Best PC for Virtualization: 15 Desktop & Laptop Alternatives

Best Pc For Virtual Machines

Best PC for Virtual Machines

How to choose a POWERFUL Pre-built PC for your VM lab environment…

You might not know it, but there are top brand PCs great for running multiple virtual machines, and there are duds!

We’ll avoid the duds and focus on the best desktops and laptops that can run your virtual machines easily.

In this VMinstall guide, we’ll show you what you’ll need to know before buying a PC for running virtual machines.

What’s Your Use Case?

We all want a Powerful PC with lots of memory and SSD storage space, but there’s more to high performing VM host than a cool case or brand logo.

In a minute, we’ll dive into the juicy technical details and best practices, but first, let’s start with an important question before we look at the best computer for virtualization.

What do you intend to do with the VMs running on your new system?

  1. Maybe you’re building a virtual test lab and plan to just mess around with different virtual machine software for work.
  2. Maybe you’re a developer and need various test VMs set up to test your code while you are working out the bugs.
  3. Or, maybe you’re like me and do a lot of training and need to install different software packages. I always have VMs running in my virtual test lab for something.

This guide will help you decide which options and configurations to consider for your virtual machine use case.

If I missed your use case, please leave a comment or question below.

Buyer’s Guide for the Best PC for Virtual Machines

Look, depending on your use case, the configuration for the best way to run multiple virtual machines follows some basic best practices:

  1. CPUs with faster (GHz) and more CPU cores – Faster CPUs are a must-have, but also you want to slice up your cores so that you’re allowing enough cycles per core, so you don’t oversubscribe the clocks and cause the CPU to wait. CPUs with 6 – 8 cores can be carved up into VMs with 2 – 4 vCPUs. For best performance, keep your CPU to vCPU ratio at 1:1. This means each physical CPU core can support 1 vCPUs at most. For example, a 6 core CPU can support 3 VMs with 2 vCPUs each or 2 VMs with 3 vCPUs.
  2. Lots of fast memory (16 GB or more) – Memory is cheap, so more is always better. I also keep memory at a 1:1 ratio for physical to virtual memory. However, as a best practice, I reserve half my memory for my main system OS. So a PC with 16GB has 8GB available for the main PC hosting the VMs and 8GB to be shared with the VMs. Based on a PC with a 6 core CPU and 16GB of memory, you can get 2 VMs with 3 vCPUs and 4GB of memory. Obviously, you can assign more memory if you oversubscribe, but performance will degrade quickly. It really does matter what you plan to do with your VMs. If you have 32GB, you can reserve 8GB for the main system and use 24GB to assign to VMs.
  3. NVMe SSD or ATA SSD (Dedicated 500 GB – 1 TB of space) – If you need speed, don’t run your VMs on your main PC storage. Buy a dedicated SSD for your VMs. Disk IO is tricky and can impact the performance of even the best PCs negatively when running multiple virtual machines. You don’t want to create a bottleneck for disk reads and writes. With one drive, everything is sharing the same read/write path with the storage controller. NVMe’s are best, but the new ATA SSDs also smoke. Another benefit you get when putting your VMs on a separate SSD is that VM files and directories are easier to track when you need to clone or move your virtual machines around.

Make sure you have plenty of room for growth.

Your new system for hosting virtual machines needs to be able to expand. Later you will want to add upgraded WIFI adapters, network cards, graphics cards, memory, SSDs, NVMe storage, CPUs, and USB devices.

Be aware that motherboards have limited amounts of PCIe, ATA, NVMe, and memory slots.

Planning ahead will make your virtual machine lab more expandable later, especially if you are building virtual machines for business use cases that rely on keeping up with new software requirements.

The best desktop for running virtual machines can keep expanding if needed – conder a minimum of 3 PCIe slots, 4 memory slots, 2 NVMe slots, and 4-6 ATA connectors.

That said, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for the best PC for virtual machines. It depends on your specific needs and what you plan to use your virtual machines for. These are my general tips that can help you choose the right system for your needs.

The Best PC for Virtual Machines – 3 Alternatives for Windows & Mac Users

Important: Regardless of which PC brand you decide to choose, the key is to make sure it has the ability to run virtual machines.

There is a setting in the BIOS that must be enabled for virtualization to work. This is a must-have for the best desktops or laptops running virtual machines. Most new motherboards have it enabled by default, but some might not make it available.

Major Brand Desktops – Alternative #1

Please read the reviews and compare the technical specification for yourself before making a purchase of any of these systems.

My Best Pick

Dell XPS Desktop –  All Use Cases

The Dell XPS Desktop is the most versatile best-in-class desktop. Highly customizable.

#1 Best Choice
Dell Xps 8960 Desktop - Intel Core I9-13900K, 32Gb Ddr5 Ram, 1Tb Ssd, Nvidia Geforce Rtx 3070 8Gb Gddr6, 1 Year Premium Support+6 Months Migrate, Windows 11 Pro - Black
38 reviews

Runner-ups for Business Use

Lenovo ThinkCentre V50s Desktop – 1st Runner-up Better Choice

The Lenovo ThinkStation is best for serious gamers or graphic designers.

Lenovo ThinkStation P520 Tower Workstation - Intel Xeon W-2135 Upto 4.5GHz - 64GB RAM, 1TB NVMe SSD + 1TB NVMe Backup - NVIDIA Quadro P400 2GB, DVD-RW, DisplayPort, HDMI - Windows 11 Pro (Renewed)
  • Lenovo ThinkStation P520 Workstation Computer, 64GB DDR4 memory 1TB NVMe Solid State Drive + 1TB NVMe Backup
  • Take processing to record speeds, crush demanding single and multi-threaded workflows and take on aggressive multi-tasking without throttling, Cutting-edge storage, memory, and cooling
  • Designed to Perform - When it comes to mission-critical systems and performance, you can count on the P520 Tower Workstation
  • Featuring Intel Xeon W-2135 processor, plus state-of-the-art NVIDIA Quadro P400 2GB GDDR5 Graphics, making this an extremely powerful workstation, Balances lightning-quick computing and professional graphics perfectly. The PC can be configured to meet your business needs now—and in the future
  • 802.11ac Wi-Fi USB, Bluetooth 4.2, 8x USB 3.1, 4-Monitor Support 2x Display Port, 2x HDMI

HP Envy Desktop – 2nd Runner-up Good Choice

Bring your data center home. The Pavilion Desktop features extraordinary processing power, graphics, and storage at an affordable price for personal use.

HP Envy Desktop PC, 13th Generation Intel Core i7-13700, 32 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD, Intel UHD Graphics 770, Windows 11 Home, TE01-4020 (2023)
  • INSPIRED DESIGN - This powerful PC is designed to fit perfectly in your workspace and inspire your creative work
  • GET A FRESH PERSPECTIVE - From a rejuvenated Start menu, to new ways to connect to your favorite people, news, games and content—Windows 11 is the place to think, express and create in a natural way
  • OFFERING MORE THAN JUST A PERFORMANCE SCORE - The 13th Generation Intel Core i7-13700 Processor advances real-world computing and delivers more ultra-efficient multi-tasking
  • INTEL UHD GRAPHICS - Smoothly stream 4K content and play your favorite games
  • STORE ALL OF YOUR MEMORIES - Store more of what you love in the form of photos, videos and documents with 1 TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD storage

Runner-up for Home Use

Asus ROG Strix Desktop – 1st Runner-up Better Choice

Features extraordinary processing power, graphics, and storage that is usually much more expensive. For the best performance, this ASUS Desktop PC will give you everything you need to run your virtual machine lab with ease.

ASUS ROG Strix i7 RTX 4060 Gaming Desktop, Intel i7-13700F (Beats Intel i9-12900K), NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Wi-Fi 6, HDMI, RJ-45, DisplayPort, Wired KB & Mouse, W11H, Black
  • 【High Speed RAM And Enormous Space】32GB DDR4 RAM to smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs all at once; 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive allows to fast bootup and data transfer
  • 【Processor】Intel Core i7-13700F (16 Cores, 24 Threads, 30MB L3 Cache, 1.50GHz base frequency, up to 5.20GHz max turbo frequency), with ‎NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4060 Graphics (8GB GDDR6)
  • 【Tech Specs】4 x Superspeed USB Type-A, 2 x Superspeed USB Type-C, 4 x USB Type-A 2.0, 1 x RJ-45, 3 x HDMI, 4 x DisplayPort, 1 x Power button, 1 x Power supply, 5 x Audio Port, Wired KB & Mouse, Wi-Fi 6 & Bluetooth
  • 【Operating System】Windows 11 Home operating system offers powerful platform to efficiently run routine applications

Acer Nitro Desktop – 2nd Runner-up Good Choice

The Nitro is a great starter system with many growth options.

Acer Nitro 50 N50-620-UA91 Gaming Desktop | 11th Gen Intel Core i5-11400F 6-Core Processor | NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 | 8GB DDR4 | 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD | Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 | Keyboard and Mouse
  • 11th Generation Intel Core i5-11400F 6-Core Processor (Up to 4.4GHz) 8GB DDR4 2666MHz Memory (expandable to 64GB) 512GB NVMe M.2 SSD
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 Graphics with 4GB of GDDR5 Video Memory (1 x HDMI Port & 1 - DVI Port)
  • DTS X: Ultra Audio Intel Wireless Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11ax Realtek 8118AS Dragon 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet
  • 1 - USB 3.2 (Type C) Gen 2 Port (Up to 10Gbps) (Front) 1 - USB 3.2 Gen 2 Port (Front) 1 - USB 3.2 (Type C) Gen 2x2 port (Up to 20Gbps) (Rear) 2 - USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-A Ports (Rear) 2 - USB 2.0 ports (Rear)
  • Keyboard and Mouse Included

DIY Home Lab Server

Custom Build a Home Lab Server – Alternative #2

Custom building your own virtual machine lab desktop is definitely not for everyone. But if you want total control, assembling a system from parts is the way to go.

Here’s a sneak peek of the computer parts you will need:

  • Motherboard & CPU
  • Memory (RAM)
  • Storage (NVMe or ATA SSD)
  • Case with a power supply
  • Graphics card
  • Keyboard and mouse
  • WIFI network adapter

Building a home lab server for your own virtual machines can be a great way to learn about hardware and best practices for assembling a system from parts.

If you’re interested in this option but have no idea where or how to start building a home lab server on your own, we recommend checking out our starter guide, “How to build home lab server.”

The guide will show you everything you’ll need to consider before getting started. It also includes a list of components best suited for powering your virtual machines.

The Best Laptop for Running Virtual Machines (Windows/Mac Users) – Alternative #3

Just like with desktops, the recommended laptop for powering virtual machines is one that has at least an Intel Core i7 quad-core processor with 16 GB of RAM. Running virtual machines takes a lot of memory, so having at least 16 GB is the best practice. If you can get 32GB of RAM, that would be even better.

Where things get tricky is laptops aren’t as upgradeable. Some have 4 memory slots and an additional connection for a second ATA or NVMe SSD.

These are the best laptop computers for running VMware Workstation, Hyper-V, VirtualBox, and Parallels (if you have a Mac). But as with desktops, please read the reviews and compare the technical specification before purchasing any of these systems.

Laptop Options for Apple Users

First off, when you’re using a virtual machine for Windows 10 to do work at the office, you don’t want it to be sluggish. If your Guest OS runs slow, it isn’t worth using. Make sure you size your MacBook for the job to be done.

The best MacBooks for the virtualization of Windows 10 or Linux:

My Best Pick for Business Use

Apple MacBook Pro – Best Choice

Most Mac Power Users love this system. This MacBook is at the top of the list.

#1 Best Choice
Late 2021 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Pro chip (16-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) Space Gray (Renewed)
  • Apple M1 Pro or M1 Max chip for a massive leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Up to 10-core CPU delivers up to 2x faster performance to fly through pro workflows quicker than ever
  • Up to 32-core GPU with up to 4x faster performance for graphics-intensive apps and games
  • 16-core Neural Engine for up to 5x faster machine learning performance
  • Longer battery life, up to 21 hours

Runner-up Business Use

Apple MacBook Pro – 1st Runner-up

The New Apple MacBook is one of the best laptops sold today. It has exceptional specs running Windows virtual machine software.

2021 Apple MacBook Pro with Apple M1 Pro chip (14-inch, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) - Space Gray (Renewed)
  • M1 Pro model chip for a massive leap in CPU, GPU, and machine learning performance
  • Up to 10-core CPU delivers up to 3.7x faster performance to fly through pro workflows quicker than ever
  • 16-core Neural Engine for up to 11x faster machine learning performance - Up to 17 hour battery life
  • Up to 32-core GPU with up to 13x faster performance for graphics-intensive apps and games
  • 1080p FaceTime HD camera with advanced image signal processor for sharper video calls

My Best Pick Home Use

Apple MacBook Air – Best Choice

The MacBook Air has great features and is currently the best Mac laptop to run Windows on the go.

#1 Best Choice
Apple 2020 MacBook Air Laptop M1 Chip, 13" Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 512GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Gold
  • All-Day Battery Life – Go longer than ever with up to 18 hours of battery life.
  • Powerful Performance – Take on everything from professional-quality editing to action-packed gaming with ease. The Apple M1 chip with an 8-core CPU delivers up to 3.5x faster performance than the previous generation while using way less power.
  • Superfast Memory – 8GB of unified memory makes your entire system speedy and responsive. That way it can support tasks like memory-hogging multitab browsing and opening a huge graphic file quickly and easily.
  • Stunning Display – With a 13.3” Retina display, images come alive with new levels of realism. Text is sharp and clear, and colors are more vibrant.
  • Why Mac – Easy to learn. Easy to set up. Astoundingly powerful. Intuitive. Packed with apps to use right out of the box. Mac is designed to let you work, play, and create like never before.

Runner-up Home Use

Apple MacBook Air – 1st Runner up

The perfect MacBook Air laptop for running VM software is the 1st generation or 2nd generation, depending on your budget.

Apple 2020 Macbook Air Laptop M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8Gb Ram, 256Gb Ssd Storage, Backlit Keyboard, Facetime Hd Camera, Touch Id. Works With Iphone/Ipad; Silver
20,325 reviews
Apple 2020 MacBook Air Laptop M1 Chip, 13” Retina Display, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD Storage, Backlit Keyboard, FaceTime HD Camera, Touch ID. Works with iPhone/iPad; Silver
  • All-Day Battery Life – Go longer than ever with up to 18 hours of battery life.
  • Powerful Performance – Take on everything from professional-quality editing to action-packed gaming with ease. The Apple M1 chip with an 8-core CPU delivers up to 3.5x faster performance than the previous generation while using way less power.
  • Superfast Memory – 8GB of unified memory makes your entire system speedy and responsive. That way it can support tasks like memory-hogging multitab browsing and opening a huge graphic file quickly and easily.
  • Stunning Display – With a 13.3 inch Retina display, images come alive with new levels of realism. Text is sharp and clear, and colors are more vibrant.
  • Why Mac – Easy to learn. Easy to set up. Astoundingly powerful. Intuitive. Packed with apps to use right out of the box. Mac is designed to let you work, play, and create like never before.

Laptops Options for Windows Users

My Best Pick for Business Use

Lenovo ThinkPad Laptop – Best overall

There are a few laptops that are best for running virtual machines. The Lenovo ThinkPad is a great option if you are looking for a laptop that is best for business.

#1 Best Choice
Lenovo ThinkPad P17 Gen 2 Mobile Workstation 17.3" FHD Business Laptop Computer, Intel Octa-Core i7-11850H, Quadro T1200, 32GB DDR4 RAM, 1TB PCIe SSD, WiFi 6, Backlit KB, FR, Windows 11 Pro, BROAG
  • CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-11850H, vPro (24 MB cache, 8 cores, 8 threads, 2.50 GHz to 4.80 GHz Turbo).
  • 17.3" FHD (1920 x 1080) IPS, anti-glare, 300 nits Display; NVIDIA Quadro T1200 4GB Graphics.
  • 32GB DDR4 Memory; 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 SSD.
  • Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201 802.11AX (2 x 2) & Bluetooth 5.1; 2 x USB A 3.2 Gen 1, 2 x USB Thunderbolt 4, 1 x USB-C, 1 x HDMI 2.0, 1 x Headphone / mic combo, 1 x RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet.
  • Windows 11 Pro, 64-bit, English; Backlit Keyboard; Fingerprint Reader; Black

Runner-up for Business Use

Dell XPS Laptop – 1st Runner-up

The best Dell XPS laptop to run virtual machines has the Intel Core i7 processor, and the NVIDIA dedicated video card.

Dell XPS 15 9530 Business Laptop (15.6" FHD+, Intel 14-Core i7-13700H (Beat i9-12900H), 64GB DDR5 RAM, 2TB SSD, Arc A370M), Backlit, Fingerprint, Thunderbolt 4, Webcam, Wi-Fi 6E, Win 11 Pro, Silver
  • 64GB DDR5 4800MHz RAM, 2TB PCIe SSD; Intel Core i7-13700H Evo Processor (24 MB cache, 14 cores, 16 threads, Max Boost Clock up to 5.00 GHz Turbo)
  • 15.6-inch FHD+ (1920 x 1200), Anti-Glare, IPS, 500nits, 16:10, 100% Adobe RGB, InfinityEdge display; 720p Webcam; Dedicated Graphics Intel Arc A370M, 4GB GDDR6 - Expandable to 4 monitors via, Thunderbolt 4, Type-C. Max resolution of the External Monitors: 4K (3840*2160) @60Hz
  • Backlit Keyboard; Fingerprint Reader; 2 x Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 40Gbps, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, headphone/microphone combo jack, SD Card reader, 7 in 1 USB-C Hub; Intel Wi-Fi 6E (AX211) 2x2 + Bluetooth 5.2
  • Brand New Computer has been resealed to upgrade the Memory and SSD. Three-year warranty on upgraded Memory and SSD for Issaquah Highlands Tech customers. One-year warranty from Manufacture on remaining Components.
  • Windows 11 Pro 64-bit. Ideal for School Education, Designers, Professionals, Small Business, Programmers, Casual Gaming, Streaming, Online Class, Remote Learning, Zoom Meeting, Video Conference, etc.

HP Envy Laptop – 2nd Runner-up – Good Choice

This is a good laptop for a smaller budget.

HP Envy 17t High Performance Laptop, 17.3" Full HD Touchscreen, Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor, Intel Iris Xe Graphics, 32GB RAM, 1TB SSD, Backlit Keyboard, Wi-Fi 6, Windows 10 Home
  • 【Memory & Storage】Memory is 32GB high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs all at once. Hard Drive is 1TB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive which allows to fast bootup and data transfer and ample storage space
  • 【FHD Touchscreen】17.3" diagonal FHD, IPS, WLED-backlit, multitouch-enabled, edge-to-edge glass (1920 x 1080)
  • 【Processor & Graphics】 Intel Core i7-1165G7 Processor (4 Cores, 8 Threads, 12MB Cache, 1.2GHz to 4.7GHz), Intel Iris Xe Graphics
  • 【Tech Specs】Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX 201 (2x2) | Fingerprint Reader | Bluetooth 5 | 3 x SuperSpeed USB Type-A | HDMI | Thunderbolt 4 with USB4 Type-C | SD Card Reader | Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack | Windows 10 Home 64bit
  • 【Included in the package】Mousepad from PConline365

Windows Users Home Uses

The best laptops to run virtual machines have the Intel Core i7 processor and the NVIDIA dedicated video card.

Our Best Pick

ASUS VivoBook Laptop – Best overall

For the best ASUS laptops for virtualization projects, you need to consider these three aspects: performance, lightweight and screen quality. The ASUS laptop with excellent performance is the ASUS VivoBook.

#1 Best Choice
ASUS Vivobook Go 15.6” Laptop, AMD Ryzen 3 7320U, 8GB, 128GB, Windows 11 Home in S Mode, Mixed Black, E1504FA-AS33
  • OS — Windows 11 Home in S Mode
  • DISPLAY — 15.6” FHD (1920 x 1080) 16:9 60Hz NanoEdge display, NTSC: 45 percent color gamut and 250-nit brightness
  • PROCESSOR — AMD Ryzen 3 7320U Processor 2.4GHz (6MB Cache, up to 4.1GHz, 4 cores, 8 Threads)
  • GRAPHICS — AMD Radeon Graphics
  • MEMORY — 8GB LPDDR5 on board

Runner-up Home Use

Dell Inspiron Laptop – 1st Runner-up – Better Choice

The Dell Inspiron is the best general purpose laptop for doing just about anything.

Dell Newest 13th Generation Business Inspiron 15 3530 Laptop, 15.6" FHD Touchscreen, Intel Core i7-1355U, 64GB RAM, 2TB SSD, Webcam, HDMI, Wi-Fi 6, Windows 11 Pro, Black
  • 【High Speed RAM And Enormous Space】64GB high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs all at once; 2TB PCIe NVMe M.2 Solid State Drive for fast boot up and data transfer
  • 【Processor】13th Generation Intel Core i7-1355U Processor (10 Cores, 12 Threads, 12MB Intel Smart Cache, Base Frequency at 1.20 GHz, Up to 5.0 Ghz at Maximum Turbo Speed)
  • 【Display】15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) Anti-glare LED Backlight Touchscreen Narrow Border WVA Display
  • 【Tech Specs】Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth, 1 x USB-A 2.0, 2 x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1, 1 x USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C, 1 x HDMI 1.4, 1 x Headphone & Microphone Audio Jack, 1 x Power jack, 1080P HD Webcam, Stereo speakers
  • 【Operating System】Windows 11 Pro-Get all the features of Windows 11 Home operating system plus Mobile device management, Group Policy, Enterprise State Roaming, Assigned Access, Dynamic Provisioningm, Windows Update for Business, Kiosk mode, and Active Directory/Azure AD

HP Pavilion Laptop – 2nd Runner-up – Good Choice

The HP Pavilion is a very good laptop for general purpose use.

HP Newest Pavilion 15.6" HD Touchscreen Anti-Glare Laptop, 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD Storage, Intel Core Processor up to 4.1GHz, Up to 11 Hours Long Battery Life, Type-C, HDMI, Windows 11 Home, Silver
  • 【Processor】 Intel Core i3-1115G4 (up to 4.1 GHz with Intel Turbo Boost Technology, 6 MB L3 cache, 2 cores, 4 threads)
  • 【Display】 15.6" diagonal, HD (1366 x 768), touch, micro-edge, BrightView, 220 nits, 45% NTSC, Touch Screen, enjoy your photos, movies, and games with the crisp quality.
  • 【RAM and Storage】RAM is upgraded to 16GB high-bandwidth RAM to smoothly run multiple applications and browser tabs all at once; Hard Drive is upgraded to 1TB PCIe NVMe Solid State Drive allows to fast bootup and data transfer.
  • 【Ports】1 SuperSpeed USB Type-C 5Gbps signaling rate; 2 SuperSpeed USB Type-A 5Gbps signaling rate; 1 HDMI 1.4b; 1 AC smart pin; 1 headphone/microphone combo
  • 【Operating System】Windows 11 Home Operation System

Best Practices for Virtual Machines Lab PCs

This list of best practices for running virtual machines on a desktop or laptop comes from years of experience in the field of virtualization technology.

I’ve built and supported 1000s of server virtual machines on power server hardware designed for virtualization and small virtual machine labs on desktops and laptops. And in every flavor and version of an operating system for Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Best practices to consider when deciding which PC configuration you get.

1. Remember, having more physical memory is best for performance. A VM reading from memory is always faster than reading from a disk, even from fast SSDs. When you shut off your machine, everything stored in memory (RAM) will be wiped clean so always save your work.

When you have a good amount of RAM, you don’t risk starving your main OS of VMs for memory.

2. The system also needs to have a couple of USB ports and an HDMI port so you can connect other devices to them. And It should also be able to support a lot of SSD storage upgrades via NVMe or ATA connectors.

3. The processor should have a lot of fast CPU cores. BTW, I’m not going to spend much time on whether you should get a system with an AMD CPU or an Intel CPU. I’ll leave that up to your preference – they both work well when combined with SSD storage and lots of memory.

For me, it all comes down to how you plan to use the virtual machines.

The best practice is CPUs with the most cores, highest GHz, lots of memory, and SSD storage.

Related guide: Best NUC or Mini PC for Virtualization

People also ask:

What is a Virtual Machine?

A virtual machine is best described as a virtual copy of a physical system. They run on a hypervisor, i.e. virtual machine software that emulates physical hardware.

A PC running a hypervisor can support multiple virtual machine copies of the hardware with a different OS running on each copy. The performance of your VMs greatly depends on the hardware configuration of the PC.

The benefit of running virtual machine software is it allows you to run another operating system that was not installed on your physical computer alongside your main operating system i.e. Windows, Linus, MacOS.

The best PC for virtual machines is defined as one with lots of virtual CPUs, RAM memory, and SSD storage space.

Do you need a good PC to run virtual machine software?

Do you really need the best PC to run virtual machines? It all depends on your application. If you are just trying to run a simple Windows or Linux app, you can get away with a used or cheap PC with less powerful CPUs and HDD storage. But don’t skimp on memory.

Is CPU or RAM more important for virtualization?

For best performance, a balance between CPU and memory is best. Memory is cheap, don’t skimp on it. But a good rule of thumb is to keep your physical host physical. This means only allocating one-half of your total RAM to VMs.

Memory is more of a factor for VMs running large applications and CPU is more of a factor for quickly processing transactions.

Both affect performance when there isn’t enough.

What is better VMware Workstation or Oracle VirtualBox?

Both VirtualBox and Workstation work. VirtualBox is free (open source), whereas VMware Workstation will cost you.

Another alternative of virtual machine software I like to use is Hyper-V. If you have Windows 10 Pro, Hyper-V comes built-in.

If you’re running Linux, KVM is another free (open source) option built into most Linux distributions.

Here’s where you can learn more about virtual machine software alternatives, including software for running Windows on Apple’s OS X.

What is the best laptop for virtual machines?

Check out the list above, but as a quick rule of thumb, the best laptops for virtual machines have a minimum of a Core i7 CPU. They’ll be quad-core or more and have lots of fast RAM (16 – 32GB) that you can throw at your VMs.

They also have a second slot for dedicated storage via NVMe or ATA connection.

What if I want more power for my lab?

If none of the powerhouses shown above is enough for you, then here’s a VMinstall guide about new and refurbished server hardware host virtualization from all the top server brands.

What is the best laptop for IT students?

When it comes to laptops for IT students, there are a few key factors to look for. First, the laptop should have a good amount of RAM and storage space in order to run complex software programs. Second, it should have a good graphics card to allow for graphics-intensive tasks such as 3D modeling. And finally, it should be a durable laptop that can withstand the wear and tear of daily use.

With those factors in mind, here are our picks for the best laptops for IT students:

  • Apple MacBook Air – Best Choice
  • Dell XPS Laptop – Best overall for Windows
  • Dell Inspiron Laptop– Next Best for Windows

Will these powerful PCs also work for a small business server?

Yes, you could make them work with changes to security and a good backup system. For better hardware, you could also consider a powerful built tower server that is specially designed for SMB.

Time to Pick a PC for Your Virtual Machines

Important: Make sure you have plenty of room for growth.

As we wrap up, I want to state one last time that your new PC for hosting virtual machines needs to be expandable.

Later on, I guarantee you will want to add upgraded WIFI adapters, network cards, graphics cards, SSDs, NVMe storage, CPUs, and USB devices.

Planning ahead will make your virtual machine lab more future-proof, especially if you are building virtual machines for business use cases that rely on keeping up with new software requirements.

The best desktop or laptop for running virtual machines can keep expanding if needed before you need to replace it with a new bigger system.

Look, these suggestions all have their Pros/Cons depending on what you plan to do with your virtual machine overall, but they are all good for building a virtual machine lab.

In conclusion, the best PC for virtual machines is waiting for you! Now it’s time to check out the reviews, compare the specs, and pick the winner…

Let us know in the comments which brand and model you decide to get and why.

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