I have been trying to play with Linux/Ubuntu, mainly because Linux seems a much better approach than Windows for dedicated video streaming boxes (e.g. those based on XBMC software). I also just got a Raspberry Pi, which is a sort of Anduino-like Linux-based small computer project board.
In playing with them, I have been dual-booting, which is somewhat </understatement> of a hassle. So I appreciate readers who encouraged me to try VirtualBox. Installed last night and seems to be just what the doctor ordered.
By an accident of both finances and previously hitting the technology sweet spot at just the right time, I have not built a computer in several years. In anticipation of doing some upgrades on my home PC, I started by buying a new case. Wow! This is absolutely the best case I have ever had. I am not sure this is so much the particular case I picked but the evolution of case design in the past few years. Either way, its awesome.
Just the small step of turning hard drives 90 degrees so their wiring does not conflict with the graphic cards (and they are much easier to slide in and out without removing the expansion cards) makes a huge difference. This is great, since I am constantly swapping drives in and out (for example I am trying to teach myself Linux/Ubuntu so I have added a dedicated drive and dual boot to the system for that purpose). In addition, this case, as does many new cases, has a wiring management system the puts all the wiring in a back compartment accessible by a separate panel. Look how neat everything is:
There is also a hole in the floor of the case, covered by the back door, that allows access to the back of the CPU. This allows changing the CPU fan without taking out the motherboard, which I took advantage of after I somehow damaged the old CPU fan cleaning it in the case swap. As you can see it has tons of space, including plenty of room for one of the mile-long graphics cards they are selling nowadays. Other nice features are a hard drive hot dock and big huge quiet fans with a three-position fan speed control. The only downside is that there are no front cutouts for 3-1/2 inch drives, but I don't have any so that was not a problem.
This case is expensive - $160 after rebate, but it's the first case I can say that this may be the last case I buy. It's a Corsair Obsidian Series 650D and I highly recommend it.