Bye bye dual-boot!

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Bye bye dual-boot!

Postby powerhouse on Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:30 am

I've been running dual boot Linux Mint & Windows for several years. It's always been a pain in the neck! I do everything under Linux except photo editing, since unfortunately there aren't any professional tools available yet (I know gimp and consorts, but that doesn't cut it). Others will find that their favorite game isn't running under Linux.

Using VirtualBox doesn't give native graphics acceleration, and it's useless in my case as i need direct graphics card access from within Windows for screen calibration.

I found the solution using Xen. It wasn't easy to get it working, though I had planned for using Xen with VGA passthrough (that's the term used for passing through the graphics adapter to the guest VM). It requires very specific hardware, and even then it's not an easy package installation etc.

But the results are totally worth the effort. I'm now running Linux and Windows side by side with full graphics acceleration on both. Performance is top notch - Windows 7 gives me a Windows Experience Index of 7.0 (lowest=graphics card, as I don't have a real strong graphics adapter, at least not for gaming). Disk is 7.8, RAM 7.9, CPU 7.8 - out of maximum 7.9 when Windows is installed on bare metal.

I can switch between Linux and Windows at the press of a button. As I said before, they are both up and running concurrently.

I wrote a how-to for running Linux and Windows on Xen using Linux Mint 13 Mate 64bit:

Hope it helps some of you who like to give it a try.
Asus Sabertooth X79, i7 3930K CPU, 8x4GB Kingston DDR3 RAM, Noctua NH-D14 CPU cooler, Sapphire 7770 GPU, PNY Quadro 2000 GPU, Asus Xonar Essence STX, Sandisk Extreme 120GB SSD + various HD, Corsair 500R case, SeaSonic 660W Gold X PS
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