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Asus P8B WS


elkay14

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I just ran into one of these yesterday and made mention of it in another thread.

 

On paper, it looks like a good heavy graphics workstation. CAD or 3Dmax type stuff.

it has a lot of unhappy reviews so far.

it looks like video and ECC ram issues mostely.

 

one thing to keep in mind.. to get the onboard video to work with a Xeon, you need to get a workstation xeon. the E3-12x5's with built in video.

 

I saw no mention of VT-d or not.

 

Honestly, for a true server role, I would probably skip this board for now. I would buy a Supermicro or Tyan board. You save a few dollars while getting proven stability while getting less "gunk" you wont want on a server anyways.

 

If you do pick one up, let us know how it works out.

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I actually installed this one last night.  I have:

 

G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 16GB (4 x 4GB)  N82E16820231429

Intel Xeon E3-1220 Sandy Bridge 3.1GHz  N82E16819115084

ASUS P8B WS  N82E16813131725

 

in an Antec 300 case with NEO ECO 620C 620W PFC Power Supply.

 

The latest bios on this board does support VT-d.

 

I went with this board for the less expensive memory, I got 16GB of desktop memory for the same price as 8GB of server memory and when 8GB DIMMs come down in price 32GB will be within my 'hobbyist' budget.

 

POST was great, no issues with hardware installed, fans, memory, etc.

 

During the initial boot UNRAID (4.7) only found two of my eight drives, those two were on an HBA so I may have to dig around in BIOS and make sure the onboard controllers aren't disabled.  It was 2 am when I finished hooking everything up so I'll get back to troubleshooting tomorrow.

 

I was using VirtualBox on my gaming rig and wanted to have a dedicated computer to play with virtualization.  Once I see all of my drives again I'll boot ESXi 5 from a thumbdrive and see what I can do with PCI and USB passthrough.  I have read some articles that say it's relatively easy to install an ESXi 5 VM with PLOP that will boot an OS from an attached USB drive.  I believe I will lose spin down control of drives using RDM but UNRAID should have full control of the drives on the LSI based HBA using PCI passthrough, if that's the case I'll be getting more HBA's in the future and toss a datastore on the onboard controllers.

 

I'm a student so I have access to a free standard version of Server 2008R2 (DreamSpark.com for those of you with .edu email addresses) and that may find it's way onto this machine with Hyper-V if ESXi doesn't work out.  I hear Hyper-V has issues with Linux VMs though.

 

So far, biggest drawback, no IPMI,  with all of the tinkering and setup I'm doing I'm going to have to invest in a new KVM switch.

 

This is a nice workstation/low end server motherboard and with the BIOS update to support VT-d it is starting to draw some attention in the virtualization community.  

 

I got the board, processor and memory for ~$450 on a combo deal from Newegg and I'm sure I'll be back here poking around the UNRAID virtualization threads soon.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Update on this board:

 

UNRAID works like a champ, no issues, ESXi though....

 

I had ESXi  5 running on a desktop from a thumbdrive.  I pulled the thumbdrive and put it on this system and it dies on startup.  I tried reinstalling ESXi 5 and ESXi 4.1, all to no avail.  4.1 hangs on install and 5 keeps saying it has no room to install data (I can get the exact errors for anyone interested). 

 

Google search wasn't very helpful, other than the hardware isn't on the HCL for the software.  My theory is that it is a problem with using a server processor and desktop memory, maybe ESXi is looking for something in the memory I don't have.  One day I may break down and buy server memory to test this theory.

 

On the plus side Xenserver 6.0 installed very well.  I got Xenserver to start an UNRAID VM from thumbdrive installed in an external USB port.  I shutdown, moved the thumbdrive to one of the motherboard ports (internal to the case) and Xenserver no longer saw the thumbdrive.

 

At this point ADD kicked in and I went back to straight UNRAID install and tinkered with Crashplan.  Once the current backup set finishes I'll investigate why Xenserver lost the thumbdrive.

 

As an aside... with the number of PCI slots on this board (4 in x8, x8, x4 and x4) and functioning Hypervisor, in theory, wouldn't it be possible to run multiple UNRAIDs with their own HBA's, ie a BR10i in two slots and MV8 in two slots for 4 machines with 8 disk arrays?  Add an Intel expander and a big enough case for 4 machines and 96 disks?

 

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 months later...

Sorry for the necro bump but, based on the fact that I keep finding my own post when searching for stuff on this motherboard....

 

I finally got ESXi 5.0 setup on this board.  I broke down and bought 8 GB of Kingston ECC RAM.

 

The initial install attempt after installing the RAM was unsuccessful, I kept getting a "Can't detect the last level cache" error

 

After much tinkering and cursing I finally found a similar post on the VMware communities... disable "MAXCPUID Limit" in the bios...

 

After that little gem of information, I got ESXi installed  I still have 16 GB of non-ECC RAM on the desk, might pop out the ECC RAM and see if I can get this running on straight DDR3 RAM.

 

Next step, setup my unRAID VM...

 

@MrMajestic - I'm running 2 1015's on this motherboard with no issues.

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  • 4 weeks later...

hi all

i have the same config since summer 2011 without any issues: same motherboard, xeon e3-1245 (waiting for ivy bridge to decrease power consumption) , 8Go ECC ram, 11 Harddrives put in it with 5in3 backplanes. 5 VMs, one is unraid 5b14, one is WHS2011 (for local PCs backup), 1 Win7, 1winXP, 1 win2k8r2, case is lian li PC-A77. (allowing for 25HD)

I boot on plop ESXi 5 is on usb drive.

 

I run with Adaptec 51245 raid card. I saw you have other raid card: LSI ones?  Can you spindown drives connected to it? How do they work, cause i don't think they are in VMware HCL ?

 

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I have 2 M1015's flashed to IT mode (HBA's).  I have all drives on the two cards assigned to my unRAID.  The cards work great in PCI Passthrough. 

 

I haven't tried using them as RAID for my datastore drives but in my system I really haven't run into any issues with my datastore being on drives attached to the motherboard SATA ports.

 

I have 8 VM's right now, only run 4 continuously and I'm working on one (Win 7, Win Server 2008, unRAID, VMWare VM for monitoring via iPad, continuously, Ubuntu desktop, Win XP, LAMP appliance use sometimes and currently building my own LAMP appliance based on Ubuntu Server).

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