The following BIOS settings are recommended for Intel NUC Systems running VMware ESXi. The list was created based on the latest 10th Gen Frost Canyon. Available options may differ with older NUCs.
To enter the BIOS, press F2 after powering on the system.
It's a good practice to disable all unused devices. I recommend disabling everything except the onboard NIC and Thunderbolt support.
- Advanced > Onboard Devices > HD Audio: Disabled
- Advanced > Onboard Devices > Digital Microphone: Disabled
- Advanced > Onboard Devices > LAN: Enabled*
- Advanced > Onboard Devices > Thunderbolt Support: Enabled*
- Advanced > Onboard Devices > WLAN: Disabled
- Advanced > Onboard Devices > Bluetooth: Disabled
Advanced > Onboard Devices > SDCard 3.0 Controller: Disabled
- Advanced > Onboard Devices > Enhanced Consumer IR: Disabled
- Advanced > Onboard Devices > HDMI CEC Control: Disabled
Note: While the SD Card Controller does not work with ESXi, disabling it might result in problems with the network adapter.
The cooling configuration depends on your situation. If you need the NUC to be as silent as possible, configure the Fan Control Mode to "Silent". When noise is not a problem configure it to "cool", which is the best mode for reliability.
- Cooling > Fan Control Mode: Cool
For maximal performance, make sure that HT, Turbo Boost and all cores are enabled.
- Performance > Prozessor > Hyper-Threading: Enabled*
- Performance > Prozessor > Intel Turbo Boost Technology: Enabled*
- Performance > Prozessor > Active Processor Cores: All*
Activate both virtualization features VT-x and VT-d. To get rid of TPM 2.0 error mesages ("TPM 2.0 device detected but a connection cannot be established.") disable Intel PTT.
- Security > Security Features: Intel Virtualization Technology: Enabled*
- Security > Security Features: Intel VT for Directed I/O (VT-d): Enabled*
- Security > Security Features: Intel Platform Trust Technology: Disabled
Do not change power policies, they can be configured from the ESXi itself, which is much more comfortable and possible without a reboot. Wake on LAN allows you to power on the nuc remotely, which is also very helpful.
- Power > Max Performance Enabled: Enabled*
- Power > Intel Dynamic Power Technology: Energy Efficient Perform*
- Power > Processor Power Efficiency Policy: High Performance*
- Power > Secondary Power Settings > After Power Failure: Last State
- Power > Secondary Power Settings > Wake on LAN from S4/S5: Power On/Normal Boot
- Boot > Secure Boot > Secure Boot: Disabled
* Default Setting