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laptop VMware images

Posted on 2009-04-26
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I am looking for a loptop in the $700 range that will run vmware images of server 2003 and xp well.  I had a fast dell with a E6400 core duo that they run slow on ... this is vmware 6.5 ... anyway, guess the things needs virtualization support or something.

thanks,
gsgi
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Question by:gsgi
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by:garycase
ID: 24238577
That's a fairly low price point for a high-end laptop ... I'll let you look at the various options; but will give you a few guidelines ...

(1)  For any laptop you're considering, look here:  http://processorfinder.intel.com/Default.aspx

=>  Select the CPU in the laptop you're considering (probably a "Core 2 Duo Mobile Processor"  or  "Core 2 Quad Mobile Processor"  and look at the specifications for the CPU.   You need to have "Intel Virtualization Technology"  listed under the Supported Features.

(2)  Get 4GB of memory in your laptop -- you need plenty of memory for the virtual machine.   If you don't have enough memory to allocate what is assigned for the VM, you'll encounter excessive paging when running the virtual machine -- this will REALLY slow it down ... with or without hardware virtualization support.

Note:  An E6400 DOES have hardware virtualization support;  so you may have simply not had enough memory in your system ... or you may have had hardware virtualization disabled in the virtual machine.
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by:gsgi
ID: 24238729
The E6400 I have was in a dell optiplex 745 and I called Dell to complain.  They admitted that VT was not a BIOS option.  That computer should be very fast.  It cranks at photoshop and video editing.

So the issue isn't the chip but whether or not VT is supported in the BIOS.  Plus I don't know the difference between the AMD and Intel chips with regard to this.  You gave me an Intel link, what about AMD???

Even if the chip is supported I need to know which laptop BIOS specifically support VT or whatever will speed up VMW.

thanks,

-gsgi
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by:gsgi
ID: 24238732
Oh, wait, the desktop I refer to is a E4400 or E 4200 not E6400.  But it does have 7200 rpm drive and 4gb.

-gsgi
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garycase earned 1200 total points
ID: 24239070
It's true there must be BIOS support for VT, but virtually all systems that support the VT-enabled Core 2's provide that support ==> although there may very well be some "business desktops" (e.g. Optiplex type models) that don't have this option.

In any event, an E4400 does not support VT, and is a relatively low-powered system.

I don't know which AMD models support hardware virtualization; but I wouldn't recommend using AMD since you're looking for performance -- Intel's CPU have far better performance overall, and especially with virtualization.   But if you do want to consider them (they are less expensive), their virtualization support is known as AMD-V.   If you go here:  http://www.amd.com/us-en/Processors/ProductInformation/0,,30_118,00.html   ... then click on the processor series you're considering (you may have to select twice to "drill down" depending on which series you select);  then click on key architectural features; you can then see whether or not it includes AMD-V support.

You might also want to look up the relative performance of whatever CPU you're considering.   PassMark's CPUMark is an excellent measure of CPU "horsepower."   For example, the E4400 you had scores 1184 on this benchmark.   A mobile Core 2 Duo P8400 scores 1558 ... and in addition to the raw performance difference, there would be additional gains in a virtual environment from the VT support.   You can get even better performance from higher-end mobile CPU's ... and better yet from the desktop CPU's -- but even a P8400-based laptop is going to be above your $700 target price [The CPU alone is $218.99 at Newegg].

... and don't forget my earlier comments r.e. memory ==> How much memory is allocated for each of the virtual machines you need to run?   And are you running two of them at once?   Your host system should have at LEAST 1GB PLUS the total amount of memory allocated for the running virtual machines.
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by:aldanch
aldanch earned 200 total points
ID: 24246704
Another thing to mention is that your Laptop should be running a 64-bit OS to actually utilize the 4GB of memory. It also allows you to go beyond the 4GB limit of 32-bit architecture (if your laptop supports more than 4GB on board).

Most modern laptops running at least a Centrino Duo have Intel VT support; It's just disabled in the BIOS under a category like "virtualization"

Dell's Inspiron, Studio all run with Intel Core 2, but anything over 2.4 GHz will put you over $700.
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by:gsgi
ID: 24246875
I called HP and they said that the elite books support it.  They start about $1000.

Thanks,
gsgi
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Assisted Solution

by:larstr
larstr earned 600 total points
ID: 24267230
The bottle neck is rarely the cpu, especially if you have more than 1 core. Both in laptops and other systems, the most common bottle neck is the disk subsystem (disk controller, disk types, raid level, etc).

That is.. as long as you have enough ram in your box to run what you need.

Lars
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