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Recommended PC for running many VIRTUALS PCs?

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November 1, 2007 8:08:44 PM

Hi Folks,

I'm after building a machine to run Virtual Server/PC (or suchlike). I would like to run two 2003 servers and perhaps 4 or 5 clients.

My budget is £300.

Any other folk built a machine specifically for this?

The specs I have in mind are something like this:
2 or 4Gb of DDR2 (5700 or more)
500GB drive (SATA2)
Dual Core CPU (AMD 64 X2 6000 - 3Ghz or Intel Core 2 E6750 - 2.66Ghz)

I'd appreciate any advice on what needs a boost to give me the best performance for running the virtual machines.


Thanks,

Teapunt
November 1, 2007 10:48:34 PM

I really dont know how you are going to get outta that with that much dough... especially if you are running them all at the same time. Mind if i ask what they are used for?

You would be better with a Quad core and 4gb+ RAM but this will prolly blow the budget big time.

After reading this review i have strong hopes about VM under the new Server2008 upon release, great options for limiting ram, cpu, hard drive etc. and according to toms it doesnt bog down too much. good read really.
http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/10/25/windows_server_2008_reviewed/
November 2, 2007 6:55:59 AM

Hi Chookman,

I've seen some systems on ebay (uk) with a similar spec for similar money (at 'buy it now' prices). So I'm happy I can get lower grade compenents (mem and HD) with the 26750 cpu. I'll have to get a cheap case and psu though - erk.

Reason I need a virtual pc server, is that I desperately need to catch-up on 2003 server. I'm a desktop support guy and have been working with NT4 kit for the last decade. I've been made redundant and thus really need to modernise my skills, so I can score a decent job in the new year... MCP's, and possibly MCSA required.

Sadly the quad is £160 ish and that would deffo blow my budget!

Thanks for you time.
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November 2, 2007 7:28:40 AM

well since it seem like you need it for learning and not using to it to run bussness. I am a student and we use vmware and load it with mutilple machine and it all come down to RAM. two sever on going to take 1GB ram if u give them 512 RAM in setting and 4 client going to be another 1GB if you give them 256 each. So you want anything with more than 2GB of RAM. Go with the 6750 it should be better than the 6k x2. The jitter should not be so bad as long as you don't make each machine do a big process at the time.
November 2, 2007 9:20:50 AM

Thanks Motaku.
Your right about the RAM. It's simple maths I guess!

Good luck with your study mate.
November 2, 2007 11:32:22 AM

The point of virtual machines is to efficiently utilize your resources. When you allocate 256MB to a VM, does that mean it's using 256MB constantly when it's turned on? No. Most of the time it is sitting there idle, using under 20-30MB. You allocate an upper limit on how much memory the VM is allowed to use, and it uses what it needs. The same goes for CPU usage.

For this reason, I think you could easily run 6 VMs on 2GB and an X2 (even one lower than the 6000). You couldn't do that in a production environment where the VMs were under heavy load. But heck, this is a test environment. You can run two DC's, AD, DNS, DHCP because you're only serving 4 clients, which will be idle most of the time. Servers will be idle most of the time, too.

Yeah, you might notice a little jerky action from time to time, but this is a test environment. I would spend as little money to build this box, because you have to consider the price for certifications in your plans for a better job. They aren't cheap.

Also, I would suggest getting MCSE. MCSA is it's little brother and everyone and their mother has the it. You need to distinguish yourself. I'm not trying to sound harsh, but the job market can be harsh.
November 2, 2007 12:28:50 PM

Am I remembering right, MCSE requires 7 exams?

Edit: anyway, the more certifications you can get the better. I found that my MCAD certification helped a lot when I was looking for a job last.
November 2, 2007 3:07:13 PM

AEVM: MCSE is 4 core and 3 electives I think, so yes 7 in total.
QwertyCopier: I intend to do a couple of MCP's and possibly a CCNA. THat should be enough to get me a similar paid position elsewhere.


If anyones interested I've bought the following:
CPU = Intel Dual Core E2160 - £48
HD = WD Caviar 320GB - £47
Mobo = Gigabyte GA-P35-S3L - £57
Mem = 2Gb Corsair TwinX XMS2 (667) - £33
Case = Gigabyte GZ-X2 - £29
PSU = Corsair 520 HX - £64
TOTAL = £278 (£22 to spare!)

From what I have read, I can O/C the CPU a fair amount.
Plus I have the option of upgrading the memory and CPU early next year.

Thanks to everyone.
November 4, 2007 5:49:01 AM

CCNA's are awesome and A++ is another thats easy to do but distinguishing... im curretly trying to get my MCSE under 2003 but ive come to a bit of a holt of late, just got a new job where i have to travel alot to get there day to day.

Im hoping 2008 server doesnt start to upset my training for 2003 cause then i assume it would be like starting over?

Good suggestions from these guys if its only a test environment you wont need that much, dual core with as much ram as you can will be fine... good luck with the study
!