a new system for 2018 : coming soon!

Over the many years of building, upgrading, and using my PC, I’ve noticed that my usage of the PC has changed.  Nowadays, my PC is set up to boot up VMWare player with a couple of VMs every time it starts – gitlab and a couple of webservers for hobby projects.  The important thing is that it works, but it was rough.  For one, my VM guests were limited to USB and HDD paritions, but not graphic card(s).  And by this time, I have a few semi-decent video cards leftover from previous builds – GTX 560, GTX 760, and a GTX 1070.

My current rig is definitely more than powerful for most day to day single-usage, but I’m experiencing some performance issues when running 2-3 VMs.  Also at times when I am running Steam/SketchUp on the host machine, I run the risk of crashing the host OS(which I have done a few times) and that takes out the guest VMs as well.

For 2018, I’d like to build a new rig whereas I can run such high risk applications in a VM guest to ensure the host will be running.  Essentially I’m looking to see if I can run the host as bare bones VM host, and my primary usage will a VM guest.  i”ve also been hearing promising things with a new feature, IOMMU, which allows for PCI passthrough to guest.  To those of us having used VMs and wished that VMs could access discrete GPU, this is an exciting feature.

Unfortunately, my system does not support this new feature, my i7-2600K only supports VT-X, which allows Hyper-V, VMWare, VirtualBox, and the like to work.  Also, for some reason, I’ve had mixed successes with the virtual network adapters for VMWare/VirtualBox getting messed up.  Also, I’ve hit the max supported RAM of 32GB, which is plenty for my host + guests, but if I can get this passthrough to work, then I can see myself running a few more guests or even have the guests do some more intensive work.

By taking advantage of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday/Holiday sales, I’ve already bought the parts and have it running – I’d say about 90-95% successful, just need some time to write up the steps(and boy did it take a lot of reading and experimenting!).

Stay tuned!

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