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 2020, 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 Legion Y540
This 15.6” laptop 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 and black finish. With 5.17 pounds weight, this sleek lenovo Legion is just 0.3 inches thin.
Notable features of Lenovo legion include powerful and latest 9th generation i7 9750H processor, 32 GB DDR4 RAM, hybrid storage consisting of 1TB SATA hard drive and 512 GB SSD. The graphics are taken care by NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 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 $1500, Lenovo Y540 is value for money and is highly recommended for virtual box, parallel or Hyper-V installations.
Acer Predator Helios 300
There are not many laptops in the market that can be used for virtualization but Acer Predator 300 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 15.6 Inches screen size has an innovative design with angled sides and a sleek body. It has a full size keyboard with illuminating RGB colored 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 9th generation Intel Core i7-9750H Processor and 16 GB DDR4 RAM. With the dedicated on-board NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti with 6 GB DDR6 VRAM, you can expect extreme graphics, which is a nice feature. The storage needs are fulfilled by 512 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 Predator 300 is a top-tier laptop with a large number of satisfied users across the globe. Priced under $1500, you won’t regret buying this power-house for VMware or virtual box. One of the best laptop in our list, Acer Predator 300 comes highly recommended.
Lenovo ThinkPad P53S
Well known and respected, Lenovo is just about the essence of well-known in the laptop marketplace. It has dimensions of 14.4 x 9.95 x 0.78 inches with a thickness less than one inch and the laptop weighs 4.3 pounds. The outer lid of the laptop is scratchproof and color of P53S ThinkPad is black. The laptop comes with a 1-year warranty and the customer support is hassle free.
Lenovo ThinkPad P53S is capable of running VMware workstation and other heavy duty tasks. P53S is powered by 8th generation Intel i7-8565U processor with 8MB cache and comes with a 24 GB RAM. It has a whopping high speed storage capacity of 512 GB SSD. If we look at the graphics, it comes with a Quadro series of NVidia GPU with 2GB DDR5 video memory. The screen which is 15.6 Inches in size is fully HD, capable of displaying crisp pictures and ultra-clear text.
Lenovo P53S is a robust laptop which requires little maintenance at your end. Old school users will be happy to upgrade their original machines with P53S 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 P53S is highly recommended for those who are tech-savvy and value performance over cost.
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 2020. Moderately priced, LG Gram 15.6” FHD display screen and the graphics are powered by Intel HD 620 which minimizes the screen stutter and maximizes the sharpness and responsiveness.
This variant from LG comes with Intel i7 8565U processor, 16 GB RAM and SSD of 1TB capacity. 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.
Gigabyte Aero 15
Laptops from some brands can be under-appreciated and the same has happened to this 15″ 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 8th generation i7 8750H processor, 16GB DDR4 RAM, storage consisting of 512GB SSD and a powerful NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 as a powerful GPU with 6GB video memory. Part of the great craftsmanship of Gigabyte Aero laptop is the full size keyboard which illuminates with RGB backlit keys.
The laptop comes pre-installed with windows 10 professional and the battery life of 8 hours is not bad either. The price of Gigabyte Aero is on a higher side but worth it. Buy this machine if you are looking for a lightning fast processor, smooth performance while running heavy programs, crystal clear FHD 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.