I'm looking to rebuild my system some time early next year. I'm building this system mainly to run VM's with Windows 7 64-bit being the main host OS, and Ubuntu 64-bit being the secondary. I'm getting into a lot of certifications, and rather have the OS I'm needing for the cert to be in a VM. My biggest question is which brand is better for VM's: Intel or AMD. I'm not concerned about gaming performance at all (Bejeweled 2 is the most advanced game I have ran in the last 5 years). What I'm concerned about is the smoothness when switching back and forth between the host OS and the VM, as well as heavy multitasking within the VM. My budget for the CPU will be $200, and looking for a quad. Right now, I'm looking at this one:
In General, it will depend on the number of VMs you'll gonna be running at the same time.
If you're gonna be running 2 or 3 VMs simultaneously and you're gonna install web server
applications on those VMs or if you're gonna be using it to run demanding network applications
or programs for testing and benchmarking and you're gonna be hooking it up all to a network,
a fast quad core procie will handle those tasks.
Since you're eying on that AMD Phenom II X4 945 Deneb @ 3.0GHz. Its is enough
for your VM'ing needs not only it is much cheaper than Intel's i5 procie that you indicated
above as an option but you can overclock it way more than you expect.
And Overclocking is the middle name of this AMD procie coz you can overclock it up to 3.8ghz,
thus giving you noticeable performance increase.
Just make sure you have a good well ventilated case and a good CPU cooler.
If you're not into overclocking, not a big deal, as i said, its enough for your needs.
As for the VMs to run properly based on the requirement of the operating systems
you're gonna install and to make sure your main OS will run smoothly at the same time
adding more RAM to your system is highly advisable. You mentioned Ubuntu 64 bit
and Windows 7 64 bit, in order to run Windows 7 smoothly you'll need 2 gig of ram
and for the VM (Ubuntu) you'll need 512mb of ram assigned to it.
My sugestion, go for atleast 3gig of ram but IMO, buying a 4 gig of ram is
much much better decision because your system can be able to run 2 or 3 VMs simultaneously
without using the reserved advisable 2 gig of ram that your main OS is utilizing.
Hope this helps.
-- I hope you wouldn't mind me asking, you're getting certification on Linux right?
Is it for Ubuntu 64 bit server edition? Why Ubuntu?
Ubuntu is for personal use. For a Linux cert, will go for Redhat most likely. Far as RAM, probably will go with 8GB of RAM.
I See, well, since you're gonna be using 2 VMs (for Ubuntu and the other for RedHat) and gonna be buying 8 gig of Ram,
I also suggest add another VM and you might wanna try to download and install Novell's latest OpenSUSE 11.1 distro and
try to gauge its GUI and features. You wont be disappointed.
I'm confused at why you would be dual-booting if you are going to be using VMs. Isn't this the main reason you would be using a VM - for the functionality (and sandboxing) of having other OSs inside an existing OS? If it were me, I'd just boot up the VM and go full-screen when I wanted to work on a different OS.
I run virtualbox with my AMD 940 x4 with 4 gigs of ram. the limiting factor is more RAM than the CPU in my case. I will soon get Windows7 64 bits an 8 gigs and this should create a real smooth experience. I see no real slowdown when switching from the guest to the host, unless I use lot of RAM and that the HDD is used for swap a lot. I can run 3 guests that does light stuff pretty fast right now.
I run VirtualBox on an 955BE with 8 gigs, and I've tested it running about 12 VMs, they were mostly XP, but most of the time I'm running a 2003, an XP, a Vista, a Ubuntu and a FreeBSD, occasionally also booting up a Fedora and OpenSuse as well.
I have dual boot with Ubuntu and Vista, mostly use Ubuntu as the host but have Vista for playing games.