Making decisions: MCITP

wesamesswesamess Registered Users Posts: 3 ■□□□□□□□□□
Hello everyone! First of all I want to say that the community on this forum is great. It has really helped my in obtaining my certs. Them being A+, N+, Security+, and ITIL v3 Foundation. I used the Mike Meyers books for A+ and N+. For Security+ I used Darrel Gibson's study guide which is the only book you need for that exam. I must say that the courses I took in college helped as well as building and troubleshoot my own PCs for the last 6 years. For the ITIL exam I used the offical study guide, taruu study study guide and lots of practice quizzes that are linked on IT Skeptic's blog.

Anyways, back to discussing my current goal: I am interested in obtaining one of the MCITPs. System Administrator or Enterprise Administrator. The SA route seems easier, faster, cheaper, and 2 of the certifications can be used towards the EA so that is the route I will probably be taking. Unless someone can convince me skip the SA and go for the EA, I will aim for the SA. You cannot convince me to go MCSA or MCSE.

I have already purchased a TechNet subscription and VMware Workstation 8. My setup:

Motherboard: AMD Crosshair IV Formula
Processor: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T
Memory: Mushkin 4x2GB PC3-12800 Blackline DDR3 7-9-7-24
Video: MSI R6950 Twin Frozr III Power Edition
HDD: Mushkin Callisto Deluxe 60GB / 4 x Hitachi Deskstar 2TB in RAID 5
PSU: Corsair AX850W
Case: SilverStone Fortress 2 FT02
Optical: LG Blu-ray Reader DVD-RW w/ Lightscribe (I regret buying this LOL)
Monitor: Dell U2410
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Originally it was going to be a whitebox ESXi setup but I decided that I might as well game on it too so I added that video card ;) - so many news games to play but no time to play them! Didn't install ESXi and bought VMware Workstation 8. This was all before I read this thread: http://www.techexams.net/forums/general-certification/69594-certifications-have-brought-you-most-success.html If I could go back and not spend all the money on my setup I would have probably sent a good chunk of it for CCNA. Oh well.

Back in January, I bought the MS 70-680 press book which is terrible and has a huge errata. I sort of gave up on it. I was making so many mistakes and I could not get auto deployment working. I also heard that the exam for 70-680 is quite difficult and that the Server 2008 exams are easier. But let's not talk about the past; it's time to focus on the future!

I have done a bit of studying for the 642 already. Not much but enough to know that it will just keep getting harder from here on. I've setup AD, DHCP, DNS, and RRAS. I once even installed Exchange but that was just to see what it was like. I would like to start clean.

I am now at the point where I would like some help:

Which exam should I focus on first - the 70-640, 642, or the 646?
I am a student still (I work full time Mon-Fri), can I take the 72-64x exams instead of the 70-64x to save some money?
I have had success which textbooks, which do you recommend?
Is it possible to just study and not lab and still pass?
What is the minimum number of servers that I should be running? Minimum number of clients?
Is it okay to install DHCP on the DNS/AD server or does that work against "best practices?" Is it okay to install it on a server with RRAS?
Doing stuff the M$ way...how difficult will it be go against what you think and answer questions the way M$ wants you to? Seriously... a server running as a Server outside of a VM environment?

I find that I cannot study at home so I remote desktop to my home PC when I am at work or school or in a coffee shop. I love remote desktop. I was thinking of getting a tablet and remote desktop on it. Maybe I should just get a tablet instead of textbooks. Anyone recommend going that way? It would be a lot less lugging around.
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