Native Linux, on the other hand, was slightly (but statistically significantly) faster than native Windows or VMs in Windows for me. The issue that I had with native Linux was that I lost the flexibility of being able to game while folding (at low performance) then close out of the game and let the PC go back to full-scale folding. On an absolutely dedicated folding machine, I think that the Linux clients are the way to go but it wasn't worth it to me.
Makes sense, I would agree with the usability aspect regarding dedicated Linux vs a Windows 7 multi-use/gaming setup. I enjoy the flexibility offered while folding on Windows.
I also have to wonder how well different distros of Linux would do against each other. Until about 5 months ago when I started gaming on my PC a lot more, I ran Crunchbang Statler (Debian Squeeze based) 24/7. Running openbox my system used about 150mb RAM, compared to modern Ubuntu which by default uses 1gb on my machine. I loved Ubuntu back during 9.04 (Jaunty) but every release since has gotten worse and worse with using more resources while doing less, fixing less bugs and dropping support for older hardware entirely...
I have to wonder how PPD would look between Windows 7, Ubuntu 10.10, Ubuntu 11.10 and Debian Squeeze (in VMs), let alone something fully customized for folding beyond my means of operating like Slackware. Perhaps when my 1090T comes in I'll do a comparison between Ubuntu, Crunchbang and Windows 7 and post the results..