Best Laptop for Virtual Machines - My Top Recommendations

In today's technology-driven world, it's become increasingly important to have a powerful laptop that can handle running multiple virtual machines. Whether you're a developer, IT professional, or just someone curious about exploring different operating systems, choosing the right laptop is crucial for a seamless experience.

After hours of research and sifting through tons of recommendations, I have determined that the best laptop for virtual machines is the Dell XPS 15.

The Dell XPS 15 offers a perfect blend of performance, portability, and build quality that is hard to beat. It's equipped with an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and a speedy 1TB SSD, making it more than capable of handling multiple VMs with ease. Additionally, the battery life is impressive, allowing me to work uninterrupted for hours on end.

Now that I've briefly summarized the top choice, let's dive deeper into the specifics of the Dell XPS 15 and other suitable alternatives. Throughout this article, I'll compare various performance aspects and features that make a laptop ideal for running virtual machines. So, buckle up and let's get started!

Understanding Virtual Machines

Before diving into the best laptops for virtual machines (VMs), let's first get a grasp on what virtual machines are and how they work. Virtual machines are emulated computers running on a physical computer. They allow you to run multiple operating systems and applications simultaneously on a single piece of hardware.

Think of a VM as a computer within a computer. It shares resources like processing power, memory, and storage with the host computer, but functions separately and independently. This is all thanks to virtualization technologies provided by software like VMware, VirtualBox, and Hyper-V.

There are a couple of key reasons people use VMs:

  • Testing and development:VMs provide a safe environment to test new software or deploy code changes without affecting the primary operating system.
  • Running multiple OS:You can easily switch between Windows, macOS, and Linux using VMs instead of needing multiple physical computers.

When selecting a laptop for virtual machines, it's crucial to consider the following factors:

  • Processor (CPU):Virtual machines can be quite demanding on your computer's processing power. A strong CPU with 4+ cores and high clock speed is essential.
  • Memory (RAM):VMs require a good amount of memory to function efficiently. Having 16GB or more RAM is recommended.
  • Storage:Virtual machines take up a lot of storage space, so investing in a laptop with a large solid-state drive (SSD) will be beneficial.

Here's a brief overview of how an ideal laptop for virtual machines stacks up:

ComponentRecommended Spec
CPU4+ Cores, High Clock Speed
RAM16GB or more
StorageLarge SSD

A laptop that's perfect for VMs should offer not just powerful hardware but also:

  • A high-quality display for easy viewing, especially if you're working on coding projects or other visual tasks
  • Good battery life, as running VMs can drain your battery quickly
  • Effective cooling system to manage the heat generated by intensive processes

In the next sections, we'll explore the top laptops that meet these requirements to help you find the perfect one for your virtual machine needs.

Key Features to Consider

When searching for the best laptop for running virtual machines, there are a few crucial features to consider. These key aspects can make a significant difference in the overall performance and user experience. Allow me to share some important considerations to help you make an informed decision.


First and foremost, the processor plays a critical role in managing virtual machines. A powerful processor with multiple cores and threads can efficiently handle multiple virtual machines simultaneously. I'd recommend looking for a laptop with Intel Core i5 or i7, or AMD Ryzen 5 or 7 processors. The more cores and threads, the better.

Memory (RAM)

RAM is another significant factor to keep in mind. Virtual machines can be quite memory-intensive, so it's essential to have ample RAM capacity. Here's a rough guideline for minimum RAM requirements:

Number of VMsMinimum RAM (16GB)Recommended RAM (32GB)
1-2 VMs8GB16GB
3-4 VMs12GB24GB
5+ VMs16GB32GB


While storage may not be the first thing that comes to mind, the type and capacity of storage can make a difference in virtual machine performance. Opt for SSD storage rather than traditional HDD, as SSDs offer faster read and write speeds. This results in quicker boot times for your virtual machines.

Other factors

In addition to the above, the following are some other factors to think about:

  • Graphics card:While a dedicated GPU isn't necessary for most virtual machine setups, it can be beneficial if you're planning on running graphic-intensive tasks on your virtual machines.
  • Battery life:Running several virtual machines can drain a laptop's battery considerably. A laptop with better battery life can offer more convenience and practicality, especially if you need to be mobile.
  • Display quality:With multiple virtual machines open simultaneously, a high-resolution display can enhance user experience and provide better clarity.
  • Portability:If you're often on the go, a lightweight and portable laptop can make it easier to work with virtual machines wherever you are.

Keeping these features in mind can guide you toward finding the ideal laptop for your virtual machine needs without breaking the bank or sacrificing performance quality.

Best Laptops for Running VMs

When it comes to running virtual machines, not every laptop can handle the task efficiently. That's why I've compiled a list of the best laptops for running VMs, so you don't have to go through all the hassle. How did I select these laptops? Well, I considered factors such as performance, RAM, storage, and battery life.


Running multiple VMs needs a powerful processor and a dedicated GPU. Look for laptops with at least Intel i7 or AMD Ryzen 7 processors and NVIDIA GTX or RTX GPUs. These laptops ensure smooth performance and can handle simultaneous virtual machines without any hassle.


Virtual machines will consume a lot of memory, which is why it's essential to have sufficient RAM. For the best experience, I recommend going for a laptop with at least 16GB of RAM. You can always upgrade the RAM later on if needed.


VMs can take up significant storage space, so fast and ample storage is a must. I suggest opting for laptops with SSDs, preferably NVMe, as they offer faster performance compared to traditional HDDs. Aim for at least 512GB or 1TB of SSD storage.

Battery life

Running VMs might take a toll on your battery, so it's crucial to have a laptop with decent battery life. Look for laptops that offer at least 6-8 hours of battery life.

Based on these criteria, here are my top picks for the best laptops for running VMs:

1. Dell XPS 15

With its Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage, and NVIDIA GTX 1650 Ti GPU, the Dell XPS 15 is an excellent choice. It even boasts a long-lasting battery life of up to 8 hours.

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2. Lenovo Legion 5

This laptop comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 4800H processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage, and NVIDIA GTX 1660 Ti GPU. It even has a battery life of up to 7.7 hours, making it perfect for a full day's work.

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3. HP OMEN 15

The HP OMEN offers an Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD storage, and NVIDIA RTX 2060 GPU. This laptop delivers a perfect balance of performance and battery life, lasting up to 6 hours.

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ModelProcessorRAMStorageGPUBattery Life
Dell XPS 15Intel Core i716GB512GBNVIDIA GTX 16508 hours
Lenovo LegionAMD Ryzen 716GB512GBNVIDIA GTX 16607.7 hours
HP OMEN 15Intel Core i716GB512GBNVIDIA RTX 20606 hours

Some additional tips when selecting a laptop for running VMs:

  • Consider the number of VMs and the complexity of tasks you'll be running to make sure your chosen laptop meets your specific needs.
  • If you can go for a laptop with Thunderbolt 3 support, that's a plus as it offers faster data transfer rates, and can handle multiple devices simultaneously.
  • Prioritize laptops with good cooling systems because running VMs can make your laptop heat up, which may lead to decreased performance over time.

In summary, be sure to consider performance, RAM, storage, and battery life when selecting the best laptop for running virtual machines. Keep the recommended models in mind and make a smart decision based on your unique needs. Happy virtualizing!

Budget-Friendly Options

I know what you're thinking – virtual machines can be resource-intensive, so surely I'll need an expensive laptop, right? Well, not necessarily! You can find budget-friendly options that still perform well with virtual machines. After all, nobody wants to break the bank just for a laptop.

So, let me give you my top picks for budget-friendly laptops perfect for virtual machines.

Acer Aspire 5

Acer Aspire 5 is a budget-friendly laptop that offers excellent performance. This laptop has a powerful Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD storage. Yes, you heard it right – all of these fantastic specs at an affordable price! It's an excellent option if you're looking for an inexpensive laptop that can efficiently run virtual machines.

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Lenovo IdeaPad 3

Clocking in with a Ryzen 5 hexa-core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD, the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 provides robust performance without straining your wallet.

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HP Pavilion 15

The HP Pavilion 15 features an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD. This model has a larger 15-inch screen, perfect for multitasking with virtual machines.

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Dell Inspiron 15 3000

With an Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, and 256 GB SSD, the Dell Inspiron 15 3000 is another wallet-friendly option that's not lacking on performance.

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Let's take a look at their specifications in the table below:

Laptop ModelProcessorRAMStorageScreen Size
Acer Aspire 5Intel Core i58GB256GB SSD15.6"
Lenovo IdeaPad 3Ryzen 58GB256GB SSD14"
HP Pavilion 15Intel Core i58GB256GB SSD15.6"
Dell Inspiron 15 3000Intel Core i58GB256GB SSD15.6"

Additional points to consider when looking for budget-friendly laptops:

  • Extra RAMDon't forget, running virtual machines on your laptop will require more RAM than usual. If possible, try to get a laptop with expandable RAM or sufficient memory from the start.
  • Solid-State Drive (SSD)For optimal performance, look for laptops with SSDs. Though you might sacrifice some storage space, SSDs provide faster boot times and data access, improving overall performance.

Remember, it's possible to find budget-friendly options for running virtual machines without sacrificing too much on performance. Keep these fits in mind, and you'll be well on your way to running virtual machines smoothly on your new budget-friendly laptop!

Laptops for Developers and IT Pros

When it comes to developers and IT professionals, the need for a powerful laptop for virtual machines becomes all the more critical. So, I've narrowed down some fantastic options that offer the right blend of performance, portability, and price.

Dell XPS 15

One laptop that stands out in this category is the Dell XPS 15. This beauty packs a punch with its Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of RAM, and 512GB SSD. It also doesn't hurt that the display is a crisp 4K resolution, perfect for multitasking. A few features that make this laptop a solid choice include:

  • A powerful NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650 GPU for graphics-intensive tasks
  • A comfortable and spacious keyboard, which is essential for long coding sessions
  • Stellar battery life, so you're never caught off-guard in the middle of a project

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MacBook Pro 16

Next up, we have the MacBook Pro 16. As an Apple fan, I have to admit that this laptop is a fantastic option for developers and IT pros alike. With its 2.6GHz 6-core Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB RAM, and 512GB SSD, it's no slouch when it comes to performance. Some highlights of the MacBook Pro 16 are:

  • The new Magic Keyboard, which provides a more comfortable typing experience
  • A stunning Retina display with True Tone technology
  • Four Thunderbolt 3 ports for versatile connectivity options

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Acer Aspire 5

If you're on a budget, don't worry! I've got you covered with the Acer Aspire 5. This budget-friendly laptop boasts an 8th Gen Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB RAM, and 256GB SSD. While it may not be as powerful as the previous options, it's still quite capable for running virtual machines. What makes the Acer Aspire 5 a valid choice:

  • An NVIDIA GeForce MX250 GPU that can handle light graphical workloads
  • A Full HD IPS display for a stunning visual experience
  • A backlit keyboard which can be a lifesaver during late-night coding sessions

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Dell XPS 15Intel Core i716GB512GB
MacBook Pro 162.6GHz 6-core i716GB512GB
Acer Aspire 58th Gen Intel i58GB256GB

So there you have it! These are my top picks for the best laptops for virtual machines, specifically tailored for developers and IT professionals. Each option has its strengths, so it's essential to consider the features that matter most to you before making your final choice. Happy laptop hunting!

Gaming Laptops for VM Use

Alright folks, let's dive into the world of gaming laptops for virtual machine (VM) use. I've been asked quite a few times about which gaming laptops are suitable for those who want to run VMs. So, I decided to dig deeper into this topic and present my findings to you.

First off, I want to make it clear that gaming laptops generally have higher specs than regular laptops, making them capable of running VMs more effectively. They typically pack powerful processors, large amounts of RAM, and top-notch graphics cards – all essential components for a smooth VM experience.

Now, I've narrowed down the choices to the top 3 gaming laptops in my list:

1. ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17

  • Intel Core i7-10875H
  • 32 GB
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

2. MSI GE66 Raider

  • Intel Core i9-11980HK
  • 32 GB
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080

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3. Acer Predator Helios 300

  • Intel Core i7-11800H
  • 16 GB
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060

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A few reasons why I chose these models:

Powerful Processors

A powerful processor is crucial for virtual machines, as they require a lot of processing power. All three laptops have top-of-the line Intel Core i7 or i9 processors which will deliver the performance you need in VMs.

RAM Capacity

VMs are hungry for RAM, and these gaming laptops also deliver in that department. The ASUS ROG Zephyrus S17 and MSI GE66 Raider both come with a massive 32 GB of RAM, while the Acer Predator Helios 300 packs 16 GB. This will ensure your VMs can run smoothly and efficiently.

Graphics Card

Although virtual machines don't rely as heavily on the graphics card as gaming does, having a good one ensures that whatever you run within the VMs, be it games or design programs, will perform optimally. The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30-series graphics cards in all three laptops are an excellent choice for VM use.

In conclusion, these gaming laptops provide the necessary specs to run VMs smoothly without sacrificing gaming performance. Of course, there are many other gaming laptops on the market that can also live up to your VM expectations.

Just remember to look for powerful processors, plenty of RAM, and a good graphics card in your search for the best gaming laptop for VM use. Happy shopping!

Longevity and Performance Tips

When it comes to using virtual machines on your laptop, there are a few things you can do to keep your device running smoothly and efficiently. In this section, I'll share some tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your laptop and your VM experience.

Keep your software up-to-date

Make sure you're always running the latest version of your virtualization software and guest operating systems. Updates frequently contain important fixes and performance improvements. Don't forget to update your host operating system too!

  • VM software: VMware, VirtualBox, Parallels, etc.
  • Guest operating systems: Windows, macOS, Linux, etc.
  • Host operating system: Windows, macOS, etc.

Allocate enough resources

Ensure you allocate sufficient resources to your virtual machines to prevent them from experiencing performance issues. This includes memory (RAM) and processing power (CPU).

RAM (per VM)2 GB4 GB or more
CPU (per VM)1 core2 cores or more

Use solid-state drives (SSDs)

Running VMs on an SSD will significantly improve their performance compared to a traditional spinning hard drive. If you're using multiple VMs, consider a high-capacity SSD or even multiple SSDs.

Optimize VM settings

Fine-tune your virtual machine settings to suit your specific requirements and improve performance:

  • Disable unnecessary devices and features
  • Use hardware virtualization support (VT-x or AMD-V), if available
  • Configure VMs to use multiple cores for increased performance

Keep your host system in good shape

A well-maintained host system ensures that your virtual machines run efficiently.

  • Avoid running too many programs in the background
  • Keep your hard drive free of clutter
  • Regularly scan and clean your system for malware and other threats

Practice good power management

Laptop batteries can drain quickly when running virtual machines, so keep an eye on your power settings and make adjustments as needed.

  • Use power-efficient settings when on battery power
  • Connect the charger when running resource-intensive tasks

By following these tips, you'll be able to provide a seamless experience when using virtual machines on your laptop, not only improving performance but also extending the life of your device. So go on and enjoy your VM adventures, knowing you're well-prepared for any challenges!


Choosing the best laptop for running virtual machines can be a tricky process, especially considering the vast array of options available in the market today. I've looked at some of the key aspects you should consider when making this decision, and I hope that by now you feel better equipped to pick the perfect laptop for your needs.

Some of the main factors to keep in mind are:

  • ProcessorA powerful CPU is essential for running multiple virtual machines smoothly. Look for models with multiple cores and high clock speeds.
  • MemoryRAM plays a significant role in allowing virtual machines to run without issues. Opt for at least 16GB, or even 32GB if you plan on running heavy workloads.
  • StorageSSDs are crucial for quick boot times and overall performance enhancements. Plus, they offer better durability than their HDD counterparts.
  • GPUA dedicated graphics card may not be necessary if you intend to run basic virtual machines, but it's worth considering if you'll be working with graphic-intensive tasks.
  • Battery lifeBalancing the power needs of running virtual machines with maintaining adequate battery life may be challenging. Ensure that the laptop you choose has a good battery life to avoid frequent charging.

In the end, it's all about understanding the requirements of your specific use case and finding the laptop that offers the best blend of performance, portability, and value for your budget.

I hope that throughout this article, I've highlighted some key considerations that'll help you make an informed choice. Good luck, and happy virtualizing!