I would like to install Ubuntu on my Windows 7 64-bit PC to do analysis of astronomy data. The data files are often large (can be few hundred MB, possibly a GB). The data files may be located on an external hard disk. The PC has 6 GB RAM and 670 GB hard disk.
I'm trying to decide whether to do a proper dual-boot, installing Ubuntu in its own partition (I'm nervous of messing around with the hard disk, have never done it before) or to run Ubuntu using VirtualBox in Windows. How much slower is running in Virtualbox likely to be?
If I do go for a traditional dual-boot, would it make sense to divide the hard disk more or less equally between the two OSs?
I would be very grateful for some advice.