post #11 of 11
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Originally Posted by hammong View Post

Unless you really need a mATX board, I'd strongly recommend that you stick with a full size ATX board, if for no other reason than they have better VRMs on them. While there are some people that tote around a mATX gaming platform, most of the motherboards are oriented towards power efficiency rather than overclocking.

Your LAN cards may, or may not be compatible with VMware ESXi 5.1. Curiously enough, the Intel 82579V is NOT supported, which is the one most boards have when claiming "Intel Gigabit LAN". The 82579V isn't a real Gigabit ethernet MAC, it's merely a PHY interface that connects to the integrated vPRO Ethernet functionality in the Z77 and X79 chipsets. Those boards advertising TWO Intel Gigabit LAN ports usually have an additional Intel 82574L which IS support by VMWare. The 82574 is the same chip that's on the Intel Desktop CT entry level server PCIe 1x adapter. Some of the Realtek chips are supported, some are not. Plan on buying one or two Intel CT adapters while you're at Micro Center just in case. They're like $39 each in a brown box.

My favorite "non-fanboy" Z77 board right now is the P8Z77-V Deluxe. It's a pretty nice board with a dynamite set of features, albeit a little expensive compared to some of the Z77 boards. It's got a PLX chip on it that will let you run all those PCIe 1x cards at PCIe 2.0 simultaneously with two PCie 3.0 x8 video cards in SLI. Not many boards have that feature. It doesn't have a 82574L on it though, so you'll need at least one or two PCIe NICs or pick up an x4 NIC off Fleebay instead of a 2nd video card.


Thanks for the detailed reply, very much appreciated. Lot of good info there. I will say though I have no need for dedicated video since this is basically just going to be a host server for VM's and nothing more. Yes I'll be doing video transcoding but that's CPU not GPU intensive. Also, I'll be more than likely settiing up ESX/vSphere instead of VMware workstation (a newer feature that didn't used to be available in the older VMware workstation software) so I'm not as concerned with hardware compatibility as I would be if I was just loading vSphere as my host hypervisor on this server. I may pick up a CT adapter anyway in case I ever change my mind though.