$400 Acer home server has Atom CPU, four drive bays

After netbooks and nettops, net… servers seem to be the latest rage. We saw HP unveil a diminutive Atom-based home server last month, and now, Acer has followed suit.

The Acer Aspire easyStore AH340-UA230N is quite a different animal from the HP MediaSmart LX195, though. While both systems have the same $400 suggested price tag, the Acer easyStore has four hot-swappable hard drive bays, a bundled 1TB hard drive, 2GB of RAM, one external Serial ATA port, four USB ports, and Gigabit Ethernet. This system comes with Windows Home Server pre-installed, of course.

Those four hard drive bays do make the easyStore a little bigger than its single-drive HP counterpart, but not overly so: Acer quotes dimensions of just 8.3″ x 7.8″ x 7.08″ (21.1 x 19.8 x 17.9 cm). Judging by the photos on the Acer Taiwan website and in the Amazon listing, the easyStore doesn’t look half bad, either.

Acer claims the AH340-UA230N is already “available in the U.S. via leading online technology retailers and authorized resellers.” Amazon only lists the machine as available for pre-order, though, and we couldn’t find it in stock at other e-tailers like Newegg, TigerDirect, or Buy.com. A quick Google search does, however, show a number of Canadian online retailers selling the machine.

Comments closed
    • vikramsbox
    • 10 years ago

    Atom for a server? No matter how many times I hear it, I can never get used to it. A cpu that can’t even multi task well on a net book for a server? They must think (or know) that there are fools out here.
    Pentium Dual Cores (the E2000 series) or the 65nm Ahtlon X2s would multiply performance at marginally higher cost. \
    It must be remembered that cheap and power efficient yet powerful desktop solutions are already present. There isn’t an artificial product gap like the netbook was made out to be.
    An atom server will only end up serving drinks.

      • Hattig
      • 10 years ago

      There’s “Home Server”, and there’s “Server”.

      The former serves files, does backups, acts as a media hub, and so on, for a few clients around the house. I’d also use it as an SVN repository and web development home server (Apache, Tomcat, PostgreSQL, etc), and I’d prefer it to run Linux or FreeBSD, but I’m in a minority here. Although I think it should be plug and go for the standard behaviours, no GUI configuration needed.

      The latter actually does real work, and needs decent hardware, because it will be servicing hundreds, thousands of clients, running complex applications, storing masses of data, etc.

    • My Johnson
    • 10 years ago

    I’m looking for something a bit more inexpensive.

    Too bad the Linksys WRT610N sucks as a NAS.

    • droopy1592
    • 10 years ago

    400 dolrah too ecpensiv

    • FubbHead
    • 10 years ago

    The HP looked cooler.

      • indeego
      • 10 years ago

      Who cares what a server looks like? sheeshg{

    • Dr_b_
    • 10 years ago

    At least put the dual core atom’s in or better yet, wait for a 32nm refresh of either atom or use a westmere variant to get the crypto acceleration. Can’t have a NAS without file encryption.

      • eloj
      • 10 years ago

      Exactly, without hardware crypto it’s worthless. I’d be amazed if you got 15MB/s reads off that atom setup with 100% CPU!

      Oh, well. I just spent the day upgrading my VIA server with a WD15EADS drive (out: 500GB Seagate). ext4 on loop-aes /w padlock, hell yes.

      Man, these migrations are getting worse and worse as capacities increase. This time I “only” had 500GB to push over the network… and back.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 10 years ago

        I saw the Nano plug coming miles away. You’re too predictable. And I hardly think b[

          • eloj
          • 10 years ago

          Yes, I plugged something I didn’t even mention. I don’t run a Nano[0].

          HW encryption is important to me, which is why any new solution that comes out whichs doesn’t support it is a fail.

          [0]
          model : 10
          model name : VIA Esther processor 1200MHz
          stepping : 9
          cpu MHz : 1196.916

          PS.
          I welcome atom numbers. My 1.2GHz fanless C7 setup for comparison:

          $ sudo /sbin/hdparm -t /dev/loop4

          /dev/loop4:
          Timing buffered disk reads: 138 MB in 3.01 seconds = 45.77 MB/sec

          $ sudo /sbin/losetup -a
          /dev/loop4: [000c]:696 (/dev/sdb2) encryption=AES256 multi-key-v3

          Not breaking any speed records here, but on the other hand, most data goes over the network so not a huge deal. (Writes over Samba are around 25MB/s). It should be noted that the numbers for the raw device are almost the same, leading me to think the crypto isn’t the bottleneck, the poor chipset is.

          The raw numbers when paired with a _modern_ chipset and CPU are a bit better:

          root@hp:/mnt# hdparm -tT /dev/sdb
          /dev/sdb:
          Timing cached reads: 3516 MB in 2.00 seconds = 1759.53 MB/sec
          Timing buffered disk reads: 278 MB in 3.00 seconds = 92.64 MB/sec

          I’d love to see the corresponding numbers for this Atom-server.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            Oops, your username is very similar to someone who loves the Nano ๐Ÿ™‚ You still didn’t say i[

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      q[

    • FuturePastNow
    • 10 years ago

    I built my own WHS system, but if this had been out 4 months ago, I’d have bought it instead. Looks like a great deal.

    Using an Atom processor, too. Performance should not be an issue unless you load it down with add-ons.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Exactly, the Atom CPU is weak but if all you’re doing is using it as a place to dump files and serve media it’s fine. I am certain that the Atom will get bogged down when do gigabytes of transfers to duplicated folders but that shouldn’t happen often and you can just let the transfer run until it’s done.

        • FuturePastNow
        • 10 years ago

        Duplication does bog down the Atom, as does all the indexing it performs after a large transfer. But it doesn’t seem to cause any problems, it will still serve media faster than the computers can play it.

        The write speed I get is about 300Mb/s. That’s twice as fast as my old fileserver and it’s writing to Greenpower drives so I won’t complain.

    • feek
    • 10 years ago

    I’ve had this for about a month, since it was available on NCIX. for about 415 USD shipped, and coming with an extra TB hard drive (bringing it to a total of 2) this thing is/was an AWESOME deal. im really digging it so far.

      • Lans
      • 10 years ago

      What kind of power consumption is it posting?

        • feek
        • 10 years ago

        Not sure, but I imagine it’s pretty light. Also, it turns off after 10 minutes with no client PCs on the network powered up. It turns back on when they resume from sleep. It’s pretty cool.

    • flip-mode
    • 10 years ago

    Put Linux on this and it’d make a pretty darn file small business NAS and web server?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      I guess that’s what the cool kids or Linux fans might do but WHS can serve the same purpose :shrug: Since Powerpack1 solved the duplicated file corruption issue which mainly happened when manipulating files directly on the WHS storage pool it’s been fine.

      I may come off as a bit of a WHS fanboy but it really is a good product.

        • blubje
        • 10 years ago

        i’m a linux user and not interested in funding microsoft (which I would be doing regardless of whether i use whs or not)

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          viva la revolucion! ..or whatever. DIY it then ๐Ÿ™‚

      • eitje
      • 10 years ago

      Are you asking us!

        • Richie_G
        • 10 years ago

        Are you asking him if he’s asking us? (!)

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          You sure asked him!

    • jackaroon
    • 10 years ago

    Wow, this is EXACTLY what I need.

    • tfp
    • 10 years ago

    No raid, which I would think you would want for a server. I’d still wait until the next gen atoms are out and they improve the chipset.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      WHS has built-in software-ish RAID 1 which duplicates chosen folders across multiple drives.

        • cygnus1
        • 10 years ago

        it’s actually a pretty nice storage pool system, as you can configure redundancy on a per share/folder basis. The stuff you choose to be redundant simply gets stored on more than 1 drive. It really allows you to maximize storage usage, because stuff you don’t care about being redundant only gets stored once.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Yeah I have a WHS box although obviously I’m not fully versed in it since I didn’t know about the default IIS install ๐Ÿ™‚ The storage pool system does work very well for a ‘mass market dummy’s RAID’ and is also a cheap way to allow expandable storage since real expandable RAID systems are costly. The only downside to it is that effective storage space for duplicated folders is halved or RAID 1-ish.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 10 years ago

    I was amazed at how small my HP ex740 was when it showed up. The thing is barely 12″ tall, and it has 4 bays. Not bad for $379.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      Yeah, the HPs are small, I was surprised when I saw one at CC when I visited during their liquidation. This thing is even tinier, it’s probably hard to appreciate without seeing it in person but all the dimensoins are less than the short side of a standard piece of paper ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    • Richie_G
    • 10 years ago

    Just what I’ve been waiting for, any word on European release and price? I have that feeling we’ll get shafted on price, as is so often the case.

    • mieses
    • 10 years ago

    4 hard drives + 1 tiny fan = lots of heat and/or noise.

      • cygnus1
      • 10 years ago

      put caviar greens in it and you probly won’t have a problem

        • GreatGooglyMoogly
        • 10 years ago

        But then you’ll have slow drives instead.

          • Thresher
          • 10 years ago

          It’s a home server. Who cares?

          • ecalmosthuman
          • 10 years ago

          Something tells me that slightly less than state of the art hard drive speeds are going to be the least of your worries when running a server with an Atom processor.

          • cygnus1
          • 10 years ago

          honestly, the greens will be able to flood the NIC just as well as a black, as the atom is going to be holding back the performance of the system.

            • d0g_p00p
            • 10 years ago

            I would blame the throughput of the NIC more than anything. As with any cheap NAS/WHS the NIC will be bottleneck. If these things came with more than one NIC and you can bond them, it would paint a different picture. Even my Thecus is bound by network speed. iSCSI support does help the speed but plain LAN speed is nothing to be impressed about.

            #50, how are you testing those write speeds? just wondering how you are getting 300MB/sec speeds.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 10 years ago

            He said 300Mbits/sec not 300Mbytes/sec ๐Ÿ™‚ the former seems reasonable for WD Greens over gigE.

          • A_Pickle
          • 10 years ago

          /[

        • mieses
        • 10 years ago

        regardless of heat, the tiny fan on the power supply will be noisy, especially as it gets older.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          Depends on the quality of the fan. Intel OEM heatinks from the Slot 1 and Socket 370 days used small high speed fans from Sanyo Denki and the likes that, while not exactly quiet just due to RPM, weren’t terrible and last a looong time.

    • eitje
    • 10 years ago

    That looks pretty nice!

    I could probably convince my parents to own one of these, for their “backup” needs.

    • albundy
    • 10 years ago

    thats one expensive $300 case!

      • derFunkenstein
      • 10 years ago

      …and an OS, and a mobo/CPU/RAM, and a PSU…but since really all you do is troll, I’m not sure why I’m responding.

    • CheetoPet
    • 10 years ago

    Lose the OS & hard drive & knock 50 bucks off the price then we’ll talk.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      NAS called, it wants to talk.

      The HD alone is worth more than $50 so you might as well get one, sell the HD, and do whatever you want with it.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 10 years ago

    This >>>>> that glorified USB drive pos HP.

    • bdwilcox
    • 10 years ago

    HP should be ashamed that it was handed its lunch by Acer.

      • tay
      • 10 years ago

      What about the software? itunes library sharing?

    • Fragnificent
    • 10 years ago

    The beer fridge look is not getting it done for me.

      • tay
      • 10 years ago

      You can always rice it up with some wings and neon lights lol

        • jpostel
        • 10 years ago

        classic. maybe some yellow and orange flames on the side?

      • Thresher
      • 10 years ago

      I wouldn’t recommend hanging up Junior’s report card with magnets on that thing…

    • derFunkenstein
    • 10 years ago

    Does WHS have an integrated web server?

      • MadManOriginal
      • 10 years ago

      No but you can almost definitely use it for that. It’s Server 2003 based so just about anything you can do on Server 2003 you can do on WHS. Check out ยง[< http://www.wegotserved.co.uk<]ยง forums, lots of info and user experience there.

        • cygnus1
        • 10 years ago

        Wrong, IIS is installed by default. It even has nice wizards for publishing photo albums. If you want to publish a non-default site you may need to tinker slightly. It also allows remote desktop access through IIS and a TS Gateway.

        I second the link to ยง[< http://www.wegotserved.co.uk<]ยง

          • MadManOriginal
          • 10 years ago

          My mistake, I didn’t know it was installed by default. I guess it makes since given that it’s designed to be accessible through http

      • Usacomp2k3
      • 10 years ago

      Yes it does. You can use the Whiist add-on to easily add stuff too.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 10 years ago

        awesome. Now I just need to find a use for a home web server. LOL

    • Thorburn
    • 10 years ago

    The number of SATA ports would suggest this is Ion based to me, not 945GC. Got any solid details on it?

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