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Old 10-29-2011, 06:04 AM   #1
vikas027
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Question Dell Laptop with VT-x and VT-d enabled processors


Hi All/Gurus,

I am planning to buy a Dell laptop in which I can create lots of VMware Virtual Machines and practice Veritas Cluster Server particularly. I would also like to try my hands on VMware ESXi 5.

I have finalized with below processors keeping my budget in mind.


1) Dell XPS 15 Laptop -- Price 1250 USD
Processor - 2nd generation Intel® Core? i7-2670QM processor 2.20 GHz with Turbo Boost up to 3.10 GHz
RAM - 8 GB
Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x) - Yes
Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) - NO



2) Dell XPS L511Z Laptop -- Price 1750 USD
Processor - 2nd generation Intel® Core? i7-2640M processor 2.80 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.50 GHz
RAM - 8 GB
Intel® Virtualization Technology (VT-x) - Yes
Intel® Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (VT-d) - Yes


The second option is is priced extra. I am just looking to find out that spending extra on the second one is really worth keeping my aim of practicing Vertias Cluster Server and VMware ESXi.

Please help me out to choose.
Any suggestions/feedback are most welcome.

Last edited by vikas027; 10-30-2011 at 12:11 PM. Reason: Uploaded detailed configuration of Laptops
 
Old 10-29-2011, 11:11 AM   #2
jefro
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Both are pretty good for laptops. The issue may be with esxi. It used to require a very special set of nic cards or it would not boot at all. Some people have hacked it a bit for other drivers but I'd look into that very closely.
 
Old 10-29-2011, 01:45 PM   #3
vikas027
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
Both are pretty good for laptops. The issue may be with esxi. It used to require a very special set of nic cards or it would not boot at all. Some people have hacked it a bit for other drivers but I'd look into that very closely.
Many thanks jefro, I just called Dell support and they told me that Dell XPS L511Z Laptop has Atheros AR8151 PCI-E Gigabit Ethernet Controller.

Do you have any idea whether this will work for VMware vSphere ESXi ?

Last edited by vikas027; 10-29-2011 at 02:58 PM.
 
Old 10-29-2011, 07:38 PM   #4
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Might look at this.

http://www.vmware.com/resources/comp...ity/search.php
 
Old 10-30-2011, 06:42 AM   #5
vikas027
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Originally Posted by jefro View Post
My NIC is not listed here. I will ask Dell if they can give me some other NIC.
 
Old 10-30-2011, 07:01 AM   #6
cascade9
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Its always a good idea to list the whole model number, "Dell XPS 15" is a general family and the different models can have very different setups.

I havent tracked down exactly what setup you would be getting with those laptops, but itlooks like the Dell XPS L511Z is always an 'optimus' laptop, and the XPS 15 models start at $800 or so, and I'd guess that you have specced a XPS 15 model with 'optimus' as well.

Optimus has no offical support with linux, and while it can sometimes be made to work you are spending extra on an nVidia GPU that will make no difference to virtualisation. I'd go looking for a laptop without optimus (actually, honestly I would get a desktop, they are much cheaper for any given performance level).

BTW, the i7-2670QM is a 4 core model, the 2640M is a 2 core mdoel-

http://ark.intel.com/products/53464
http://ark.intel.com/products/53469

The extra cores in the 2670QM will make it 'faster' for virtualisation in some situation, even though it doesnt have VT-d.
 
Old 10-30-2011, 11:46 AM   #7
jefro
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Esxi is a product for servers. It is unlikely that your laptop nic is there but possible. See posts on how to modify esxi for your system.
 
Old 10-30-2011, 12:10 PM   #8
vikas027
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
Its always a good idea to list the whole model number, "Dell XPS 15" is a general family and the different models can have very different setups.
I am sorry but this was the name given to by the Dell representatives.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
I havent tracked down exactly what setup you would be getting with those laptops
I want to learn and practice Veritas Cluster Server (on VMs) and have good hands on VMware ESXi 5 by creating lab environment. I want to practice to create VDIs, VMotion, some hands on vSphere.
Basically, I would never touch default base OS Win 7, I would play everything inside VMware 8 (even ESXi 5) only. I am novice in VMs. I am thinking to create different Virtual Desktop Interfaces for my mother and wife.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
I'd go looking for a laptop without optimus (actually, honestly I would get a desktop, they are much cheaper for any given performance level).
Yes, indeed a desktop is a better option But I am looking for portability as I do not have much space in my room.


Quote:
Originally Posted by cascade9 View Post
The extra cores in the 2670QM will make it 'faster' for virtualisation in some situation, even though it doesnt have VT-d.
Why is so ? I have always thought and read that VT-d increases the performance of the VMs.

I have uploaded both Dell XPS 15 and Dell XPS L511Z, if in case you want to have a detailed look.


Many thanks for your time and links. Please help me out to choose between these two, keeping my aim in mind. Is it really worth going for the Dell XPS L511Z ?
 
Old 10-30-2011, 12:50 PM   #9
salasi
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Here, fwiw, is the Intel virtualisation page. It looks as if it only lists VT-x.
 
Old 10-31-2011, 03:45 AM   #10
cascade9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vikas027 View Post
I am sorry but this was the name given to by the Dell representatives.
Which is typical dell 'service reps'/sales droids. I've given up hoping that dell (etc.) will ever provide the full muodel number anywhere apart from on the sticker on the
laptop/box....

Quote:
Originally Posted by vikas027 View Post
I have uploaded both Dell XPS 15 and Dell XPS L511Z, if in case you want to have a detailed look.
And that is a typical dell 'quote', without much real information on it. At least it told me that both setups are using nVidia optimus.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vikas027 View Post
I want to learn and practice Veritas Cluster Server (on VMs) and have good hands on VMware ESXi 5 by creating lab environment. I want to practice to create VDIs, VMotion, some hands on vSphere.
Basically, I would never touch default base OS Win 7, I would play everything inside VMware 8 (even ESXi 5) only. I am novice in VMs. I am thinking to create different Virtual Desktop Interfaces for my mother and wife.
Seems like a lot of work, wouldnt it be easier to get some linux-friendly hardware and just run whatever OS in a normal install?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vikas027 View Post
Yes, indeed a desktop is a better option But I am looking for portability as I do not have much space in my room.
IMO it wont take up much (if any) more room for a desktop monitor/keyboard than the laptop/monitor/keyboard.... You can shove desktop cases virtually anywhere, it doesnt have to sit on the desk (I've seen people shove desktop cases into the roof, the basement or even wallls).

Quote:
Originally Posted by vikas027 View Post
Why is so ? I have always thought and read that VT-d increases the performance of the VMs.
It does, but so does cores.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vikas027 View Post
Many thanks for your time and links. Please help me out to choose between these two, keeping my aim in mind. Is it really worth going for the Dell XPS L511Z ?
I wouldnt get the XPS L511Z at all, even the XPS15 has some nasties IMO (optimus, I'd doubt that it is going to work with VMs at all). From what I can see it is now impossible to get a XPS15 without 'optimus'. The big advantage of the L511Z is that its got a lot of the stuff stock that you need to upgrade the XPS 15 to get (eg 1920x1080 resolution, 3 year warranty).

You would probably do better to look at the 'small and medium business' section, the laptops there tend to come without 'optimus' and also less junk that you may never want, let alone 'need' which is increasing the costs (stuff like 'WiDi' wireless display, Optimus, 'free' magazines and software you may never use)

If you really really have to have a laptop, and wont consider looking through the 'small and medium bussiness' laptops for a model without optimus, you can spec the XPS 15 i7-2760QM, its a 4 core/VT/d model-

http://ark.intel.com/products/53474

If you do go to an XPS 15, up the display to 1920x1080 (1366x768 is standard with XPS 15, the extra resolution is nicer)
 
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Old 10-31-2011, 07:16 AM   #11
vikas027
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Many many thanks cascade9 for all this useful info. Let me browse through 'small and medium bussiness' laptops section.
I will get back to this thread after considering some options.
 
Old 10-31-2011, 01:23 PM   #12
vikas027
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Question

Hi cascade9/all,

I have shortlisted Latitude E5520.

Now, what is bothering me is that Latitude E5520 (please click for details) as well as Dell XPS L511Z Laptop are almost priced same.

But, in Dell XPS L511Z I have some benefits
  • 3 Year International Warranty
  • 3 Year Damage Warranty
  • Core i7 2640M 2.80 GHz with Turbo Boost 2.0 up to 3.50 GHz (instead of Intel Core i5-2520M (2.5GHz, 3M cache) in Latitude E5520)
  • 8 Cell Battery (6 Cell in Latitude E5520)
  • 750 GB Hard Disk (500GB in Latitude E5520)

Please suggest shall I go with Dell XPS L511Z keeping these benefits in mind or go with Latitude E5520. I really appreciate your efforts.
 
Old 11-01-2011, 08:43 AM   #13
cascade9
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I'm not suprised that the prices are similar, thats the way things go.

From a look at the spec, I wouldnt get either. The i5-2520M is only a 2 core, 4 cores would work better for virtualisation IMO.

I'd get the XPS 15 with a i7-2760QM (well, I'd actually get a desktop, but I dont think you want to get a desktop vikas027...even if it would be faster for less money, and a lot less complicated than the laptops)
 
Old 11-01-2011, 03:09 PM   #14
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I'd look at the HP site.
 
Old 11-01-2011, 05:09 PM   #15
vikas027
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jefro View Post
I'd look at the HP site.
Hi Jefro,

Yes, that is a good option indeed. But I am based in India and HP does not allow customization here. I tried looking their site but I could not find any laptop suiting to my needs.
 
  


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