Permanent Linux switch hardware query

Ok so I am totally fed up with Win 8.1 and am going to switch to a linux system instead of running it in a VM all the time.  For now it will be Elementary OS but when Fedora 22 comes out it will be Fedora.

Hardware wise I have a 3570k which does not have vt-d and I HAVE to be able to run a Win vm inside linux with FULL hardware access.  I either need to switch cpu OR cpu and mobo.

What would be better (taking into account value as well)

Buy a E3 1230 v2 for $320 and keep my Asus Maximus V Formula


Buy an AMD FX 8350 and a Gigabyte FX990 UD3 mobo for $239 and $179

The reason I need the Windows VM is for Autodesk and Corel programs, yWriter and Storybook Pro and for any games I cant get running natively or under WINE


and please dont argue about the prices - they are what i have to work with

other hardware I already have is 2x4gb 2133 ram, GTX 770, Xonar Essence STX, SSD and HDD - and a CLC so overclockind the FX 8350 is viable

Your first problem is that asus disables vtd on there motherboards so probably the second option. I had your exact dilemma and bought the 1230 but it was on special for 220 in australia not sure where you are. I would probably go second option and keep your old hardware as a second system.

If you're going to game in a Windows VM on a linux host, you'll also need a second GPU.

Maybe you don't need high graphics in your linux host, in which case you can get a CPU with iGPU (from Intel or AMD, AMD APU's allow for gaming in linux at that point).

Benefit of using AMD for virtualization is that it just works. Intel can be moody, even if you get the correct specs. In terms of virtualization performance, I would definitely recommend an AMD FX 8-core, they seriously smoke 1150 Intel CPU's for virtualization and distributed computing applications.

Ok so let me try and wrap my head around this - really if i want to do this seriously i am better off with the AMD set up.  No problems there.  I need a second GPU.  can do as well, but would this mean that Linux can access both gpu's and the Windows VM could only access the second GPU? not both?  And would there be any difference in running ATI or nVidia?

Thanks for the input both of you, and particularly Zoltan - I know i've picked your brain on many occasions!

Read the forum thread on hardware passthrough in VMs. When you bind the PCI slot of one of the GPU's to the Windows VM for gaming, it becomes unavailable to the linux host, as it is controlled directly by the Windows client. It's not like your mouse and keyboard, of which the instructions are remapped by the host's X server to the Windows client, but rather a direct access of the GPU memory and GPU cores by the client through memory table translations on a hardware level. This is why you need IOMMU, which is the software+hardware mechanism that makes this possible.

In general, hardware GPU passthrough works best with AMD cards. This is for a variety of reasons, but mainly because the KMS drivers for AMD (which is a prerequisite in the host if you're going to pass that adapter through to a VM, a proprietary driver controlled GPU would crash X as soon as that adapter is unbound from the host, and even possibly crash the kernel because it uses proprietary kernel modules) are pretty full-featured. Intel works also of course, but their GPU adapters are not really gaming-grade, so it's a pretty futile fact. Some nVidia cards work fine for hardware passthrough, mainly the 9800GT (pretty old card). Newer nVidia cards have all kinds of issues because nVidia hates linux because it can't be used against the users.

If I got a i5 4670 non-k could I use the gpu on it for Linux and use both of my 660s in a Windows VM?

Meh, afaik SLI is out. Tbh you'll be lucky to get a single newer nVidia card working with PCI passthrough. VGA passthrough is not ever an option with nVidia cards even. In theory, it should be possible to Xfire AMD cards in a PCI passthrough application (they don't need a bridge), but I wouldn't count on it being easy.

The Intel iGPU and a single GPU should work though in PCI passthrough.

With that hardware, I'd go dual boot to be honest, but then I'm the lazy type that doesn't spend much time looking for solutions lol. I also prefer AMD GPU's because they scale freely in linux, they're the only ones that do that. I however don't use Xfire, and my last SLI setup was in 2007, I've learned my lesson from that ordeal lol.

I wouldn't mind dual booting with Linux on one HDD and Windows on another but on my mobo you have to disable Secure boot to boot into anything other than Windows and that'd get annoying changing it every time I want to switch OSes. I would also be afraid I'd somehow screw up my Windows drive while using Linux and vise versa.