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.
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!