Getting new hardware, GPU question

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Sybil

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Jan 30, 2017, 7:15:15 AM1/30/17
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Hello,

I'm considering getting a new desktop PC. It'll be more or less based on
the one mentioned in the "cheap" barebone.

My current desktop has only 8GB and doesn't support any more even though
the CPU is up to most tasks (i7-2600). It has a Nvidia GTX 750Ti and
handles Qubes okay by default (on its own SSD) although 8GB is very tight.
I also have another SSD with Win 7 on it for games only.
While this setup works, 8Gb isn't enough for what I'd like to do. So now
I'm considering a replacement.

On 01/29/2017 04:32 PM, Grzegorz Chodzicki wrote:
[snip]
> * Change the X99 motherboard for a Z170 one. X99 motherboards are more
> expensive than Z170 ones and there is fewer of them on the market.
> * Use a quad-core or dual-core Skylake. Performance will be worse but
> you can buy a mid-range Skylake for a third of the 6800 price
> * Drop the GPU. All Skylake processors have integrated Intel GPUs so a
> dedicated card is not necessary.
> * Drop the M.2 SSD and use a SATA one. M.2 SSD are still relatively
> expensive so that's another corner to cut
> * Buy 16GB of RAM instead of 32GB. This one I don't really recommend
> since it will yield the smallest savings but for completeness sake I
> include it.
[snip]

My desired specs would be:
- Z170 motherboard with support for up to 64GB RAM (future proofing)
- i7-6700 or maybe even i7-7700 (is it supported yet?)
- Intel HD graphic from CPU
- M.2 SSD for Qubes + SATA SSD for (HVM) Windows (games only)
- 32GB of RAM
- A/dual GPU, but which? AMD seems most likely (see below)

I'd like to be able to play some games on it, so I'll need a GPU and
thus the choice ends up between Nvidia or AMD.
My thinking is that if the Intel HD graphics is used by Qubes on one
screen, the additional GPU could be dedicated to a HVM and perhaps even
play games on it on another screen (in the future, for now rebooting
suffices).

I've been digging through the posts and seen lots of issues getting
NVidia to work with Qubes, although Qubes didn't need any additional
configuring for my current NVidia card. But since I have only one GPU I
can not test HVM graphics separation.
I haven't found any posts about AMD GPUs, however, I did see on the Xen
website that secondary ATI/AMD GPU passthrough is possible, depending
the hardware.
(Source: https://wiki.xen.org/wiki/Secondary_GPU_Passthrough )
I know that page does say Nvidia will only work with certain patches and
certain Windows versions, so that route is turning into a no-go.

Ideally I'd be able to use Qubes and be able to play Windows based games
without having to resort to dual boot. (Kind of like in the Ubisoft demo
of 2011: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gtmwnx-k2qg )

Is this possible? Can it be done with Qubes or do I need to "build" my
own Qubes variation on Xen?

If this isn't possible, I probably end up getting a PC for the games
albeit lower specs and a separate laptop for Qubes.

Any thoughts or recommendations are highly appreciated,
Sybil

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