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VSphere-based HTPC/Media Centre

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First post here, looking for help/advice

Have been using HP Microservers for a few years, lovely little boxes. Until recently, running one of the older boxes, an N40, with a Radeon 6450 with Openelec as a media-server. Or more precisely, a 'front end'; it pulls media (video, music) from my Synology NAS and plays it over TV/Amp. Kinda like a PopCornHour A300 on steroids. Works a treat. The box is being re-purposed as a firewall, because I bought a Gen8, and upgraded it with a Xeon 1265-L2, and the 6450.

What I would like to do is virtualise the HTPC as a VM - because the Xeon system is overkill for a media centre. My question is, is this possible?


HPGen8 with VSphere 6.5, one or more VMs

VM 1 has 2 GB RAM, 1 dedicated [physical] CPU, and pass-through PCI-e (the 6450)

Presumably this is possible:

  • VM1 will run Openelec, and have access to the 6450 for video acceleration (for mp4/mkv playback and hdmi audio), and display will be passed out to the amp/tv
  • 1 USB port passed to the VM, so I can run a wireless remote control.
  • Possibly a second USB port passed through so I can run a wireless keyboard with trackball

Intend to add other VMs, (perhaps a LInux based mail server, or MS SBS of some flavour), but thats for the future.

I'm new to VSphere/ESXi, so don't know much at all, let alone "what I don't know"...


My experiments with VSphere so far result in PCI-pass through to the VM, but the output from the video card is the VSphere boot-up screen 'frozen' when loading a shim, and all interaction with the VM is via a browser... not what I was hoping for. How do I redirect the VM's video output over the video card?


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I have had both Hyper-V and Vsphere working on my Homelab Microserver without any issues running things like server2012r2, Plex server, Windows 7, and 10 Linux but I have never wanted to do the passthru although i have read on various posts this is possible.

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passthru sounds neat, and simple enough for 'peripherals', but for a video card, how do you keep the host from accessing it while the vm is supposed to own it?

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On 5/18/2017 at 2:48 PM, nrf said:

passthru sounds neat, and simple enough for 'peripherals', but for a video card, how do you keep the host from accessing it while the vm is supposed to own it?

the default video adapter would the the on-board set in bios i presume like you could do with the DL380 G6, (Could set, front only, back only or both) that way it would not use the card as the graphics display and would be available for passthrough.

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great, please let us know how it goes. hopefully hdcp will work in that configuration.

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Ok, so I need to enable the onboard VGA BIOS as default, then presumably do some "hacking about" in the config to obtain the PCI device number of the video card for passthru... I've seen a tutorial on that.


What do you mean by setting "front only, back only, or both"? 


Many thanks!

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on a rack mounted server, like the model i mentioned. it has vga on the back and front. it was an example, but on the Microserver, as you know, you only have one.

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Many thanks - find it best to ask questions just to clarify and confirm what I thought you said is what you meant, or not :-)


Cheers! Now to find time to try :D

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I'm having a sound problem. I cannot receive sound as an HDMI input.

Barametal has no problem on the card. But I'm having trouble in Esxi.  Version 6.7.u3




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