The Broadcom BCM57781, ASRock Z77 Extreme 4, and You

Something that was a bit of a bummer when I fired up ESXi 5.0 on the ASRock Z77 Extreme4 was that the onboard NIC didn’t work right away. I was going to use a Intel Gigabit NIC anyway but why not see if there was a way to get the onboard Broadcom BCM57781 NIC working? I don’t plan on using dual NICs but it might be useful in the future, so why not?

ESXi 5.0 Driver Rollup 2 seems to break support for the onboard SATA ports (at least the ones controlled by the Intel chipset) which is the reason why we’re starting from scratch and injecting our own drivers. Rollup 2 does include the Broadcom driver so you can choose to go straight to that if you don’t need onboard SATA support.

So after a day of messing around with different drivers and versions of ESXi, I’m happy to report that you can get it working if you follow the steps below.

1) Download ESXi 5.0 Update 1, ESXi Customizer and the Broadcom driver (newer version of the Broadcom driver here; thanks Simon!)

2) Extract ESXi Customizer and the Broadcom driver to a directory of your choosing

3) Run the file called ESXi-Customizer.cmd located in your ESXi Customizer directory

4) In the first field, select your ESXi 5.0 Update 1 ISO you downloaded earlier

5) In the second field, change the file type filter to Offline Bundles (*.zip), browse to the Broadcom driver directory, and select tg3-3.120h.v50.2-offline_bundle-547149.zip

6) In the third field, select the directory you would like to save the final ISO to

7) Check the Create a (U)EFI-bootable ISO (ESXi 5.0 only) box before clicking Run! to create the new ESXi 5.0 ISO

8) After ESXi Customizer does its thing, you’ll end up with an ISO image of ESXi 5.0 with Update 1, Broadcom driver support and non-broken onboard SATA ports. Burn it to a disc and you’re done!

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16 thoughts on “The Broadcom BCM57781, ASRock Z77 Extreme 4, and You

  1. Thanks for this. Note these is a newer version of the ESXi packaged Broadcom driver: v3.123b / April 03, 2012 at https://my.vmware.com/group/vmware/details?downloadGroup=DT-ESXi50-Broadcom-tg3-3123bv501&productId=229#product_downloads
    (as compared to the link above which is v3.120h / October 24, 2011). I’ve just installed this version of the Broadcom drivers on my ASRock X77 Extreme 4 and all appears to be fine (I actually used the VMware PowerCLI and Image Builder but the overall result is similar).

  2. Thanks for this, it really helped me out, but I’m still having a problem. I used the steps above to compile ESXi 5 Update 1, with the latest drivers from VMware, listed in the previous post. When I installed ESXi 5, the onboard NIC connected and gathered a DHCP address right away. I can reconfigure static, ping, manage, and even convert VM’s to it. Problem is, when I reboot, it wipes the NIC settings back to blank, and I have to manually re-enter them???

    One caveat is that I’m using the ‘ASRock Z77 Extreme6’ (NOT 4), but it still has the same BCM57781. Thoughts or any help?

  3. Okay, I have some resolution here, which is pointing to a USB issue. What I was trying to accomplish was to install ESXi 5 to USB stick. I tried every configuration of installation to USB 2/3 (front/back) in USB and UEFI mode. No matter which way, it always wiped the NIC settings whether it was a supported Intel Pro 1000 or the onboard Broadcom. Something funny when shutdown/restarted, it would wipe the NIC settings. Fix/solution was to install to a SATA HDD, up and running fine with everything. I’m converting VM’s as i’m writing this, hopefully it will be fixed/updated with 5.1.

  4. Thanks to the guideline in this blog, I manage to install ESX5U1 on my new system. It is Gigabyte GA-Z77X-UD3H. The tricky part is the networking which Gigabyte use Atheros chip. While I almost give up hope that this will work, I stumble into this blog, http://www.aligrant.com/?p=news/archive&v=2012-03. It has the driver that works for Atheros chip.

    Following this guideline and downloaded the vip file for Atheros, I am able to install ESX 5 successfully with a working network.

    I am setting up my first client VM next, will report back if anything doesn’t work. :)

  5. Hello! I want to know if you try vmotion o fault tolerance with the Asrock Z77 Extreme?

    Sorry my english its not good :s

  6. Pingback: matt's debates » Blog Archive » My VMWare ESXi build – Part 2 – Building ESXi

  7. Pingback: Devolfamily » Blog Archive » ESXi 5.1 whitebox

      • Sorry I meant the Intel Storage Controller.
        But anyway it seems the ASMedia controller can be passthroughed so I’m happy with that :D

      • Hey dcg, I am having problems passing through the Intel Panther Point AHCI Controller on the Z77 Professional. I have 6 hdds, 5 are connected to the Intel controller and 1 is connected to the ASMedia controller. ESXi is installed on the hdd connected to the ASMedia controller. In VMWare, I can pass through the Intel controller but for some reason, I loose the ability to write to the hard drive on the ASMedia controller that has ESXi… I get the message “The ESXi host does not have persistent storage.” If you manage to pass through the Intel controller without also passing the ASMedia controller, please let me know!

        btw, thanks for the article loadingsysadmin! It helped my get the onboad NICs working :)

      • Hi Scoot,

        As far as I remember I have passed through the AsMedia controller and not the Intel controller.
        Intel controller is used as shared storage for datastore and I passed through the AsMedia controller with my NTFS drive to the VM. ESXi is installed on an USB stick.
        But I will confirm this evening :) as last time I’ve tried 5U1 5U2 back and forth to make them work and I don’t remember very well :))

      • Thanks for the response :)

        I tried both ESXi 5.0 update 1 and 5.1 with various combinations of hard drives and controllers. What I found was that anytime I passed the Intel controller through, I lost persistent storage. I am new to all this stuff but it makes me think that the Intel controller is further up the hardware chain. So when I pass that through, the ASMedia controller gets passed through as well. Then all my hdds are being passed through to the VM and I have a useless hypervisor…. Conversely, the ASmedia controller seems to pass through perfectly on ESXi 5.0 update 1 but not on 5.1. That problem has been well documented on other forums with 5.1.

        My solution was to purchase a PCI express card to plug the hdds into. After doing some reading, I settled on an IBM M1015 which can be flashed with some LSI firmware to turn off all the raid functionality. My end goal is FreeNAS and RaidZ1 with my 5 hdds. The M1015 is still in the mail but fingers crossed it will solve my problem :)

      • Hi Scoot,

        Careful with 5.1 . You will also need a USB PCI-Express card for mouse and keyboard at least as 5.1 breaks passthrough for USB..
        The 5.1 breaks passthrough for many other things even for PCI express cards.
        If you want to go 5.1 route (which I don’t advise) there is a patch you need to apply to ESXi in order to fix PCI express passthrough. But it works only for PCI express cards.
        That is why you will need USB card for you KB and mouse.

        Now for the config, this is the Passthrough list of the devices on Asrock MB:

        00:1a.0 – Intel USB controller
        00:1d.0 – Intel USB controller
        02:00.0 – VGA ATI
        02:00.1 – ATI HDMI Audio
        04:00.0 – AsMedia SATA controller

        Few words:
        I’ve passedthrough the Intel USB controller because I have easier access in front of the case for them, and second because the ASMedia USB controller when being passedthrough it stutters and also slows the VM for whatever reason.

        You are saying you’re losing storage when Passingthrough Intel SATA controller ,it’s normal to lose it, and I recommend not doing so. Leave the Intel controller untouched otherwise the whole system becomes unstable.
        For you 5 HDDs the M1015 is the way to go. You will have less headaches and troubles.
        Last tip:
        Buy an USB stick and put the ESXi on it so you can put that drive along the other 5 HDDs and get a bigger pool :)

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