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New Laptop for School (heavy virtualization)

Last response: in Laptops & Notebooks
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August 13, 2012 5:45:02 PM

Hello everyone,

I'm looking at getting a new laptop for use in my program at school. We use our laptops for most of our schoolwork which includes some fairly heavy virtualization situations (sometimes run up to 5 machines at once). I do some gaming so want it to be capable of it, but not so much that a very high end graphics card is required for me.

1. What is your budget?

$1500-2000

2. What is the size of the notebook that you are considering?

Prefer a 17 inch, as more screen area to work with and weight isn't really a concern for me, nor battery life.

3. What screen resolution do you want?

1080p minimum, as well its just the standard now.

4. Do you need a portable or desktop replacement laptop?

desktop replacement

5. How much battery life do you need?

not much, will almost always be plugged in.

6. Do you want to play games with your laptop? If so then please list the games that you want to with the settings that you want for these games. (Low,Medium or High)?

I do some gaming. Longtime WoW player, going to be playing Guild Wars 2, and other new games as they come out over the next couple years. Prefer to play at least at medium settings in games, but I do most of my gaming on my desktop anyways.

7. What other tasks do you want to do with your laptop? (Photo/Video editing, Etc.)

We create artificial networks on our laptops, using Linux, and Active Directory based environments. As far as I've encountered the maxiumum number of machines running at a given time is 5, with some of these just being dummy clients that don't do much other than login/ping/test security settings.

8. How much storage (Hard Drive capacity) do you need?

As I run a number of VMs at once, a reasonable amount, would prefer a system with 2 hard drive slots so I could put about a 750Gb in one, and later add another if I need it.

9. If you are considering specific sites to buy from, please post their links.

I'm open to any site that would be easy to purchase from in Canada, and I'll be able to get warranty support here as well.

10. How long do you want to keep your laptop?

Hoping at least 3 years.

11. What kind of Optical drive do you need? DVD ROM/Writer,Bluray ROM/Writer,Etc ?

Would like a blu-ray reader at least

12. Please tell us about the brands that you prefer to buy from them and the brands that you don't like and explain the reasons.

No particular preferences in brands. One primary concern I have is that I would like the laptop to have good internal cooling, as I do strain it a bit, and prefer to not have to lug a cooling mat with me to school to keep the heat under control. Based on this I have been looking at Sager, MSI and Asus gaming machines primarily. I am open to any other suggestions anyone might have though.

13. What country do you live in?

Canada

14. Please tell us any additional information if needed.

I'm looking to buy it anytime between now and Christmas, as I'm on a workterm this fall and won't be requiring my laptop, but my existing one is proving to be a bit slow and definitely having overheating problems, although it is a common issue with the mode (Dell 1558 Studio).

Thank you for any help you can give me.

August 13, 2012 6:20:44 PM

I run virtual servers on a regular basis on my laptop (see sig). I would recommend:

Proc: Core i7 (Sandy Bridge or better)
Memory: 16-32Gb of memory (32gb if you plan on running databases or anything requiring a large memory footprint)
HDDs:

SSD for primary OS and host OS apps, etc
Secondary Western Digital Black 750Gb HDD (plenty fast enough for multiple VMs or go SSD if you can get into the 256Gb or 512Gb range for your VMs)
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August 13, 2012 6:35:04 PM

take a look at thinkpad w series.

or, alternatively, consider a desktop/server solution to provide your virtual machines, and your laptop is just a terminal. Do you really need to take 5machines with you wherever you go?

As far as the harddrive issue, you can also consider using USB external drive...
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August 13, 2012 9:10:49 PM

Thank you :) 

As for using it as a terminal, its not really an option as these are just classroom setups we use for labs and they change class to class. Commonly a couple of the VMs are not doing much, with one or two hosting the domain and whatever features we might be using. They are not truly functioning VMs, just test VMs with only the features enabled that we are using in that particular class.
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a b D Laptop
August 13, 2012 9:44:34 PM

For $1755 you can get an MSI FORCE 1762 over at xoticpc.com and it'll have:

3rd gen i7-3610QM
17.3" 1920x1080
750Gb 7200 hdd
GTX 675m 2Gb
32Gb 1600 ram
Win 7 Pro

It's just the first site I checked out there may be some places you can get a little cheaper for the same specs but with your budget you could probly get a Toshiba, Asus, MSI, Sager or a few other brands with exactly what you are looking for. There are a few places like Toshiba and Sager that have some decent back to school sales going on. Just check around the internet at places like xoticpc.com or gentechpc.com. Even the hp site and toshiba site would work since you have the right budget for what you want.
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