The minimum recommended requirements for SharePoint development just got upped. TechNet recommends a minimum of 8GB ram and 4 cores. This is double of what was recommended for SharePoint 2010. My own tests show that you can perfectly well develop with 2 cores and 8GB ram on a single VM with DC, SQL, SharePoint 2013 and Visual Studio installed….if you have an SSD drive. You can also go down on ram to about 6GB depending on which features you use, but I think 8GB is acceptable.
My dev box is a Lenovo T420s (i5 core) with 2x250GB SSD’s and 16GB ram running VMWare Workstation. Assigning 8GB to the VM even allows a second VM to spin up for multi-server testing. This setup yields an experience which is perfectly acceptable and which don’t give me gray hair waiting for everything (something virtual environments at customers give me all the time).
Sum it up:
- 8GB ram
- 2 cores
- SSD (preferably SATA3 like the Samsung 830)
A more ideal setup is a separate DC with 512MB ram (or even less), one SharePoint VM and one for Office Web Apps. Basically, the more physical ram you have, the more VM's you can spin up for different roles.