My Own low cost Lab VMware ESX White Box Specs

I know many of you out there want to practice on many VMware products specially vSphere & would like to build your own lab but without breaking the bank.

I have been able to build my own Home Lab for less than $600 buying the parts in Kuwait, which probably end up even cheaper on your side. Further, I thought I will share my VMware ESX White Box Configuration for others who want to build their own ESX white box, but they don’t want to risk it will not work. This configuration has been tested and it work perfectly with both VMware vSphere ESX 4.0/ESX 4.1/ and even ESX 4.1 U1.

Cut it short below is my Lab ESX white Box configuration:

– ASUS M4A785TD-V EVO MotherBoard

– AMD Phenom(tm) II X4  925 Processor (Four Core at 2.8 GHz)

– 16 GB DDR3

– 2 X 7200 RPM 500GB HDD

– 2 X Intel PRO 1000 GT NICs.

Believe it or not getting a compatible NIC cards is what took me the most. You should mostly look for Intel/Broadcom cards unless if you are ready to compile the driver for your NIC cards which is not that difficult for many cards out there, but I wanted to have a fully supported configuration in my lab. In fact I bought my cards while I was in London to attend my vSphere Design Course.

Enjoy your new cheap ESX white Box, maybe you want to have a second one as well or you can have nested ESXs. Further, if you have another cheap VMware ESX White Box Configuration please share it in the comment area below for others to benefit.

Hmmm, another great place to check for parts that work with ESX for building your ESX white box would be


  1. Hi,

    What memory did you buy for the motherboard? I have checked here and I can’t see 16GB.



  2. Hi Steve,

    I actually bought 4 Dimms (4GB each) Kingston Branded Memory.


  3. paranoid says:

    I have the same mobo – proc is AMD x3 445 3.1 four core

    1X WD 160 gb raptor drive
    16 gb Kingston DDr3 memory 1333
    1X Intel Pro GT Card
    keeping getting errors when trying to install it through external dvd drive and Esxi 4.1

    Did you have to downgrade your BIOS version? would appreciate any help.

  4. Hi Paranoid,

    I have not downgraded my BIOS version, though I remember making sure in the bios that my Sata controller is not set to RAID as that is not supported for the particular controller my board had. I was wondering what error are you having?

    Hope this help.


  5. paranoid says:

    Hi Eiad,

    it works now! thanks it was a faulty intel pro gt card.Also i bought a bunch of Intel GT/ MT cards and it seems MT cards are not that great and occasionally i do get an error about PCI device and vendor mismatch although it shows up.

    I managed to setup esxi 4.1 finally on the above mobo, works nice,

    wanted to set this up so bad, this mobo is quite cheap and the proc is not that pricey either,


  6. a compatible cheap raid controller?

  7. Tom McGuigan says:

    I would like to experiment with installing on my laptop, but encountered NIC compatibility errors, which I’m guessing might be fixed if I “compile the driver for my NIC card”? Can you point me someplace for help with how to compile the driver for my NIC card?

  8. Tom McGuigan says:

    P.S. My NIC is Atheros AR8152 PCI-E Fast Ethernet Controller

  9. Hi Tom,

    It will kinda depend on the NIC card you have. What NIC card are you using? posting that it will he us find out if any one has a success compiling it before.


  10. Hi, have you measured the power consumption of this system?

    Interested in building a similar spec machine but mine would be on 24/7 so have to think about power usage!


  11. Hi Colin,

    I have not really measured the power, but my system is up and running 24/7 without any huge power bills.

    Note: I live in Dubai where electricity is not very cheap, but not very expensive either :).


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