this is an amazing topic, this has been one of the guides I've followed to build my new rigg:
core i7 4790
asrock z97 extreme 4
32 gb ddr3 RAM 1600 kingston hyper x savage
crucial mx 256gb SSD
NIC Intel Gigabit CT Desktop Adapter PCI-e (EXPI9301CT 1000)
PSU corsair gold CS650M
+ 4tb iSCSI target ->ZFS raid Z1 storage in a nas4free dedicated box (which I dont know if I should virtualize)
I've also got an old asus geforce GTS250 and an older ati radeon x1500. I will use one of them for the host if I choose the XEN or KVM option.
I'm also looking for a cheap hba SATA card for storage passthrough
and, of course, a new GPU. I will choose the gpu (probably an nvidia GPU, I don't like amd GPUs) when I decide which hypervisor is the best for my needs.
I'm still trying to decide between vmware sphere, xen or KVM
My idea is to use a hypervisor for something like a Multi-headed Gaming Setup, plus a few more VMs:
-linux "main" VM -> (office, video, websurfing, development...)
-windows server 2012 R2 VM -> active directory, (perhaps vCenter Server if I choose the vmware way)
-windows 8.1 gaming VM
-NAS4free file server (a BSD distro used for file sharing)-> I already use it as iSCSI target for VMware (or other hypervisor) in a dedicated old box, I'd like to implement it as a VM as well in the same rigg
-windows 7 VM (for websurfing, software testing...).
obviously not all of them will be used at the same time, only the host, windows server 2012 r2, and the bsd NAS appliance (if I decide to virtualize my NAS dedicated box) will be plugged 24/7
Only the windows 8.1 gaming VM (one GPU) and perhaps the NAS appliance, if I decide to use it, will need PCI passthrough.
I've read that the performance of them three is, nowadays, quite good in VGA passthrough, but I still don't know which of them (vmware sphere, xen or KVM) will fit my need, or is the best for my hardware/network.
I've got a GBE network at home (controlled by an asus DSL-N16U modem-router), but many VMs will be used through wifi n300 or even n150. The most demanding VMs will be used through wired gigabite network (the main linux VM and the windows 8.1 gaming VM).
KVM pros: I can use geforce cards for VGA passthrough, I can use a linux local host as my main operating system and as the hypervisor, all in one
KVM contras: I've read it has the worst VGA passthrough support of the 3 hypervisors. It seems the most dificult to admin (no good GUIs). Constant changes of kernel, drivers, configs...
XEN pros: it seems it has a good performance in VGA passthrough, I can use a linux local host as my main as and as the hypervisor, all in one
XEN contras: no VGA passthrough support for geforce cards, it seems easier to config & admin than KVM (but more difficult than vmware sphere for me)
VMware Sphere pros: people report it has a very good performance in VGA passthrough, and it's the hypervisor I've used the most.
VMware Sphere contras: no support for geforce GPUs on passthough, only AMD or nvidia quadro cards (or modified geforces). And all the operating systems act as VMs, no "usable" local host like KVM or ZEN (dom0), -> so one more VM that needs to be used through the home network from another computer.
Any suggestion about which hypervisor should I use?
Any suggestion about a good+cheap nvidia GPU for passthrough?
or, if I choose vmware sphere or XEN, I will not spend my money in a multiOS quadro card, so perhaps I will choose an AMD gpu ..any suggestion? should be a cheap one, passthrogh capable, and not powerhungry (my PSU is "only" 650w, and if I have to choose an amd card for the windows 8.1 gaming VM, that card will have to be in the same motherboard with my power-hungry old asus nvidia geforce GTS250 used by the linux host).
Any suggestion for a good+cheap RAID sata card (i don't need SAS, and I don't need more than 4 SATA3 ports) passthrough capable to use it with a BSD based NAS distro?
thanks for any help
PD: sorry for my poor english