Tag Archives: NUC

ESXi on AMD Ryzen based ASUS PN50

The long-awaited AMD Ryzen based PN50 by ASUS is finally available. The ESXi Homelab community is constantly growing. When you want to run ESXi in home labs you typically want to have a system that is small, silent, and transportable. To keep costs at a minimum, the power consumption is also a very important factor. The portfolio of Small Form Factor (SFF) Systems, also known as Barebone, Nettop, SoC, or Mini-PC, is enormous. Intel's NUC series is currently the most used system in the homelab market, but I'm always keeping my eyes on its competitors.

Today I'm going to test the ASUS PN50, which is currently rolled out. The PN50 is available with 4 different embedded CPUs:

  • ASUS PN50 Ryzen 7 4800U (8 Core / 16 Threads, up to 4.2 GHz)
  • ASUS PN50 Ryzen 7 4700U (8 Core, up to 4.1 GHz)
  • ASUS PN50 Ryzen 5 4500U (6 Core, up to 4.0 GHz)
  • ASUS PN50 Ryzen 5 4300U (4 Core, up to 4.0 GHz)

Will ESXi run on the Asus PN50?
Yes. It is possible to install ESXi on the Asus PN50. Unfortunately, Asus is using a Realtek based RTL8168 Gigabit Network adapter for the PN50, which will not work with ESXi 7.0. To install ESXi 6.x, you have to use a community-based driver. If you want to use ESXi 7.0, you have to use a USB-based Network adapter.

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Tips for using USB Network Adapters with VMware ESXi

Running Intel NUCs and other SFF systems with ESXi is a proven standard for virtualization home labs. One major drawback is that most of the available SFF systems only have a single Gigabit network adapter. This might be sufficient for a standalone ESXi with a few VMs, but when you want to use shared Storage or VMware NSX, you totally want to have additional NICs.

This article explains some basics to consider when running USB-based network adapters with ESXi.

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ESXi VMKUSB NIC Fling adds support for 2.5GBASE-T Adapters

The USB Native Driver Fling, a popular ESXi driver by Songtao Zheng and William Lam that adds support for USB-based Network Adapters, has been updated to version 1.6. The new version has added support for RTL8156 based 2.5GBASE-T network adapters.

Multi-Gigabit network adapters with 5GBASE-T are available for a while, but those 5GbE adapters cost about $100 USD. The new driver allows the usage of 2.5GbE adapters that are available for as low as $25 USD. The driver was released yesterday, and luckily I already own a bunch of 2.5GbE adapters, so I could give it a test drive immediately.

CableCreation USB 3.0 to 2.5 Gigabit LAN Adapter (CD0673)

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Which Intel NUC should I buy for VMware ESXi? (August 2020)

A question that comes up quite often is which NUC I would recommend to buy. The following article shows buying options based on Price/Performance value, performance, and special needs like Dual-NIC or vPro.

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Solution: ESXi Installation with USB NIC only fails at 81%

When you try to install ESXi 7.0 with a USB NIC only, the installation fails at 81% with the following error message:

Exception: No vmknic tagged for management was found.


Some homelab systems like the Intel 10th Gen NUC are not equipped with a compatible network adapter. As a workaround, you can use a USB NIC and create a customized image to install ESXi. The installation fails as the ESXi installer can't assign the USB NIC as a management adapter because it specifically searches for a "vmnic#", not "vusb#" adapter.

This article explains how to proceed with the 81% installation error and get the system to work.

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How to Install or Upgrade ESXi 7.0b on 10th Gen Intel NUC

To get ESXi installed on a 10th Gen Intel NUC you need a customized image at the moment. How to create the custom image is explained here. The problem is that the ne1000 driver, which is bundled in ESXi 7.0, is not compatible with the NUCs Gigabit Network interface. When you now try to install the latest ESXi patch, the driver is overwritten with the non-working default ne1000 driver.

The solution is quite simple. You can either install the working driver again after patching or create a custom ESXi 7.0b image. The method described here is specific for ESXi 7.0b but might also work for future releases, as long as ESXi 7 is not equipped with a ne1000 driver supporting Intels latest I219-V.

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Homelab - Will ESXi 7.0 run on Intel NUC?

esxi-on-5th-gen-NUC5i3MYHEVMware vSphere ESXi 7.0 is here and while you might want to wait before you upgrade your production, it's time to explore the new features in your Homelab. I've received questions on whether it is safe to upgrade and some folks are already having trouble with the upgrade.

First of all, short answer:
Yes - ESXi 7.0 will run on 5th - 10th Gen NUCs.

Long answer...

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Export-ESXImageProfile fails with WinError 10054

When creating an ESXi ISO Image from VMware's Online Depot by using the PowerCLI command Export-ESXImageProfile -ExportToISO, the creation might fail with the following error message:

Export-ESXImageProfile : [WinError 10054] An existing connection was forcibly closed by the remote host

Creating an offline .zip bundle (-ExportToBundle) works without any problems. To work around this issue, create the .zip bundle first and then create the .iso file from the local software depot. Read more »

Intel NUC Latest BIOS Version as Table and JSON (Daily Updates)

An Intel NUC BIOS Version overview is now available at virten.net. The page displays the latest version from all BIOS types and their corresponding NUC models. The page is updated every day. You can access the page in the "Homelab" menu.

The latest BIOS Version list is available as a table and JSON file. Read more »

Intel NUC Recommended BIOS Settings for VMware ESXi

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. Read more »