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Recommend a Z87 Micro ATX motherboard for Haswell whitebox?

I built a PC for a home lab without really doing the proper research first and now I am going back to ask for advice.  My intended usage is to experiment around with ESXi/vSphere, set up a domain controller, media server/sql for xbmc/plex, ftp server, AFP server for Time Machine backups, and some other experimental Windows servers.  Here is what I have:

Intel 4770k

ASUS Z87 Gryphon micro ATX motherboard

12GB DDR3 1600 (for now, will go to 32GB once sales pop up)

3ware / LSI 9750-8i RAID controller with 4x 2TB Hitachi SATA drives in RAID 5 (already had these or else would have used 3-4TB drives).

-I also bought an Intel Gigabit CT desktop PCI-e NIC card after reading that ESXi would not pick up on the integrated Intel card, which is why I got looking into motherboard compatibility in the first place.

So my questions are:

  1. I'm still within Fry's electronics return policy for the motherboard but not for long.  Should I return this board and order a different one?  I need micro ATX per the case I have and would like to keep.
  2. My main desktop PC has a 3770k with ASUS Z77 Deluxe motherboard.  I know the 4770k is probably overkill but I got a good deal on it and will repurpose it after I'm done with this, but would the 3770k/Z77 mobo be better compatibility for ESXi?
  3. Is it possible to install Windows as my base OS for this system, install VMware Workstation with ESXi as a guest, and then connect the RAID controller or just the RAID volume itself to ESXi?  Or should I install on a USB flash drive like others seem to?

Open to any suggestions.  Thanks!

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If you are running separate NAS based storage for running your vms, then a normal B85 based motherboard that supports 32Gb of memory is more than sufficient. z87 based mptherboards are only required when you are overclocking for gaming purpose or need more sata poarts to connect more hard drives. even in that case those ports will not be of much use unless you pass the drives through vt-d to a nas vm running from the hypervisor you will be running on this board. Unfortunetly asus is not much friendly with vt-d passthrough. So you can't acheive that. Genrally "k" type processors are overclocking friendly and not virtualization friendly. intel 4770 will never be a overkill untill you are planning to run less than 4 or 5 vms, however the 4770k and the z87 motherboard is looking like a overkill to me.

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