Help getting Intel 10G NIC working on Dell R330

Hi all,

First post - go easy on me :slight_smile:

The local ISP is now offering up to 8Gbit residential so I’ve started a new pfSense build to upgrade beyond our current 1Gbit connection.

Found myself a refurbished Dell R330 and a separate Intel X710 2 NIC 10G SFP+ card. I’ve been homelabbing for a couple of years, but this is my first server build.

iDRAC detects a newer firmware for Intel(R) Ethernet Converged Network Adapter X710 and downloads Network_Firmware_DK4G2_WN64_20.0.17_A00.EXE, however the update persistently fails with:

RED097: Unable to complete the firmware update operation because the specified firmware image is for a component that is not in the target system inventory.

I have pfSense running on the server (via the 1GBE ports) but cannot for the life of me figure out how to manually/force a firmware install for the card (whether with Dell firmware, or Intel).

If I just put some SFP+ modules in the NIC and try and use it, I lose connectivity almost immediately (although pfSense can see the interfaces and I can configure them).

Any advice on this is very much appreciated.


Have you tried putting the card is a standalone PC , to upgrade the firmware/

Hi Paul,

Talk about missing the obvious :man_facepalming:

Had gone down the rabbit hole of trying to get an Ubuntu desktop image running off a USB and then running a firmware update from CLI

Will try your approach tomorrow thanks.


For cases like this where you need a live Linux running, I have been using the purchased version of PartedMagic. For $15 every once in a while, it is worth having, especially when you get a stubborn disk you need to wipe. Yes I know, it’s all open source so why pay, because it helps keep the project going on software that I use once in a while. It’s like a Robertson screwdriver in my toolbox, don’t use is often, but when I need it nothing else works. The “nothing” is a bit of a stretch since there are other choices of rescue disks, but you get the point.

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I agree with Paul to rule out the card as a problem by dropping it into another box and seeing if it works.
I would say though if the card is showing up properly in your server’s UEFI/BIOS, that it could just be an OS driver that is missing? Although the Intel cards are usually well supported, maybe a driver is missing from your PFSense install for that particular card to function properly. Just my thoughts though.

Thanks @Greg_E Ill take a look

Thanks @SpookyJosh The card shows up fine in BIOS, the pfSense install looks after the drivers as part of the kernel (as I understand it) and the install can see the NIC, and identifies it based on the driver. I guess putting it in another machines will possibly help sort the FW, and test if there is a card issue.

Thanks @Paul, turns out the only spare machines I currently have access to don’t have the right size PCIE slot…

Looks like that should be a x8 full height card. If you don’t have a chassis that supports a full height card you should actually be able to remove that pcie back plate and temporarily run it without just to test assuming you have a system that has a free x8 or x16 slot available.

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Thanks @SpookyJosh - didn’t know I could put an x8 into an x16 slot - appreciate the tip and will give it a go tonight.


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Last post on this one. Thanks again @SpookyJosh, your tip about being able to put an x8 card in an x16 slot got me over the finish line. Managed to get this working on a spare desktop machine, and then update the firmware which also sorted my connectivity issues.

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Yup, you can put a x8 card in a x16 slot or a x8 slot but not a x4 or x1 slot. Same applies with a x4 card, it can go in a x4 slot, x8 slot, or x16 slot it just can’t utilize all the lanes of a x8 or x16 slot.