http://blogs.dootdoot.com/mike

I recently picked up an X10SDV-F to use in my home lab. The goal was to replace some aging components, including an older virtual server and my loud and power hungry firewall.

The X10SDV features an 8-core/16-thread 45W CPU, and can support up to 128GB of ram, has two 1GB NICS, two 10GB NICS and an open PCIe 3.0 slot. My goal was to throw a spare 4-port NIC in the open PCIe slot and pass it through to a pfSense virtual machine to replace the aging firewall, and then run the rest of the network off the 4 ports, 2 for management/vlans, and the two 10GB ports for storage, since I have my storage server on 10GB already.

This seemed very straight forward, until I went to use any one of my spare network cards:

Sure, these are a few years old (~5 years), but they’re solid Intel NICs. My first goal was to use the spare EXPI9404PT since I had a few of these on a shelf not being used anyway. I had already tested this card, it was working, so I threw it in the new X10SDV and fired it up.

No network card.

This wasn’t a huge shock as when I installed VMware ESXi 6.0 on the X10SDV my 10GBE NICs didn’t show up out of box either due to a missing driver, even in the newest version. This was an easy fix, I downloaded the driver for the 10GBE and on reboot the adapters were available.

I figured the same would be true for the EXPI9404PT. Nope. I spent longer than I should have searching for a driver, come to find out they stopped bundling that driver starting with ESXi 5.5. Of course my old box is running 5.1, so it worked out of box.

Some searching says if you upgrade from 5.1 the driver should be in place, or you can download it and load it like I did for the 10GBE driver. It was actually quite a pain trying to find the driver for download, but I eventually did. Got in installed, rebooted.

No network card.

At this point I’m getting pretty upset. After hitting google pretty hard I come to find the most depressing news ever (and likely the reason it dropped support anyway):

Yep, the card is one of two Intel adapters that for some stupid reason are not forwards compatible with PCIe 2.0+. Ugh, just my luck.

Fortunately I have some spares I can use, but I’ll have to do some network card swapping with the others that are in use.

Sounds like a project for another day…

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