Upgrade to VMWare or Centos w/VirtualBox?

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gurutech

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Got some new hardware for Xmas (mobo, RAM, CPU), and looking to swap guts with one of my machines, and use the existing hard drives (500gb and 2tb) and case, then virtualize two of my other computers (one running Win8 and the other Fedora 17).

Question is, what's the best way to do the virtualization? I know the "free" way is to install Centos or Fedora, then install Virtual Box, and run virtual machines for the other OS's, but I wanted to try and teach myself more VMWare (I have experience on the "client" side of VMWare, using the console to reboot VDI clients, but not on the server side).

Is there a "free" version of something like ESXi that I can use to accomplish this, or is it best to go with the Linux/Virtual Box setup?

My setup is pretty simple:
1) Win8 computer - my "daily use" computer. I have photoshop, web authoring tools, and do my web browsing on here.
2) 2nd Win8 machine - used mainly for file storage and as a print server (has a 2TB drive). This is the one I am upgrading and hoping to install VMWare or Linux/VirtualBox
3) Fedora17 Linux - Used to stream my music library over the internet via a web plugin application.

How specific can I get with either setup, to "force" the USB printer I have to be "dedicated" to either the "host" computer or to one of the virtual ones?
 
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