I want to build a desktop test computer. Gaming is of no interest to me. When it comes to reading specs and understanding compatibility, I am lost. Here is my desired use of the test machine.
I intend to use virtualization for testing/learning purposes. (All OS choices will be 64-bit versions.) Windows 7 Professional is to be the host OS. Using VirtualBox I wish to run these guest OSs: Windows Server 2012, Windows 8 Pro, Windows 7 (probably HP and Pro), Windows XP Pro, and Ubuntu (v.10.x or v.12.x) all in a virtual network. Memory requirements indicate the need for 16GB RAM, processor speed/power requirements indicate i5 or i7 as a reasonable choice, and I wish to run multiple monitors for running the entire virtual network (all OSs running simultaneously in th VM). Optionally, I can limit the number of OSs running simultaneously in the VM to require a maximum of 8GB RAM.
I am working within the confines of a budget, <$1000. All the OSs are available to me for free via Dream Spark. So, here is the bottom line. I need suggestions for how to compare MOBOs which are essentially the same except for memory (8GB vs 16GB support) which will support my processor choice side-by-side and compare prices. The price difference may determine the rest of the build for me.
What are the key specs I need to understand, and what is the easiest way to filter my choices?
Thanks for your advice.