Wanted to share my success in the installation of ESXi 6.0 onto some generic hardware. This is typically know as an ESXi Whitebox.
I purchased an AsusB85M-G mainboard which has supported onboard sata controllers, however the onboard Realtek driver needs to inserted using the creation of some custom installation media. But it too will work following that process.
To create the custom installation media you will need to use ESXi Customizer which can be found over here. The process was very easy. You’ll also need to grab the net55-r8168 offline bundle which can be found here and the entire process I covered is documented here.
The AsusB85M-G mainboard will give you 6 x sata ports with 2 x pcie x1 slots and an pcie x16 slot. Board can take 4 x DDR3 memory chips for a total of 32GB. Should make a reasonable home ESXi Whitebox for many.
If you need some additional network ports, I noticed in the post here, that some folks suggest you can buy HP NC360T dual network cards and hack them to be used in the pcie x1 slots. I haven’t got one of these yet to attempt it, but I might consider it. As using up those slots and leaving the pcie x16 available for a hardware raid card with battery backup would be ideal.
Below is a screen capture showing the network card as being detected and used by the installation.
The Intel i3 NUC is going great. It’s awesome to have 16GB of ram installed, and a 500GB laptop drive. I also put in a m.2 SSD from Samsung. It’s a fantastic machine for the form factor. I was surprised to find that it runs Minecraft well with the onboard Intel GPU.
I think I will be building another one in the next few months. First I need to probably consider setting up another NAS.
My Intel Celeron NUC has been a fairly good machine, however really wanted something with a little more CPU grunt. So sold off my Celeron based unit with ram (minus storage) and happen to pickup a week old i3 unit.
Will post my feedback on the differences once I have it setup and installed. I am considering populating the i3 NUC with 16gb ram, and a combination of m2 SSD + Laptop drive for storage (eventually).
I ordered another Western Digital Green 2TB – WD20RZRX, as I said to my wife we should now upgrade our 2nd Tivo Series 3. This way we will have replaced the hard drive in both our units and hopefully they should last much longer.
I expect the drive should arrive on Tuesday. We ordered from Shopping Express as they had a sale over the weekend which was $99 AUD delivered.
We’ve had a TiVo Series 3 for a very long time, in fact we actually have two units. I purchased the first one very early on when they came out and the second unit I got during a run out of refurb units (a year after I got my first).
We did have a 1TB DVR Expander for each unit, as I bought one at full price on first unit purchase and got the second at a promo price with the refurb unit. Unfortunately they never stood the test of time and died some time ago. You can imagine recording with a 160GB internal drive is not that great when it comes to space available.
About 4 months ago, I stumbled across some discussion on Whirlpool relating to upgrading the internal hard drive on these units and what would be required to be performed. You can read all about it in this thread here. I downloaded everything required and figured I would do this sometime. I actually also have and older computer that would work as the machine to perform this.
Recently circumstances changed and subsequently with the fall out associated with IceTV failing to deliver our Skippa.tv we decided to upgrade one of the internal drives in our TiVo Series 3.
I purchased a Western Digital Green 2TB – Model WD20EZRX, and proceeded to follow the directions on the forum post here and here (later link the one I followed, shown in summary below by bullet points).
Basically I got my computer I was going to use, hooked up my new WD20EZRX drive (and booted the wdidle3 ISO I downloaded). I executed wdidle3 /D to disable IntelliPark on the WD drive, if it has worked you will see “Idle3 Timer is enabled and set to 3720 seconds (62.0 minutes)”. This means it had worked. Shutdown the computer, disconnect the drive. Since you should remove power from the drive to ensure this change takes place on next restart. You could boot wdidle3 ISO and check it by running wdidle3 with no switches to see that it reports it back.
Next you need to burn the JMFS ISO and ensure that you have removed the original drive from the TiVo Series 3 and connected it to first sata port, and your drive you will clone to (WD20EZRX) onto the second sata port. I now used a USB cdrom, as I had no free sata ports. So booted the JMFS ISO.
Run the menu item to do the disk copy from original drive to new drive.
Run the menu item to do the expansion of your new drive.
WD20EZRX doesn’t support AAM setting, so nothing to be ran relating to that.
wdidle3 already performed earlier.
I opted to supersize my drive, which means after all steps above done, shutdown. Using WinMFS to “turn on supersize”. This requires your machine booting from Windows, having new cloned drive connected on sata bus and selecting it and enabling the supersize. After this is done you can shutdown, install drive in TiVo Series 3 and look at all the new space.
Screen grab below showing output post JMFS expansion (step following clone operation);
Screen grabs below showing before and after capacity obtained;
Jul 31st – IceTV sends email “Two new horses in the stable” – Delays
Aug 18th – I change my delivery address as the unit is likely to come while on holidays.
Aug 21st – IceTV sends email “First Skippa review published”
Aug 28th – IceTV sends email “Your SKIPPA Pre-Order”
Sep 11th – IceTV sends email “SKIPPA Shipping” – Note Heinz (CEO) clearly says Mass production of SKIPPA remains on schedule.. guessing this was a fib.
Sep 14th – Support ticket raised to ask where is my Skippa. Response from Leon (Customer Support) – Could be upto a week and a half before your skippa is posted.
Sep 25th – IceTV sends email “First steps with SKIPPA” – Be nice if they just delivered what we paid for.
Sep 30th – Support ticket raised to request update on my Skippa. Dave (Customer Support) responds “Sorry for the delays. Your Skippa will be posted tomorrow or Friday… etc”
Oct 2nd – IceTV sends email “SKIPPA Update” – Heinz (CEO) still not indicating any lack of stock to supply demand. But still no unit shipped.
Oct 6th – No email from IceTV or anyone indicating unit I ordered shipped. Was very annoyed. Voicemail left and email sent off my last query of where is my unit.
Oct 7th – No return call from IceTV regarding the voicemail left yesterday. Only an email again, this time detailing that they won’t be delivering unit at this time. However, look what is published on IceTV when you try to order one. Seems they telling public they are out of stock of SKIPPA. Oh really.
You can’t seriously tell me that this all unfolded just this week (i.e. Oct 6th first day of work post public holiday Monday). I find that impossible to understand myself.
In the last week or two I have come to the conclusion I really want to get another Gaming PC build going, as I really want to play Battlefield 4 with some friends. In addition to playing a few other games on Steam.
As I looked at pricing, I came to the conclusion that I will end up going with an AMD based system this time around for a change, since the price point works well for what I want. I am still throwing ideas around of end product and specs, but so far I have concluded that these will probably form the basis of the build itself.
AMD FX 6300 6-CORE BLACK EDITION CPU, 3.5 GHz, Turbo Core up to 4.10 GHz,Total L2 Cache 6MB, L3 Cache 8MB, Socket AM3+, 32nm, 95W ($157)
AMD FX 8320 8-CORE BLACK EDITION CPU, 3.5 GHz, Turbo Core up to 4.00 GHz,Total L2 Cache 8MB, L3 Cache 8MB, Socket AM3+, 32nm, 125W ($217)
You’ll note I have taken photos of the unit with the recently purchased MikrotikRouterBoardRB260GS switch. As you can see the enclosure for these units is exactly the same.
If you want to check out the product specifications you can do so by clicking the model name on this post or refer to the table below;
CPU nominal frequency
CPU core count
Size of RAM
10/100 Ethernet ports
10/100/1000 Ethernet ports
Wireless chip model
Number of USB ports
Supported input voltage
9 V – 30 V
CPU temperature monitor
PCB temperature monitor
Operating temperature range
-20C .. +50C
Antenna gain DBI
Max Power consumption
Up to 7W
USB slot type
USB type A
Number of chains
I still need to spend the time to plug it in and configure it, which won’t be too difficult, as I will take the configuration off hAP Lite I am using currently. Will post up another post in a couple weeks on how I progressed with the configuration of the unit and what not.
My experience with MikrotikRouterBoard line of products is relatively new (as in got my first unit ever back in mid April). Anyways enough background, let’s get straight into it.
I purchased the following two units as I was wishing to evaluate them, while I have plans to use the MikrotikRouterBoardRB260GS switch in my new house when its finished being built. I heard the best place to purchase this gear is from Duxtel (as mentioned by a friend who is crazy mad about Mikrotik hardware). So I ordered them and they arrived 11 days ago and I immediately set up the hAP Lite (RB941-2n) as my Home Internet Router with an ADSL modem in bridged mode. It’s been running as this since that time.
The hAP Lite (RB941-2n) is an awesome device, it has completely impressed me. So much so it has handled everything I use my Home Internet for and still keeps on running. I’ll post a few graphs from the routers monitoring graphs, which shows CPU usage and other metrics towards the end of this post.
I personally love the winbox interface, however, if you like you can use the webfig (web) method to configure it or you can use pure terminal. I actually use a combination of terminal and winbox to configure mine.
I’ve noticed when you do a export of the configuration from terminal prompt, this will use 100% CPU, however upon export being completed CPU usage returns back to what it was. While this happens, I haven’t noticed any hiccup in my connection. But I guess I am not stressing link at the time to notice it.
The MikrotikRouterBoardRB260GS is a nice little smart switch. Web interface is quite clean. I had mine configured to split out a VLAN trunk that was being passed to it from my MikrotikRouterBoard RB450G within an hour (since I am pretty new to this gear). My plan is to use this and some other hardware to allow me to VLAN trunk down to a few key rooms (will post more about this in the next 12-18months). I’ve ordered an RB951G-2HnD which is the exact same case size/design to be my Router, so that I have nice matching units to mount in the future Hills Home Hub at the new house.
Highly recommend this hardware, I love how you can take ports out of the switch and turn them into routing ports etc.
The hAP Lite (RB941-2n) monitoring graphs, as generated every 5mins by the router itself.
I thought I should do a quick post about Mikrotik RouterBoard Hairpin NAT and Port Forwarding. The post in which I used to set this up on my router is found here.
The best explanation for this, would be that if you want to have say http from the public interface forwarded to an internal host, while not impacting LAN access to the RouterBoard’s http port. The forum post linked is how to best handle this situation.
It also allows your internal LAN clients to access your public IP and forward to the appropriate host/service internally too.
I was surprised to find out in the last few days that you can backup your TiVo internal hard drive and subsequently also upgrade/replace it.
We have two TiVo’s and unfortunately the WD DVR expansion units we had on both have long since died unfortunately, and now I know we can upgrade the internal drive. I pulled one of our units apart and hooked up the drive to a Windows XP machine and created a truncated backup. Just incase, below is a screen grab from the Windows application I used.
After you select the drive, you can run a backup of the drive. Which I did quite promptly.
As you will have seen in one of my previous posts (here), I have a Mikrotik RB450G which I purchased and have been playing around with.
I must say I am a complete convert, I really love the hardware. The amount of things it can do and how configurable it is really makes it a great bit of hardware.
It brings back the memories of when I would run a old PC as a linux router/internet gateway when I could run mrtg on it and constantly have a record of link utilisation etc. This is done on the Mikrotik too, and I love it.
I just purchased a TP-Link TD8817 in the last few days, to have this permanently hooked up to the Mikrotik RB450G and will run my ADSL via bridged modem. Mikrotik is handling everything. When I move and eventually get an FTTH service, I will just need to reconfigure the Mikrotik accordingly.
I still have lots to understand about RouterOS, but so far its working very nicely and doing everything I need of it.
My plan is to play around with queues and what not further, so I can put the kids devices into a group that gets a percentage of bandwidth available, however for now I am marking packets and assigning them priorities to keep the link quick for stuff that needs it. Like web browsing and email.
I recently came across an MikroTik RouterBoard 2011 appliance, and it’s not something I haven’t heard of, as I have a friend who loves the gear.
Unfortunately I never got to play much with it, as no one knows the Administrator details and/or associated password. So this made doing some troubleshooting in the environment a bit difficult.
Decided it might be a good reason/idea to purchase a RouterBoard, since I will probably need to reset the unit for a friend, and before doing this, would like a good understanding of the device and configuration. I was about to order a new RouterBoard RB450G when I noticed someone had a unit for sale on ebay. So I bought that one at a good discount over the new one.
Looking forward to it arriving so I can make good on my research and start the configuration.
I am also looking at purchasing some of the wireless gear from MikroTik as also have a need to replace some 2.4Ghz Wireless Access points for a hotel, so will be purchasing an MikroTik Groove and testing out HotSpot capabilities of the RouterBoard etc.