I have finally retired my 7-year old Dell Studio XPS desktop, and got myself an off-lease Lenovo D20 ThinkStation. One of the reasons for getting a workstation is that I need a computer with lots of RAM, space for drives, and dual processor configuration. My D20 came with 2x Xeon X5650 6-core CPU, 64GB of RAM and space for 8 hard drives. The other reason is reliability. I do not want another computer that will blow up the power supply, killing my hard drives. The painful experience is still fresh in my mind.
You may ask why 64GB of RAM? I know it's an overkill for most applications, but I indent to run multiple VMs within this workstation. Beside, it was only $80 to upgrade the 32GB to 64GB so why not? ECC RAM is expensive and $80 is a good deal. But, back to Virtual Machine Emulators.
I had good experience with VirtualBox from Oracle. It ran really well on my MacBook Pro running Windows 7, and I could have 5 VMs running at the same time on 16GB of RAM. It was slow but stable. But, when I ran the latest version of VirtualBox on my D20 with Windows 7, I have had a lot of crashes with Blue Screen of Death. Just wondering if anyone has this issue. I don't have other hardware on it, other than the video card, and my system drive is a 240GB SSD (SanDisk). At one point after the crash, the VM was missing completely and had to be added again.
I also tried the free Microsoft Virtual PC, but it's a single threaded application and the maximum amount of RAM I can assign to the VM is 3.7GB and runs on a single CPU. It was just too slow for my needs.
Now I am trying the VMWare Workstation Player. It will take a few days to install, update and test the OS. I have the OS installed and now running updates. So far it's stable and seems quite fast. I have my fingers crossed.
If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear from you. I really like VirtualBox, if I could get it to run more stably.