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 MediaSmartServer.net 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.

Comments closed
    • Freon
    • 10 years ago

    I’m not remotely impressed. Price seems out of line for what you get. Lack of at least one eSATA port for expandability seems critical.

    I’m not compelled by Windows Home Server. I don’t see the value there either.

    The disk issue just seems awful. 1 disk is not enough. Maybe if I could add on an external eSATA RAID box, or these two ideas merged.

    §[< http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/winfamily/windowshomeserver/grow.mspx<]§ This is showing an "HP MediaSmart Server" with what looks like three hotswap bays. Now we're talking, but if this single disk is $399 I'm afraid of what the 3 bay hotswap one will cost.

      • danazar
      • 10 years ago

      That’s the EX485 or EX487 HP MediaSmart Server. It actually has four easy-swap drive bays, and comes with a single 750GB or 1TB hard drive with space for you to add more. The price isn’t that much more, Amazon.com has the EX485 for $585, and for your extra money you get a full-blown Celeron (haha) processor, 2GB of RAM and the ability to expand internally.

    • pullmyfoot
    • 10 years ago

    If they allowed you to do a raid 1, I would buy that right now… Stick in 2 WD 2TB Greens and keep the WD 640 for my main rig. Unless HP makes it real hard to get inside, which from the pictures it looks that way..

    And Intel really needs to do something about that stupid chipset of theirs. Millions have been sold recently. Makes me wonder how much Intel grossly overestimated the number of them they would sell during the P4 to early C2D days for them to have so much overstock. There seems to be no end!

    If you think about it, Intel’s chipset takes up like 70% of the power in an Atom-based system. If they could get rid of the darn thing and stick in a newer more efficient chipset they could make netbooks last 1-2 hours longer and a lot of people happy..

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      I think the display takes up a good portion of the power draw in any laptopg{<.<}g

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      I use that WHS forum and it’s got good a good friendly and knowledgable community. But that review was pathetic, they didn’t even test the server in actual use! How fast are file transfers? How well does it work to serve media, especially multiple streams? It almost felt like a 3-page informercial than a real review.

    • Code:[M]ayhem
    • 10 years ago

    TORRENT AHOY!

    • KyleSTL
    • 10 years ago

    I’m not really familiar with WHS, so what makes it so special? To me it looks like a [slightly] glorified NAS. What kind of functionality will separate it from run-of-the-mill NASs?

      • danazar
      • 10 years ago

      Honestly not much. One of the best parts of WHS is its multi-disk management, which this device can’t offer. This thing is a joke.

      • FuturePastNow
      • 10 years ago

      It’s basically Windows Server 2003 with a really simplified network front-end. Very easy to set up and use, and automates backup and recovery with Windows.

    • swaaye
    • 10 years ago

    Buy a ~$50 uATX mobo with an IGP (saves power over vid card). Usually 6 SATA ports, maybe firewire, lots of USB, GigE, yada yada. AMD has nice mobos in the 740G to 780G range. Buy a cheap dual core (~$40). Way (way way) more guts, still very low power. Buy 4GB RAM for the pitiful amount it goes for today… Get some funky uATX case with room for some drives (or grab some leftover beast u have around….) Go after a few of those getting-way-cheap 1TB HDDs…

    Pick your favorite OS of the moment…….

    I just don’t know about this Atom-on-the-desktop/server thing. 🙂

      • FuturePastNow
      • 10 years ago

      Atom is fine for WHS, really. A Sempron or Celeron would be better, but this thing doesn’t need CPU power.

    • Forge
    • 10 years ago

    *sigh*

    No SATA RAID? Well, neither does the full size WHS. RAID is NOT GOOD for WHS boxes, they do their own redundancy at the file/FS level. Disk-based redundancy is counterproductive for a WHS machine.

    That point made, this box doesn’t have the >1 hard disk that WHS’s internal redundancy mechanisms require, either.

    Atom = Good for WHS.
    One disk = Bad for WHS.

    WHS is a really neat concept that serves a fairly large percentage of potential users very nicely. It does have to overcome quite a few embedded ‘Server’ stereotypes to be used well, however.

      • Lane
      • 10 years ago

      “That point made, this box doesn’t have the >1 hard disk that WHS’s internal redundancy mechanisms require, either.”

      You can still make use of WHS’s redundancy with USB drives (and no, I’m not talking about simply making backups)

        • Forge
        • 10 years ago

        Unfortunately, using USB drives affects the speed of the entire WHS box in a negative fashion. My EX485 with Seagate 1.5s filling it can routinely jam 80-95MB/s across my LAN, read and write (big B, not bits). When I hook up an external 400GB for temp storage, my average R/W speeds drop to around 40-50MB/s, even if the stuff I’m interacting with isn’t on the USB disk at all.

        I’m not sure, but I believe it’s something to do with Drive Extender wanting to poll all disks before making changes to one or two.

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      WHS is already flawed in that it contains SPOF in and of itselfg{<.<}g

        • Forge
        • 10 years ago

        What SPOF is that? The system disk is a easily-replaced OS partition and the landing pad for the meta-array, both of which can be regenerated easily.

        I like Windows bashing as much as the next guy, but WHS is pretty nice stuff.

    • Sanctusx2
    • 10 years ago

    Not a bad idea to make a cheaper, more affordable WHS…the problem is the expandability as many have mentioned. Options for USB drives is no real option. One of the best things about the Media Smart servers is the well-designed case with the easy-to-use hard drive mounts. The whole computer is built very well from top to bottom to perform its intended function.

    This new system just seems like a dumb box thrown together with little to differentiate it from any other small, cheap computer.

    • lex-ington
    • 10 years ago

    When did we start talking about power draw without the motherboard? Is this thing still paired to the 945G?

    Processor = Low power
    HDD = Low power
    Mobo = ?????

    And NO!!!! I am not going to the specific website to read anything. The important bits were laid out nicely for me right here in this story . . . ao why leave out the chipset?

    • crose
    • 10 years ago

    Might someone write a less than 500 word comparison between one of these boxes and a ReadyNAS?

    • ew
    • 10 years ago

    New HP home server is cheap, Atom-powered, not very useful

    There, I fixed it for you.

    • cygnus1
    • 10 years ago

    #1, 2, 3 & 6. Agreed. One hard drive in this thing is total fail. I wouldn’t store anything of worth on that. It’ll be good for the backup and remote access features and that’s it.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    It’s tiny, that’s about it. Otherwise a total ripoff AND largely defeats the purpose of WHS in any number of ways. There is another WHS box based on an Atom mobo that at least has two drive bays.

    • adisor19
    • 10 years ago

    Bah, i’m happy with my FreeNAS box so far. There is still room for improvement in terms of extra services (TimeMachine support would be nice) but for a cheap NAS, it’s more then perfect if you have an old PC sitting around gathering dust.

    Adi

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      USB hub + Airport Extreme gives me Gig-E, NAS, print server, and wireless N in one package for $200. Add on a 1TB USB disk and you’ve got all you need for a Mac server for less than a 500GB Time Capsule, and usually cheaper than most NAS + Gig-E + Wireless N + print server solutions.

        • Lazier_Said
        • 10 years ago

        Functionally you’re all there.

        From an aesthetic standpoint, needing three boxes and a big tangle of wires where one box could do can be worth paying to avoid.

          • derFunkenstein
          • 10 years ago

          aesthetically, it’s all in a cabinet and you can’t see anything. :p

            • tfp
            • 10 years ago

            but inside that cabinet looks horrible and really it’s how it looks on the inside that matters not the outside.

            • Traz
            • 10 years ago

            what about the inside of the inside?

            • ludi
            • 10 years ago

            Gnomes. And possibly pixies.

            • Trymor
            • 10 years ago

            Don’t forget the KDEs…

            • FubbHead
            • 10 years ago

            Aesthetically, the Airport is just ugly with it’s cheap n’ shiny plastic exterior.

            But if I’d want something that resembles a kitchen appliance, then sure. 🙂

    • FubbHead
    • 10 years ago

    Definitely sassy looking. But blah, yet another Atom..

    • Kurotetsu
    • 10 years ago

    Windows Home Server is really a wonderful thing. I never thought it’d be possible for a SERVER to be accessible and affordable to normal people, but here they are.

    What needs to happen now is that HP and Microsoft need to get together and start seriously campaigning the benefits of this. The usefulness of this is in a home with more than 2 computers is obvious (auto backups and shares). Another huge benefit is being able to access the files on your home computer from anywhere. I think the second point will go over very, very well with non-enthusiasts, especially people who travel alot.

    EDIT:

    My enthusiasm is tempered by what others have pointed out. Its kind of hard to advertise auto backups and general file safety on a 1-drive server. Did HP completely forget how Drive Extender (y’know, one of the really hugely talked about features of WHS) works?

    • Jigar
    • 10 years ago

    That kind of sucks, HP came up with a good idea, but delivered a bad product. IMO, It should atleast support 4 sata ports to begin with.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 10 years ago

    One internal drive only = fail. If the drive dies, my media library dies with it.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This