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ESXi 6.0 upgrade

Well, the time has come...

 

Both ESX hosts are getting their boost to ESX 6 as well as vCenter 6. I again had to do the ESX customizer path with the net55 vibs for the RealTek network adapter support. But once in place I was able to install ESX 6 on host #2 and verify functionality.

I also received my eVGA nVidia GT640 in the mail today and went ahead and purchased the widely hacked and documented ASUS GT640. The goal is to possibly use the eVGA card as it has 4GB of RAM, else if I am unable to determine the device ID resistors I will fall back to the 1GB ASUS thats widely documented. Most likely donating the eVGA to my Father.

With the upgrade to ESX 6, I hope to breathe new light into pure DirectPath I/O for the 2 Radeon cards I've been toying with as well. If all goes as planned, I'll be using a GT640 as a Grid card, else possibly one of the Radeon cards  direct to a VM.

A few new items on the way.

Well, I won 2 ebay auctions and I finally got my order from Act Labs. This means 2 things; 1, I'm not going to get a new monitor for my arcade for awhile now and 2, I may have to re-do the new artwork I've been creating due to my locked 1024x768 resolution on the current monitor.

Either way, the order from Act Labs was an old stock Light Gun. Sadly they only had red, so it will at least match the game play of blue and red for the players but not so much the arcade colors.

As for the new graphics, a quick teaser of the marquee...

 

Part 2 of the auction winnings, includes an EVGA GeForce GT 640 (4GB version) that I hope...hope. I can convert into a "K1 Grid Card" for ESX02 and VDI use.

There are several articles across the internet documenting such success, I'm just not sure if this card is in the list of hacked cards.

The original being the Asus GT640 but several followed in this thread and others, including this full walk thru with the Asus GT640.

The end goal, is to allocate either 2 VDI machines with 2GB of vRAM or 4 VDI machines with 1GB of vRAM and play old school LAN party games such as Day of Defeat, Duke Nukem 3D and the like.

I have tried DirectPath I/O with both a Sapphire Radeon 5670 and 6450 with not so acceptable results, both tests consisted of a Windows7 x64 VM and both tests worked during the initial boot but failed every time after upon reboot. I do plan on testing these cards with DdirectPath I/O on a Windows 8.1 VM as well, but I am expecting the same results.

 

Once my items arrive and I get to tinker abit, I'll start to post my results.

Brief System Specs

I decided to take a collection of the base specs of each system I am currently running. Alot of hardware has swapped around and I have added a few items.

This does not include my Zero Clients that I will be configuring to use ESX02, my VDI host.This list is being added to the Hardware section and will be maintained along with the hardware updates.

 


Android Sticks

---------------

Amazon Fire TV (Stick)

 

TronSmart-CX919

  • RK3188 Cortex A9 1.6GHz Quad Core
  • 4xMali 400 - 500MHz
  • 1GB DDR3
  • 8GB ROM

 

UGoos UG802

  • RK3066 Cortex A9 1.2GHz Dual Core
  • 4xMali 400
  • 1GB DDR3
  • 4GB ROM

 

Raspberry Pi B+

 

 

 

Tablets and Laptops

---------------

Asus Nexus 7 ASUS-1B32

 

HP Mini 210-1076NR

  • Intel Atom 64bit HT 1.66GHz Dual Core
  • Intel HD 3150
  • 2GB DDR2 SODIMM

 

  • 1024x6 WSVGA

 

HP Stream 7

  • Intel Atom 32bit 1.8GHZ Quad Core
  • 1GB DDR3L SDRAM
  • 32GB eMMC
  • 1290x800

 

Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro 13

  • Intel Core i7-4510u 3.1GHz Dual Core
  • Intel HD 4400
  • 8GB DDR3
  • 250GB SSD
  • 3200x1800 

Appliances

---------------

PogoPlug Series 4 POGO-V4-A3-01

  • Marvell Kirkwood 800MHz
  • 128MB DDR
  • SanDisk Cruzer Fit USB2 8GB Flash
  • Seagate Expansion USB3 3TB
  • Seagate Expansion USB3 5TB

 

PogoPlug Series 4 POGO-V4-A3-01

  • Marvell Kirkwood 800MHz
  • 128MB DDR
  • SanDisk Cruzer Fit USB2 8GB Flash
  • Seagate Expansion USB3 5TB
  • Seagate Expansion USB3 5TB

 

Patriot PCNASJV35S4 Diskless System Javelin S4 4-Bay Media Server

  • Seagate SV35 Series 7200 SATA3 3TB 
  • Seagate SV35 Series 7200 SATA3 3TB 
  • Seagate SV35 Series 7200 SATA3 3TB 
  • Seagate SV35 Series 7200 SATA3 3TB 
  •  

PCs

---------------

Arcade

  • AMD Phenom II x4 2.8GHz Quad Core
  • Gigabyte 970A-UD3
  • MSI R7770-PMD1GD5 (1GB)
  • G.Skill Value DDR 1333 8GB (2x4GB)
  • OCZ Vertex 3 SATA3 90GB SSD
  • Seagate Barracude 7200 SATA3 1TB
  • 21inch ViewSonic CRT
  • CoolMax M-500B PSU

 

CarPC

  • Intel Atom 330 64Bit 1.6GHz Dual Core
  • Intel BOXD94GCLF2 - 945GC mini ITX
  • Kingston PC800 DDR2 2GB
  • SuperTalent MasterDrive OX SATA2 16GB
  • Dynamix 710 Touchscreen TFT LCD
  • M2-ATX-HV 140W PSU DC-DC
  •  

Dell Vostro 360

  • Intel Core i3-2120 3.3GHz Dual Core
  • Dell Vostro 360 Board
  • Intel HD 2000
  • G.Skill RipJaw DDR3 1600 8GB
  • OCZ Solid 3 SATA3 60GB SSD

 

  • Onboard display
  • Onboard Power

 

ESX01

  • AMD FX 9590 5GHz Eight Core
  • Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3
  • Sapphire Radeon 6450 (1GB) PCIe
  • G.Skill Ripjaw X DDR3 1333 32GB (4x8GB)
  • Silicon Power 830 16GB USB 2 Flash
  • Intel 530 SATA3 240GB SSD
  • Samsung EVO 840 SATA3 250B SSD
  • Western Digital Blue 7200 SATA2 500GB
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200 SATA2 500GB
  • Segate Barracuda 7200 SATA3 1TB
  • Segate Barracuda 7200 SATA3 3TB
  • No Display
  • Corsair RM 1000Watt PSU

 

ESX02

  • AMD FX 6100 3.3GHz Six Core
  • ASRock 990FX Extreme3
  • ATI Mach64 2D RageII   IDE
  • Sapphire HD 5670 (1GB) PCIe
  • G.Skill Value DDR3 1333 16GB (4x4GB)
  • Silicon Power 830 16GB USB 2 Flash
  • Samsun EVO 840 SATA3 120GB SSD
  • Seagate Barracude 7200 SATA3 1TB
  • No Display
  • Corsair Builder CX 500Watt PSU

 

Game Machine

  • AMD FX 8350 4.2GHz Eight Core
  • ASUS MA99FX Pro R2.0
  • ASUS R9290X-DC2OC (4GB) PCIe
  • G.Skill Ripjaw Z 16GB (4x4GB)
  • Samsung Evo 850 SATA3 120GB
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200 SATA3 1TB
  • Seagate Barracude 7200 SATA3 3TB

 

  • ASUS VG248QE 24-Inch Screen LED LCD - 0.7MS 144Hz
  • Acer AL2216Wbd 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD 
  • Acer AL2216Wbd 22" 5ms Widescreen LCD
  • Rozewill Bronze 1000Watt PSU

 

MediaCenter

  • AMD Ahtlon 64 X4 620 2.6GHz Quad Core
  • Micro-Star 790FX-GD70
  • Sapphire R9 290 GDDR5 (3GB)
  • G.Skill Ripjaws DDR3 1333 8GB (4x2GB)
  • OCZ Vertex3 SATA3 90GB SSD
  • Segate Baracuda 7200 SATA3 1TB

 

  • Samsung TV Display
  • KingWin ABT-800MM 800Watt PSU

 

Retired Arcade

  • Pentium 4 3GHz
  • Intel E210882 DQ965GF
  • ATI Radeon HD2600
  • OCZ Platinum PC 3200 1GB (2x512Mb)
  • Samsung HD642JJ 7200 640GB

 

A Blast from the Past - Server in 2006

I found an old post on the Missing Remtoe outlining my Home Theater back in 200-2007. Here are the specs =)

 


Pics coming soon FYI, for now just the stats =)


Mediacenter PC

Case: Antec Overture 2 (I kinda hate it, will replace it very soon)

MotherBoard: Intel Based board (pulled form an IBM prefab PC)

CPU: P4 3.4ghz with HyperThreading

RAM: 2GB DDR

Video: ATI Radeon 9650 XT ViVo (256mb)

CD/DVD: 2x Samsung 18x DVD +/- RW drives

HDD: 1x Western Digital Raptor 34gb SATA (for OS)

HDD: 1x Maxtor Diamond Max PATA 250gb 16mb buffer (for recording)

TV Tuner: 2x ATI eHome wonder  (+FM) (soon to be replaced with HDTV cards)

Sound card
: SB Live Gold 5.1 (going the way of the dumpster aswell)

Remotes: MS MCE Standard Remote, and MS MCE Wireless Keyboard/Mouse

OS: Windows Vista Ultimate

TV: 42inch Olevia LCD TV 5421i

Projector: BenQ PB6110 DLP Projector (with 16:9 pull down screen)

And now the money spot, what good is a cool plugin like MyMovies (http://www.mymovies.name) with out a few movies?

My file server....

File Server

Spire SwordFin SP-9007B Black

Mother Board

TYAN TomCat S2865G2NR Socket 939 NVIDIA nForce4 core-logic

CPU

AMD Athlon 64 3500+ Manchester 2.2GHz 512KB L2 Cache Socket 939 Processor

SYBA CL-CNL-EOLE861 120mm CPU Cooler

CD-ROM

Lite-On LTN4865 48x Reader

Disk

Seagate ST310014A 10GB EIDE/PATA 100 5400RPM 2mb Buffer

Maxtor MaxLine Pro 500GB 7H500F0 SATA/300 7200RPM 16mb Buffer

RAID

#1

HighPoint RocketRAID 1640

4x WesternDigital WDC WD32000JD-22KLB0 320gb SATA/150 7200RPM 8mb Buffer

#2
PROMISE FastTrak SX4060

3x Maxtor 4A300J0 300gb EIDE/PATA 133 5400RPM 2mb Buffer
1x Maxtor 4A320J0 320gb EIDE/PATA 133 5400RPM 2mb Buffer (they sent the wrong drive..)

Network

Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit (Onboard)
NVidia nForce Gigabit (Onboard)

RAM
2x 512mb OCZ DDR RAM

That server has over 2TB over storage, all RAID 5, and hold currently 533 full movies, a few hundred cartoons (yeah yeah....) and about 60gb of MP3s

I'll get some pics soon as I can

A weekend of effort

Well, it's been a busy few days, more like a couple of weeks. But I will some it all up into 1 weekends worth of work.

Many changes came down the pipe, and hardware was flung all over the house, here is what I was left with.

  1. Added a 1000w power supply to my Primary ESX host
  2. Built a Secondary ESX host, move all "VDI" machines to this host
  3. Replaced the 400w PSU in my Mediacenter with an 800w PSU
  4. Installed new video card in the Mediacenter
  5. Installed the new arcade PC in the cabinet
  6. Mounted the Office TV
  7. Mounted RBG LEDs on my game PC (Behind the Monitors)
  8. Purchased a Corsair RBG K70 (for the game PC)
  9. Installed and configured Insteon garage and thermostat controls

So the jist of it all? My systems had a huge need to rebalance power supplies, based on what hardware the system had and its functions.

Upgrading the Mediacenter video card allowed me to move its current card (7770) into the "New" Arcade. I then took that video card and placed it in ESX02 to toy with GPU passthrough, soon leading to the nVidia GT hacking I hope to do so I can get a cheap "gird" card for VDI

So whats the goal? Whats next? What should we look forward to (or not)

 

Server Goals

ESX01 - Dedicated to Core functionality and Systems (Home automation, Alarm, Email, AV, WSUS etc etc)

ESX02 - Dedicated to Virtual Desktops and Cloud Computing. I plan to add an nVidia GT640 or higher to this machine, converted into a Grid Card, to allow 3D Gaming on VDI sessions.

 

Whats next?

Well I'm kind of back into the Arcade and Game computer kick again, this will swap between Media Systems, Home Automation and Game machines.

 

What should we look forward to?

Well, I'll be upgrading software and hardware on the Arcade here soon. I am in the middle of doing all new graphics and making sure all the games and applications run on the new hardware.

In the Game computer arena, I'll add some new snaps and maybe clips of my Game Computer with the new keyboard and decked out lighting (should give you a good chuckle)

In the Mediacenter / Systems arena, this is starting to slow down a hair; all TVs are up and running, media is imported and functional. I still need to work out some Plex issues and casting issues between devices but I am fairly happy with how it all sits now.

Lastly, for now, in the Home Automation arena, I need to finish up some scripts and events for the new hardware in place (Thermostat and Garage door control). I plan on knocking that out soon and then I can start re-focusing on the Web App to control the house... sigh it never ends.

 

Central point established.

Slowly but surely I am migrating alot of the work load off my main MediaCenter in the living room. So it can focus primarily on just playing media or games.

I have moved my MyMovies install / DB location onto my "Cascade" server. This same machine also hosts my Plex Media Server and Windows 7 MCE with the ServerWMC addon for Live TV control.

Also, I have updated all my devices to the newest PlexBMC 4.0 Beta and the latest PlexBMC Helper from github, now the PlexBMC Helper is working on Android so all my devices work as I want.

Currently the Living Room MediaCenter now only contains its own Ceton PCIe4 Tuner (may be moved eventually to Cascade in conjunction with its USB4 Tuner), Its own Hauppauge WinTV card (for FM Radio) and its own plugins and recorded TV etc.

This will all eventually go away as I slowly migrate over to Kodi, due to the recent solidified news of MCE not being available in Windows 10. I do have Kodi and Plex installed on the MediaCenter now, and I have plugins to access them from the main menu. I actually swap around between the 3 depending on what I currently want to do.

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