ITX Build Options for ESXi

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AsGF2MX

New Member
Jan 27, 2023
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I would like to put together a replacement for a DQ67SW/i7 2600K combo I've been using as an ESXi server as it can't seem to run ESXi 8 and 7.x was flaky at best.

Whether it's workstation grade or server grade, I'm trying to understand my options as it doesn't look like there's much available. The main thing for me is there must be more than one NIC on board and some form of IPMI/vPRO.
 

zac1

Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2022
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I'm biased, but... Supermicro makes some sweet mITX systems.

Just to be clear, you want to replace this DQ67SW (micro-ATX) with an ITX board? What are your RAM/storage requirements?
 

AsGF2MX

New Member
Jan 27, 2023
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I'm biased, but... Supermicro makes some sweet mITX systems.

Just to be clear, you want to replace this DQ67SW (micro-ATX) with an ITX board? What are your RAM/storage requirements?
I actually want to upgrade the platform to something newer like LGA1700 or AM5 or similar. RAM, I'm aiming for 4 slots, no need for ECC. For storage, I'm not sure if I'll do SATA or NVMe but I'd like to have options either way. I've had a few M2 SSD machines have the storage conk out (the ones without the heatsinks) so SATA may just last a bit longer. I'll admit this is a budget build that I want to last a few years.

Looking to run:

- Zabbix
- FOG
- Samba box
- Firewall/router (TBC) - hence the dual NIC
- A number of testing VMs (Windows/Linux)
 

wesm63

New Member
Nov 9, 2018
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Not sure if it will meet your requirements but check out the Lenovo tiny pc's. There's and entire thread here on it. I threw one together a few months back but haven't really found a use for it. (Idea was for a portable system I could take somewhere that had pfsense/opensense and a handful of vm's)

Outside of that, ITX is super limiting on both on the storage and memory sides. Asrock Rack makes some decent ITX boards but most of them are limited to 64GB ram and <4 SATA/NVME devices. Non-server grade ITX systems are going to be in the same boat.
 

zac1

Well-Known Member
Oct 1, 2022
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Outside of that, ITX is super limiting on both on the storage and memory sides. Asrock Rack makes some decent ITX boards but most of them are limited to 64GB ram and <4 SATA/NVME devices. Non-server grade ITX systems are going to be in the same boat.
Meanwhile I'm sitting on mITX boards with 6x SATA, 1x NVMe, quad NICs including 10GbE, with some supporting up to 512GB RAM... Lol
 

AsGF2MX

New Member
Jan 27, 2023
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Not sure if it will meet your requirements but check out the Lenovo tiny pc's. There's and entire thread here on it. I threw one together a few months back but haven't really found a use for it. (Idea was for a portable system I could take somewhere that had pfsense/opensense and a handful of vm's)

Outside of that, ITX is super limiting on both on the storage and memory sides. Asrock Rack makes some decent ITX boards but most of them are limited to 64GB ram and <4 SATA/NVME devices. Non-server grade ITX systems are going to be in the same boat.
For the tiny PCs, are they still coming with a PCIe slot? Had a look and older models definitely did but I don't see them on newer ones I got at work.

How is ITX limiting vs the tinies these days? Either path is pricey (ITX vs ATX, tiny vs everything) so I'm just trying to figure out which way to go.
 

wesm63

New Member
Nov 9, 2018
19
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For the tiny PCs, are they still coming with a PCIe slot? Had a look and older models definitely did but I don't see them on newer ones I got at work.

How is ITX limiting vs the tinies these days? Either path is pricey (ITX vs ATX, tiny vs everything) so I'm just trying to figure out which way to go.
According to the thread I linked earlier, the lenovo tiny's are still coming with them.

Just my personal opinion but I feel like ITX is in a slightly better situation, as there are tons more options. (e.g. server grade, gaming and even SoC) whereas the tiny's are limited to one or two lenovo models. (although those are generally much less than building a traditional ITX system but your really limited to that form factor and the connections it comes with)
 

AsGF2MX

New Member
Jan 27, 2023
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According to the thread I linked earlier, the lenovo tiny's are still coming with them.

Just my personal opinion but I feel like ITX is in a slightly better situation, as there are tons more options. (e.g. server grade, gaming and even SoC) whereas the tiny's are limited to one or two lenovo models. (although those are generally much less than building a traditional ITX system but your really limited to that form factor and the connections it comes with)
That is handy. I am still trying to figure out what to grab and I might be getting a few units in the office to take a look so let's see.
 

AsGF2MX

New Member
Jan 27, 2023
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Has anyone tried the ASROCK Z790M-ITX WiFi ITX - seems to at least come with two Intel NICs

ASRock > Z790M-ITX WiFi

Definitely not a good idea to pair with an i7-13700k but the PCIe has bifurication to 2x 8x PCIe and there are two M2 slots + 6 SATA ports.
 

Tom S

Member
Jan 31, 2017
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I actually want to upgrade the platform to something newer like LGA1700 or AM5 or similar. RAM, I'm aiming for 4 slots, no need for ECC. For storage, I'm not sure if I'll do SATA or NVMe but I'd like to have options either way. I've had a few M2 SSD machines have the storage conk out (the ones without the heatsinks) so SATA may just last a bit longer. I'll admit this is a budget build that I want to last a few years.
Mini ITX is too crowded to offer 4 RAM full-size RAM slots unless you get an SoC board.

The SoC boards are not bad if you're compute constrained. A lot of good Xeon D boards on eBay for reasonable prices.

Full size CPUs and their heatsink mounting areas don't leave enough room for 4 full-size RAM slots. You're limited to 2 full-size RAM slots, or some boards have 4 x SO-DIMM slots.

The ASRock Rack X570D4I-2T is king in this space, as far as I know: AM4, 4 x SO-DIMM slots, dual 10GBe LAN, built-in BMC for remote management, full-size x16 PCIe4 slot, an M.2 slot, and an additional 2 OCuLink ports to break out additional PCIe lanes if need them.

Pair it with a 5950X and you've got a tiny powerhouse server.

Unfortunately I haven't seen any Mini ITX boards for AM5 or recent Intel CPUs.