I am looking to run between 6 and 8 virtual machines, each running Windows XP. Each virtual machine would run Magic Online (MTGO) and a few scripts for data sharing. The host itself would run nothing except a few scripts for data collection and parsing. The machine itself would be running 24/7 in a house environment. I have not decided on the virtualization software/environment but it will be something free (although the host OS might be Windows 7).
All things otherwise being equal, what should I look for in a desktop CPU to optimize performance in this scenario? Should I be looking for more cores or higher speed cores? Obviously a CPU integrating virtualization extensions will work better, but what about other factors? Are there other considerations I should take into account?
I have found very few recent benchmarks about virtualization, and none about multiple machine virtualization. I am looking for personal feedback of users with a similar setup and, preferably, benchmarks.
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