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I have an Ubuntu box with 16gb of RAM and a Dual Core CPU and a GT220 GPU (1Gig). I was thinking that maybe for gaming (I've a lot of steam titles) that maybe some sort of virtual windows environment might be the way to go. While the theory is good in my head I actually have very little idea how to go about doing this. I do know that the only Windows I could run legitimately would be an XP for which I have several old boxes that don't really work that have license stickers on them that I could legally transfer the usage rights from.

Are there any drawbacks to gaming with this approach and can I profile the GPU and memory usage so as to stop my GPU cooking or the game hogging memory (my GPU does not like to work very hard as it hots up quite rapidly - new fan is on order)?

Basically would you mind assuming that having never done this before I'm a total newbie in need of some solid advice and directions?

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You could try VirtualBox and let Windows run in the Virtual Machine. But especially when it comes to using the GPU like with games VMs often aren't a good (and performance wise efficient) way to go. The problem is mainly that compared to running it directly on the hardware the GPU isn't used as efficient in a VM which results in worse performance inside the VM. How bad this is depends on a lot of factors, so it is hard to give any general advice.

You can limit how much of the GPU,CPU,... is given to the VM if this is your concern.

What about a Dual-Boot System Ubuntu/Windows?

Another solution without actually installing a "real" Windows is using PlayOnLinux.

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How bad is the drag factor of a VM on the GPU performance? –  Matthew Brown Mar 16 at 16:04
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I just updated my answer. –  kraftner Mar 16 at 16:08
    
Thank you. You've given me enough to get my think on about what I want to do next. –  Matthew Brown Mar 16 at 16:15
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