5 Best Laptops for Virtualization in 2022

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Virtual machines are useful. They are used by many professionals from different fields including cybersecurity, IT, software development, etc. And as someone who has been using Virtualbox for years, I know how important it is to have a computer that is powerful enough to do the job. For far too long I used a mid-end laptop and it was a painstakingly slow experience whenever I used a virtual machine.

In this article, we will cover the basics of virtualization, what specs you should look for, and the current best laptops for running virtual machines.

What are Virtual Machines Used For?

Virtual Machines (VMs) are used to emulate hardware to create virtual computer systems. Put simply, virtualization allows you to run multiple “computer systems” on a single machine. This is useful for many applications.

A common example of this is running software on operating systems that they normally don’t have access to. For example, if you have a windows computer and you need to run a program that is only on macOS. You can just simply create a VM to run macOS as a guest operating system, and then run that program on it.

Cybersecurity experts use virtual machines to find vulnerabilities in software. And many app developers use virtual machines to test their applications on different platforms and operating systems.

Some of the most common virtualization software include VirtualBox, VMware, and Parallels.

Before we get to my opinion on the best laptops for virtualization, let’s briefly go over the recommended specs. You don’t need to spend too much on a good laptop for virtual machines if you know what you exactly need.

RAM

You’ll need a good amount of RAM to run virtual machines smoothly. That’s because you’ll have more than one operating system running at the same time, each of them occupying memory separately. Ideally, you should have at least 8GB of RAM. But if you’re planning to run multiple virtual machines at the same time, we recommend you install at least 16GB.

Besides, you can always install more RAM if necessary. Except on Macbooks – if you’re buying one, check the amount of RAM it has.

CPU

CPU is one of the most important factors in virtualization. As you run multiple systems simultaneously, each of them uses the CPU constantly, putting a significant load on it. So you want to get a laptop with a fast, multi-threaded processor to meet the high computational demand.

In 2022, both AMD and Intel are fantastic options. Both of them have virtualization support at the hardware level. Both feature multiple cores for parallel processing, which reduces latency and boosts the guest OS’s performance. AMD’s Ryzen 5000 series and Intel’s 11th gen series are both very competitive CPUs these days. You really can’t go wrong choosing either one, as their performance and temperatures are very similar. Intel edges out AMD ever so slightly while AMD is typically a smidge cheaper.

But more cores mean more threads for your virtual machines, so our recommendation would be to go for an AMD processor for maximum performance.

Hard Drive

The storage will also have a big impact on the performance of your VMs.

HDDs are okay if you are just doing some testing and do not need virtualization frequently. SSDs are what you want as they are very reliable and fast. SSDs will also help with startup times, program launch times, and can even be used as a “substitute” for ram if you are running out of ram running your VMs.

Best Laptops for Virtualization in 2022

Here’s my list of 5 laptops for virtualization in 2022. All of these are chosen based on the factors I mentioned above, but I did try to include laptops for a wider range of applications. I hope you’ll find a good match for your requirements.

1. Dell XPS 15 9510 – Our Pick

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-11800H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 15.6″ FHD+ OLED
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Battery: 10+ Hours.
  • Weight: 4.3 lbs

Pros:

  • Sleek and attractive design.
  • Bright OLED screen.
  • Powerful Intel H-series CPU.
  • Excellent battery life.

Cons:

  • Expensive.
  • Fewer ports.

Product Description

  • 11th Generation Intel Core i7-11800H (24MB Cache, up to 4.6 GHz, 8 cores).
  • 512GB PCIe SSD.
  • 16GB 3200Mhz DDR4 RAM.
  • 15.6″ FHD+ (1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Non-Touch Anti-Glare 500-Nit Display.
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3050 4GB GDDR6 [45W].
  • Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2×2) and Bluetooth 5.1.
  • 6-Cell Battery, 86WHr (Integrated).
  • Windows 11.
  • 1 USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C with (DisplayPort/PowerDelivery).
  • 1 3.5mm headphone/microphone combo jack 2 Thunderbolt 4 (USB Type-C) with DisplayPort and Power Delivery.

It’s been more than a year since Dell fully redesigned the XPS 15 model, and things have only gotten better.

The XPS 15 is a premium laptop designed for professionals. It looks awesome with its thin bezels and sleek chassis. Its super-bright OLED is a lot better than the conventional IPS displays. The screen makes everything more vibrant and lively, thanks to its excellent color accuracy.

The laptop comes with a superfast Intel core i711800H processor, with 8 cores and a speed of up to 4.8 GHz. It can easily handle your virtualization needs, no matter how many VMs you want to run at a time.

It also comes with 16GB of RAM, sufficient for a smooth multitasking experience. And though not a gaming laptop, it comes with a dedicated RTX3050 GPU for graphics-related tasks.

With its 86-WHr battery, the XPS 15 can last more than 10 hours when streaming youtube at low brightness. So under normal load, it can easily last a whole day at work without charging.

The XPS 15 is very slim, but not very lightweight. It’s approximately 4.3 pounds – not the heaviest but may cause back pain if you need to carry it often.

2. Asus ROG Zephyrus G14 More power, Less Weight

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 14” IPS HD 144Hz
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Battery: 9 Hours
  • Weight: 3.5 lbs

Pros:

  • Super-fast AMD Ryzen 9 processor.
  • Clean, and attractive Design.
  • Lightweight and portable.
  • Commendable battery life.

Cons:

  • Cooling fans are noisy under load.
  • 14″ display.
  • No Webcam.

Product Description

  • Powered by AMD Ryzen 9 5900HS Processor @ 3.1GHz (8 Cores, 16 Threads, 16M Cache, up to 4.60GHz), you can watch your favorite games come to life.
  • No Front-Facing Camera, 14″ 144Hz Full HD (1920 x 1080) IPS-Level PANTONE Validated Anti-Glare (100% sRGB) Display.
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060 6GB GDDR6 Graphics.
  • 16GB DDR4-3200 Memory; paired with ultra-fast DDR4 RAM, slices through heavy workloads and multitasking.
  • 1TB M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD; No Optical drive.
  • Wi-Fi 6(802.11ax) and Bluetooth 5.1; 1x USB 3.2 Type C (Gen 2) w/ Power Delivery, Display Port and G-Sync, 1x USB 3.2 Type C (Gen 2), 2x USB 3.2 Type A (Gen 1), 1x 3.5mm Combo Audio Jack, 1x HDMI 2.0b.

With the Rog Zephyrus G14, Asus has redefined Gaming Laptops. Never has been a gaming laptop so clean and portable, not without sacrificing performance or battery life. The professional, non-gaming design and excellent balance of speed and mobility easily make it one of the best gaming laptops for professionals.

Related: 8 Gaming Laptops That Don’t Look Like One.

The Rog Zephyrus G14 has a clean and attractive design, with no shiny stripes or lightings. So it’s a great choice for both college-goers and professionals.

The performance is top-notch as well. It’s packed with a superfast, 8 core Ryzen 9 processor, which can handle even the heaviest virtual machines with ease. Moreover, the duo of Ryzen 9 and RTX3060 can easily reach triple-digit FPS in many titles.

While its 14″ inch display isn’t the best choice for gaming, it has decent clarity and a high refresh rate for a smooth gaming experience.

The laptop weighs just under 3.7 pounds and has a very compact form factor. The battery backup is also commendable. It has a 76 WHr lithium battery that lasts more than 9 hours under a normal workload.

Like many other laptops from Asus, this one lacks a front-facing webcam, so you need to buy a USB webcam for video chats.

3. Dell XPS 13 9310 – Best Ultrabook

  • CPU: 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 13.4″ FHD+ Touchscreen
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Battery: 8+ Hours
  • Weight: 2.8 lbs

Pros:

  • Breathtaking display.
  • Unbeatably sleek and compact.
  • Solid preformance.
  • Premium Build.

Cons:

  • Very few ports.
  • Expensive.

Product Description

  • 13.4-inch FHD (Full HD 1920 x 1200) InfinityEdge Touch Anti-Reflective 500-Nit Display.
  • 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1185G7 Processor (12MB Cache, up to 4.8 GHz).
  • 16GB 4267MHz LPDDR4x RAM.
  • 512 GB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD Storage.
  • Intel Iris Xe Graphics with shared graphics memory.
  • Killer Wi-Fi 6 AX1650 (2 x 2) Bluetooth 5.1.
  • Including 2 Year On-Site and 6 months Dell Migrate – easily move your files and settings from your old PC to your new Dell.
  • Using Alexa on your PC is as easy as asking a question. Just ask and Alexa can check your calendar, create lists, play music, answer questions, read the news and more.

The Dell XPS 13 9310 is a premium, ultraportable laptop that features a fantastic display. Its build quality is solid and attractive, with smaller bezels and a very polished look. The touchscreen display that it features is one of the best in the world, with rich, vivid colors and razor-sharp details.

The combo of a high frequency, 11th gen core i7, and 16 GB of RAM provides solid multitasking performance. It should be able to handle most virtual machines with ease. And the 512 GB SSD storage should be enough to store all your documents and files.

In terms of battery backup, the XPS 13 doesn’t break records but sits beside the average ultrabook. You can expect around 8 hours of screen-on time under normal use.

Thanks to its slim and ultraportable design and relatively low weight of 2.8 lbs, you can carry the XPS 13 easily in a backpack or handbag.

4. Razer Blade 15 RTX3060 – Best Gaming Rig

  • CPU: Intel Core i7-11800H
  • RAM: 16GB
  • Screen: 15.6″ QHD 1440p 240Hz
  • Storage: Up to 1TB SSD
  • Battery: 5+ Hours
  • Weight: 4.63 lbs

Pros:

  • Sleek, non-gaming design.
  • Premium build quality.
  • Advanced vapor chamber cooling system.
  • High performance CPU and GPU.
  • Wide range of CPU/GPU combo available.

Cons:

  • Trackpad could have been better.
  • Expensive compared to the specs.
  • On the heavy Side.
  • Average Battery life.

Product Description

  • GeForce RTX 3060: NVIDIA’s 2nd gen RTX—with new RT Cores, Tensor Cores, and streaming multiprocessors to give the most realistic ray-traced graphics and improved performance.
  • More Power: The 11th Gen Intel Core i7-118000H processor provides the ultimate level of performance with up to 5.0GHz Max Turbo and 8 cores.
  • QHD 240Hz: Incredible performance paired with the fast 240Hz 15.6″ Quad HD thin-bezel display helps edge out the win.
  • Thin and Compact: The CNC aluminum unibody frame houses incredible performance in the most compact footprint possible, while remaining remarkably durable and just 0.78″ thin.
  • Ready To Connect: Fully loaded with Wi-Fi 6, Gigabit Ethernet, Thunderbolt 3, USB Type-A and Type-C ports, and HDMI, for a desktop-class experience.
  • Make It Yours: Customize the backlight color of the keyboard with Razer Chroma, and expand the memory and storage, making the Razer Blade 15 uniquely yours.

The updated version of Razer Blade 15 has been around for just a few months. And already it’s become one of the best gaming laptops around. It’s relatively thin and light compared to older bulky beasts, while also providing decent battery backup.

The laptop’s minimal look and sleek design are perfect for work and business, it doesn’t scream for unwanted attention. but make sure to turn the RGBs off.

The Blade 15 is designed with gaming experience in mind. Its 11th gen core i7 processor and the RTX 3060 GPU can easily produce three-digit frame rates. You can also buy the RTX3080 model if you’re really serious about performance.

It also stays cooler thanks to the vapor chamber cooling system – which efficiently dissipates heat, to keep the chassis cool. We recorded a maximum keyboard and chassis temperature of 44°C.

The premium 240Hz display is smooth enough for hardcore gamers and the 1440p resolution will be good enough for doing work as well.

5. Acer Swift 3 – Cheapest Option

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 5700U
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Screen: 14″ FHD
  • Storage: 512GB SSD
  • Battery: Upto 17 Hours
  • Weight: 2.65 lbs

Pros:

  • Colorful, bright 3:2 AR display.
  • Excellent CPU performance.
  • Great battery life.
  • Lightweight.
  • Clear Microphone.

Cons:

  • No Touchscreen.
  • No SD or microSD card slot.

Product Description

  • Powerful Productivity: AMD Ryzen 7 5700U Octa-Core Processor with Radeon Graphics run your most demanding apps with lightning-fast responsiveness and hyper-efficient battery usage to keep you productive and entertained all day.
  • Very Visual: Immerse yourself in consistently rich and bright visuals on the 14″ Full HD widescreen LED-backlit 100% sRGB display with 85.73% screen-to-body, 16:9 aspect ratio and narrow bezels.
  • 8GB LPDDR4X on-board memory; 512GB NVMe solid-state drive storage to store your files and media.
  • Windows Hello with Fingerprint Reader: Biometric fingerprint reader and Windows Hello sign-in options help keep your Acer PC secure.
  • 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 Dual-Band 2.4GHz and 5GHz featuring MU-MIMO technology.
  • Bluetooth 5.2.
  • Acer’s PurifiedVoice technology, features enhanced digital signal processing to cancel out background noise, improve speech accuracy and far-field pickup, which not only makes calls clearer, but makes talking to Alexa easier than before.
  • Using Alexa on your PC is as easy as asking a question. Just ask and Alexa can check your calendar, create lists, play music, answer questions, read the news and more.

The Acer Swift 3 is a laptop designed for everyone – from professionals to students. The latest version features a powerful Ryzen 7 processor and 8 GB of RAM, sufficient for smooth multitasking and VM performance.

The laptop has an unusual, 14″ square display with an aspect ratio of 3:2. The screen is bright and colorful and has a high screen-to-body ratio. The build quality is good for the price, and the keyboard is easy-to-use and comfortable.

The Swift 3 is lightweight, at around 2.6 lbs. Its square design also takes less space in the backpack, saving room for other college stuff. Plus, its battery backup is insanely amazing. You can expect more than 12 hours of screen-on time under normal use.

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