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 Working Motherboard for ESXi 
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:17 am
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Post Working Motherboard for ESXi
Hi All,

I'm looking for a motherboard to build an ESXi host. I had bought a Asus P5N32-E SLI board as it had been reported to have ESX installed with both the onboard SATA controller (with a small alteration of the pci.map or similar) and NICs working. I got the board 2nd hand off eBay, it was a refurbished board. (A replacement board for one which had been RMAd)

I had only gotten an IDE mode install working when the board died (long continuous beep on power on). So I have 8GB DDR2 800MHz, a Dual Core Celeron (was to be upgraded to Q6600) and a couple of SATA drives and need a replacement board that I can afford.

I would like SATA and NIC(s) to be supported either out of the box or with some hackery. All of the info out there re: working motherboards is sparse and you can't see at a glance if the board has supported NIC and SATA, and clicking through a hundred motherboard infos and then trying to find a retailer selling the board is just a little bit of a let-down.

As a last resort, I will just install a basic linux on whatever hardware I can get and run Server v2.x, but I really would prefer a solution compatible to ESXi 3/4.

Can anyone suggest a suitable board?

Thanks,

Collin


Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:28 am
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:11 am
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Post Re: Working Motherboard for ESXi
Hi, I have a Asus P5BV-M 3200 Mobo, it works out of the box... :D


Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:35 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Working Motherboard for ESXi
I have a Asus p5e-vm do. Got it because it was cheap and it support Intel Directed I/O so with ESXi 4.0 and I can use direct path. Storage controller is good with ESXi 3.5/4.0 and the NIC started working with 4.0 (but I think I would have had to edit simple.map if it weren't for the Pro/1000 GT that I have in it.

It can also take a PCIe x4 storage card.

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Dave Mishchenko
VMware vExpert 2009-2013
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Now available - VMware ESXi: Planning, Implementation, and Security
Also available - vSphere Quick Start Guide


Wed Jun 24, 2009 7:53 pm
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Joined: Mon Jun 22, 2009 12:17 am
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Post Re: Working Motherboard for ESXi
Quote:
Hi, I have a Asus P5BV-M 3200 Mobo, it works out of the box... :D


Shame it only supports Xeon processors. It's a nice board. I can't afford to buy the board and a new CPU.

It looks like I may be in luck. The Asus board have 3 year warranty, and this board is only 1.5 years old. Hopefully I can get it replaced, and be back on the road to VM juicyness. :)

This board really does offer a lot: IDE (for DVD-ROM) + SATA (for intitial VMFS) + Dual GB Ethernet (this will host my firewall/gateway) + 3 16x PCI-e slots (one taken up with discrete GPU as there is no onboard. Leaves room for another PCI-e GB NIC for iSCSI later on and more) plus a 1 x PCI-e slot, plus other PCI slots, as well as supporting 8GB RAM and Quad core CPUs. I spent quite a bit of time researching for this machine, and found it to be the only one that offers everything I need, albeit with a hack to make the SATA work. And I hope to setup an iSCSI box to play with that also - in time.

Dave, thanks for your info. The board looks nice, but not as expandable as I would like. Do you know if ESXi 4.0 makes a change to remove the need for a custom oem.tgz for the Asus P5N32-E SLI? For this board, with 8GB of DDR2 800MHz and a Q6600, would ESXi 4.0 offer me any benefit? I'm just running a bunch of VMs at home (for learning various things, including ESX). No real heavy loads. If ESXi 4.0 supports the chipset better, I'll go that route no questions asked, but I'm ok with hacking a custom oem.tgz if need be.

Collin


Wed Jun 24, 2009 10:47 pm
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Joined: Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:11 am
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Post Re: Working Motherboard for ESXi
Xorotude wrote:
Quote:
Hi, I have a Asus P5BV-M 3200 Mobo, it works out of the box... :D


Shame it only supports Xeon processors. It's a nice board. I can't afford to buy the board and a new CPU.

It looks like I may be in luck. The Asus board have 3 year warranty, and this board is only 1.5 years old. Hopefully I can get it replaced, and be back on the road to VM juicyness. :)

This board really does offer a lot: IDE (for DVD-ROM) + SATA (for intitial VMFS) + Dual GB Ethernet (this will host my firewall/gateway) + 3 16x PCI-e slots (one taken up with discrete GPU as there is no onboard. Leaves room for another PCI-e GB NIC for iSCSI later on and more) plus a 1 x PCI-e slot, plus other PCI slots, as well as supporting 8GB RAM and Quad core CPUs. I spent quite a bit of time researching for this machine, and found it to be the only one that offers everything I need, albeit with a hack to make the SATA work. And I hope to setup an iSCSI box to play with that also - in time.

Dave, thanks for your info. The board looks nice, but not as expandable as I would like. Do you know if ESXi 4.0 makes a change to remove the need for a custom oem.tgz for the Asus P5N32-E SLI? For this board, with 8GB of DDR2 800MHz and a Q6600, would ESXi 4.0 offer me any benefit? I'm just running a bunch of VMs at home (for learning various things, including ESX). No real heavy loads. If ESXi 4.0 supports the chipset better, I'll go that route no questions asked, but I'm ok with hacking a custom oem.tgz if need be.

Collin



It supports a 775sk Intel Q6600 "Desktop" Cpu... and others.
check it: http://www.asus.com/product.aspx?P_ID=A ... templete=3



My Working Whitebox Specs:
viewtopic.php?f=13&t=367&
p=1748#p1748


Mon Jul 13, 2009 5:34 am
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Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Working Motherboard for ESXi
Collin, are you referring to this part of that thread? If so, ESXi 4.0 will recognize the 037f device without modifications to oem.tgz and will load the sata_nv driver - http://www.vm-help.com/esx40i/Hardware_support.php

>>I got the sata controller on Asus P5N32-E SLI working after changing the following:

Edited the file /etc/vmware/pciid/sata_nv.xml
Changed the last id to: 037f
And the name changed to MCP55 SATA Controller.<<


Mon Jul 13, 2009 7:58 pm
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Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:45 am
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Post Re: Working Motherboard for ESXi
Hello Dave.Mishchenko,
Hello everybody,
Dave Are you sure your Asus P5E-VM DO Has a 4x PCIe slot ? Mine has only a 1x PCIe ? Like a lot of people I think that motherboard never works as we'd like.It even don't accept kingston hyperX DDR2 1066MHz memories.
I've also have an Asus P5B-VM DO, it works very well, has a 4x PCIe slot but don't support VTd.
Dave, your motherboard is really a P5E-VM with a 4x PCIe slot ?
Thanks for all your posts. :)
Jean-Claude


Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:59 am
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Post Re: Working Motherboard for ESXi
Jean-Claude wrote:
Hello Dave.Mishchenko,
Hello everybody,
Dave Are you sure your Asus P5E-VM DO Has a 4x PCIe slot ? Mine has only a 1x PCIe ? Like a lot of people I think that motherboard never works as we'd like.It even don't accept kingston hyperX DDR2 1066MHz memories.
I've also have an Asus P5B-VM DO, it works very well, has a 4x PCIe slot but don't support VTd.
Dave, your motherboard is really a P5E-VM with a 4x PCIe slot ?
Thanks for all your posts. :)
Jean-Claude


Sorry for the delay in replying (I'm just getting back from vacation).

It's been a while since I wrote that. It may have been that I notched the x1 slot to fit the x4 card or what.

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Dave Mishchenko
VMware vExpert 2009-2013
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Now available - VMware ESXi: Planning, Implementation, and Security
Also available - vSphere Quick Start Guide


Mon Jul 25, 2011 8:46 pm
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