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I have an old ASUS KFN32-D SLI/SAS dual socket-F motherboard that loves to randomly drop certain hardware on reboot. I upgraded the server about a year ago to have Dual Quadcore procs @ 2.5GHz with 32GB ram running SBS 2011. I would really like to continue using the server if possible. The devices that drop are the onboard NIC (link lights stay on however), and and all PCI slot devices (excluding the video card). This really sucks since there is no onboard IPMI device for me to use when I am away (and it loves to do this when I am away). Windows simply does not see the devices (there are no errors in device manager). The only way to fix this is to reset the BIOS to system defaults, reboot, and then re-enable the RAID controller (otherwise it will try to boot individual disks). Thinking maybe it was just a bad BIOS chip, I replaced it but that didn't help and I have re-flashed the BIOS many times. This only seems to happen to Server 2008, vista, and 7 on this board (I used to use this as my workstation). Odly enough it never happens with XP pro (x86 and x64) so I am not sure if it is a driver issue.

The motherboard does have a SMBus connector (6 pins: FAN_PWM, I2C_CLCK#, N/C, GND, I2C_DATA#, +5VSB) and I was wondering if I can do anything with that (IPMI?).

Another option is finding out how to use the RS232 port for remote management and then attaching that to another server/computer in the rack.

If not, are there any inexpensive IPKVM modules that I can get that that are sub $200 USD?

If you know what might be causing the system to do this, please let me know.

share|improve this question
I realize I asked a similar question before… but The answer did not fix the problem in the end. – Mitchell Skurnik Aug 2 '12 at 20:29
is this an enterprise server in an enterprise environment, or a home device? – longneck Aug 2 '12 at 20:34
It is a server I use for my business. I don't have the money to colocate the box. I was using it for Exchange, SharePoint, VM, etc but I use it for storage now as I replaced the server. – Mitchell Skurnik Aug 2 '12 at 20:49
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Sorry to say what you don't want to hear but this is a good case of a reason to purchase a complete server from a company that is known for making them as they can support your configuration and even when it reaches eol there should be plenty of information on the internet to help you.

However to actually answer your question to some extent - Dell (Avocent) ippvm units come up on ebay very cheap from time to time, but remember you may need to purchase additional SIP's (Server Interface Pods) and you still may need managed PDU's in order to force power cycling in the event of some types of crash.

Most computers these days have SMBus but IPMI is typically only found on server grade machines. A good way to tell is whether the board has a BMC - baseboard management controller.

Ages ago when I was thinking hard about building a whitebox server I found the AMI MegaRAC cards which I believe the Dell DRAC cards are based on but I ended up giving up on whitebox servers before I figured out whether they were any models that were platform independant.

share|improve this answer
I ended up replacing it as you suggested and purchased an external SAS extender. – Mitchell Skurnik Aug 12 '12 at 17:47

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