New HP home server is cheap, Atom-powered

The Atom has found a natural niche in netbooks and low-cost desktop PCs, but that's not its only vocation. HP happens to think Intel's low-power processor is a great fit for a low-cost home server—and it's introduced just such a product.

The new HP MediaSmart Server LX195 has a $399 suggested retail price, runs Windows Home Server, and packs a 1.6GHz Atom 230 processor. You can find that same CPU in virtually every nettop out there. HP also outfits the LX195 with 1GB of DDR2 RAM, a 640GB 7,200-RPM hard drive, one Gigabit Ethernet port, and four USB ports.

Bad news if you plan to turn this into a fancy storage server, though: while one can substitute the 640GB hard drive for a higher-capacity option, HP says the LX195 provides "room to grow by adding USB external drives." No Serial ATA RAID for you, in other words.

That said, HP didn't intend to build a large, power-guzzling appliance. The MediaSmart LX195 measures only 3.9" x 8.2" x 8" (that's 9.9 x 20.8 x 20.3 cm for non-Yankees), which makes it about the size of a dictionary. HP also quotes sleep power draw of only 3W, and we can probably assume operating power draw isn't all that much higher. The Atom 230 has a tiny 4W TDP, after all, and a drive like WD's 640GB Caviar Black only draws up to 8.3W when seeking.

HP didn't tell us when it plans to make the system available, but the folks at the forums spotted a listing at eCost yesterday. eCost has since removed all traces of it, but that suggests retail availability isn't too far off.

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