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 Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz 
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Joined: Sat Jun 18, 2011 10:32 pm
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Post Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
MB: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 (Intel Z68 / Socket 1155)
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
RAM: Kingston Hyper X 16GB 1600MHz DDR3 Non-ECC CL9 DIMM (Kit Of 4) XMP
NIC: Intel EXPI9301CT CT Desktop Ethernet Adapter, 10/100/1000 Mbps, PCI Express

Notes:
On board NIC didn't work with standard ESXi install drivers, but an additional driver got it working. In the end I installed a hassle-free Intel EXPI93001CT NIC which worked with the standard ESXi 4.1.0 install. I'll enable the MB NIC later.

On-board RAID didn't work under ESXi 4.1, but a direct SATA drive works fine. I'm expecting an Adaptec RAID card soon to try out.

I've been running ESXi 4.1.0 on it for over a week now non-stop - runs like a charm.

Point to note - one of the BIOS boot screens stated that it couldn't be booted from USB flash, but I had no problem when the boot device was set to "USB-HDD" - it booted VMWare fine from the USB-flash.


Sun Jun 19, 2011 5:33 am
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:05 am
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Post Re: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
MB: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 (Intel Z68 / Socket 1155)
CPU: Intel Core i3 2100 3.1GHz
RAM: XMS3 16GB (4x4GB) 1333MHz DDR3 Non-ECC
NIC: Integrated Realtek 8111E
Storage: Integrated SATA

Got 4.1.0.update1-348481 (4.1 Update 1 with no further updates) installed last night and it seems to be working so far, although I have not created any VMs just yet. I'm booting from USB flash drive as attempts to install ESXi to hard drive did not work for me.

I set BIOS SATA mode to "AHCI" and used Varazir's instructions and script under Ubuntu to get the NIC to work, building a bootable USB flash drive. Using the script's options to create an ISO or make USB installation media did not work in my case, although I was taking the above ISO and turning it into a USB image, so that may have been part of the problem there.

Instructions (read Varazir's comments):
http://engwar.com/post/392
http://code.google.com/p/mkesxiaio/

Grabbed the Realtek RTL8111/8168 driver from here:
viewtopic.php?f=12&t=1272&p=9462#p9462

Supposedly, this NIC is supported natively in vSphere 5, available later this month.
-robert


Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:26 am
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Joined: Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:42 pm
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Post Re: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
Hi,

It's work !!! :)

OS: ESXi 5.0
MB: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 (LGA 1155)
CPU: Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
RAM: Kingston DDR3 PC10600/1333 MHZ 4GBx4 (16GB)
HDD: WD 2TB Black 3.5" SATA 3
NIC: On-Board

Note: -No need install any extra-drivers for Hardware (NIC, etc...)
-Boot from USB Thumb-Drive

Rgds
WHH


Thu Sep 08, 2011 10:52 pm
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Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2011 11:39 am
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Post Re: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
i have the same board, processor and esxi 5. did you get directpath to work. im having issues. esxi is installed and running and i have set ahci mode for the drives but i am unable to get directpath working.
thanks


Fri Sep 23, 2011 5:14 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:05 am
Posts: 5
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Post Re: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
After installing ESXi 5.0.0 and having it run perfectly for a week, I did a reinstall on this motherboard and everything is now unstable. Uploading a large ISO file gets me the following error in vSphere Client:
"The request failed because the server closed the connection. The underlying connection was closed." I also get "I/O Error" in vSphere Client.

The networking connection between vSphere Client and the ESXi server is not the greatest (wireless bridge), but I've used a crossover cable and gotten the same result. Now I'm wondering what I did to make it work and make it break (updating BIOS from F2 to F4 or F8, changing vSphere Client host OS from Windows 64-bit version to Windows 32-bit version, or whatever). This thing just flat-out doesn't work anymore. I should probably fall back to 4.1 Update 1, but I'll have to recreate my USB installation media with the Realtek driver and everything since I formatted that USB key... :-(

UPDATE: I found the problem. Since installing ESXi 5, I had installed an EVGA GT 430 video card in the box as an upgrade for when I boot it in Windows 7. When I pulled the card and returned to on-board video, I was able to maintain a network connection in ESXi. I've now installed the first patch release for ESXi 5 (can't remember the version, but it is/was the first released) and put the card back in and now it's not losing its network connection at all.

Now if I could just get this motherboard to stop sitting at "Loading Operating System ..." for several minutes every time it boots, and also share a disk between VMFS and NTFS. For the latter, I'll suspect I'll simply have to create a VMFS3 partition on the disk *first*, and then install Windows 7 in the remaining space after. We'll see if that works.


Sun Sep 25, 2011 10:20 am
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:05 am
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Post Re: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
Even without the video card, the instability of the NIC under ESXi 5 has returned. I do not know if I have a defective board - I can tell you that the system works perfectly with Windows 7 64-bit, though. This problem, along with the five-minute wait time I must endure at every boot when using ESXi 5 (the GPT-formatted disk may be the problem) makes this motherboard problematic with ESXi 5. Maybe a later update to ESXi 5 will help with the 8111e NIC, but the wait for "Loading Operating System" may require a BIOS fix, and ESXi 5 is not looming large on Gigabyte's radar.


Tue Nov 01, 2011 7:40 pm
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:05 am
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Post Re: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
The five-minute wait time to boot issue is now resolved - and it was ESXi's GPT-formatted disk that was causing the issue (or rather Gigabyte's inability to deal with a GPT-formatted disk was the problem). Solution was to reinstall ESXi 5 and during install press Shift-O during the ESXi installation countdown (not the SYSLINUX countdown). Add formatwithmbr to any existing options and proceed with install.

Upgrading from an existing ESXI 4.x install would retain the MBR formatting of that install, and it would work equally well.

Also, the NIC seems much more stable after a cold boot than a reboot. The problem may be due to Windows (this PC dual-boots) doing something to the NIC when Windows is booted (perhaps something to do with Wake-on-LAN).

Update: Not just after a cold boot, but after unplugging the power supply or flipping the hard switch on the back of the power supply off and on. The NIC is still getting power courtesy of WoL or something.

Now if I had only purchased a CPU with VT-D, I could do cool stuff like hook up a keyboard, video card, and mouse *directly* to a VM and use the VM as a workstation... :cry:


Sat Nov 19, 2011 8:01 pm
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Joined: Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:25 pm
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Post Re: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
I am curious how you were running 4.1 fine on a Z68 MB? I have a slightly different MB, Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3, trying to run Vsphere 4.1 build 260247 off of 500 GB Segate SATA drive. Other components, Processor: i5 2500k 3.3, Ram: 8 GB (Microcenter), 2 Intel gigabit CT network adaptors (disabled onboard adaptor). It installs and runs fine for aoubt 10 minutes, then freezes and goes offline. The only way to recover is to reboot, but it will freeze again 10 minues later....
Any insight is apreciated.


Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:22 am
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Joined: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:05 am
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Post Re: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
Kevlar, I would start by installing 4.1 Update 1 (or Update 2 which came out in October) instead of plain old 4.1 (260247). Other than that, you can do standard hardware troubleshooting like you'd do with Windows or other OSes (e.g. remove unneeded cards and RAM and/or move them to other PCI/DIMM slots). Upgrading your BIOS may help.
-robert


Mon Dec 12, 2011 8:25 am
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:16 pm
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Post Re: Gigabyte GA-Z68MA-D2H-B3 + Intel Core i7 2600 3.4GHz
I have a sligthly different hardware setup:

Z68XP-UD4
Intel Core i7 2600 3.4 Ghz
3ware 9650SE with 3 Hitachi Desktar SATA disks 4TB

I have tried both ESXi 4.1 u2 and ESXi 5.0 (the ISO from LSI with support for 3ware cards). The install reaches the end but hangs. Just before displaying the window (Cancel or Enter to install), there's some kernel messages in red, but it went too fast for me to take note.

Has anyone seen this?


Mon Jul 16, 2012 2:24 pm
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