Enabling Intel NIC (82578DM) on Intel S3420GPLC under ESXi4.1

In my home lab I have a Intel S3420GPLC motherboard with Intel Xeon X3430.

Intel S3420GPLC is a pretty good motherboard. The motherboard has 2 on-board network interface cards (Intel 82574L & Intel 82578DM). The Intel NIC 82574L along with the onboard SATA controller is on the VMware HCL. So basically VMware ESXi 4.1 installs without any problems. However the Intel NIC 82578DM is an unsupported one, so cannot be used out of the box.

I wanted to use both the onboard network cards for my test lab, hence Googled around for some information. Thanks to the folks at vm-help.com, I found out it can be enabled by by using a custom OEM.tgz. I followed the steps as listed at vm-help and it worked perfect.

Here are the exact steps that I did to enable the card:

  1. Install vSphere ESXi-4.1 on a USB. BTW as my ‘Intel S3420GP’ board has a internal-onboard USB slot, I use it for connecting USB stick installed with ESXi. Thus no dangling USB sticks on the outside.
  2. PowerOn the ESXi box.
  3. Enable SSH on your ESXi box.
  4. Connect to your ESXi box using a SSH client.
  5. Before we proceed further, We need to download a vmkernel module to enable the Intel 82578DM based NIC. A kind & helpful contributor has done all the hardwork of compiling a custom module. It can be downloaded at vm-help forums. Download the module named oem-8086-10f0-v1119.tgz.
  6. Extract the module from the tarball. You will need only the file name as e1000e2.o.
  7. Copy this module to the ESXi box under /tmp.
  8. Run the following commands:
    mkdir /tmp/oem
    cd /tmp/oem
    mkdir -p etc/vmware
    mkdir -p mkdir usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod
    cp /etc/vmware/simple.map /tmp/oem/etc/vmware
    cp /etc/vmware/pci.ids /tmp/oem/etc/vmware
    # we had copied this module earlier in step 7.
    cp /tmp/e1000e2.o /tmp/oem/usr/lib/vmware/vmkmod
  9. In vi, open the following file

    Search for the line

    8086:10ec 0000:0000 network ixgbe

    Add the following line below it

    8086:10ef 0000:0000 network e1000e2

    Save the file and close it.

  10. In vi, open the following file

    Search for the section

             10ec  82598EB 10 Gigabit AT CX4 Network Connection
                    8086 a01f  10-Gigabit CX4 Dual Port Server Adapter
                    8086 a11f  10-Gigabit CX4 Dual Port Server Adapter

    If it does not already exists, then add the following line below it

             10ef  82578DM Gigabit Network Connection
  11. Now lets create custom oem.tgz and copy it to the appropriate location. The commands that we will run are:
    cd /tmp/oem
    tar zcvf oem.tgz etc usr
    cp oem.tgz /bootbank/oem.tgz
  12. Thats all, after reboot, just verify if your NIC card was detected.

PS: I would like to specially mention that all I have done here is just documented the steps more clearly. The real hardwork of hacking into the ESXi and figuring out the jigsaw puzzle was done by Dave Mishchenko of the vm-help.com, and these steps are based on the information found over there.

A Quick Update:

You don’t require to do any of the steps described above if you are running the recently released vSphere 5.0. vSphere 5.0 includes a driver for Intel 82578DM.

You can download the latest vSphere (5.0) hypervisor version here.


7 thoughts on “Enabling Intel NIC (82578DM) on Intel S3420GPLC under ESXi4.1

  1. Hi

    thanks a lot for this posting.
    But i have any question because i would like buy this Mainbord
    is there VT avalable in this Mainbord?
    and can i use the Raid als well?


    • Hi Jimmy,

      Its been a long time I have used ESX classic. Hence my answer may not be accurate. However I believe the listed module for Intel_NIC_82578DM should also work on ESX classic 4.x. I guess you will need to use the command “vmkload_mod -m ” to load the module under ESX classic.


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