Broadcom NIC causing havoc

I bought a “Dell 0FCGN Broadcom 5720 2Port 1Gbps PCIe Ethernet Adapter Card 48-5” for a newish Dell Inspiron 3671 to run VMware ESXi because ESXi doesn’t support the on-board Realtek NIC.

When I boot with the Broadcom card in slot 0, I get “The amount of system memory has changed” and the BIOS sees only 8GB and not the full 16GB or RAM.

If I pull the Broadcom card out, the BIOS sees the full 16GB.

If I put it in slot 1 (the x16 PCIe slot), it can’t see the keyboard.

If I put it in slot 2, again , “The amount of system memory has changed”.

At some point I saw a message about “Broadcom NetXtreme Boot Agent”. No idea what that is but it was before the Dell logo comes up so it looks like the card gets its hook in low level.

Is there any way to get this card to work?

I know nothing about these cards or boot agents and so on.

If not, can someone recommend a cheap NIC that will work with ESXi on a newish PC?

Most Intel cards should be fine, and are cheap to pick up.

Tried as I might, I was unable to get that card to work. It is on the VMWare I/O compatibility list. But there is something about the host machine (which is actually a Vostro, not Inspiron) that was causing a conflict with higher memory addresses.

I just ordered a used Precision 3420 desktop which, according to the manual anyway, has an integrated Intel I219-LM which is also listed as compatible with ESXi 7u3.

It’s only a 4 core machine instead of 6, the bus speed is lower and it only has two SATA connectors. But it was only $163.21 USD shipped! I can move one stick of RAM over to make it 24GB, use the Windows license with the Vostro for a new Windows workstation and put an M.2 to PCIe adapter in for the datastore drive (and in the future I can use the other M.2 slot on the adapter to add another datastore drive to the other SATA conn).

That’s the plan anyways. I’ll have to wait and see if it comes together.

Surprisingly this actually worked. I half expected the machine to be covered in coronavirus and coffee but, not only was it near mint, they gave me a solid power cable, DisplayPort to VGA adapter and a keyboard and mouse (although the VGA adapter does not work with the console and the keyboard and mouse were covered in coronavirus and coffee).

The only hitch was that for some reason the machine would not boot an EFI ISO from USB. MBR ISO was fine. But EFI ISO on a USB stick was simply not listed under F12 boot options. I had to burn a DVD while listening to Jane’s Addiction and playing Hacky Sack.

So for $300 you can make a pretty serious Rocky home server w/ xeon e3, 24 GB ram and it’s got an M.2 slot hidden under the drive bay. Small tower is completely silent.

1 Like