I'm still rather fond of how TinkerTry.com/vzilla turned out, but I realize that those buying new are likely to shop around for a Z77 based system with decent ESXi 5.0 function. While I cannot speak from first hand experience, I can say that this isn't the first time I've heard of the continued ESXi / VT-d success for ASRock motherboard buyers. See also TinkerTry.com/z77-vmdirectpath and the very useful comments below the post.
Here's 2 emails I received, published below with permission of the overseas author, with full name/email removed, and some URLs added.
Note also that the enthusiast had the right attitude going into this, stating I'm going for an Ivy Bridge setup. I know, it's brand new and can have risks.
We are, of course, entirely unsupported by going with motherboards not on VMware's HCL, but as we've also discovered, it can also work out pretty well, with considerable cost savings.
Sent: Saturday, July 14, 2012 5:12 AM
Subject: Re: [TinkerTry] Windows Server 2012 Beta Essentials is availible
In april 15 I sent you a email from <> with subjet UPS working in Vsphere ?
There I told you that I was going to build my lab PC.
Well, I hope I can assemble my PC this weekend. I did a little ESXi on a HP Elite 8000 desktop.
No, I did not apply the patch.
Here is the PC I’m going to build:
Lian Li PC-V354B case
Asrock Z77 Extreme4-M Motherboard
Intel Core i7 3770 Boxed CPU
Corsair Dominator CMP32GX3M4X1600C10 32GB RAM
Areca ARC-1882i SAS RAID controller
2x Crucial m4 CT512M4SSD2 512GB SSD
Cooler Master Silent Pro M2 520W PSU
HP NC360T PCI-E 2port network adaptor (412648-B21)
HP v165w 16GB USB stick
I also ordered a HP Microserver N40L to use as a backup/NAS for windows (normally Windows Home Server but will test with Windows server 2012 essentials.
Nice to hear that you got software for easy use of your Cyberpower UPS.
As a mentioned in april I have a few consumer UPS from APC and that is a real nightmare to let it work.
Keep up the good work.
Sent: Saturday, July 21, 2012 3:21 PM
Subject: Got my homelab working !
Today I finally got my server running.
Installed ESXi, then applied the patch of july 12 (with help from your update1 video, thanks).
Then installed Areca driver to let my 1882i work in ESXi.
I will contact Areca because the latest driver (2011) let my 1882i see as a 1880i model.
And my Crucial M4 512 SSD is recognized as a non-SSD.
The Asrock motherboard is great, even Vt-d works.
The 50GB is a iSCSI LUN on my Synology DS1010+ NAS.
BTW, installed Win server 2012 essentials on my also new HP Microserver N40L. During install I saw also a 2012 Storage server. Can’t wait for that too.