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I217-V onboard NIC on Windows Server 2019


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TLDR: I was able to force the I217-LM driver onto the onboard I217-V 'consumer' NIC so it can be detected by Windows Server 2019. Is this a good idea? This is my Plex media server. Another question, will the ServerRAID M1015, which has x8 PCIe lanes, work in a x16 slot that has only x4 lanes? Will this become a bottleneck assuming that there are eight (8) JBOD mechanical SATA drives connected to the M1015?


Long story:

I need to move PCIe cards around because I plan to install a 1050Ti graphics card for Plex to use in hardware video decoding. With that, I need to make room and get rid of the Quad-1Gbps NIC. That will leave me using the onboard NIC.


Current PCIe setup on the Z97-D3H board:

x16 slot @ x16 - ServerRAID M1015 (x8)

x16 slot @ x4 - Quad-1Gbps NIC (x4)


Proposed PCIe setup:

x16 slot @ x16 - 1050Ti Graphics card

x16 slot @ x4 - ServerRAID M1015 (x8)



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Could be a bottleneck, but given its only going to be Plex, how many concurrent streams are you going to be pulling, whatever that number is its unlikely you're going to be pulling enough from each drive to actually cause an issue.

If you're bothered about NIC's, do you have USB3?  Could always drop a dual USB3 NIC on there.

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This is what I found on the Unraid Community Forum.... 


"The M1015 is a PCIe v2 x8 card ... so it's designed for 8 lanes at 500MB/second/lane.


If you connect it to an x4 slot, then as long as the motherboard supports PCIe v2 (or later) the card will have 2GB/s of bandwidth available with 4 lanes.    Clearly that's enough for 8 drives => so the answer is you won't notice any degradation in performance.


However, if the motherboard has PCIe v1 slots, the total bandwidth for 4 lanes is only 1GB ... which works out to 125MB/s/drive for 8 drives => this will clearly result in degraded performance when all drives are active at once."

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The USB3.0 route for the NICs could definitely be an option. I'll look into that when I run into bandwidth issues. But if I looked at the datasheet comparing the -V and -LM chips...  They are identical except for the following three things, which only the corporate-grade LM has:


Intel® vPro™ 2 technology
Intel® Stable Image Platform Program (SIPP)

iSCSI Boot Support


Source: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/embedded/products/networking/ethernet-controller-i217-family-brief.html


As for the PCIe slots on the motherboard, the spec sheet says that the x16@x4 is PCIe 2.0. So I think I should be ok?


I very much appreciate the help, guys. Thanks!

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