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 White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3 
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Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:12 pm
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Post White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3
Hi all

I had recently decided to make a white box using the following

Asus M4A88TD-V Evo / USB3 mother board (AMD3 socket)
- chipset 880G / 850
- AMD Phenom II x 6 1090T
- 8 GB DDR3 Corsair XMS3
- 250Gb WD Enterprise class HD
- SATA DVD/RW
- PCI/PCI-X Intel Pro/1000 MT dual port NIC

Out of the box the system would load but freeze at various point where using alt-f12 and alt-f11 would allow it to continue.
After some trails of disabling various bios settings I foud that if you downgraded the bios to version 1106 it works fine with no hangs even has USB support.-


Mon Jan 24, 2011 10:25 pm
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Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 7:53 pm
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Post Re: White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3
This is my first ever post on any reviews. It took me a week to configure mother board to make it working with esxi 4.1. It does not work with on board NIC. I had to buy the PCI/PCI-X Intel Pro/1000 MT dual ports. I downgraded the bios to 1106. I have not tested with new bios since my system working properly.

My system is
Asus M4A88TD-V Evo / USB3 mother board (AMD3 socket)
- chipset 880G / 850
- AMD Phenom II x 6 1090T
- XMS 16GB DDR3-1333 (PC3-10666)
- D-link 321 NAS
- PCI/PCI-X Intel Pro/1000 MT dual port NIC
- Boot ESXi from USB


Fri Apr 15, 2011 5:59 pm
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
Posts: 3880
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Post Re: White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3
Does the D-Link 321 support just NFS for ESXi or iSCSI as well? Have you tried jumbo frames with it?

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Fri Apr 15, 2011 6:54 pm
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Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:13 pm
Posts: 49
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Post Re: White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3
I just finished putting together a very similar system. Rather than create another thread for this motherboard, I'm going to add my particular specs to this one (hope nobody minds) ...

Motherboard:
    Asus M4A88TD-V EVO/USB3
    BIOS: 1702 (12/22/2010)
    AMD® Socket AM3
    AMD® 880G/SB850 Chipset
    Dual-Channel DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1333/1066 Support, 4 * DIMM, MAX 16GB
    2 * PCIe 2.0 x16
    1 * PCIe 2.0 x1
    3 * PCI
    Integrated ATI Radeon HD 4250 Graphics (DVI & D-Sub outputs)
    5 * SATA 6Gb/s, with Software RAID 0, 1, 5, 10, and JBOD
    1 * eSATA (6Gb/s ready)
    1 * uDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
    1 * Realtek 8111E Gb NIC onboard
    12 * USB 2.0/1.1 ports (4 on back, 8 internal mid-board)
    2 * USB 3.0 ports (on back)
    ATX Form Factor

CPU:
    AMD Phenom(tm) II X4 965 Black Edition Processor (3.4 GHz)

Memory:
    16GB Total (4 * 4GB DIMMS) - 2 * Mushkin PC3-10666 Silverline DDR3 SDRAM, 8GB Dual Channel Kit (2 x 4GB)

Network:
    Intel PRO 1000/PT Desktop NIC (Had it laying around. Was bought new back in 2004 or 2005. It will eventually be replaced with one or two dual-port Intel NICs.)

Other Info:
    Used VMware Workstation 7.1.4 to install ESXi 4.1U1 (348481) onto a SanDisk Cruzer 4GB USB Flash Drive.
    The system listed above is currently booted from this USB flash drive.
    I did not perform any customization whatsoever to the oem.tgz file. This is a totally "in box" install.

Are the onboard NIC / storage controller working?
A: I never bothered to put the build together with the onboard NIC enabled, since I've already seen the other threads that have stated that it does not work out-of-the-box. Also, at this time I do not plan on using local storage for this system, at least until I can free up a spare drive. Until then, I will be using shared iSCSI storage that will be served out from an OpenFiler 2.3 x64 system that I will be building within the next few days (that's the plan, anyway.) However, I've attached a screenshot that shows that the onboard storage controllers (in AHCI mode) are detected and present in ESXi 4.1U1 (Build 348481).

Any changes required to enable ESX/ESXi to recognize hardware components?
A: None that I know of. Although, keep in mind, due to the planned use of this system, before I even booted ESXi off of it, I booted it into the BIOS, and disabled anything that I wasn't planning to use. This includes:
    Onboard Audio
    Onboard 1394 Controller
    Onboard Realtek NIC

Does the storage controller support RAID / battery backup for write cache?
A: The storage controller is onboard, and supports software-only RAID (and as such, does not have battery backup).

Does the MB support Intel VT (vt-x) / AMD-V?
A: Yes. AMD-V.

Does it support vt-d (directed I/O) / AMD IOMMU (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86_virtualization)?
A: I have been unable to find anything in the documentation regarding AMD IOMMU. However, it's pretty late where I am right now, and I'm rather tired. So, I'm not at my best at the moment, and could have easily missed it in the doc's somewhere (plus, I admit I didn't look very hard for the info either.)

Is the CPU FT (Fault Tolerant) capable?
A: See answer to AMD IOMMU question. Me tired. I'll look at investigating this further in the next few days. OK, I just checked the VMware HCL, and only AMD CPUs from the Opteron family are officially FT-supported. Not sure right now if that means that the Phenom II processors won't work with it, and can't try it out until I get some VMs running on this thing, which won't happen until I get the OpenFiler install up and going. Busy, busy, busy!


Attachments:
File comment: Network Adapters Summary
System-3.JPG
System-3.JPG [ 15.65 KiB | Viewed 7646 times ]
File comment: Storage Adapters Summary
System-2.JPG
System-2.JPG [ 24.63 KiB | Viewed 7646 times ]
File comment: System Summary
System-1.JPG
System-1.JPG [ 75.15 KiB | Viewed 7646 times ]
Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:02 am
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Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:13 pm
Posts: 49
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Post Re: White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3
Couple updates (been a while):

- The CPU does not support VMware FT.
- I never ended up staying with OpenFiler for my storage. It worked alright, but in the end, I went with Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 to present iSCSI LUNs to the VMware ESXi system. (Mostly to increase my familiarity and experience with the R2 release.)


Thu Jun 30, 2011 10:30 am
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Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:13 pm
Posts: 49
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Post Re: White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3
Just thought I'd add a quick update, as the following card has been known to have issues with certain motherboards (can't boot, reported system physical RAM total incorrect, etc.) ...

Recently got my hands on a Dell PERC5/i SAS/SATA RAID controller, with 512MB cache, and BBU, on eBay to put in with this motherboard, and the card seems to be working wonderfully for the past 5 days so far.

Sometimes, these cards need a small modification done to them (covering up or removing pins 5 and 6 on the card) to be able to work in certain motherboards to address the booting issues and incorrect system RAM sizes, but with this motherboard, it didn't.


Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:06 am
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Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:02 pm
Posts: 15
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Post Re: White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3
I have an antex 430W power supply that's been unused sitting in a box. would it be powerful enough for such a whitebox you guys have made? if not, then how big? 550W enough?

I suspect the thing to do is to add up the power requirements for the components...

thanks


Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:13 am
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Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:13 pm
Posts: 49
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Post Re: White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3
430W should be fine. I'm pretty sure that's what I have in mine (or close to it) with 6 hard drives (2 * 7200RPM and 4 * 5400RPM), and 3 PCIe adapters. The typical heavy hitter in PC's these days are the CPU, and even to a worse degree the video card, as lots of the expensive 3D cards tend to have large power requirements.

If you stick to the onboard video, I don't believe you should have any problems.


Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:35 am
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Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2011 12:02 pm
Posts: 15
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Post Re: White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3
you ever try this online power calculator?
POWER Calculator: http://extreme.outervision.com/psucalculatorlite.jsp

"The recommended total Power Supply Wattage gives you a general idea on what to look for BUT it is NOT a crucial factor in power supply selection! Total Amperage Available on the +12V Rail(s) is the most important, followed by the +5V amperage and then the +3.3V amperage. "


I put in the following hardware on that online power calculator:
motherboard "high end desktop"
AMD Phenom II x 6 1090T cpu
4 ddr3 memory sticks
2 80 mm fans
2 120 mm fans
3 high speed sata HDDs
1 pci card
1 dvd rom
1 PCI IDE RAID Card
CPU Utilization:100%
System Load: 100%
Capacitor Aging: 15%
with AGP 32MB video card (TOTAL = 497W)
with a basic video card it was still about 500W.

my concern is the 12v rails amps on the antec truepower 430W PS. While I'm no electronics genius, I do know that if a device can't get enough power, it will run hot and burn out quicker. In the case of high end audio, you'll ruin your speakers due to too little power instead of too much.

I think I'll spring for a more powerful powersupply, and may get one of those "green ones" as that may save me some bucks over the years...or not.

Your setup looks encouraging to me as it is cheaper than the intel route, plus the mobo has hdmi if I ever want it for that.

I noted on newegg.com that there are many upset with asus for their lack of tech support these days, however, it seems that everyone is upset with all the manufacturers on that one. Since this mob is so cheap at just over a $100 clams, I can buy another one if it dies.

now all I have to do is get the parts, sling it together and see how I am to load esx 4.1 (dang 5 is out...should I go for 5 I wonder??).

thanks, Kerry


Sat Jul 23, 2011 11:10 am
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Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:13 pm
Posts: 49
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Post Re: White Box Specs with Asus M4A88TD-V Evo /USB3
If you're putting a 6core CPU and additional video card in it, then yeah I'd say go with more power.

I checked my system, and I have an "Antec TruePower 2.0 550W" PSU in it.

Edit: I've never really had any trouble with any Asus hardware that I've owned ... within warranty. I've had hardware die, but that's been over 8 years after it was purchased, and it had long since been passed on as a hand-me-down to a family member. The typical usage I get out of hardware is usually between 3 and 5 years. As long as it lasts that long, I'm satisfied.

The only problem I've ever had with hardware dying prematurely, was an XFX video card that died on me a year after I got it, and I got in a big back and forth argument with XFX support because they said I never registered it (which was total BS). One of them even approved an RMA for it, which was then "overturned" by their supervisor or co-worker. Which was the spark that started my whole fight with them. ... Not a positive experience at all with that company. I've never bought another of their products since, and never will.

(Wait a minute ... that's not true. I have had a couple hard drives go bad on me before the warranty was up on them.)

BTW, if VMDirectPath is important for you (AMD IOMMU, aka "AMD-Vi"), pass on this motherboard, and get one with 890FX chipset in it. That chipset supports IOMMU 1.2.


Sat Jul 23, 2011 2:44 pm
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