To make sure you get the right recommendation while setting up the virtual labs, we have shortlisted and reviewed 5 best laptops for virtualization. Considering the latest updates in virtualization software in 2017, for virtualization training and certifications, you need a laptop that is best when it comes to durability and performance. A laptop designed for home usage is not going to handle the hardware resources required by hypervisor software and setting multiple virtual machines on it.
System Requirements for a VM Lab
Budget laptops with standard configurations are not going to meet the computational, memory and graphics needs for creating Virtual machines on a laptop. The best laptop for virtualization is supposed to be a high performing and should be equipped to withstand over-heating. Without adding much ado, let us find the hardware requirements of a laptop ready for virtualization setup.
As you create more and more virtual machines on a laptop, more resources are going to be shared among VMs. To meet the pooling of resources, you need a powerful processor. A processor with multiple cores is recommended. So, recommended processor is Intel i7 (latest generation) and above.
To make the data access time faster, you need enough memory for resource sharing by VMs. VMware has specified a minimum of 4GB Ram for VM lab creation and testing. Considering the other security related testing like Kali Linux or Hadoop work, I would recommend a minimum of 16 GB RAM. It is better to have enough memory for future software updates and it might not be convenient for everybody to upgrade the laptop’s hardware in near future.
The minimum recommended storage to run VMware or other similar virtualization labs like parallels is 500 GB. You can buy 1TB of SATA hard disk or minimum of 256GB SSD but the main feature to look here is the hard disk type. To speed up the access times, it is recommended to buy a laptop with an SSD or “hybrid of both SATA and SSD”.
There is no need of any dedicated graphics in virtualization tasks. The integrated on-board graphics work well and if the laptop configuration comes with NVidia or other graphics card with video RAM, it will enhance the performance of VMs by harnessing the computing power of a GPU.
Reviews of 5 Best laptops
Lenovo IdeaPad 700
The 15.6” Ideapad from Lenovo is fully capable to handle virtualization in terms of both performance and durability. The laptop comes with premium features and has a respectable market share in laptop brands. It has an interesting design with metallic grey finish. With 7.5 pounds weight, this sleek IdeaPad 700 is less than one inch thin.
Notable features of IdeaPad 700 include powerful i7 7700HQ Quad-Core processor, 16 GB DDR4 RAM, hybrid storage consisting of 1TB SATA hard drive and 256 GB SSD. The graphics are taken care by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 950M with 4GB video memory. You can work continuously for hours without straining your eyes since the FHD screen is antiglare. Maximum screen resolution of this LED-backlit screen is 1920×1080 for better clarity.
All the components of this laptop are of high quality and Lenovo is known to maintain its market standards and brand name. Priced under $1000, Lenovo IdeaPad 700 is value for money and is highly recommended for virtual box, parallel or Hyper-V installations.
Acer Aspire VX 15
There are not many laptops in the market that can be used for virtualization but Acer VX 15 is one of the laptops that is unique not only in its looks but has all the ingredients to make it qualify for this list of top 5 laptops for virtualization. The laptop with 15.4 Inches screen size has an innovative design with angled sides and a sleek body. It has a full size keyboard with illuminating red keys.
Everything about this Acer laptop screams quality right from the robust body and state-of-the-art technology. The laptop is powered by latest 7th generation Intel Core i7-7700HQ Processor and 16 GB DDR4 RAM. With the dedicated on-board NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 with four GB DDR5 VRAM, you can expect extreme graphics, which is a nice feature. The storage needs are fulfilled by 256 GB SSD for faster booting and data transfer.
Other premium features include advanced cooling with dual fan technology and enhanced sound clarity with Dolby audio. Acer Aspire VX 15 is a top-tier laptop with a large number of satisfied users across the globe. Priced under $1000, you won’t regret buying this power-house for VMware or virtual box. One of the best laptop in our list, Acer VX 15 comes highly recommended.
Lenovo ThinkPad P50
Well known and respected, Lenovo is just about the essence of well-known in the laptop marketplace. It has dimensions of 14.86 x 0.96 x 9.93 inches with a thickness less than one inch and the laptop weighs 5.6 pounds. The outer lid of the laptop is scratchproof and color of P50 ThinkPad is black. The laptop comes with a 3-year warranty and the customer support is hassle free.
Lenovo ThinkPad P50 is capable of running VMware workstation and other heavy duty tasks. P50 is powered by Intel i7-6700HQ processor with 6Mb cache and comes with a 32 GB RAM. It has a whopping high storage capacity of 1TB SSD. If we look at the graphics, it comes with a Quadro series of NVidia GPU with 2Gb video memory. The screen which is 15.6 Inches in size is fully HD, capable of display crisp pictures and ultra-clear text.
Lenovo P50 is a robust laptop which requires little maintenance at your end. Old school users will be happy to upgrade their original machines with P50 and the new users will love to buy this already tried and tested laptop from Lenovo. Word among ThinkPad-users is that if you buy ThinkPad series laptop once, you hold onto them in future too. The price may be little high but P50 is high recommended for those are tech-savvy and value performance over cost.
MSI GP62MVR Leopard Pro-406
This laptop is a lesser known brand but is fully loaded with powerful features. The laptop is a winner and might be a diamond in the rough purchase for the right user looking for laptops for virtual machines in 2017. Moderately priced, MSI Leopard Pro sports 15.6” HD display screen and the graphics are powered by NVIDIA G-SYNC display technology which minimizes the screen stutter and maximizes the sharpness and responsiveness.
MSI GP62MVE is a VR ready laptop and the excessive heat generation during high resource usage is curbed by cooler boost technology which has a separate cooling mechanism for CPU and GPU respectively. This variant from MSI comes with Intel i7 7700HQ processor, 16 GB RAM and 256 GB of SSD. In order to let you have a full command over virtual machines, the laptop is equipped with a professional grade keyboard with responsive keys.
You cannot question about the quality of the laptop and is definitely a no-nonsense purchase that will not let down its user. Rightly priced, this laptop is capable to run Esxi, hyper-v, virtual box or VMs.
HP OMEN 17 17.3” UHD
Laptops from some brands can be under-appreciated and the same has happened to this 17.3 Inch with ultra HD 4K display. There are several uses of this revolutionary laptop right from using it for Virtual Machines to business needs or gaming.
The vital features of this laptop include 7th generation i7 7700HQ processor, 32GB DDR4 RAM, hybrid storage consisting of 512GB SSD + 1TB SAT HDD and a powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX as a powerful GPU with 4GB video memory. Part of the great craftsmanship of HP OMEN laptop is the full size keyboard which illuminates with backlit keys.
The laptop comes pre-installed with windows 10 and the battery life of 6 hours is not bad either. The price of HP Omen is on a higher side but less than $2000. Buy this machine if you are looking for a lightning fast processor, smooth performance while running heavy programs, large UHD screen, and robust body. Highly recommended for multi-tasking and complex virtual lab setups.
Use these laptops for VMware labs
With many benefits of virtualization in small and large businesses, virtual machines are gaining the market share in data centers and enterprises. The virtualization is going to grow in future too and these laptops are the best for setting up labs for virtualization.