenses that prevents nVidia from using open technologies, which is exactly the field where AMD and Intel are investing in, and that can't be coincidental, something is about the happen.

You think running wine was a hassle? With linux, you will encounter a lot of these hassles trying to run your games on it. For gaming, stick with windows for now. If you don't have much experience troubleshooting, using the terminal, and a host of other noob linux skills you will have a very bad experience and will probably revert back to windows.  If you are interested in learning linux, just dual boot. It's easy and will flatten your learning curve until you feel confident to make the whole switch.

It's not necessary to "switch over". Just dual boot windows and Linux.

Anyways, you will have to check out which  of the games you play are compatible. Wine is not an option for serious gaming imo. I'd just wait for SteamOS

Also why on earth would you want to upgrade your VGAs? 2x 570 are good enough to run pretty much everything on high settings.

I don't like dual booting as i just tend to go to windows, for games, i will try out zoltans visualization on a dual boot and if it works ill switch over, but i will try this after i get a 290x non reference card whenever they come out

Good idea, when it's configured well in a virtual container (kvm or Xen), Windows is just much more fluid and a better experience.

Depending on which linux kernel and distro you use, there may be a bit of configuring necessary for VGA pass-through to work. Because there is so much hardware out there, it's never quite the same. Usually it takes about 10-15 minutes to figure out how everything is connected on the system internally and to set it up. If you're going to try, and run into problems, just post on the forum, and I'll help you out based on your particular system.

Since you're going to get an nVidia card, the important thing to know is that you should stick to the RadeonSI driver in your linux host system, and only use Catalyst in the Windows container. It performs well, and it's by far the smoothest card for VGA-passthrough (as it doesn't work at all with Intel iGPU, and is often radically unstable with nVidia, especially if you want to keep a clean system and not install proprietary nVidia crap on your linux host system).

Getting VGA pass-through to work on some systems is a bit of a challenge, but in general, it's not overly complicated, especially on AMD systems. Xen and ESX are easier to configure, but the performance of kvm with a few minutes of config work, is more satisfying.

I don't want to go into the details, like why you need seabios or how you can circumvent the blocked interrupt remapping on Intel boards, or how to bind your card to vfio, because there is no one-size-fits-all solution for all hardware, and I'm hoping TS does a video on hardware passthrough in general (there are some other issues, like Windows not knowing modern SATA controllers, so you have to emulate an ahci controller without binding the entire SATA controller as such for safety reasons, etc...), because I can't explain it all that well, because I never thought about hardware from a Windows point-of-view. From my point-of-view, Windows just has a lot of lacking functionality and lacking modern hardware compatibility, and I just find a workaround in linux, but most people that are new to linux and have been using Windows as main operating system for a very long time, don't see the internals of the hardware in the same way, and I totally don't connect with that enough to know how to even start explaining, and if I would just type the CLI lines that I use to work around the Windows problems, that will not work on all machines, and if people don't get the background information of what the differences between hardware are, they wouldn't know what would apply to their system. So setting up hardware pass-through is certainly something that varies from system to system, and hardware virtualization would definitely be a good video series for TS to do in my opinion.

Playonlinux is actually very helpful as a WINE frontend. 

I installed Steam through it, and ALL of my over 120 steam games instantly worked on linux.

I've been looking at trying Manjaro recently and this seems like it may be a great solution to gaming on linux as well. I shall have to read more.

Where can I find that post? Sounds like a good project for my laptop.

Mobile Richland APUs support virtualization, right? I know my 300 dollar i7 doesn't....

I believe the thread is called "what if I want everything?" in the linux category. Every setup is different on every system. For AMD systems, it's very important to use the RadeonSI graphics drivers in the linux host system, because otherwise, when you directly access the GPU in the guest system, your screen will just turn black. This is to be solved with linux kernel 3.12 and the next Catalyst driver.

You might also want to install a package called "mom", that will monitor system resource usage by the virtual machines in order to optimize them. It really helps a lot.

If you're having config or performance issues, just post them, and I'll try to help you with the setup. A lot depends on the distro and kernel you're rocking.

Oh and it doesn't work with Windows NT 6.2/6.3, so stick to Windows NT 6.1. And without Service Pack 3, you'll also have less problems. The main thing SP3 did was implement a system-wide DRM system that can't be removed any more, and that really bogs down the system, so if you're going for max performance, stick to W7SP2 and strip it of all useless bloatware (security essentials, ie, mail, DRM, firewall, security key check, windows update, system restore, etc...). After doing that, you'll get even better performance, far beyond what you could have expected by running windows on bare metal. You don't need a software key to install windows in kvm, just because windows can't infect the system with it's DRM, so even if you enter a valid key, it will refuse to install. But if you install Windows without entering a key, it will install as it should. The Windows 7 EULA states that you can install Windows in a virtual machine of your choice, so Microsoft had to allow installation without DRM spyware infestation of the system to honour it's own EULA. Later on, they changed their EULA, because that's what Microsoft does...

AMD systems work great for hardware virtualization since about 2007, shortly after they started with the AMD Fusion project after buying ATi. You're not the only one heavily frustrated with Intel's feature blocking strategies for the moment, I'm very frustrated by it too, and sadly Intel probably won't have heterogeneous architecture computing market ready for another two years or so, they're probably counting on AMD APP and Mantle to lower the price of nVidia shares so they can buy it for cheap in 2015...

Thing is, when AMD APP is fully integrated, which is probably going to happen less than 6 months from now, right after the first limited part of APP, Mantle, is released with BF4, you're probably going to see a huge performance improvement on the linux base system that will push the performance of an APU system in the windows container beyond what a top of the line intel chip with nVidia GPU could ever reach on a windows bare metal install without heterogeneous computing acceleration.

I agree with the dual boot option. It depends on the game you'll be playing..but for now, the dual boot is the best solution IMHO.