NIC Compatible w/ESXi for a Home Lab Type-1 Hypervisor

TLDR; Looking for a NIC compatible with ESXi 7.0 or other suitable solution to learn type-1 hypervisor setup/use.

I was trying to setup a type-1 hypervisor for general lab use and learning and testing. I sort of decided on using VMWare ESXi (i’m somewhat familiar with VMWare Workstation and Player and it looks like it will do what I want). I would be open to suggestions if there is an alternative more geared to learning and using type-1 hypervisors.

I’ve got a desktop machine with a decent CPU and a bunch of RAM and SSD storage. Unfortunately the onboard NIC is not compatible out of the box and involves inserting the drivers into a custom install ISO. I tried this a bit but was having trouble getting it working so I figure it would be easier to just install a compatible NIC. I was already looking for one with 2 or more ports so I ordered this:

It says it has an Intel i350 chipset which shows as compatible on the VMWare site. But I was wondering if there were something more suited to setting this up to learn and use. Also if this card doesn’t work for some reason, is there anywhere besides eBay or amazon that would carry special sort of network equipment like this for home use? My budget is pretty low but I had a spare gaming PC I repurposed for this to possibly cut down on future costs using virtualization.

Just FYI i went and ordered both the Amazon and eBay cards. The card from the above link is running perfect on my ESXi server. The one I got from eBay would cause the machine I’m using to not boot. I tried the card in another computer and it works fine (for connectivity, didn’t test ESXi compatibility).

Anyways, I’ve tested with a couple different linux/windows distros and a custom CentOS virtual router. Playing around with the virtual networking now.

The setup takes a fair bit more to manage and configure than just using VirtualBox or VMWare Workstation but everything runs so much smoother and faster. Quite the powerful tool for a home learning computer lab. The downside is it can require quite a powerful box depending on what you’re doing. I’m running a AMD FX™-8350 with 24GB RAM and 2 SSDs and 2 HDDs for the datastores. I’m guessing most people wont have that just sitting around as spare parts. It keeps track of your system resources fairly well though.

I’ve got a couple of quick guides I wrote up if anyone else is interested I could provide a link to them. They’re by no means professional and the info can be found by googling, but its organized.