This quesiton leaves a lot of room for opinion, but I'll lay out what I know. I run exclusively Linux for my host OS on all of my computers. I am required to run windows for certain testing situations. I have used VirtualMachines with Windows XP, Windows 7 (home-pro) and Windows 8 (Have not tried 10 yet). Ultimately how well An OS will perform in a VM will depend on how much machine you can allocate to it (within reason).
I am running an 8 core AMD 3.5ghz with 32 gigs of ram. I'm running 3 to 5 virtual machines at any given time. All of them run quite smooth whether Windows or the various flavers of Linux. I also run both VMWare Workstation 10, and VirtualBox. My server runs ESXI which has pushed me toward VMWare in the past. That said, I'm slowly moving back to VirtualBox.
Both VMWare and VirtualBox have their individual querks, so regardless of which you chose virtualization comes with costs. The expense of VMware Workstation is what is pushing me toward VirtualBox again. As I type this I'm in a VirtualBox VM, which is my main development machine. In the background I have running two different test VMs which happen to still be using Workstation.
Now, between the two I find performance issues to vary. When running Windows there is very little difference between the two virtual environments. One of the biggest improvements I've come across is running multiple virtual machines on seperate hard drives, and having all those drives seperate from your host drive. Typically my VM's run exactly what you're suggesting you'd like to run: 4G of ram, and 2 cores. Though in virtualbox I tend to cap my cpu at 99%. It seems to make the host machine more comfortable to use when the virtual machine is being worked.
KVM, I think falls down when it comes to dealing with GUIs. It's fantastic if you're doing headless machines, but when you slap a desktop on a majority of your vm usage, you're better off going another direction.
Wine is a waste of time for most things in my experiance. I'm not a fan, and it's simply not a viable option for me in any sense.
In terms of reliability I find both VirtualBox and VMware Workstation to be pretty rock solid. But if you're comparing VMWare Player, and VirtualBox I'd go VirtualBox hands down simply for the fact that you can utilize snapshots, which in my work are invaluable.