For the past several months, I’ve been debating about what to do for the next iteration of my Hyper-V network. I rely on it heavily for my writing, course-ware development, and training. For awhile now I’ve been traveling with a Yoga 2 Pro which runs a few virtual machines, and a Gigabyte Brix unit with 16GB of RAM and an i7 CPU for everything else. Because of the two units I also tend to travel with a small 4 port switch plus all the necessary power supplies and cabling. Even though the Yoga 2 is really light, by the time I pack everything up, as they say, “not so much.”
I also have realized that there are a few more virtual machines I’d like to add to my running network which meant I needed to expand my Hyper-V setup. I was torn between building a mini-ITX solution with this motherboard which could have supported up to 128GB of RAM. I thought that if I needed to travel with it, a mini-ITX wouldn’t be that much of a burden.
Or, I could stick with a laptop. I knew that Lenovo was coming out with a new line of ThinkPad workstations. So I kept waiting. And waiting. The ThinkPad P50 and the ThinkPad P70 promised to be beasts. At least the specs I wanted. For my purposes, what was most tantalizing was the ability to get a Xeon CPU in a laptop that would support up to 64GB of RAM. Yeah, the unit would be a bit bigger than what I had now at 5.6 lbs but if I maxed out the memory (and why wouldn’t you!), I would only have to deal with a single item at conferences and classes. So I did.
I put in an order for a P50 (the P70 is a 17″ version which was bigger than I really needed). Even though Lenovo, like most vendors, offers plenty of upgrades, I opted to keep this unit as base as possible. I did get the Xeon CPU and upgraded to Windows 10 Pro (even though I eventually plan to run Windows Server 2016 on it). I also opted for a 2 year warranty with accidental damage to hedge my bets. Not that I’m expecting any issues but I travel and things happen. I decided to do my own memory and drive upgrades so save a little money. Right now I’ve invested about $2100 including tax. I think the memory will be about another $400. I have a spare drive I’m hoping will work in the P50.
My plan is to set it up as a Hyper-V server in my test domain. When I need to go to a conference, I’ll replicate the VMs I need and go. The schedule is tight, but I’m hoping to bring it with me to Techmentor so if you will be in Las Vegas and want a P50 tour, be sure to find me. If nothing else, it should be joining me at the PowerShell Summit.
I’ll be posting pictures, impressions and notes on upgrades as they happen. Much more to come.