CPU: I have the 3930K and while I like it, it sure comes at a cost in $$$ and power consumption. As I'm writing this, my PC (w/o screen) eats 112W (which is the lowest I can get) without a Windows guest. Unless you have a real need for 6 cores / 12 threads I would definitely go with the 3770 (more about this later).
M/B: Check the links I posted, including this one: http://www.overclock.net/t/1338063/vt-d ... therboards
. The list of M/Bs in that thread is far from complete, but I recommend to stick with a board that's been tested and proven. My Asus Sabertooth X79 was not a good choice, though it works (with Marvell SATA controller disabled).
Graphics card: Don't buy the Nvidia - it will be hard to impossible to get it working. I have a "multi-OS" Nvidia graphics card which works fine, but you will need to spend a lot of money to get a "multi-OS" card that works well with games. In short, get an AMD graphics card (I know this is hard coming from Nvidia myself). Not only will your Nvidia card not work with VGA passthrough, it also won't work under Linux dom0 with Xen. Well, at least not with the proprietary Nvidia driver, and what is the use of a good card without a good driver.
Should you discard this advice and go ahead with the Nvidia card, you will most like (99%) have to compile the Xen hypervisor, perhaps with patches applied, and you may also need to compile the Linux kernel. In addition to the patching and compiling you will probably have to read out the graphics card's BIOS. If that BIOS file is too big, you won't be able to use this method. In addition support for Function Level Reset (FLR) may also be required.
If I haven't managed to discourage you, here is some information on getting Nvidia cards to work under Xen with VGA passthrough: http://www.davidgis.fr/documentation/Xe ... h/doc.html
and http://www.davidgis.fr/blog/index.php?2 ... ss-through
. If you make it with the Nvidia card you have on the list, share a how-to and you'll be honored with "Xen hero" status
Shutdown Windows and launch Linux VM: The shutdown procedure of Windows takes a few seconds when using an SSD. After the Windows shutdown your PCI devices remain detached from dom0:
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sudo xm pci-list-assignable-devices
so you can just use them for a Linux VM (as HVM guest with PCI/VGA passthrough). I haven't tried it, though.
In order to make PCI devices available to dom0 (after you shut down the Windows domU), the PCI devices need to be "reattached":
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virsh nodedev-reattach pci_0000_02_00_0
0000_02_00_0 is the PCI ID (0000 stands for the domain). Do with every PCI device you detached. (Note the underscores instead of the ":" and "." in the xm commands.)
The problem with reattaching the graphics card to dom0 is the driver. I am using the virsh command to reuse my USB controllers for dom0, but never tried using the graphics card. May be worth trying.
RAM: Xen has the option of "memory ballooning", though it is discouraged. If you get 32GB you can give your dom0 4GB or even 8GB of memory, which is far more than enough. So I would stick with fixed memory for dom0 and disable ballooning. My Windows guest gets 24GB and I have a hard time filling even a fraction of that (well, when I start stitching photos I will be able to use it). All my tmp folders in Linux are in RAM, which is good for the SSD (and performance).
RAM hardware: Go with 1600MHz as you plan. Memory can be very tricky, and I had serious issues in my built. It took 2 months, one month at the lab, to finally find a memory kit that worked. Definitely run 48-72 hours of memory test BEFORE even installing anything!!! There should be 0 errors. Different chipsets (X79 versus Z77) and boards may make a huge difference, so perhaps the memory chips (see my signature for what I use).
GPU power draw: My Nvidia Quadro 2000 that I use for Windows draws little power, the maximum specified is 60W. According to my Watt meter the card seems to run on a low power level when not in use. When I run Windows, the power consumptions stays about the same or increases slightly. All in all it behaves as if power management is working. There is a power management option in the guest configuration file: pci_power_mgmt=1
I have it enabled in my config file. Perhaps check this both enabled or disabled to see what difference it makes. There is also a power management option in the PCI passthrough line in the config line. Need to look it up.