I am building a new ESX whitebox for my home lab. I will write a blog post about it sometimes later. This post is about my Celeron experience.
I have all the parts for the whitebox but the CPU which should arrive soon. I wanted to test if all motherboard, NICs and other parts are OK as they are all from Ebay or similar shops. I have a spare Intel Celeron 420 CPU lying around, which is one core 1.6 GHz processor with 512 kB cache. No VT extensions. I expected that the system will just post to BIOS and then the ESXi boot from flashdisk will complain about incompatible CPU. To my surprise the ESXi 4.1 booted all the way.
I was even able to add the host to a DRS cluster with Enhanced vMotion Compatibility Mode Intel Xeon Core 2 and soon two 32bit linux virtual machines were automigrated to it from another host with Xeon processor. I tried to vMotion Windows XP machine and it run there as well. The Celeron host cannot run 64bit virtual machines though but for some testing or fooling around this info could be useful.