VMware ESXi 5 whitebox supported motherboard

If you want a low power consumption whitebox motherboard to run some VMs that are not resource intensive the Asus E35M1-M PRO Zacate motherboard is an option. It has an AMD E-350 dual core 1,6 GHz processor with passive cooling, onboard graphics, max 8GB memory support, onboard LAN and 5x SATA 6 onboard. And it’s cheap.

I test the Asus E35M1-M PRO Zacate motherboard in my home lab, and it will run for VMware ESXi 5.0.0 build 469512. This motherboard can be used in a homebrew server.

 

Specifications Asus E35M1-M PRO Zacate motherboard:

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Form factoruATX
CPUAMD Fusion E-350 Dual-core onboard processor with passive cooler
MemoryCorsair XMS3 DDR3,1333-8GB KIT (2x4GB)
GraphicsOnboard integrated ATI Radeon HD 6310 GPU
Storage5 x SATA 6 Gb/s
LAN1 x Realtek 8111E , 1 x Gigabit LAN Controller
USB ports2 x USB ports
12 x USB 2. ports
BIOS32 Mb flash ROM UEFI
More information about the specificationsAsus website

Here are some screenshots from the vSphere Client:

VMware ESXi 5.0.0 DCUI

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Summary page

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Example of the processor load with 2 x MS Windows 2008 R2 VMs

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Onboard processor

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Memory

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Onboard disk controllers

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The Realtek onboard LAN adapter.

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In VMware ESX|(i) 4.x the Realtek LAN adapter is not supported.

 

Power consumption

The following configuration is used:

– Asus E35M1-M Pro

– Corsair XMS3 DDR3,1333-8GB KIT (2 x 4GB memory)

– OCZ Vertex Plus – 60GB – 2.5inch

– Be Quiet! Pure Power L7 300W

– Hypervisor VMware ESXi 5

Here are some test I did:

– Startup VMware ESXi 5 30 Watt

– Idle with two Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 VMs 25 Watt

– One Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 VM with 100% (using the cpubusy.vbs script) processor load 28 Watt

– Two Microsoft Windows 2008 R2 VM with 100% (using the cpubusy.vbs script) processor load between 30 and 32 Watt

To power consumption is not bad if you want to run a couple of VMs 24×7.

Updated:

18 September 2011: added processor load and power consumption examples

 

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27 thoughts on “VMware ESXi 5 whitebox supported motherboard

  1. Hi! Does this combo support 64bit OS, i’am planing to built a small server to use ESXi 5.0 with Debian 6.0 64bit and 2008 Server 64bit. does work?
    Thanks!
    Best regards.

  2. How’s the cpu speed? I was thinking about buying a few all-in-one e350 set-top pcs for testing as a makeshift compute cluster.

  3. In response to the 64 bit question, the nice answer is yes. ESXi 4.x and above require 64 bit hardware by default, and do not support 32 bit hardware.

    Most 32 bit hardware is ancient junk by now anyways.

    As for the CPU comment, ESXi is RAM hungry; most modern CPU’s will easily support 10 or more VM’s. Fast disks, and tons of RAM is what you’t be looking for if you go the ESXi route.

    Alternative is Hyper-V, which is a free OS from Microsoft. They recently released a new release candidate for SCVMM 2012. If you want to leverage 3D graphics, I suggest using Microsoft versus VMware.

  4. Thanks for putting this up, very helpful. I purchased the same motherboard based on your success with ESXI5.

    Question: did you have any trouble installing ESXI5? My machine gets stuck on imgpayld.tgz during install and will just sit there for hours. I have bene unable to find anything on Google regarding this issue.

    Thanks.

  5. Hi,

    A new download and fresh CD burn solved the issue. I first attempted to boot from USB flash drive, which did boot and start the install however it would reboot instead of lock up at imgpayld.tgz. Booting and installing from the new CD was successful. All on board hardware appears to be compatible.

    I created a VM in ESXI5 for WHS 2011 64 bit which also installed with no issues. I would call the ASUS E35M1-M PRO ESXI 5 100% compatible at this point.

    Thank you for your time.

  6. I’m thinking about buying this for my test lab, how many vm’s do you think this will run. Were the win 2008 server’s you ran slow to respond or were they actually usable? I’d like to simulate multiple esxi server’s so I can implement vMotion with shared storage, fault tolerance and such.

  7. Hi! I am thinking of buying a laptop (sony vaio vpc yb25ab dm1 or hp) to college and study using virtual machines. This APU has support for virtualization and etc …

    Doubt: making the appropriate settings (upgrade to a 64-bit OS and memory to 4GB or 6GB), the APU would meet in a comfortable emulating / virtualizing systems (small thing with VMWare or VirtualBox)? What do you say?

  8. Hi:
    I am having a problem with my Asus E35M1-M Pro Whitebox that I just setup. It would run Esxi 5 fine for about 1 to 3 hours and then it crashes and gives this error in a pink screen: “PCPU 1: no heartbeat (but 2/2 IPIs received) (<– first line reads)"

    System Configuration:
    MB: Same as above
    BIOS: Version 1502 with Default Settings
    MEMORY: 2 * 4GB DIMM KVR1066D3N7/4G (or http://www.kingston.com/dataSheets/KVR1066D3N7_4G.pdf)
    NIC: 2 * Intel PWLA8391GT PRO/1000 GT PCI Network Adapter

    What to do?

  9. Hi,

    I´am having the same problem than you, Roger, after 1 or 2 hours the system crashes and pink screen.

    PCPU 1: no heartbeat (but 2/2 IPIs received)

  10. any hints for a board that supports 16 gb of ram? amd cpu is preffered, should run with esxi 4 or 5

  11. I am having the same problem as you all and was wondering if anyone found a solution or at least the cause of the the hear beat error?

  12. Roger and Mikei — I had the PCPU no heartbeat error and the problem in my case was caused by a bad processor. As soon as I RMAd and replaced the processor, the problem went away and never came back (now 1 year later).

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