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Best Hardware setup for home study? RRS feed

  • Question

  • What's an OK hardware setup to get me through MCSE 2003 Server / Server 2008 / and other certs such as CCNA?

    I have past experience and suppose any desktop I can easily swap drives will be ok - true? 

    What's an OK vid card that will be compatible with XP/Vista/WIndows 7/2003 Server/2008 Server? 

    Thanks

    -Dean

    Monday, July 5, 2010 10:24 PM

Answers

  • I built a dual quad-core Xeon system with about 4 GB of RAM to use as a
    desktop running Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 (I was able to get this for
    free at www.dreamspark.com since I am a student). I don't personally
    like the idea of virtualization on a laptop because I have had a number
    of issues with overheating laptops that have died within a year or two.
     
    I have the Hyper-V role installed and I build new systems using a demo
    install of Windows Server 2008 R2 (I mainly do short term testing of
    different features, < 10 days usually) and of Windows 7/MS Office as
    needed.
     
    As time goes on, I might try to get a Technet or MSDN subscription as
    non-production use falls under the license and I can have a little more
    permanent installation/testing environment. Unless you are going to do
    really heavy development or need a stable test environment, I would go
    the short term testing route that I have described above, as 10 days is
    usually enough to work through the labs in the self-paced training
    material and anything interesting that you find online.
     
    If you do not have a version of Server 2008 or 2008 R2 that you can
    install as a base install (to use Hyper-V), you can probably use a copy
    of Windows 7 and run a free virtualization platform like Virtual Server
    (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/cc949735.aspx#ECAA) or Virtualbox.
     

    -- Mike Burr
    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 11:06 PM
  • I'm using a 2 year old Gateway laptop with 4 gigs of memory, running Windows 7 Ultimate and Virtual PC to run several instances of Server 2008 as a VM.
    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 12:01 AM
    Answerer

All replies

  • Best HW setup would be a no cost setup. And if you do make an investment for HW to pass any of these exams I sure hope there is some immediate ROI coming down the pike. Like a 10% increase right after obtaining the certifcation. Otherwise you wasted your time and money all for some stupid status.

    just my 2 cents

    Monday, July 5, 2010 10:36 PM
  • I'm using a 2 year old Gateway laptop with 4 gigs of memory, running Windows 7 Ultimate and Virtual PC to run several instances of Server 2008 as a VM.
    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 12:01 AM
    Answerer
  • If anything is worth buying it would be a 64 bit desktop/laptop to setup ESX on for a VCP certification.
    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 3:30 PM
  • The days of swapping hard drives are over.  With VMWare you have more flexibility and a much lower cost, also setup time is reduced.  This also removed the requirements for compatible hardware between platforms.

     

    Ideally you will have one very powerful computer or 2 powerfull computers and leverage Virtual stations for all your testing needs

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010 5:56 PM
  • I built a dual quad-core Xeon system with about 4 GB of RAM to use as a
    desktop running Windows Server 2008 R2 x64 (I was able to get this for
    free at www.dreamspark.com since I am a student). I don't personally
    like the idea of virtualization on a laptop because I have had a number
    of issues with overheating laptops that have died within a year or two.
     
    I have the Hyper-V role installed and I build new systems using a demo
    install of Windows Server 2008 R2 (I mainly do short term testing of
    different features, < 10 days usually) and of Windows 7/MS Office as
    needed.
     
    As time goes on, I might try to get a Technet or MSDN subscription as
    non-production use falls under the license and I can have a little more
    permanent installation/testing environment. Unless you are going to do
    really heavy development or need a stable test environment, I would go
    the short term testing route that I have described above, as 10 days is
    usually enough to work through the labs in the self-paced training
    material and anything interesting that you find online.
     
    If you do not have a version of Server 2008 or 2008 R2 that you can
    install as a base install (to use Hyper-V), you can probably use a copy
    of Windows 7 and run a free virtualization platform like Virtual Server
    (http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/cc949735.aspx#ECAA) or Virtualbox.
     

    -- Mike Burr
    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 11:06 PM
  • Good idea. However, not seeing too many accounts on MS Hyper-V so I would stick with the ESX and VMware setup.

    I deal with several enterprise accounts and not a single one is running MS Hyper-V.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010 11:41 PM