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I have an old 32 bit laptop running XP that is starting to fail and I would like to convert it to a VM and port it over to a new laptop. I have read that a laptop that supports a bare metal hypervisor can make use of the hardware without the penalty of having an OS sandwiched in between the hardware and the VM. I am open to any laptop model however I have a very strong preference for Toshiba.

Any suggestions?

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closed as off topic by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Mehper C. Palavuzlar, Sathya Jun 17 '11 at 10:10

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I'm curious; why is this being voted as off-topic? – rob Jun 16 '11 at 21:08
Probably because it seems like a shopping recommendation question. – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Jun 16 '11 at 23:59
I took it as a question about what technical capabilities the laptop needs, not what specific model he should buy. If he had just left out the last sentence then it would have been a far stretch to interpret it as a shopping question. People should try to be a little more constructive when voting to close a question. – rob Jun 17 '11 at 16:27
up vote 4 down vote accepted

First off, are you really sure you want to run a bare-metal hypervisor? You won't necessarily get a general-purpose, interactive display with a bare-metal hypervisor--that is, when the hypervisor boots you'll get a screen that lets you configure a few parameters of the hypervisor, but depending on what you choose, you won't be able to run a Remote Desktop or X session and connect to the guest VMs.

I think if you install Linux with Xen (or maybe also with KVM), you'll basically get a usable bare-metal hypervisor and still be able to interact with the guests. But if you're looking at VMware or Hyper-V, I think you're stuck installing virtualization software on top of a base OS if you want to be able to both host and interact with the guests from the same machine.

To answer the virtualization question (which applies to both bare-metal and "sandwiched" hypervisors), you just need to get a laptop whose CPU supports hardware virtualization. The brand names for this are Intel VT and AMD-V. You may also have to enable virtualization in the BIOS.

Preferably, you would also want a laptop that supports other virtualization extensions, such as I/O (Intel VT-d or AMD Vi).

When you're looking at laptops, just figure out the exact CPU model that's in the laptop, and look up its detailed specs on Wikipedia or on Intel's or AMD's website--for example, the Intel i3 "Sandy Bridge" core supports VT-x. Some of the higher-priced CPUs also support VT-d, but the features can vary within a product line, and the Wikipedia articles can be confusing if you're just scanning for features. For example, the i7-2720QM supports both VT-x and VT-d. However, the i7-2630QM only supports VT-x (not VT-d).

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