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Wannabe Geek


Topic # 66111 12-Aug-2010 15:40
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Hi there,


I'm looking for recommendations on a powerful laptop (without spending an arm and a leg) which I can run VM's on. I'll be replacing the drive with an SSD, so something with a decent processor and 4 Gig ram I guess.

Suggestions? Thanks 

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Ultimate Geek
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Kiwi Dev Studios

  Reply # 366841 12-Aug-2010 16:01
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Hi there,

I'm doing something similar but found it much more efficient and cost effective purchasing a decent workstation for doing this very job.

Just about all parts for a desktop are so much cheaper and better.

Cheers,
S




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Stephen
twitter/ NZCoderGuy / KiwiDevStudios

Kiwi Dev Studios


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  Reply # 366865 12-Aug-2010 17:02
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how about a Mac Mini? Supports 2x internal hard drives, 8GB of RAM and Hyper-V/VMWare.

And they are tiny :)




Tyler - Parnell Geek - iPhone 3G - Lenovo X301 - Kaseya - Great Western Steak House, these are some of my favourite things.

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  Reply # 366870 12-Aug-2010 17:11
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You'll be spending an arm and a leg :)

You'll probably want one of the core i7's with HT and 8GB's of RAM along with that SSD, especially if you're wanting to run more than 1VM at a time. (Or one with lots of RAM)..


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  Reply # 366891 12-Aug-2010 17:58
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i have a lenovo t510 with i7, 8GB ram and a 7200 300GB hdd and it runs great. cost me < 2000 but rrp is more like 2300




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Wannabe Geek


  Reply # 367011 13-Aug-2010 07:51
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Mini Mac - Not a bad idea! IF I didn't have to learn the MAC OS : D

Ky - Yeah I guess there's no cheap way around this.

Regs - I'm don't really want to run multiple VM's on a 7200 but thanks I'll check out the t510

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  Reply # 367025 13-Aug-2010 08:36
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How many VMs are you wanting to run, and all at the same time? You're VMs are limited by your hardware....so if you want a cheap rig then you'll have a minimum number of VMs you can run and still remain stable.

As an example, I can run around 4 XP VM's concurrently on my partner's 13" MacBook Pro. It's a baseline model so no extra RAM.

Best you can do with a VM server is bump up the RAM as much as possible, and invest in a fast hard drive. SSD is prohibitively expensive, a good 7200rpm drive in a small form factor (laptop, mac mini) will give some good performance boosts.

You also need to consider storage, do they need storage or just swap space? Will they be accessing an existing storage pool?

Basically what are your plans? :)

Also with a Mac Mini - Mac OS is simple, VMware or Parallels is all simple to run. Alternatively just boot camp it and run Windows on there solely. Then you have a small form factor windows server that can just sit on a shelf out of the way and still run a number of VMs silently :)

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Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 367029 13-Aug-2010 08:49
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More information is needed:

What OS's will you be running on the VMs?
How many VMs will you be running at one time?
Will they be through a hypervisor (such as VMware Server 2) or through windows (such as VMware Player 3)?

RAM is in my opinion the biggest issue when considering a VM environment, because while CPU over provisioning is quite straightforward these days, RAM over provision is still dubious at best (yes they have memory ballooning, but RAM over-provision is more complicated than CPU over-provision). The other problem is that VM performance REALLY drops once you have to access the swap.

A Linux VM will generally require less RAM than a windows VM, so may decrease the amount of RAM you need. That said, with 4GB of RAM I would personally only ever run a single guest VM. 8 would be best, but you could get away with 6GBs if you have a i7 900.

As for HDD vs. SSD: unless your multiple VMs are going to be hitting the disk hard with lots of I/O operations I don't see the point of going down the SSD route, except for faster VM boots. You're much more likely to come across capacity issues with the SSD, which will limit the amount of diskspace you can allocate for each VM (less of a problem with Linux VMs, a big issue with multi-Windows VMs).

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  Reply # 367089 13-Aug-2010 11:08
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DrChrisWarner: Mini Mac - Not a bad idea! IF I didn't have to learn the MAC OS : D

Ky - Yeah I guess there's no cheap way around this.

Regs - I'm don't really want to run multiple VM's on a 7200 but thanks I'll check out the t510



Sorry forgot to mention we are running Hyper-V on our Mac Mini - :)




Tyler - Parnell Geek - iPhone 3G - Lenovo X301 - Kaseya - Great Western Steak House, these are some of my favourite things.

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