Home > Uncategorized > One Of The Most Powerful Shuttle Barebone For My VMware Home Lab

One Of The Most Powerful Shuttle Barebone For My VMware Home Lab

Inspired by an article at NTPRO.NL I decided that my VMware home lab was in need of a major upgrade but I could not make my mind up on which Shuttle barebone model I would buy. Time passed on and then Shuttle came out recently with the SX58J3 model. An extreme gaming PC, an all mighty barebone with impressive specifications list:

I invite you to read the Shuttle SX58J3 specifications PDF document. Everything has been designed for performances, from the case down to the capacitors!

One of the most powerful, single socket processor, I was desperately seeking for my VMware home lab! But first of all I wanted to try out a review unit. Therefore I contacted Shuttle Europe and they replied very fast. I’ve been told that unfortunatelly all the review units were already out on several cycles and it could be a whilst before I put my hands on a test kit. After a couple of emails exchanged on the topic with Christian, a very nice chap at Shuttle, he proposed me to buy a unit at a very attractive price, that is around 425Euro (This is about 25% off its RRP for Belgium!). I can tell you I couldn’t resist and moreover the unit was immediately available…

So a few day later here I am proud owner of a master piece of engineering, a powerful computer for my VMware home lab. I can’t wait turn it on :)

But hey, wait a minute! This is a barebone computer and I have to fill it in with a processor, some memory modules, a graphic and an additional dual-port network card!  So I kept on shopping through my local dealers but mostly on eBay. Here is my shopping list for reference:

-Processor Kit:

I bought an Intel Core i7 920 2.66Ghz FSB 1333 8MB Cache. I think this is the best choice performance/price wise in the i7 family. It’s based on Nehalem microarchitecture and features such FT and VMDirectPath support. This is a quad-core processor for high-end workstations, and now for my VMware home lab too :) Price around 250Euro.

-Memory Kit:

I bought 3*Transcend 4GB DDR3 240Pin Long-DIMM DDR3-1333 Unbuffer Non-ECC Memory. This memory brand/model is in the Shuttle compatibility list for this particular Shuttle barebone. Price around 130Euro per memory module :( That were the most expensive parts but memory is crucial for a VMware home lab!

-Graphic Card:

No need for a powerful graphic card. All I wanted is less noise as possible thus I went for an Asus Extreme N8400GS 512MB DDR2 Silent that is 0dB. It couldn’t be less noisy :) Price around 40Euro.

-Network Card:

Nothing is as good as an Intel® PRO/1000 PT Dual Port Server Adapter and it’s in the VMware HCL. I could go for the quad-port model, also in the HCL, but they are still pricy even on eBay. The price for this dual-port card is around 150Euro.

Here below a picture of all the components stacked all together. You may notice a piece of hardware I haven’t put in the shopping list above…

Yes, although the Intel SSD X25-M G2 160GB is on the picture, it won’t be stick in the Shuttle. Actually it is installed in my QNAP TS-459 storage device. I blogged about it in another post that you can read here.

Here is another series of pictures of the barebone with the cover removed. I have added callouts to the pictures to better describe the unit and its components. Click on the pictures for higher resolution.

After I have successfully installed the hardware, I ran for quite a long time a memory application torturer called Memtest86. I had no glitch, not a single error bit detected. These Transcend memory modules cost an arm but they are first quality memory.

Finally I installed esxi4.1 on a SanDisk Extreme® 30MB/s Edition SDHC™4GB card. If you too want to run ESXi4.1 from a SD card, read my other post here.

Next I inserted the SD card in the SD slot available on the front panel of the Shuttle as shown on the picture above. Then next, I booted the machine up and it went straight loading up ESXi4.1. Watch the video!

Something you may have noticed from the video, the e1000 (Intel Pro 1000/MT) loads up but not the LOM (Lan On Motherboard) which is found to be a Marvell Yukon Ultra II 88E8057 Gigabit chipset. That Marvell chipset is not on the VMware HCL and VMware has no driver for it. But not worries, you can still use the NIC inside virtual machines through the VMDirectPath. That new technology is only available from ESX(i)4.x  and some Intel processors like the i7. I have created a video to show you how to configure the host for passthrough devices. Go and watch it, it’s amazing what you can do with VMDirectPath. It’s awesome actually!


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  1. Linjo
    August 27, 2010 at 12:34 | #1
    • deinoscloud
      August 27, 2010 at 17:40 | #2

      Indeed, a GFX card with PCoIP built-in… WOW I like it!

  2. August 28, 2010 at 11:52 | #3

    A 6 core – 12 thread CPU might be even more appealing ? The price, yes … you’ll pay 400 or 500 more for an i7-970 :-(

    • deinoscloud
      August 29, 2010 at 16:04 | #4

      I could go for it since the shuttle mobo supports 6-core processors but the price tag is just too much at the moment :(

      I find the memory to be more critical than the processor. I would prefer max up memory to 16GB instead of buying a 6-core I think…

  3. September 10, 2010 at 23:19 | #5

    I came across your story and found it very Interesting.

    I built almost the exact same thing a few months before you did. Check out by blog at

    http://www.grennan.com slash index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=94&Itemid=1

    Id like to share notes.
    How do you backup your system?
    Have you found any way to Tune it?

    • deinoscloud
      September 11, 2010 at 01:03 | #6

      Hi Mark, thx fro your comment!

      I use ghettoVCB and backing up to a NFS share on another NAS (I have 2 QNAP NAS’es). It is a great tool and it’s free.

      I picked up very good parts, Intel cpu, Transcend memory, Shuttle case and mobo, Intel dual-port NIC. They are all top quality.

      At the OS level, I’m playing around with the kit. I will come up with a blog post regarding tune up soon.


  4. October 5, 2010 at 12:11 | #7

    What I can’t seem to find out about is local storage for this box running ESX. Will ESX (4.1) detect local harddrives, or is the controller not on the ESX HCL (and if it finds the disks, does raid work?).

    It would be great if you could post a quick reply about this!


    • deinoscloud
      October 5, 2010 at 15:18 | #8

      Hi Sjoerd and thx for commenting.

      This barebone runs the Intel X58 Express chipset along with the ICH10R disk controller. The R stands for Raid.

      And yes it is found to be compatible with ESX(i)4.x.
      Have a look at http://www.vm-help.com//esx40i/esx40_whitebox_HCL.php


  5. Alex
    November 6, 2010 at 14:39 | #9

    I just received my shuttle. I am going to install ESX 4.1. What BIOS setting did you use for the hard drives SATA, RAID, AHCI? Also are you using and SATA DVD-ROM drive?



    • deinoscloud
      November 6, 2010 at 15:15 | #10

      Hi Alex, thx for commenting.

      I don’t use local HD.

      ESX4.1 is installed on a SD card and the virtual machines are stored on a remote QNAP NAS.

      I would say go for SATA if you don’t plan to use any RAID solution.


    • Scott
      December 23, 2010 at 01:30 | #11

      Alex – I am trying to setup the same configuration – ESX on
      the SH55J2 with an internal SATA drive as the primary datastore.
      Have you had any luck getting your configuration working? Thanks
      for the help — Scott

  6. Andrew
    November 30, 2010 at 20:06 | #12

    Nice blog! I’m glad I found it. :-)

    I am interested in building my own ESXi home lab and I have a few questions, so please bear with me.

    1) I see that the i7-920 allows you to use VMDirectPath. Is this provided by Intel’s VT-d? The reason I ask is because the i7-9xx series don’t seem to list VT-d as a capability, although the i7-8xx series do. Do all of the i7-9xx series actually support VT-d?

    2) Is VMDirectPath/VT-d only dependent on the CPU, or does the motherboard also have to support it? I had been looking at the Shuttle SH55J2 so I am interested to know if I could install an i7-870 and use VMDirectPath/VT-d.

    I would prefer to use the SH55J2 since it has onboard video. This would allow me to install a 3ware RAID controller and not have to go with separate hardware for data redundancy.

    Thanks for your help!

    • deinoscloud
      December 7, 2010 at 20:12 | #13

      Hi Andrew and thx for commenting.

      1) Following Intel web site, they do not support VT-d. From my tests and video the i7-920 does support VMDirectPath. There appears to be a v2

      2)It’s a processor feature, but the mobo should run a recent chipset as well, such the X58, to get the full flavor of it.

      The SH55J2 is an excellent choice I would say but have a look at http://www.vm-help.com/esx40i/esx40_whitebox_HCL.php for a list of hardware that are compatible with ESX4.x


  7. alex
    December 9, 2010 at 17:02 | #14


    I’m trying to get it work as well with an Shuttle SX58J3, but i keep up ending nowhere.

    It has the latest bios version 1.02, but ESXi 4.1 keeps on saying that there is no harddisk.

    What settings did you use in the bios?


  8. lambert Bollen
    December 30, 2010 at 22:30 | #15

    Hello Didier, Just stumbled on your blog looking for some
    answers. I’m also looking for a shuttle barebone to build a lab
    server for demo virtualisation. I’m looking to the SX58J3 and
    SH55J2 but preferre the last. I’m working on a concept for small
    business. Robust, cheap with all advantages of virtualisation. So
    yes, like Andrew I’m interested if VT/X or D is supported on the
    SH55J2. This system is cheaper and the unit will only be used as a
    demo, No further us. PS. : Just wondering, can the shuttle barebone
    operate 24/7? Thanks and will be following this blog.

  9. John
    January 2, 2011 at 10:14 | #16

    Just curious, does the little plastic door shut with the SD card inserted? I currently run ESXi 4.1 on a pair of older Shuttle SG33G5′s using USB flash drives that I have mounted inside the case. This gives a clean looking exterior but makes pulling the USB drives out a bit of a pain.

    • deinoscloud
      January 2, 2011 at 14:12 | #17

      Hi John,

      No, it doesn’t unfortunately…

      The USB key directly fitted on the mobo is definitely cleaner but with a pain if you have to change it…

      On the other hand the SD card is much smaller and thiner than a USB key…

  10. January 5, 2011 at 03:32 | #18

    Great Blog I am in the process of building a lab at home,
    and found your article. It works perfectly. I am running the
    Celerra VSA, VC, AD on My Dell XPS and have ESXi installed on the
    Shuttle, running vMA, vShields, and two nested ESXi Running some
    windows 7 and Centos VM’s VMotion, Storage VMotion, vDS, DRS, HA,
    All working well. Booting from the SD card is Great, The Celerra
    VSA is using Raid 1 Disk on my Dell XPS. I can teardown and
    redeploy the Lab very fast with your setup. I am in the proccess of
    building a vCloud Director lab, to become comfortable with the
    Install and Configuration. Thanks Again Bill Roberts

  11. Philipp
    February 4, 2011 at 23:29 | #19

    did someone get rhe RAID funciotnality to work under ESXi ? For performance reasons I would like to use internal disks, for data security without interruption, I’d like to have ESXi using a mirror of two disks …

    • deinoscloud
      February 6, 2011 at 11:21 | #20

      Unfortunately you cannot use the RAID function of the Intel ICH10R chipset with ESXi4.x…

  12. Philipp
    February 6, 2011 at 00:54 | #21

    On RAID:
    o.k., would be software RAID, so the answer would be NO
    Can an ESX host be run WITHOUT a Grafics Card ?
    I’d like to add a raid controler, but no slots left when adding grafics and an ethernet card …

  13. J
    February 8, 2011 at 01:41 | #23

    Does FT work with this processor? It does not seem to be supported in the VM KB article and when I ran SiteSurvey it said it wasnt supported either. Please let me know if it works as I am planning my home lab. Thanks.

  14. Louis
    February 8, 2011 at 18:50 | #24

    May i ask what music is under your esxi video? I like it!

    • deinoscloud
      February 8, 2011 at 19:24 | #25

      I have no idea… I picked that up on YouTube play list :)

  15. Louis
    February 8, 2011 at 18:58 | #26

    Im sorry if im off topic here but i found your post searching for an answer on google and i like your blog but im wondering if you might be able to help me out. Have a procurve 1810G and a 1800 and want to link them together with a trunk to increase speed and its not working. I created the trunks on both switches but its not working :) ik hooked up my qnap nas with a trunk and its working fine but an 2 switches, no go. Thx

  16. Tommy Huffstutler
    February 19, 2011 at 22:44 | #28

    Thanks for posting your VMWare Lab design. I am trying to build something similar. I just realized that the network card you linked is not compatible with the Shuttle SX58J3. I think you meant to link to the PCI Express model shown here: http://www.intel.com/products/server/adapters/pro1000pt-dualport/pro1000pt-dualport-overview.htm

    I am looking forward to getting mine configured. Thx

    • deinoscloud
      February 22, 2011 at 08:58 | #29

      Hi Tommy and thx for the info.
      Indeed it’s the PT model and not the MT. Sorry my mistake…
      I have updated the post and the link.

      Thx again.

  17. March 22, 2011 at 17:36 | #30

    After reading about this server. I decided to buy one myself, initially as a gaming box, but next year it will become my server. i7960 cpu, 16gb corsair 1600 ram, 6970 gfx (this took a while to get in – very tight!) and 2 60gb g-skill ssd’s in raid0. so far so good, im really happy. will have to try out vmware properly one day

  18. Philipp
    March 22, 2011 at 22:16 | #31


    followed the idea here and built
    i7 with 3 GHz
    Adaptec 5405
    2 * Hitachi 2TB
    4Port Intel GIG LAN
    Interim-Grafics card (not in there after intital config, slot’s taken over by ADAPTEC 5405)
    a BlueRay Writer drive from LG
    2 * eSATA for Backups so one disk is out of the house
    glued internal USB port to the power supply so I can have an internal 1GB FlashStick to boot from that can’t be taken out, bent or broken easily; I backup the flashstick occasionally with SelfImage

    Wokrs very well … but two problems remain
    1) RAM
    I use4 * 4GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 CL9 (9-9-9-24) RAM DIMM (vendoe code CMZ4GX3M1A1600C9), but it gets recognized as 1066, not even as 1333 (whichit is internally). When I manually set it to 1600, sometimes the whole system hangs under heavy load, especially disk load (thoughit is very rare).
    -> what shoudl I set inthe BIOS
    -> what should I use to test MEM performance and MEM errors
    2) detach (umount or so) eSATA drive after backup
    when I attach an eSATA disk, it gets recognized and the datastore gets shown
    I do then a backup (ghettoVCB)
    then I want to detach the eSATA drive, but mount / umound doesn#t seem to be the appropriate tool for it (since mount shows no mounted devices at all …)
    -> how to unmount an eSATA drive other than by shutting down the host ?
    3) Adaptec 5405 works but can’t be managed by ESXi
    I read that ESX is capable of managing the 5405 from the Infrastructure Client
    I read that these Adaptec tools cannot be installed in ESXi
    I read that Adaptec is preparing something that works on ESXi
    for the time being, i tried out that in a case of drive faillure the ADAPTEC beeps, for now that’ll do.
    -> does someone know a better/upcoming way to REMOTELY monitor the 5405 ?

    ThanX & Cheers,

    • deinoscloud
      March 25, 2011 at 17:42 | #32

      Hi and thx for your comment.

      Your type of memory is not in the Shuttle’s HCL (http://global.shuttle.com/support_list03.jsp?PI=1389). Maybe it explains the fact that the system doesn’t recognize it properly…

      Beside that, I’m not a overclocking expert thus I can’t help you with BIOS setting, sorry.

      To test memory modules I use Memtest86. There is a link to the web site in my post above.

      Block devices cannot be ‘unmounted’ per se. I don’t know of any tool/command in vSphere doing that… Google is your best friend :)

      An ESX4.x is (COS version) is not running a regular Linux distro. Although It is a stripped down version of RedHat Linux, it has very limited features/commands. To get your software working you would have to do a lot of hacking I guess.


  19. ForZyte
    March 25, 2011 at 16:45 | #33

    Great article. it inspired me at building my own Homelab with two of these Shuttle barebones.
    But i couldn’t stand the two built-in NICs, that can’t be used by the vmkernel, so i managed to inject a custom driver, and now they are recognized by ESXi as vmnic’s *yay*
    The custom driver can be found here: http://www.kernelcrash.com/blog/using-a-marvell-lan-card-with-esxi-4/2009/08/22/
    it’s xieliwei’s driver, and since a few days i use it for managemend and vm traffic in a 2 node cluster and it works fine so far.

    • deinoscloud
      March 25, 2011 at 17:24 | #34

      Thx a lot for your comment and the link! I will give it a go for sure…

  20. Philipp
    April 7, 2011 at 14:28 | #35

    About the Marvel Drivers, in the bespoken kernelcrash article there is a link to a complete and working oem.tgz file. the link is


    I took the oem.tgz, put it into /vmfs/volumes/Hypervizor1, booted and got both marvel Ports which work perfect in both Management and Guest usage.

    I’d LOVE to have a CD image of ESXi4.1u1 with this driver in there (has to go into two locations to recognize it during boot and then later install it).

    The reason is, I want to use a HW-RAID Controler and install the hypervizor on the RAID. But the box has only two slots, wo when I put the RAID controler (Adaptec5405) into one slot and the grafic card into the other, I can#t put the intel Ethernet Quad in there anymore, so installation will fail since the normal boot cd does not have the drivers for the Marvel in there …

    I looked around how to build a custom CD, but that looks pretty tricky …

    can someone do this / point me to an EASY tool to do that (imagine a colorblind dyslexic …)


    • Philipp
      June 15, 2011 at 20:03 | #36


      have patched a CD to install the Marvel drivers right away … works very well …
      Tried to use an adaptec raid controler (5405), it gets fully recognized, but the box crashes, sometimes after minutes, sometimes after hours … has someone an idea what’s wrong there ?
      Set BiOS to default but to no avail.
      Updated FW on Adaptec forth and back to no avail …

      So currently I’m running on plain disks without raid and do ghettoVCB quite often …


  21. rayb
    April 21, 2011 at 16:51 | #37

    Hi deinoscloud
    I real like your bolg. I have setup up my home lap with HP 115 pro-line and qnap 439rpo 2+ for my storage and it works fine, but after reading your blog i think I mayget me one SX58J3 it looks wicked. Keep up the good job.

  22. andre
    June 11, 2011 at 23:08 | #38

    I can confirm that these drivers work with the latest ESXi build as of 6/11/2011 and with the Shuttle SX58J3 which has the 88E058 Marvell chipset.

    I posted how I used Winimage here:


    Is there a way to keep these changes during ESXi patch upgrades or full upgrades or are these changes simply lost?

  23. June 15, 2011 at 07:42 | #39

    Can you please confirm that VMotion, Storage VMotion, vDS, DRS, HA, all work on this shuttle? I am planning on buying few of them for my lab

    Thank You!

    • deinoscloud
      June 15, 2011 at 18:14 | #40

      Yes those features work fine on my Shuttle given that I use network cards that are ‘recognized’ by vSphere…

      I’ve been told that the latest version of vSphere 4.1 also recognize the onboard LOM.

      Time for an upgrade I guess :)

  24. Jeff
    June 15, 2011 at 17:25 | #41

    Great setup, I just setup my home Lab, only difference is I have a synology 411J Diskstation, I have used several other brands but the profromance on the synology is really great. Thanks for the awesome content.

    • deinoscloud
      June 15, 2011 at 18:15 | #42

      Thx for your comment!
      My Shuttle is an awesome piece of hardware, I love it :)
      Have great time with yours!

  25. andre
    June 21, 2011 at 05:15 | #43

    I can also confirm that with the RC1 of VS5 – it does NOT work. Hopefully the closer we get to GA this will change, but I tried it on one of my Shuttle’s and it hung at the “loading kernel” part – booted fine for the most part then hung up….so put it back to ESXi 4.1 and again o problem.

    A couple of things the NIC chipset is 88E057 – sorry not a 88E058 – that was a typo. Also i found that if you experience continuous NIC drop outs (50-75% packet drops!) after installing, like I did – a simple restore to default config seems to fix the switch which handles the management network – which in my case that is what I’m using the internal NIC’s for.

  26. Chris
    June 24, 2011 at 12:17 | #44

    Hi mate,

    Nice build. I built one myself recently after seeing this and Kendrick’s build. I used 2x Shuttle SH67H3 and for storage I’m using a Qnap TS-439 Pro+ (although at times I think I should have just built one and used FreeNAS).


  27. Chris
    June 26, 2011 at 17:39 | #48

    It’s ICH8R from what I can see.

  28. lamberbee
    July 14, 2011 at 23:20 | #49

    I see here the Shuttle SX58J3 for the home lab. But also the smaller brother SH55JE and recently the SH67H3. Just wondering, what ‘s your experience using these barbones for small business, operational 24/7 (in combination with a good NAS like the QNAP). Or are the Shuttle barebones just for home? If so, what would you recommend as green small form system servers?

  29. Andre
    July 15, 2011 at 01:00 | #50

    Just got my hands on RTM code of ESXi 5 – still hangs at the same place – will try removing the video card and trying to fiddle with the Bios settings. Anyone try ESXi 5 on a Shuttle?



  30. August 17, 2011 at 04:54 | #51

    How convenient, I was just reading a book on that 2 days ago @__@

  31. Andre
    August 18, 2011 at 04:45 | #52

    Anyone try ESXi 5 yet? Still now joy at my end….

    • deinoscloud
      August 18, 2011 at 09:56 | #53

      Unfortunately the latest version of vSphere 5 is not compatible with the Shuttle SX58J3 (and certainly with any Shuttle X58 series).

      Vanilla vSphere ESXi 4.1 U1 is fine as long you downgrade Shuttle SX58J3 BIOS to version 1.01. Well at least it is my case…

  32. Andre
    August 18, 2011 at 04:46 | #54

    Sorry that should read still “no joy”.

  33. Ettore Vecchione
    August 26, 2011 at 16:47 | #55

    I can safely say that you can run ESXi 4.1 without any problems using the onboard Marvell 88E8057 nics for those of you who own a Shuttle SX58J3 running the latest 1.03 bios.

    Here is how I setup my ESXi 4.1 server on the Shuttle SX58J3 box in 30 minutes. (N.B. The re-packaged ESXi 4.1 ISO containing the compiled drivers for the Marvell nics was done on a Windows 7 machine).

    1. Have an ISO image of ESXi 4 handy (more specifically VMware-VMvisor-Installer-4.1.0-260247.x86_64.iso) and a 4GB SSD card.

    2. Download ESXi-Customizer-v2.0 (see http://v-front.blogspot.com/p/esxi-customizer.html) and the OEM.tgz package (see http://dischord.org/blog/2011/03/28/marvell-88e8056-and-vsphere-4-1/) containing the drivers for the Marvell NIC.

    3. Create a new ISO that containing the new OEM using the ESXi-Customizer (see http://v-front.blogspot.com/p/esxi-customizer.html) for instructions.

    4. Burn the new ISO to CD.

    5. Boot the CD from your Shuttle and install to a 4GB SSD card.

    6. Reboot and enjoy!

    I hope this helps anyone who is determined to run ESXi 4.1 on their Shuttle SX58J3. It works like a charm!

    • deinoscloud
      August 26, 2011 at 20:17 | #56

      Thx Ettore for the procedure, much appreciated. The ESXi-Customizer is a great tool to customize a stock ESXi4/5, love it :)

      • Ettore Vecchione
        August 30, 2011 at 19:43 | #57

        A quick question. Is your Shuttle SX58J3 fan set to Smart Fan mode within the BIOS? I realize that my main PSU fan is running at relatively high speeds most of the time when running ESXi with this setting.

        It would be nice to know. Thanks.

        • deinoscloud
          August 31, 2011 at 13:40 | #58

          Hi Ettore,
          I use default BIOS settings for the fans, thus I guess smart mode…
          What BIOS version do you run?

          • Ettore Vecchione
            August 31, 2011 at 14:18 | #59

            I am running version 1.03. Could it be related to my graphics card — an ATI Radeon HD 5870?

            • deinoscloud
              August 31, 2011 at 14:50 | #60

              Could be yes… Does that card need external power supply other than what the PCIe slot provides?
              Check the overall temperature in the case as well…

              • Ettore Vecchione
                August 31, 2011 at 15:24 | #61

                The card is powered by the onboard PICe slots. How do I monitor the case temps via ESXi? Should I reboot and check it via the BIOS interface?

                • deinoscloud
                  August 31, 2011 at 15:44 | #62

                  You will have to reboot the machine and go into the BIOS.
                  Not sure ESXi has the proper CIM installed to monitor this kind of machine through the client…

  34. Esxi5
    August 27, 2011 at 16:45 | #63

    deinosclaud, can you tell us something about your problems with esxi 5 and your Shuttle? It’s based on a Intel x58 ICH10R, as far as i know there are many whiteboxes based on this components.

    • Andre Kemp
      August 27, 2011 at 20:10 | #64

      I can..I’ve been trying to get this sorted for a few months. Full disclosure – I work for VMware (SAP Principal), and figured I’ve been doing something wrong – but can’t see how. Anyway the system boots ESXi up to the point of where you see “switching and loading kernel modules” message and hangs. I have a 6-core Intel w/ 16gb of ram and a generic PCI video card + Intel dual port nic. I’ve tried adjusting the BIOS settings, removing cards – trying only 1 memory module, all the usual stuff. I’ve now sent my unit down to Palo Alto and one of our engineers is looking at it as a favor. He already emailed me back and it getting the same error – but hasn’t debugged it yet. I have another Shuttle (same config\model) here at the house and same problem. This is so weird since it works on much older (4 years older!) hardware – so I’m at a loss…even upgraded to the latest BIOS.

      Anyway I’ll post what I find out from internal once he gets around to troubleshooting it or if anyone else has an idea that would be great.

      • deinoscloud
        August 29, 2011 at 10:41 | #65

        Hi colleague ;) I hope your engineer will find a fix/workaround. I’ve gone through the same troubleshooting path and not luck either… My SX58J3 is one year old and I would hate if I have to replace it already :(

        I have noticed that I cannot run a fresh installation of ESXi4.1U1 with the latest BIOS v1.03. I even tried the BIOS (v1.05) for the new SX58HS model but although the upgrade went OK, still ESXi5 doesn’t boot further than the ‘Relocating memory module…’ message.
        I had to force a downgrade to BIOS v1.01 to get at least ESXi4.1U1 running. Could that be a BIOS (AMI) issue actually!?

  35. Ettore Vecchione
    August 31, 2011 at 16:09 | #66

    Here are the readings:

    System Temperature 51C
    IOH Temperature 71C
    CPU 59C
    FAN SPEED 1516 RPM.

    Look’s ok to me. What FAN SPEED readings do you get on your Shuttle box.?


    • deinoscloud
      August 31, 2011 at 16:28 | #67

      System Temperature 43C
      IOH Temperature 67C
      CPU 44C
      FAN SPEED 1369 RPM.

      System is idle at the moment…

  36. Ettore Vecchione
    August 31, 2011 at 16:39 | #68

    The case readings are based on a reboot after running a Windows 7 VM on the ESXi. The disk image of the guest resides on my Readynas Pro datastore. I noticed that the fan RPM starts to climb after 10 minutes of ESXi uptime without VMs running.

    Here is my Shuttle SX58J3 config:

    –Core i7 980x Extreme Edition 3.33 GHZ
    –6 gb ram (3 banks of OCZ DDR3 PC3-10666 Platinum Edition)
    –2 x 500 gb Seagates (internal)
    –ATI RADEON HD 5780

    IMy readings are most likely within the norm when running VMs.

    • deinoscloud
      August 31, 2011 at 17:33 | #69

      The case is quite packed so not surprised you see high RPM for the fan…
      BTW great config you have there wow ;)

      • Ettore Vecchione
        September 1, 2011 at 15:32 | #70

        To give you an update. Today, I opened my Shuttle case while it was running. After 30 seconds, the fans speed dropped to an almost inaudible level. I wonder if I should not create some additional opening on my metal case.

        • Michael
          September 4, 2011 at 18:11 | #71

          you might want to try underclocking your GPU. IMO, GPU generate the most heat inside a casing… Or you can try to enlarge the vent holes near where the heatsink fans are located, so there are less obstructions to air flow.

  37. Michael
    August 31, 2011 at 18:06 | #72

    After reading Chris and your posts, I was inspired to try out using Shuttle barebones. Have just placed order for a SH67H3, i7 2600K, 16GB RAM from Kingston, Intel Pro1000MT card. My current Dell T7500 really cannot make the cut installing ESXi 4.1/5.0. Think I am going to try out using ESXi 5.0 first on the Shuttle before downgrading to 4.1 for my 2nd box if everything works out fine.

    BTW, does anyone knows where I can download a clean version of ESXi 4.1 U1? VMWare has pulled all other versions of ESXi, leaving only version 5. I only have HP and Dell OEM versions of 4.1, not sure if it will make any differences.

    • deinoscloud
      August 31, 2011 at 18:25 | #73

      Hi Michael, try this link http://downloads.vmware.com/d/info/datacenter_cloud_infrastructure/vmware_vsphere/4_1
      Also have a read at http://vm-help.com/ it’s very good and SH67H3 has been found compatible with ESXi5.
      Let us know how it goes with your new build :)

      • Michael
        August 31, 2011 at 18:49 | #74

        Thanks for the links, VMWare stated I am not authorized to download 4.1 U1. I think I have a serial number stuck in my emails somewhere… Trying to figure a way to get it…

        Love vm help website. Tons of information… maybe too much… That is why I took the easy way out and go for Shuttle. Price-wise, doesn’t make much difference between building my own ITX based system.

        Keeping my fingers cross and hopefully my system building goes smoothly… Will post an update when I am able. Thanks.

    • Chris
      September 1, 2011 at 02:12 | #75

      Hi Michael, Just so you know, I have the i7 2600(non-K) CPU as the non-K version has integrated video. Which means you dont need to install a video card on the SH67H3. Which means you can save the PCI slot for something else like another NIC and so on. If you have the SH67H7 available I’d build that. It’s the same spec just better looking case IMO.

      • Michael
        September 4, 2011 at 18:08 | #76

        Unfortunately my region doesn’t carry H7 series, only H3. Apparently Intel NICs are in high demand, my order for Intel NIC has not arrive yet. So far have not even collected the parts I ordered…

        Have switched the 2600K to non-K version since I don’t intend to overclock. Thanks for the suggestion, save me some cash…

        If my first built is successful, I will go for a 2nd unit to try vMotion, and even a 3rd unit for loading MS HyperV as a variety if my budget allows it…

        • Michael
          September 5, 2011 at 19:27 | #77

          I need some help here… I was trying out ESX 4.1 on a VMWare Workstation. I have configured it to hold a local store of 40GB HDD, connected to a iSCSI running on my old Synology Cubestation TS-201. I was trying to connect to another NAS using NFS located on my Buffalo LinkStation, where my ISO images are stored. I am unsure what is the correct path to try to connect, assuming the share folder name is ISO_Images.

          Does anyone have tried such configuration before? If yes, how should I go about trying to connect to a Windows based NFS, even though I believe Buffalo is running of Linux.

  38. Ettore Vecchione
    August 31, 2011 at 18:19 | #78

    Thanks! I’ll keep you posted if I see anything odd when running ESXi 4.1 on the Shuttle.

    Let’s hope that we can run 5.0 pending Andre Kemp’s investigations. I too would not like trading in my Shuttle as I have invested quite a bit of time and money on the thing.

  39. September 3, 2011 at 07:15 | #79

    I have tried to install ESXi 5.0 on to Shuttle SX58J3 and i am having issue. When Installer is loading the files in the end i get message “Relocating modules and starting up the kernel” and it freezes here and noting else happens for hours.
    I have also tried to install ESXi 5.0 on another machine and moved the drive to Shuttle and i get same thing.. Won’t load to Main screen. Anyone else having same issue?


    • Michael
      September 4, 2011 at 18:12 | #80

      Please update us of any findings. My intention was to upgrade 1 of my future boxes to 5.0… From the HCL specs, it seems everything is server level specs only…

      • Michael
        September 4, 2011 at 18:17 | #81

        Apparently someone has successfully built a ESX 5.0 using Shuttle SH67H3. Link is here:


        Not sure if anyone else has the same success???

        • deinoscloud
          September 4, 2011 at 20:16 | #82

          Yep indeed. the fact is the SH67 runs the new “Sandy Bridge” Intel chipset while the SH58 runs the Nehalem/Westmere one…
          The Nehalem/Westmere chipset is supported by vSphere 5 on other hardware but on the Shuttle SH58J3 something is going wrong.

          • RainZufa
            September 9, 2011 at 20:31 | #83

            Hi deinoscloud,

            i am interested in building a vSphere 5 lab on the ground of one/two Shuttle(s) SH67H3, too. But i am a real beginner ;-) and not sure if it will succeed. May you confirm that their on-board-sata-controller will work with the mentioned vSphere version?

            Many thanks in advance,

            • deinoscloud
              September 9, 2011 at 21:20 | #84

              Thx for your comment. Sorry I’m not familiar with the SX67. I recommend you to have a look at vm-help.com and post your question in the forum. I remember someone successfully install vSphere 5 on a SX67.

            • Michael
              September 19, 2011 at 16:29 | #85

              I have just completed building my initial ESXi 4.1U1 using SH67H3. Once I have completed configuring the network, iSCSI and NSF storage, I will work on ESXi 5. Originally I intend to install it on a USB thumbdrive but I heard there were issues. Will update again as I am building 4 different machines, Gaming, MS W2K8 Srv and 2 ESXi boxes…

        • Chris
          September 6, 2011 at 04:31 | #86

          Yeah, that’s my machines. :) Upgraded via VUM. I’m going to do a fresh re-install soon as I need to update the BIOS firmware. So they both match as I only tested the firmware upgraded on one to enable VMDirectpath and fixed the issue with PCI-e 16x not working in ESXi 4.1

    • ForZyte
      September 13, 2011 at 22:09 | #87

      same here :(
      some people in the VMware Forum were able to fix it by increasing the onboard video card memory (the main screen has a higher resolution than in 4.1)
      apparently, that can’t be the exact issue here, but maybe ESXi 5 can’t be used with external video cards?! no idea >_>


      • deinoscloud
        September 13, 2011 at 22:19 | #88

        Thx for the link to thread at VMware Communities site…
        Memory on the video card, something to verify definitely.

  40. Andre Kemp
    September 4, 2011 at 21:51 | #89

    I’ll connect with my guy internally next week – he is doing this as a favor – so can’t push him – if I find out anything, I’ll post it.

    • Chris
      October 19, 2011 at 16:04 | #90

      Andre – It looks like this “Relocating Modules and Starting up the Kernel” installation issue with ESXi 5 may be a more wide spread issue related to using add-on video cards on many manufacturers of white box equipment. (See http://communities.vmware.com/thread/326371) Have you heard any feedback from your engineers at corporate on what the cause is on your box? Do you know if there’s a way to use the ESXi Customizer to get the add-on video cards to work? Thanks for the update.

  41. Andre Kemp
    September 5, 2011 at 03:56 | #91

    Hey guys – I’m going to go ahead and pull the pin and order 2 more Shuttles that are model SH67H3. I will still post the response I get back from corporate on the SX58J3, but before I order can you guys tell me if the Intel i7-970 that I got for the SX58J3 will work in the SH67H3?

    • Andre Kemp
      September 5, 2011 at 04:00 | #92

      Never mind – Just look at the Shuttle website – it’s not listed as being supported, so I’m back to waiting for corporate.
      Damn! Well I’m going to Ebay if these can’t be sorted out – I have 2 of them w/16gb of RAM and the Intel 6 core i7-970

      • Michael
        September 5, 2011 at 16:31 | #93

        Yeah definitely wont work… the processor pins are different… If you can’t get them running, I don’t mind buying one unit off your hands and use it as my windows platform…

      • Chris Murr
        July 13, 2012 at 00:00 | #94

        Hey Andre, Chris Murr here (also VMware employee). Per our conversations and this thread, I’m wondering which way you went on this?

  42. JW
    September 15, 2011 at 05:50 | #95

    Any luck on installing 5.0 on the SX58H7 yet?

    • AH
      January 22, 2012 at 20:43 | #96

      I’m wondering the same thing, but can’t find much documentation on what works with 5 besides the VMware list.

  43. Dennis
    September 19, 2011 at 11:07 | #97

    I also have exactly the same problem – any word yet?

  44. Michael
    September 30, 2011 at 18:21 | #98

    In case anyone that is trying out VMWare and Win2K8 HyperV using Sandy Bridge CPUs. If you encountered errors running HyperV VM on a Win2K8 server that has a Sandy Bridge CPU, please download a Microsoft Hotfix from: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2517374.

  45. Philipp von Wallenberg
    October 19, 2011 at 09:25 | #99

    I have
    same shuttle
    4 * 4GB RAM
    2 * 2T SATA HD
    3GHz i7
    booting from CF via CF2SATA
    ever since I had occasional crashes
    tried different RAM, underclocking, original (means no parvep patches) Install CD
    Still the crashes remain like this
    Any ideas ?
    I’m really lost …
    ThanX and cheers,

    • deinoscloud
      October 19, 2011 at 09:44 | #100

      Hi Philipp,
      This VMware KB should help you decoding this purple screen aka MCE (VMware wording).

    • deinoscloud
      October 19, 2011 at 09:51 | #101

      From a quick review of the MCE, looks like the Marvell Yukon network card (SKY2 kernel module) is the culprit…

      • Philipp von Wallenberg
        October 19, 2011 at 10:26 | #102


        had same crashes when the Marvel driver weren’t in the system.

        Would U reccomend installing the original CD with the latest 4.1 ?

        I have the feeling that when the hypervisor starts to use the 4th bank (when used RAM utilization goes beyond 12GB) things go bad … could that be ?


  46. Mark
    November 28, 2011 at 20:19 | #104

    does this box support Xeon processors, or would you stick with i7?

  47. August 5, 2012 at 13:04 | #105

    I notice you mentioned memtest86 for initial memory testing. Unfortunately, memtest86 is pretty useless at finding stability issues that aren’t extremely obvious (e.g. a permanently dead or stuck memory bit). I have seen machines run for months without obvious errors, with days of memtest86 passes giving them a clean bill of health, only to shake them loose in under a minute with harsher tests.

    I would recommend the following:
    1) If you run Windows, use OCCT. It is extremely good at finding stability issues on marginal components.
    2) If you run Linux, the best test I have found is to use sha512sum repeatedly and check for discrepancies. Something like this:


    sum=`sha512sum /tmp/test`

    while (/bin/true); do
    echo -n .
    sum2=`sha512sum /tmp/test`
    if [ "$sum" != "$sum2" ]; then
    echo “”
    echo “Error detected. $sum != $sum2″

    Make sure your /tmp is mounted on tmpfs so it all ends up in memory.
    Create /tmp/test using:
    dd if=/dev/urandom of=/tmp/test bs=1M count=1024
    Adjust count= accordingly to use at least 1/2 of your RAM (adjust the size= parameter for tmpfs if required).

    I have found this to show up any stability issues in the CPU, MCH or RAM very quickly.

    • PiroNet
      August 5, 2012 at 13:22 | #106

      Gordan, thx for your comment.
      I’ll give a try to OCCT and test it. Thx for the tip here.

  48. Carl
    September 4, 2012 at 08:55 | #107

    Hey Nice Setup ! I am curious. What is the power consumption on the setup you have. I think it would be great to know how meny W it uses

  49. nawfal
    December 27, 2012 at 19:45 | #108

    I had a probleme when i try to instal esxi, this message appear
    relocating modules and starting up the kernel

    • PiroNet
      December 27, 2012 at 20:00 | #109

      Indeed this model doesn’t support vSphere 5.x (or the way around)…
      I haven’t heard of any fix ever since.
      Now you can install vSphere 4.1 and create ESXi5.x virtual machines with some tweaks. That’s what I’ve done to create multiple virtual labs.

  50. June 16, 2013 at 04:22 | #110

    Hi there,

    I am planning to use a shuttle for my second ESXi 4.1 build.

    I was just wondering whether the mother board provided by Shuttle works? If not what did you use instead?

    Many thanks.

  51. January 11, 2014 at 12:24 | #111

    What I can’t seem to find out about is local storage for this box running ESX. Will ESX (4.1) detect local harddrives, or is the controller not on the ESX HCL (and if it finds the disks, does raid work?

  1. September 20, 2010 at 18:32 | #1
  2. December 14, 2010 at 11:23 | #2
  3. April 3, 2011 at 10:39 | #3
  4. September 7, 2011 at 16:04 | #4
  5. December 30, 2011 at 13:59 | #5
  6. April 24, 2012 at 02:24 | #6

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