Enabling the uPD720202 USB 3.0 Controller on ESXi 7

Enabling the uPD720202 USB 3.0 Controller on ESXi 7

2021, May 18    

Problem

I need to pass a USB external drive to my Fedora 34 VM on my ESXi 7 host. Using USB 2.0 to transfer data is just too slow.

Solution

After searching the interwebz for a suitable PCIe controller, I settled on the Renesas UPD720202 USB 3.0 host controller. The forum posts I read all reported that they got this card to work with ESXi installs. I also liked that it came with a low-profile bracket and self-power instead of using an internal power cable. I mainly was using USB external hard drives that already had a power source.

Steps to get the VM to see the USB controller and External Drive

  1. Login to your ESXi 7 host.
  2. Rebooting the host is part of this process so go ahead and shutdown your VMs.
  3. Select hardware
  4. Make sure PCI Devices is selected in the left hand column.
  5. Scroll down till you see Renesas Technology Corp uPD720202 USB 3.0 Host Controller
  6. Click the check box and click on the Toggle passthrough
  7. This will show the passthrough status as active. enable upd720202 on ESXi 7
  8. Reboot the ESXi 7 host.
  9. Once your ESXi host is up you will need to add some devices to your VM that needs the USB 3.0 controller.
    • USB 2.0 controller
    • USB 3.0 controller
    • The PCI device you just passthrough to your host enable upd720202 on ESXi 7


  10. Make sure you give your VM memory reservation or it will not boot. enable upd720202 on ESXi 7
  11. Now boot your VM and see if you can see your USB 3.0 drive.
  12. I did a transfer to my external usb 3.0 drive and the write speed was about 135MB/s. enable upd720202 on ESXi 7