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  1. Junior Member
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    #1

    Default MSCA 2016 server - Lab set up on a budget?

    Hi everyone.
    I have an Acer with a6 3420m, 4gb of ram and 500gb hdd.

    I'm thinking of upgrading to 8gb of ram(can't do 16), and 500gb ssd.
    Do you think this will be enough to run the lab?
    I'm on a tight budget.


    I did read other people's input on this and it seems that a lab on your computer is best rather than running on aw or azure.
    Also, which section of MSCA requires lab the most?
    Do i need additional router(or can i use my wifi) - I don't think i'll be able to get access to it either way.
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  3. Senior Member
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    #2
    Quote Originally Posted by bindiz View Post
    Hi everyone.
    I have an Acer with a6 3420m, 4gb of ram and 500gb hdd.

    I'm thinking of upgrading to 8gb of ram(can't do 16), and 500gb ssd.
    Do you think this will be enough to run the lab?
    I'm on a tight budget.


    I did read other people's input on this and it seems that a lab on your computer is best rather than running on aw or azure.
    Also, which section of MSCA requires lab the most?
    Do i need additional router(or can i use my wifi) - I don't think i'll be able to get access to it either way.
    Install an SSD if you can, no less than 240gb. Because the labs will be slow when you are switching between them with a spinning disk HDD, after a while the speed will annoy you when you are waiting for Server Manager to start up.

    From my memory 70-740 required the most labs but I had to use them in all.
    Last edited by malachi1612; 08-29-2018 at 07:12 AM.
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  4. Senior Member
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    #3
    The SSD does make a big difference.

    For most of the labbing you can get away with one or two virtual machines running. I would suggest setting up one machine as a domain controller DNS and DHCP on it. Then use a second machine for whatever you are testing. I have not had a problem running lab machines with 2GB of ram assigned to them. You can get away with less using the dynamic memory settings.

    Keep in mind with a small setup there are always things that you won't be able to test. You just have to do the best you can and then rely on book material to fill in the gaps.

    Good Luck!
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  5. Junior Member
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    #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jon_Cisco View Post
    The SSD does make a big difference.

    For most of the labbing you can get away with one or two virtual machines running. I would suggest setting up one machine as a domain controller DNS and DHCP on it. Then use a second machine for whatever you are testing. I have not had a problem running lab machines with 2GB of ram assigned to them. You can get away with less using the dynamic memory settings.

    Keep in mind with a small setup there are always things that you won't be able to test. You just have to do the best you can and then rely on book material to fill in the gaps.

    Good Luck!
    So a 500gb ssd and 8gb ram will be enough right to run the adequate lab needed? Even though the processor is not the fastest?
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    How are you gonna run the labs. Windows 10 with Hyper-v?

    Try installing a server as it is now and see how you feel. I don't think processing power will be an issue for a lab setup. Some things might be slow but that is going to be the case with a bare minimum setup. 8 Gigs should be enough to run two virtual servers but I have not tried it.
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  7. No Title:)
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    #6
    For server labs, there are some tricks. First you want to boot off an SSD and have additional storage (often a USB 3 drive that is at least 7200K). Use Hyper-V built into Win 10 and base your lab using differential disks on the parent drive and the children on the USB drive. This will let you really use resources the most efficiently. Makes your life easier... trained my whole team on this when 2012 R2 came out. Beyond that, at least 8gb ram. More is better.

    Hope that helps!
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    #7
    @bindiz: What model laptop? I just looked at the A6 3420M cpu specs and seems it will be a bit overwhelmed for what you will need it to do. No L3 Cache will slow things down and built in GPU will need to steal system RAM. Also consider OS overhead using available RAM. Check forums for what other people have done regarding hardware as you might be able to upgrade CPU and RAM beyond manufacturer's spec. (I added i7 2760QM to my HP 8560p, however it now doubles as a hair dryer...) Before purchasing RAM, you might want to consider ditching the laptop as I think that 8GB will eventually be a roadblock to performance if you plan on running more than 3 VMs at a time. My lab box is also full time workstation with 20GB RAM (Gigabyte GA-MA770T-UD3P not spec'd for any 8GB DIMMs, but works just fine). Tried running VMWare and Virtualbox on my laptop, a very painfully experience building a VM as compared to the desktop even though my laptop has what I think is a better CPU and was introduced to SSD first: Intel Core i7 2760QM vs AMD Phenom II X6 1055T. 500GB SSD will be your saving grace, however you might want to consider a newer laptop that you can put 16GB into. Some options on eBay. Also regarding external drives; does your laptop have an eSATA or USB3 ports?
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  9. Junior Member
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    #8
    It’s acer 5560g. I can add an external
    Hdd, but won’t a 500gb ssd be enough?

    Also it has a dedicted 7670m not integraded card.
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  10. Junior Member
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    #9
    My laptop is running win 7, but i could
    Upgrade to win 10 to run hyper v if it’s better.
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  11. No Title:)
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by bindiz View Post
    My laptop is running win 7, but i could
    Upgrade to win 10 to run hyper v if it’s better.
    You absolutely should see if your CPU supports virtualization and if so go Windows 10 with Hyper-V.
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    #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Ashenwelt View Post
    You absolutely should see if your CPU supports virtualization and if so go Windows 10 with Hyper-V.
    Says it supports AMD-V / AMD Virtualization technology.

    So am i good to go ?
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    #12
    Yes you are
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  14. Junior Member
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    #13
    Quote Originally Posted by malachi1612 View Post
    Yes you are
    Alright so this set up should be enough for labs
    Processor: a6 3420m
    Graphic: 7670m dedicated
    Ram : 8gb
    Ssd 500gb
    Windows 10 upgrade from 7

    Am i good to go?
    I’m unfortunately short on money right now and don’t wanna spend 150$ on ram and ssd and then have to buy a new laptop because this doesn’t cut it.

    O and thanks to eveyone for your input.
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    #14
    Give it a go and see how it performs. Also you need Windows 10 Pro and above for Hyper V.
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    #15
    There are a number of eBay options under $150 that will get you closer to what you need.
    Dell Precision M6500 - 12GB RAM No HDD
    Comparing your current CPU vs Intel Core i7 820QM vs AMD A6 3420M
    The i7 870QM CPU has HyperThreading and VT enabled. RAM is what will limit you as once you start adding VMs, so unless they are really small VMs and doing absolutely nothing, you will page out to disk making your lab experience unpleasant.
    Additionally, if you just have to get started, why not just install VMWare Player or VirtualBox on Win7? Microsoft and other parties provide VM images in those native formats: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/vms/
    Upgrading to Win 10 is "USUALLY" simple, however I have 2 dated platforms one of which could not be upgraded because of the video card and the other a deal breaker, no Windows Hello for my finger print reader. Additionally, Win 10 may "need" more resources than what Win 7 is using.
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  17. Junior Member
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    #16
    I'M really getting confused now, everyone is giving me conflicting information.
    One group is saying that my configuration will be enough to run things, the other group of you is saying it won't be enough.

    I don't care if I'm using vmware, virtual box or win10. I just need to know which one will run on my setup so i can practice with labs.
    I can't afford to buy a 500gb ssd and ram and find out it won't cut it.
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  18. Senior Member
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by bindiz View Post
    I'M really getting confused now, everyone is giving me conflicting information.
    One group is saying that my configuration will be enough to run things, the other group of you is saying it won't be enough.

    I don't care if I'm using vmware, virtual box or win10. I just need to know which one will run on my setup so i can practice with labs.
    I can't afford to buy a 500gb ssd and ram and find out it won't cut it.
    Ok, to make life easier for you

    Hyper-V system requirements - https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/vir...v-requirements
    Vmware system requirements - https://www.vmware.com/support/ws5/d...ostreq_ws.html
    Virtual Box system requirements - Install Windows 10 on VirtualBox and It

    If your hardware doesn't match any of these then it will not work or not work well.
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by bindiz View Post
    I'M really getting confused now, everyone is giving me conflicting information.
    One group is saying that my configuration will be enough to run things, the other group of you is saying it won't be enough.

    I don't care if I'm using vmware, virtual box or win10. I just need to know which one will run on my setup so i can practice with labs.
    I can't afford to buy a 500gb ssd and ram and find out it won't cut it.
    VMWare Player and VirtualBox are both free, you can install on your laptop as it is and you can gauge the performance. At the end of the day, you have to be satisfied. If you are doing this for just three certs, then what you proposed will be absolutely fine. But if you get bit by the tinkering bug, you might feel limited. Most of the VM appliances supplied are 1 core/512MB, 8GB RAM + 256GB SSD will do you fine, but your CPU has only 4 threads to give. If you start downloading a whole bunch of ISO's and VM appliances, then you will need 500GB. I would experiment with VMWare Player or VirtualBox first.
    Last edited by Tekn0logy; 08-31-2018 at 08:09 PM.
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  20. Senior Member
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    #19
    I would suggest trying to install a virtual machine before you buy additional ram and a hard drive. If you are able to get it to run on your system now you can make the choice about upgrading to make it quicker.
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  21. Junior Member
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    #20
    I ran a VWMARE before just fine.

    Which test can be passed without any lab studying ? Is there any of them that doesn't require lab studying ? I think i've read somewhere on this forum that one of them doesn't, but that two of them do. Can anyone clear it up for me?
    Also, which books would you suggest ?
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  22. Senior Member
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    #21
    Quote Originally Posted by bindiz View Post
    I ran a VWMARE before just fine.

    Which test can be passed without any lab studying ? Is there any of them that doesn't require lab studying ? I think i've read somewhere on this forum that one of them doesn't, but that two of them do. Can anyone clear it up for me?
    Also, which books would you suggest ?
    That depends on the individual, some people can pass exams by just reading a book. I need to lab when possible, not only to remember it but to understand how it works and the reason behind it. I labbed with all the Server 2016 exams, I don't remember any which you wouldn't have to

    EDX https://www.edx.org/course?search_query=server+2016 and the Sybex books I used to help me with the exams.
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  23. Junior Member
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    #22
    I'm going through the MCSA now and I struggle with 8gb. I'm upgrading to 16gb
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