A few weeks back while testing a Server 2008 R2 Core install I was curious what the resource usage impact was when comparing it to some other editions of Windows Server.
2008 R2 Core without VMWare Tools installed runs a page file of 282MB while with VMWare Tools installed hovers at 401MB. Lastly when testing against a full 2008 R2 Standard install with VMWare Tools installed we are sitting at 461MB for memory usage. For comparison, I also included a base Server 2003 R2 install showing even lighter resource usage yet.
Definitely less is more, but it goes to show that there is a a 60MB savings in memory usage by using a core install over the full-install. The bigger surprise was finding out that VMWare Tools alone used 119MB on the test system.