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friends!
I'm using Ubuntu for making games, browsing net and anything I could ever do and I really like it. However, there is a little problem. My favourite game series Resident Evil doesn't run well via Wine. They have several major issues(mostly shader bugs) that can make the game unplayable. The biggest issue is one of the ambient shaders/post-process filters being completely black(leaving only overlay post-process effects like flares on).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwhDzHRb-Tg
In this video you can see the issue. At this specific case the broken shader is just covering the unlit parts(and is supposed to produce ambient effects and global illumination). However, in some other parts it makes game unplayable because I only see flares. The same bug is in Resident Evil 6 and Resident Evil 4 and any else Resident Evil game that is even possible to run on Linux Wine.

So I thought - I need Windows. But I don't want to say goodbye to Linux Ubuntu. I know 2 methods - dual boot and virtual machines. I've heard that virtual machines are slow and inefficient. However, I don't know how to set up dual-boot, how safe is it and how much will it affect the overall computer performance.

Question 1: Is it possible to run games smoothly via Xen or any other virtual machine? How? How safe is it?

If question 1 answer is - no or very difficult than:
Question 2: How do I install Windows in dual boot as my second OS with those specific rules - Windows can use only certain space of disk(e.g. 128 GB out of the 1 TB disk I've got), Windows can never-ever access files which belongs to Linux. On boot it offers me to choose OS but if I don't choose which one to boot for several seconds(which I can define myself) than Linux boots automaticly.

Note.
System Specs:

Laptop: Lenovo IdeaPad Y700
CPU: Intel i5-6300HQ
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960M
RAM: 4 GB DDR4
HDD: 1 TB

I hope that this isn't too broad question. Hopefully the great Ubuntu community will be able to help me.

Greetings, Adriasn Netlis

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Well, This is a very Interesting question, and the answer is yes. You can run a Windows Machine under Linux/KVM and use IOMMU GPU Pass-through to do a PCI Passthrough on your Graphics Card. This will however require an IOMMU compatible motherboard. This process also requires you to make some changes to your bios. You must use Virtio Drivers for your Windows Virtual Machine and then you need to do a GPU passthrough. Technically you are running your game under Windows, However the KVM GPU passthrough will help you to directly pass through the Graphics Card Calls into the Operating System. You would be able to see your graphics card inside the virtual Machine.

Here is a few uselful links which give you more information on this

https://www.pugetsystems.com/labs/articles/Multiheaded-NVIDIA-Gaming-using-Ubuntu-14-04-KVM-585/

Some performance comparisons here.. http://grids.ucs.indiana.edu/ptliupages/publications/Cloud_2014.pdf

This blog post has some more useful information Just search through the archives on this. http://vfio.blogspot.in/

All these links are reference materials, I am not trying to promote any blog here, However the scope of the question is so wide that it really does need reference material to understand the answer.

Please go through this and let us know if you need any more information.

Answer to second question if you find this intimidating or difficult.

Yes you can do a dual boot configuration. However you would need to first install Windows and then shrink the windows partition. Give it whatever disk space you want to give it.

Once done reboot into the Ubuntu Live environment. Fire up Ubiquity installer and while partitioning select custom partitioning and select the un-partitioned space and install Ubuntu there.

Always Backup your data before you do anything to the operating system. If you still have confusions there is a lot of questions around Dual Booting on Ask Ubuntu which you can refer to.

Let me know if you need any more information.

  • Thanks for info. This seems pretty complicated. I'm not experienced at installing OSes so I don't know many things like - what is Ubiquity? Also I wanna know your opinion - what do you think is better - running Windows in virtual drive with GPU passthrough or having dual-boot? Also which of the virtual machines is better for this specific task - Xen, VirtualBox or else? Thank you!:) – Adrians Netlis Jul 19 '16 at 15:25
  • This is really interesting. Anyone with practical experience using high performance Linux or Windows graphics (e.g nVidia GTX970 or better) in a Xen environment, please be so kind to add your findings as comment to this. – CatMan May 10 '18 at 12:30

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