Ashok Raja's Blog
Lenovo ThinkPad W 530 with 32 GB RAM, My new SharePoint 2013 development Laptop
by Ashok Raja T 5. February 2013 00:26

Couple of days back I got my new Laptop delivered. The configuration of this Lenovo ThinkPad W530 theoretically rocks with 32 GB RAM, 500 GB SSD Hard disk and i7 3rd generation processor. I have to check it out how practically it can deal with, our own resource thirsty, SharePoint 2013.

Right from the day on which  SharePoint 2013 preview have been released I was planning to upgrade my laptop, but unfortunately my i7 first generation laptop with 8 GB of RAM cannot be upgraded beyond that limit. Initially, in my old laptop (not that too old !!! , it was one of the highest configuration available 2 years back from Dell) , I configured SharePoint 2013 in a virtual box VHD with 4 GB of RAM allocated to it, with an assumption that I can manage with that. But it took more than 5 minutes to create a Web Application or a site collection. Even with that speed, I could manage to publish one of my most popular article on my blog about Referring Scripts and CSS files in SharePoint 2013 Master page, Visual Web part. But its real tough and you need more patience.

Then I tried with a bootable VHD for SharePoint 2013, so that I can make use of my entire 8 GB of RAM. Even that tested my patience as it took more than 5 seconds to step into next line while debugging the code and no big time difference in Web Application and Site Collection creation. No need to say about the time it takes to load the site after ISS reset, you can have a cup of coffee by that time.

So, I took a list of all these points to create a self-justification to convince myself to spend money on a new development machine. The only thing I couldn’t able to convince myself was, how come a so called high end machine for SharePoint 2010 development have become absolute in the next version of SharePoint.

By the time I decided to go for a new laptop, Siva Rajan, friend and colleague, ordered for one. This became a motivation !!! for me and Ranga (again my friend and colleague and he is the one who is heading our SharePoint Consulting Company - SharePoint Frontier) and we too ordered the same model without any big analysis as Siva have done an extensive research on each and every component of that model. I hope by this time Siva might have become a hardware expert, he can very well extend his hand as a hardware consultant apart from his SharePoint stuff.

What’s there in the Box?

The box came with Windows 7 as its pre-installed OS. No OS CDs or driver CDs came with the pack. A recovery partition was the only thing available, which had all the stuff pre-configured. ( But you can download all drivers from Lenovo  support site )

Hardware Specification

Intel Quad Core i7-3720 QM @ 2.6ghz (3.6 Turbo) 1600mhz/6MB cache

32GB PC3-12800 1600MHz DDR3 (4 x 8GB)

Nvidia Quadro K2000M Graphics with 2GB DDR3 Memory

15.6" FHD (1920 x 1080) LED Backlit Widescreen

720p Integrated Camera

500 GB Solid State Drive SSD 2.5" SATA III 6Gb/s Hard Drive

8x DVD/RW Dual Layer Burner

9 Cell Lithium Ion battery

What I have done now?

The first thing I did was, formatted the entire hard disk and split it into 2 partitions with 100 GB and 400 GB. In the primary partition I have installed Windows 8 and in the secondary partition I have created a Windows 2012 bootable VHDX for 60 GB in expandable mode.

First I have to taste the raw power of 32 GB on SharePoint 2013, so I have no plans for Farm configuration for now. I’ll go with this single machine setup for at least a months’ time. Then I have to plan for a Farm setup.

On Windows 2012 VHD, I configured Hyper V and created a VHD for SharePoint 2010 on Windows 2008 R2. For some reason I am not comfortable with Hyper-V so I roll backed Hyper-V and went for Oracle virtual box.

Hyper-V vs Virtual Box for SharePoint Development

1. Out of the box support for USB drives and Sharing USB Data card Net connection

Most of the time , I would be using 3G data card for net connection while I am in client’s place or while on training. It’s not that easy to share data connection from data card in Hyper-V. On the other hand Virtual box’s default extension supports USB ports without any extra software.

2. Easy File Sharing between Host and Guest Machine

Another thing is file sharing between host operating system and guest operation system. In virtual box there is an Out of the box option in configuration settings to create share folder, which makes our life easier.

3. On the fly Dual monitor support in Guest Operating System

Virtual box supports multiple monitors out the box. A configuration in settings window will enable muti monitor support.

Probably Hyper-V may also have these features, but I don’t have that much patience to dig deep into Hyper-V. This not a production environment, so I don’t mind going for virtual box

What I have planned to do?

I have to setup a farm environment. Hopefully will be doing it within 2 weeks’ time

Why this post?

Well, this would be one of the interesting question. This could be a first step to convince SharePoint Folks like Moses (My Friend and a SharePoint consultant) ,who are still thinking whether to upgrade the hardware or not Smile .

If you want to technically upgrade yourself, you should have a proper environment to play around . You can also go for hosted servers which comes on lesser cost but don’t waste your time by starring at “Sorry for keeping you waiting” message thrown by SharePoint 2013 server for every action, which will end you up in frustration.

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