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 Gigabyte EG41MF-US2H running ESXi 4.0 with Intel Pro 1000GT 
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:59 pm
Posts: 30
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Post Gigabyte EG41MF-US2H running ESXi 4.0 with Intel Pro 1000GT
Recently build a generic whitebox system in a small form factor case with a small 300w supply; built to replace failed Shuttle K45 system. This is a micro-ATX board with a G41 chipset. I have built this to run 24/7 with as little power utilization as possible; couldn’t easily obtain very low power hardware at a reasonable price so I stuck with this form factor.


Specifications:

Server MB: Gigabyte EG41MF-US2H micro-ATX chipset; supports 8gig of DDR-2 ram (according to spec sheet) and has 4 sockets. Board is small and has two PCI sockets and 1 PCI-E socket. Gigabyte claim solid capacitors to run 50,000 hours and “ultra power efficient” design, not sure if that will be useful without windows drivers and core windows OS installed though as it may rely on 3rd party software. Specifications are at http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/Products/Mot ... G41MF-US2H

Server NIC: Added Intel Pro 1000GT NIC

Onboard NIC: didn’t attempt to get it working however I believe it can be made to work; chipset is Realtek 8111C/D chip (10/100/1000 Mbit)

Chipset: Intel G41

Disk controller: Intel ICH7 (standard configuration, no RAID option utilized in my config)

BIOS: standard shipped version (F2)

Socket type: Socket 775

CPU used: Intel Core 2 Duo E7300

HDD configuration: 2 drives - Western Digital Green 1tb 5400rpm drive and Western Digital Green 500g drive, both in standard plug’n’go config (no JBOD or any other configurations); all on standard ICH7 SATA controller ports.

RAM: Running Strontium DDR-2 sticks (2 sticks of DDR-2 800).

Changes required to make the system operate: The only concession I made was to use the Intel Pro/1000GT; everything else seems to have worked out of the box however I do notice a rather long lag pause during the boot cycle on the IDE module load cycle (I’m new to ESXi 4.0 so I don’t know if this is normal). I am running a basic CD-Rom drive on PATA for installation only.

Does the MB support Intel VT (vt-x) / AMD-V: Unknown

Does it support vt-d (directed I/O) / AMD IOMMU: Unknown

General notes:

Have been running this only a few days but it seems to work well – have a bit of room to upgrade PCU and ram and add more volumes should the need arise.

300w supply only had a 20pin primary power connector however I can use this in the 24pin connector without issue, the last 4 pins go unused. The case in use is a low profile vertical unit that I already had, airflow isn’t the best but it’s adequate for use; internal temperatures are ok, added PCI socket extractor fan (Antec) for additional venting.

Running on Eton 600va UPS, trying to work out how to make UPS’s USB connection work with ESXi 4.0.


Fri Jan 01, 2010 7:41 pm
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Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:20 pm
Posts: 2
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Post Re: Gigabyte EG41MF-US2H running ESXi 4.0 with Intel Pro 1000GT
I'm looking for a Mini/SFF solution like this.

Any update on:

Does the MB support Intel VT (vt-x) / AMD-V: Unknown
Does it support vt-d (directed I/O) / AMD IOMMU: Unknown

Thanks,
Ryan


Thu Mar 18, 2010 11:28 pm
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Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 4:59 pm
Posts: 30
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Post Re: Gigabyte EG41MF-US2H running ESXi 4.0 with Intel Pro 1000GT
I'm not sure how to ascertain those two points - is there a recommended testing methodology?

I've taken a point'n'shoot approach, I can vouch for its ability to work well with two caveats;

- the system can only go to 8gig of ram if I have all sockets filled with single sided DIMMs (all of the DIMMs I have are double sided). Unfortunately I only have double-sided DIMMs which the system won’t handle, the manual claims this to be a limitation of the chipset and unavoidable.

- the system generated a surprisingly high amount of heat compared to similar boards. I've used a fairly small case for the solution, it's been able to happily run with an Athlon X2 4400 with an older 7200rpm drive for long periods of time however this solution with two green drives (each with less heat output than the original config's 1 drive) caused the system to overheat and shut down; I'm not sure why this is hotter than the previous Athlon config but it's perhaps wise to be aware of.

Other than that performance is good and with the Intel card sitting in the PCI slot the system just went straight in. The only oddity is a long pause during the startup sequence that I’ve noted but it boots and continues; I’ve just left it running as it’s running and it seem to be ok.


Fri Mar 19, 2010 12:11 am
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