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Windows games can be played on Linux either through Wine or by running Windows in a virtual machine. Which gives better performance?

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6 Answers 6

The more popular game, the more chances you have running it through Wine. For example WoW and The Sims are very playable through Wine.

When it comes to virtualization, I really, really would like to hear about a solution which would allow full-speed gaming through it. Every virtualization I've tried have been severely lacking when it comes to gaming.

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You can using Intel VT-d and AMD-Vi, which allow the guest to directly access peripheral devices. It is available on newer Intel and AMD processors. –  Mircea Chirea Aug 3 '10 at 16:50

If a game is supported on Wine (Take a look here), it should play the same as on Windows (sometimes there are minor problems such as fonts, but usually it works well).

However, if it is not supported, you can try Sun Virtualbox if you don't want to pay - it offers basic DirectX and works - but for anything better, take a look at either VMWare Workstation or the free VMware Player which offers much improved graphics performance.

So, use Wine where possible - it is better, then use virtualisation when it isn't supported.

Or, for the best performance all together, dual boot in to Windows!

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Wine is (much) faster usually than a VM

A few times, even faster than windows. I used to play Eve online on wine and it was faster than on the same machine in windows (dual boot). It's longer to load, the fps is the same but the interface response on menu, buttons, clicks is faster on wine and voice is a lot better.

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Try the Lindows Linux distro or Ubuntu Ultimate Gamers Edition. They allow you to play almost any Windows game.

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Lindows had been renamed years ago and doesn't exist any more since 2007 or so. Also, both Lindows and Ubuntu Ultimate Gamers use the same mechanisms as other Linux distributions for Windows compatibility. –  Andrew J. Brehm Aug 3 '10 at 14:50
Nice. I didn't know that. Thanks –  Dwayne Samuels Aug 3 '10 at 15:28

Performance or Maximum Compatibility

in virtualization you need to provide/dedicate resources to the Virtual Machine

so if you have this much resources that will never be less then have virtual machine but remember a total 4Gb Memmory doesn't mean its enough... there is always bottlenecks...

and the virtual machine will share the hardware on time base so think about that as well...

simple WINE will give you performace that Virtual Machines can't


as Janne Pikkarainen said there will be compatibility support issues with Wine

so there is no answer to this choose your trade off

Performance or Maximum Compatibility

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There are some solutions which might help you:

CrossOver allows you to run Windows software on Linux powered on Wine.

Cedega from TransGaming designed specifically for running Windows games on Linux, also based on Wine.

These are your best options for now, I would not use virtualization.

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