Author Topic: USB cards that present each port as seperate device  (Read 1785 times)

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Offline Benoire

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USB cards that present each port as seperate device
« on: July 17, 2014, 04:08:39 PM »
Hi,

I know about the USB 3 Highpoint card but I'm in need of a similar card but using PCI-e x1 slots as I do not have enough x4's left.

The purpose is to allow me to pass an individual port from that card to a VM, so if it has four USB ports then I can assign each one individually.  Doesn't have to be USB 3, and I suspect it can't be at x1 speed... Do any exist?

Thanks,

Chris

Offline rab

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Re: USB cards that present each port as seperate device
« Reply #1 on: July 18, 2014, 05:05:21 PM »
Hi Chris,

I have recently built my homelab and have been struggling with this as well.  Not sure if your MB has any PCI slots, but I found this that I might try. 

http://www.amazon.com/StarTech-com-Express-Adapter-Card-PCI1PEX1/dp/B0037ECAM2/ref=cm_wl_huc_item

This USB Passthru piece is quite the struggle.  I thought I had done enough research prior to purchasing, but I didn't fully grasp some of it until I built my server and got hands on with it.   I have 3 PCI-e slots on my MB (x16, x8, x4) but am planning to use all 3 for video cards.  I thought the other (2) PCI-e x1 would be useful, but now not so much.  It looks like I'll have to spend another $150 just to get keyboard/usb passthru which seems crazy when I have all of these USB ports on my MB :(

Offline Benoire

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Re: USB cards that present each port as seperate device
« Reply #2 on: July 18, 2014, 08:16:33 PM »
This has been my primary concern with Esxi, at the moment I'm back using Xenserver as the alpha release of their next edition is pretty cool.  You can passthrough anything attached to the motherboard and the current alpha doesn't require you to reset the host when select the items to pass through.  The only trouble is that it is currently command line as the client doesn't allow you to do this.

Offline rab

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Re: USB cards that present each port as seperate device
« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2014, 10:29:56 AM »
I haven't tried Xenserver, but was thinking about it giving it a try.  Are you just trying to make the switch to esxi to have more GUI based control? 

I did some more research and found this inexpensive cable which allows you to use pci-e X1 connector for X4 devices. 

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HW1O6OG/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_nS_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=FUR4OKLXLT7W&coliid=IEXVSWFXXC9W8.

I also found out last night that the (2) PCI slots (at least on my MB) share the same controller so hopes of inserting an inexpensive USB PCI card into each of those two slots and passing each thru individually were shattered.

Offline Benoire

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Re: USB cards that present each port as seperate device
« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2014, 05:54:27 PM »
I would suggest that ESXi is more usable for the homelab user that doesn't work in IT, certainly on the pass through front; however the new version of xenserver in alpha at the moment is fantastic.  The move to a 64bit Dom0 and latest drivers has really made it snappy.  Passthrough is currently done by xe command but it doesn't require a host shutdown to assign the devices, simply assign them to the correct vm using the correct syntax and on next boot they will be there, very clever.

I guess my main switch was cost, Xenserver is free.  There is a gui but its not so good, however all of the commands in the CLI can be done in a gui if implemented, including pass through... Xen-Orchestra is a web based administration product in development that is free (as well as commercial options) that intends to add all these in in time... however until then, everything is cli driven.

To be honest, the inability to assign either usb passthrough or even the ability to select certain controllers on motherboards has driven me to xen (oh and the fact it works great with PCI-e tv tuner cards!