First off, no, I'm not going to do the standard partitioning install. I've gone through a few hours of dealing with boot managers that wouldn't install properly and accidentally temporarily "breaking" my machine, I can live with negligible performance decrease and the lack of a hibernate function.
Anyways, I'm debating whether or not I should opt for the Wubi installation or the VMWare installation. Specifically, here's the factors that should influence my decision
1) I'll be using it for lightweight computing, word processing, graphs, logs, data collection, maybe some programming, etc. (I'm a college student). So while I don't need my full graphics potential or anything, I'd like to have an installation that works as fast and efficient as possible, without hangups/stutters/etc.
2) I have a laptop with NVIDIA Optimus (switchable graphics). These graphics work properly through Windows, and semi-properly through Wubi Ubuntu with the Bumblebee utility. If Optimus works a-ok in Windows, will it work just as well in a Virtual Machine hosted by Windows? Or will I have to find a way to get Bumblebee working with the VM installation?
3) I have 6GB of RAM, which is a good quantity and can nullify the memory deficiency that having Windows 7 and Ubuntu running at once could cause. However, I want to use absolutely no swap space if possible. In addition, will having Windows 7 running in the background affect my CPU's processing power vs. Wubi?
4) I heard somewhere that 3D graphics can be iffy with VMware. I'd like to have a 3D desktop environment with effects included. Will this be as possible with VMware as it is with Wubi?
5) Is running Ubuntu in a VM going to make my computer more vulnerable as opposed to a dual-boot through Wubi? I like Ubuntu's tight security, and I'm not sure if running it within Windows' less tight environment would affect it.
In general, I want something that works without a hitch, and runs and looks sleek. While I'd love the ability to switch between 7 and Ubuntu with the press of a button so I could do more Windows-specific things such as MS Office and gaming, the whole idea of running a whole operating system inside of another operating system seems questionable. If the security and performance cost of running it in a VM is too high, then I'll stick with Wubi, but I really do like the idea.
addition - Can't believe I forgot this. I'm running a laptop in a university setting, so battery life is going to be a huge deal for me. I imagine that the virtual machine will require more power to run, but will this be a noticeable and significant difference?