5 Best Laptops for Virtualization 2020 – Buyer’s Guide

Are you an IT professional and do you have a job that needs you to run virtual machines (VMs)? Or, are you tech-savvy and love to test the features of different applications and OS on a single server? Virtual machines are quite complex. To run VMs, you will need to purchase a high-performance laptop that comes packed with powerful hardware and software components.

Virtualization isn’t limited to loading a new operating system on a single server. In fact, you can use these virtual machines for security testing, software testing, and more. Since you need to load and work on a different OS system or application on your windows, you need to ensure that the laptop you purchase is compatible with virtual machines.

If you need help buying a laptop for virtualization, then you have come to the right place! Read on to learn more about buying a laptop for virtualization, as well as our picks for the 5 best laptops for virtual machines.

What is Virtualization?

Virtualization refers to the process of developing or running virtual machines on a computer. These virtual machines are the software for networks, storage, and hardware components. Mostly, virtual machines are used for running another operating system, which acts as a separate device, on your current windows. This means you are going to run multiple operating systems on one window. You will need the VM software for virtualization.

IT professionals have developed solutions that imitate the hardware functionality of a computer. This is done to boost efficiency and ensure cost-effective business operations. Virtualization is required for all types and sizes of businesses.

The process helps IT experts and general users to run several apps and operating systems on one server. Basically, the virtual machine allows users to use the functions of multiple operating systems on their current OS. However, running virtual machines on a computer is only possible when the device has a strong processor and sufficient RAM to support VMs.

Requirements for Virtualization

Not all laptops can support virtual machines. There are some minimum requirements for a laptop to be compatible with virtualization.

Let’s take a look:

Operating System: If you are planning to buy a computer or laptop for virtual machines, then look for Windows 8 or above. For macOS users, you will need macOS X Mojave. If you want the virtual apps to run smoothly, then we recommend Windows 10.
CPU: For both MacOS and Laptop users, virtual apps need Intel Core i5 or better processor. Most IT professionals prefer Intel Core i7 for smoother functioning of virtual software.
RAM: Virtual software needs high RAM. You can’t run multiple operating systems on a 4GB RAM laptop. The minimum RAM requirement is 6GB for laptops and 8GB for MacOS. If you want a better and durable option, then invest in a laptop that comes equipped with 16GB RAM.
Graphics: The integrated graphics will support VMs. Again, that’s only the minimum requirement. You must look for the dedicated Graphics Card if you are willing to run video games and other graphic-intensive apps on the system.
SSD: The best laptop for virtualization will have both SSD and HDD. The minimum requirement entails 256GB SSD storage to house virtual machines.

These are only the minimum requirements that can run a virtual machine on a laptop. They do not guarantee the best performance. You should look for the model with a high RAM and strong processor if you want an uninterrupted virtual machine operation. On that note, we will take a look at the 5 best laptops for virtualization.

The Best Laptops for Virtualization – Reviews

  1. Lenovo ThinkPad P52
  2. Acer Aspire E 15
  3. Acer Predator Helios 300
  4. Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-728C Laptop
  5. Asus VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS54 Laptop

1. Lenovo ThinkPad P52

The Lenovo ThinkPad P52 is powered by the Intel Core i7 -8550U Processor that’s designed to support multitasking and virtualization. The processor speaks volumes about the quality and performance of this laptop. Lenovo ThinkPad P52 is not a budget laptop. However, its specs and hardware components justify its high price tag.

RAM and Keyboard

Starting with the RAM, Lenovo ThinkPad P52 exceeds all your expectations with a whopping 32GB built-in. Not only does it support multitasking, but it enables users to run just about every app or virtual software seamlessly. The model comes equipped with 512GB SSD storage.

The only drawback of this unit is its heavyweight. The model weighs 4.39lbs, which can be quite bulky for business travellers. Luckily, its storage, RAM, processor, and other features outweigh its bulky chassis. Lenovo ThinkPad P52 sports a spill-resistant, comfortable, and backlit keyboard with a separate number pad.

Display and Connectivity Options

Besides, you will find the Nvidia Quadro P500 Graphics card under the hood. The strong graphics card combined with the 15.6 inches HD display gives you a clear picture of multiple operating systems or servers on a single screen. It offers the maximum resolution of up to 1080p.

This model has decent sound quality and the security features include a fingerprint sensor. The manufacturer has added a host of connectivity options in this model. For starters, you get the USB ports. Other slots include thunderbolt, HDMI, and Ethernet. This 6-core processor comes with a 3 year warranty period. You also get a 720p webcam that can be used for video calls, conferences, online meetings, etc.

Pros

Excellent RAM and processor
Loads quickly
Suitable for virtual software and virtual apps
Offers clear and full HD display
Multiple connectivity slots

Cons

Very expensive
A bit heavy

2. Acer Aspire E 15

Designed for beginners and budget-conscious buyers, the Acer Aspire E 15 is another great laptop for virtual machines. Powered by the 8th Generation Intel Core i3-8130U processor, this laptop might not be your best option if performance and speed are your concerns, but it can definitely support virtual machines. The model features 6GB RAM, which happens to be the minimum requirement for a laptop to run virtual software. Rest assured that the model will run a virtual operating system on your device smoothly. RAM and the processor are not that bad for such a low price.

Battery and Storage

Acer Aspire E 15 supports 1TB HDD storage. The good news is that you can upgrade its software i.e. the storage and RAM anytime you want. The 15.6 inches screen guarantees a clear and wider view. The best quality of this model is its excellent battery life. The unit is capable of running for 13.5 hours non-stop. This means you can run virtual machines, play games, and use the software for hours. The graphics card might not surpass your expectation, but you won’t need that unless you plan on using the system for video games or graphic-intensive applications.

The company offers a 1-year warranty of the laptop’s hardware parts. The unit supports wireless connection i.e. via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. It also comes equipped with a range of connectivity slots, such as HDMI, USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports, and a high-quality web camera.

Pros

Cost-effective laptop for virtualization
Amazing battery performance
Robust design
A host of connectivity options
Easy to use

Cons

Slow performance

3. Acer Predator Helios 300

The Acer Predator Helios 300 is a gaming laptop. Although it is designed for gamers, this model supports a range of virtual machines seamlessly. You can run just about any VM you want on this system. It sports 15.6 inches display, which is large enough to split the screen into two operating systems. Moreover, the iron backlit keyboard is comfortable for long typing sessions.

Processor and Storage

The laptop is powered by the 8th gen Intel i7 processor, which is a perfect option for running virtual machines. It also allows users to upgrade the processor to 4.1GHz for a speedy performance (though it won’t be needed). Acer Predator Helios 300 comes packed with a 16GB integrated RAM that supports multitasking and heavy virtual applications. It has 256GB SSD as well as 1TB HDD storage. That’s exactly what you need in a laptop for running virtual software.

Battery Life and Graphics Card

The battery life of the model is not bad, but it could be better. The 3320mAh battery can last up to 7 hours. The manufacturer has added Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 graphics card that works wonders for video game lovers. So, if you like to run video games alongside virtual applications, then rest assured that Acer Predator Helios 300 will support multitasking.

It is compatible with the graphics-intensive applications. You can also try multimedia editing and graphic designing on this laptop. We really like the technical specs of this model. It has several ports that allow smooth connectivity. The company ships Acer Predator Helios 300 with a 1-year warranty. All in all, Acer Predator Helios 300 is a perfect combination of gaming cum virtual-machine-compatible laptop.

Pros

Well-designed chassis
Powerful processor and high built-in RAM
Compatible with all types of virtual machines
Supports video games and multimedia editing
Excellent storage capacity
Portable and sleek design

Cons

Battery performance is okay

4. Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-728C Laptop

The Acer Nitro 5 Gaming Laptop is an excellent combination of some powerful features. The laptop is designed for video gaming, but its strong processor and excellent RAM supports a host of virtual applications. The model sports a 15.6-inch display that can run multiple operating systems on a single server.

Under the hood, you will find the 9th Generation Intel Core i7-9750H CPU and a built-in 16GB RAM that is sufficient to support virtual operating systems. Even if your system allocates 8GB RAM to both the host and guest OS, they will run smoothly. Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-728C Laptop gives a speedy performance – no matter which virtual server or network you run on the laptop.

As mentioned above, Acer Nitro 5 AN515-54-728C is a gaming laptop, featuring Nvidia GeForce RTX 2060 Graphics Card. The company has paid special attention to the keyboard. The keys are located at a distance of 1.6mm. You can also type in a poorly-lit environment with the backlit keyboard. The laptop comes equipped with dual exhausts and twin fans that are designed to keep your system cool all the time. You can run virtual machines for hours and play your favourite video games. Rest assured the model will not emanate heat.

Coming to the drawbacks, the weight of this laptop is disappointing. Weighing 7.68 pounds, it is extremely heavy to carry around.

Pros

Strong processor and high built-in RAM
Compatible with video games
Run multiple tasks
Well-spaced and comfortable keyboard
Good display
It doesn’t overheat

Cons

It is heavy

5. Asus VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS54 Laptop

The Asus VivoBook 15 is the ultimate option for tech experts and aspiring IT professionals. The model sports a 15.6-inches ultra-slim display. Users loved the design of this laptop. The manufacturer has focused on the aesthetics of this unit. It weighs only 3.5 pounds. You could easily fit the laptop in a case and carry the model everywhere you go. One interesting quality of this laptop is the ErgoLift handle, which allows users to have a comfortable typing session.

Processor, RAM, and Graphics Card

The model comes packed with the Intel i5-1035G1 processor that can support a host of virtual applications seamlessly. You can even open multiple virtual operating systems on the current OS. It has 8GB built-in RAM, which not only supports virtualization but offers excellent performance. Rest assured that you can run multiple tabs on the browser or open several virtual machines without a lag.

Asus VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS54 features the Intel UHD Graphics card that gives a decent performance in terms of video gaming and multimedia editing. However, the graphics card is hardly needed for virtual machines. So, this won’t be a problem as long as you need a laptop for virtualization only.

Connectivity Ports

The model has a 512GB SSD storage space that can house a bunch of heavy applications. You can unlock the system using the fingerprint sensor. The unit comes with an extensive range of connectivity options, including but not limited to, USB 3.2 Type-A and Type-C and HDMI. Now, the best quality of this model is its price. Available for only $600 (approx), Asus VivoBook 15 F512JA-AS54 is an ideal option for budget-conscious buyers.

Pros

Full HD display
Support multiple virtual machines
Latest generation processor
Multiple ports
Slim and portable design
Lightweight
Reasonable price

Cons

Display isn’t great

Tips and Tricks for Buying the Best Laptops for Virtualization

One important thing you need to note is that virtual machines do not run on a straightforward and casual laptop. You don’t have to pay a fortune to buy these laptops, but they do cost more than an ordinary laptop. The reason is simple: the more RAM and storage you need, the higher the price of the laptop. Here are some tips for buying the best and high-performance laptop for virtualization:

A Device with High RAM

The minimum RAM you need to run a virtual machine is 6GB, but we suggest a laptop with 16GB or higher RAM for the best performance. Remember that the laptop has to support both the guest operating system and host. Insufficient RAM will impact the performance of both systems. Basically, when you use VM software, such as VirtualBox, then you need to allocate some portion of your RAM to the new OS. The more RAM you allocate to the guest operating system, the faster it runs. So, you must look for a laptop with 16GB RAM.

Look for an 8-Core Processor

Just like RAM, you need an advanced processor that could support both the guest and host operating system. You can’t run virtual software on a laptop powered by a single-core processor. You need an Intel Core i5 processor to operate multiple networks and servers on your Windows. If you are concerned about the speed and performance, then we recommend an 8-core processor.

Graphics do not Matter

Surprisingly, a virtual machine will do fine on a laptop without a GPU. However, most laptops come equipped with a built-in graphics card these days. Now, the graphics card has nothing to do with the virtual apps. You don’t have to overspend on a laptop for GPU, especially if your sole purpose of buying a laptop is virtualization. However, if you do find a budget model with a premium GPU, then that is perfect. Remember that the processor and RAM of a laptop are more important than graphics.

Storage

You will need a considerable amount of free disk space on your system to practice virtualization. The minimum storage requirement for virtual machines is 256GB SSD. However, IT professionals and tech experts will want to use multiple apps and software systems on the laptop. In that case, you will need a device with 512GB SSD. The best laptop is the one that supports both SSD and HDD storage. You can find a model with 1TB SSD and 1TB HDD storage, but it is going to be a bit pricey.

FAQs

How is Virtualization Used?

Usually, people use virtual machines for an operating system or server virtualization. This allows them to access and use the OS that’s not installed on their device. For instance, virtualization will enable users to run Ubuntu on Windows. It could also be used to imitate the hardware functionalities of a system.

Besides, you no longer need to depend on physical storage. With a virtual machine in place, your data will be stored in a virtual machine rather than consuming the physical storage.

How much RAM Do You Need for Virtual Machines?

The minimum RAM requirement for virtual machines is 6GB on laptops. While that is enough to support just above any virtual software, you should look for a better option if you need a high-performance system. Laptops with 16GB RAM runs multiple virtual software systems seamlessly on a single server. Besides, you will never face any technical issue or performance-related problems with 16GB RAM.

MacOS or Windows – Which is Best for Virtualization?

Both macOS and Windows support virtual machines. However, if you are looking for the best option, we recommend Windows. Not only does it run virtual software, but you could use it for video gaming, multimedia editing, and a host of other functions. Besides, it is easy for beginners to understand Windows.

Which is the Best Laptop for Virtualization?

Any of the laptops above will serve you well when it comes to virtualization, but our pick is the Lenovo ThinkPad P52 Intel Core i7 -8550U as one of the best laptops for virtual machines.

Final Thoughts

Virtualization can help you make the best of your hardware. However, you will have to allocate the RAM, processor, and storage to a new server, OS, and network. You can’t expect an economical or standard laptop to perform adequately when you run multiple OS on the same server.

Fortunately, a number of brands have launched laptops designed specifically for virtual machines. The laptops we have mentioned above will support VM without compromising the performance of the laptop.