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A Good Laptop For Pentesting

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January 1, 2016

Hi, I wanted to know if you could recommend me a laptop which is suitable for pentesting, coding and so in. It should be portable, so no 17", and have a good processing power, maybe a quadcore and 8+ Gigs oft RAM. I found some gaming ultrabooks online, but they either are too expensive or have high-specs GPUs. The battery should last long (5+ h). Do you prefer some models or manufacturers? Or should I just get a Chromebook? Cheers, nils Hi nilmonsta, I only know one pentester personally, his company uses 15" MBPs with dual-boot (Windows), VMWare Fusion, and several VMs. That said, I don't think one company as a sample is enough to illustrate the whole industry. For coding, on the other hand, you don't necessarily need a lot. IDEs can be add quite a bit of weight, although personally I think they're often worth it, especially working with Java or .Net. On the other hand if you're doing something like node.js development, it's a fairly lightweight stack and I certainly think you can get along fine with a code editor like SublimeText or Atom and a browser, so I suspect lower specs would work fine. It depends what you're coding too though, if you're doing some expensive statistic modelling or game development with 3D rendering, your requirements will be a fair bit different from run-of-the-mill web development. I would say though, I've driven some pretty heavy stuff recently off a dual-core ultrabook with 8GB RAM from 2013, and the laptop's performance was never a problem for me. Thank you for your answer! I think I will buy a refurbished one, maybe a Thinkpad where I can upgrade the RAM. They just offer more for the price, if you don't care about the weight :) Ohhh Thinkpad's REALLY the best laptop models EVER released I have had 2 used ones they were still kinda old but damn I could code fast on those things. To answer your question, I have one for you, why do you think you need a laptop for pentesting? Cause in movies they always show hackers with laptops which might have brought you on this. Imo, you only need a laptop for it if you plan to hack wifi's on the spot, or go wardriving or whatever its called. If you want to use the laptop for everything on pentesting like running multiple VMs have IDE's open and whatever else you can think of, then stop right now and only go for laptop if you got more then a thousand bucks to spare. A pc is something I would recommend more cause you can builtin multiple VGA's you can upgrade your CPU whenever you feel like this way you can actually run all those programs and keep up with it. And a pc is much more stable doing these things. But on the other hand if you (like me) got a PC and then want a laptop for whatever reason if its pentesting or for your job then I would recommend buying Lenovo they took over the Thinkpad line from IBM and thus far they made alot of coders happy with a buyable brand of laptops that have good hardware and depending on what your budget is it can handle alot. If your going to run multiple VMs its really smart to calculate how much RAM, CPU and VGA your gonna put in each running VM cause lets say you got a 6 core cpu and you got 2 VMs running that each take lets say 2 cores then windows loses 4 cores total and can only use 2 cores to keep everything up and running same goes for RAM etc. thats why I said earlier that a PC might be better in this situation. If you need additional help contact me. Thanks for your reply! My Problem is, that I share my PC with my brother, and I can't just put Linux/Kali/whatever on it, because he couldn't use it then:). I already tried to put some virtual machines in it, but I only have problems with their networking. So I thought it would be gold to have a dedicated machine for me. I already found some old thinkpads online, with sometimes 8 Gigs of RAM and an gold dual i7 under 300 bucks, so for me purchasing a new PC, even when it would work better, would be not that great. In the other hand I'm a bit into 3d art, so a good PC would be nice.... But nonetheless, thanks for your reply! I will think about it, maybe I will buy one for my birthday as a present if I have the money:) Nils Hello, I am a penetration tester and I would recommend a laptop with at least 8GB RAM installed because you won't have the 8GB as available memory upon purchase because the operating system takes up much of the RAM. The hard drive space can vary but I've set up my virtual machines with using both Oracle Virtual Box and VMware. I've had very little issues with Oracle Virtual Box and once or twice with VMware but I've had great experiences overall. The main thing is to have your penetration testing suite such as Kali Linux and then some VMs which can become your targets and make sure that you provide enough memory in the pen testing suite so it's suitable for running several tools simultaneously. I chose to have my laptop free of the VMs so I actually use an external hard drive to house all of my VMs. I like some Dell's. Big issue for me is being able to quickly switch the HD. Most of my quick work however is done with a Raspberry Pi and a RubberDucky. It doesn't matter what the wizard's wand is.. Its the spells he can cast :) You need any machine that can run Kali etheir boot or VM. hello Before you buy any thing, I'd suggest you do some research. You are going to want to know the hardware requirements of the tools you plan to use and the requirements of the applications they depend on, what you want, and what you actually need. So get on Google, look up what you plan to accomplish, what tools are recommended, and read the white papers. Until, you know exactly what you need, if it isn't feasible, then go renegades route and build a desktop. Also, if you went with a gaming laptop, you can configure it to run off the onboard graphics for day to day use, so you get the extra battery life, without having to sacrifice parallel computing. If your not sure what parallel computing is and it's uses, you should look into that to. Any how, it's sleepy sleep time, have fun reading. **Acer** would work it out for you best. nice topic You could use an older laptop as long as if it's just for "stress testing" should hold up fine. Some have spaces for dual battery slots for ram get a bigger hdd ect. 16 or 32 GB (Kali will use almost 3-4 GB) USB pen drive to create Kali live usb persistence can save you from installing Kali on Machine(if you don't want to). get a mac, set up dualboot and benefit. if ram is an issue, i wrote an article on how to tune the shit out of your mac. you can easily save up few gigs... just apply what you need and there you go. :) but i guess mac isnt that much your cup of tea, no? anyways, those of you lookin for some input to get the shit off your mac, here you go: [Tune my Mac]( not working as a pentester, though im seriously happy with a persistent live multiboot osx, backbox and kali on my mac. anyways, i´d only recommend this if you´re familiar with linux, as setting up can be a pain cause of different partition table types. if you dont want to dualboot, you could set up a persistent live medium. that way you could restrict your bro from being able to use the pentest environment. cheers I finally got a used Thinkpad t420 for ~200, it has 8 gig RAM and a i5 2520 and this works well for me. It is now dual-booting ubuntu and win10. I got a usb stick with kali, and I figured out that you can set up a vbox machine from that drive, so that's great too. Again, thank you for you suggestions:) Cheers, Nils thanks. ram is important for any laptop yeah is like take note of all you are going to do ( many virtual-distros or a raw linux distro as OS ) taking many aspects as laptop "wireless card" ( search for one compatible with most tools ) and find one cost-efficient. Or find the most powerful laptop you can afford is it going to be your main pc. If you think to buy a ThinkPad, then go for [IBM ThinkPad R51]( It is the real power-pack system for users who want to work on Kali Linux. I know, it's specifications is not much convincing, but you can enjoy your work like Pentesting, high-end graphics, coding, etc.
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