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Are dell 10gbe NICs Proprietary to only their own hardware ?

Jun 4, 2011
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Seen these on ebay. Seems too cheap... will they only work on dell systems .. or do they need some CD key to unlock ?


Think i have the answer .. but not 100% .. looks too me like it for Dell systems only ... Let me know if I am wrong


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No its a normal x4 card. those are based on the intel chipset. They say "for dell" and "for HP" "for juniper, cisco, aruba etcetcetc" because they contain firmware that brands them as such. Usually because they were sold with those systems.

Most TAC supports also wont touch systems with "third party" hardware if you have a support agreement. So for example.

If I had one of these servers it might show up as a "Dell Intel X540" in device manager. If it dies. I can go to dell and get one for $600 OR I can buy one second hand. Now second hand is still likely a breach of my agreement but if I get a dell branded one not only will they likely not notice, even if they did as long as it is dell equipment they will still support it. Assuming the contract allows that of course.

Additionally, certain systems sold as bundles or nodes will have whitelisted hardware. These systems are generally sold cheaper with the stipulation that they dont support third party hardware. As such they use bios whitelisting. Many work stations do this; and in these cases I could not buy a normal "Intel x540" I would need to buy the card you linked with the dell firmware or it will not function in the system.

Still even used thats way cheap so be careful.