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DL380 G3 thinking of buying a USB PCI card - is it worth it?

autolead
Occasional Visitor

DL380 G3 thinking of buying a USB PCI card - is it worth it?

Hello

 

We acquired a DL380 G3 server and want to install Windows Server 2003. The server hasn't got a floppy or cd rom drive installed. It has 4GB RAM and 4x36GB of hard discs and two empty bays. The server has 2 USB ports on the back, I think they are 1.1 speed. It won't boot from USB port. There is not a single USB option on the bios (version 2.00, dated 2004).  From what I have read on the web people tend to buy PCI USB expansion cards for this model to utilise USB connectivity.

We are planning to use it as a file server on a LAN with lots of Windows PCs.

 

My questions are:

 

1) Does a BIOS update exist to make this particual server boot from USB so that I can use a bootable USB stick, or is it too much of a legacy product? Without a floppy or cd drive how is one supposed to update the BIOS if needed?

 

2) Is there a recommended PCI expansion card to buy with Windows Server 2003 in mind? My plan is to install the PCI card and boot from a USB stick.  I found an (old) interesting discussion here http://www.tek-tips.com/viewthread.cfm?qid=1337697 where a Belkin product seems to be fit for this task. I am about to email Belking myself to make sure that Windows Server 2003 is supported.

 

Alternatively I have thought of searching to buy a cd drive for this server.

 

Do you believe it is worth the hassle or will I end up wasting money trying different brands and models?

 

Any opinions/suggestions are welcome.

 

Thanks

3 REPLIES

Re: DL380 G3 thinking of buying a USB PCI card - is it worth it?

 

 

The server BIOS settings allows to enable or disable USB 2.0. Install the USB 2.0 card in the server and restart it. During POST prompt press ‘F9’ key to run the ROM-Based Setup Utility (RBSU). System Options is highlighted by default. Press the ‘enter’ key to display the options and then using the arrow keys navigate to USB 2.0 and press ‘enter’ key to display options. Using the arrow keys choose option ‘Enabled’ and press the ‘enter’ key to select it. Press F10 to save changes and exit. This should work!!

 

Instead of  ‘USB 2.0’, ‘USB External Port Capability’ is displayed under System Options, then selecty USB 2.0 to set version type and check.

 

The server QuickSpecs does not list Windows Server 2003 as a supported operating system. What this effectively means is that this server wasnot tested on that operating system and that drivers are not available for it. It is better to use the driver that was shipped with the PCI USB card.

 

There are no HP recommended PCI USB card that may be installed inthe server.

 

Regards,

 

Vijayasarathy

I work for HPE
Views expressed herein are my personal opinion and is not the views of HPE
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autolead
Occasional Visitor

Re: DL380 G3 thinking of buying a USB PCI card - is it worth it?

I'll pass on the information. We haven't purchased a card yet as we are wondering whether our plan will actually work. From what I understand the BIOS options will change after I install the card, but will it boot from USB stick? Currently there isn't such option displayed. Also are you implying that I should better have the card's drivers for Win 2003 at hand in order for Windows to detect the card, is that right?

 

Thanks

Matti_Kurkela
Honored Contributor

Re: DL380 G3 thinking of buying a USB PCI card - is it worth it?

> From what I understand the BIOS options will change after I install the card

 

How did you come to that conclusion? A card may supply its own BIOS extension, but it has been my experience that most USB PCI cards generally don't do that. I have not seen a single USB PCI card that would add a boot-from-usb functionality to a system that does not originally have it.

 

If the DL380 G3 has no USB boot support whatsoever, it might be theoretically possible to provide a BIOS extension that would enable booting from one of the card's USB connectors without interfering with the USB support of the rest of the BIOS. If the system BIOS already has some boot-from-USB-storage functionality, such a BIOS extension might interfere with the BIOS support, requiring extensive testing with various BIOSes -> higher product price or an unreliable product.

 

> I should better have the card's drivers for Win 2003 at hand in order for Windows to detect the card

 

Yes, you probably should. However, if the USB controller chip on the card is known to Win 2003, it might be able to use the built-in drivers of the OS.

MK