When Christmas shopping, I’m better at finding gifts for myself. And I’m not on commission, honest. But if you’re the kind of nerd that has cobbled together a home server, HP have recently launched a very nice PC that is almost certainly smarter and cheaper than the piece of junk you’ve put together.
It’s called a HP ProLiant Microserver and this is mine, with the wiring not quite finished:
For £112.56 (with a discount code & cashback deal, only valid December!) this is what you get, in a neat chassis:
- four hot-swap drive bays and caddies (the spec says not, but if you use Linux & AHCI, hot swap works fine);
- Athlon “N36L” processor – had never heard of it, but it’s an Athlon core with 1MB cache and clocked from 800-1400MHz. It runs quietly and supports virtualisation;
- 1GiB RAM and a 160GB drive;
- 4 USB ports on the front, 2 on the back, and 1 inside (which I’m using for a root/boot drive, leaving all 4 drive bays free);
- an eSATA port on the back;
- two half-sized PCIe slots, one at x16 speed (actually 3, but the third can only fit an HP lights-out card);
- two DDR3 DIMM slots;
- a gigabit ethernet port (a Broadcom 5723).
M’colleague Pete suggested one of these to add another 4 x 2.5″ drives – I’ll probably add a DVD drive, which of course it has a spare SATA port ready for.
I don’t think it’ll be great as a theatre system – it only has an analogue VGA port, no audio, and not enough grunt to decode 1080p. And for some reason it’s sold by HP a a business server – I’d be a little bit less stingy for my business (we have a 12-core, 48GiB desktop shared between 8 of us). But as a file server, internet gateway, TV recorder, backup system, it’s a bit of a bargain.
See also Samat Jain who has a slightly more detailed teardown.