Since my Iomega Home Media Network Drive gave up the ghost last week, I’ve been in search for a new solution to store the mass of photos, music and digital film collection.
I came across HP’s ‘ProLiant Turion II N40L MicroServer’ on offer for £239.99 inc. VAT with £100 cashback from HP and a further chunk of cashback from eBuyer when ordering using a corporate discount scheme. This dropped the price to just over £114 inc. VAT for the whole unit with the cashback taken off.
Great! £114 for a home server and 250GB drive. Just what I needed and it’s a proper server and not a closed source product.
For the price, you get:
– AMD Turion II Neo N40L / 1.5GHz (Dual Core Processor)
– 2GB DDR3 SDRAM (Possible to upgrade this to 2x 4GB modules)
– HDD 1x 250GB (With room for a further 3 drives)
– Integrated AMD Graphics
– 1x Gigabit Ethernet Connection
– 6x USB 2.0 Ports
– Expansion Slot for optical drive.
– UK, EU and US Power Cables.
– 1 Year Warranty
Unboxing the device is really easy. It is a standalone unit, so you will need a mouse, keyboard, monitor and RJ-45 cable for connectivity. Drive installation is also straight forward. Opening the front of the case with the provided key and sliding out the ‘Hotswap-like’ bays is simple enough. All you need is a screw driver and four small screws for each drive you want to load into the system. All 3.5″ SATA drives should have screw holes in the correct place, and it’s just a case of mounting the drive in the provided bracket and pushing it back into the bay. It’s probably worth mentioning that these drives are not ‘Hot swappable’ or ‘Hot bays’. You need to power the system down before swapping drives in and out. The drives are clearly labelled with this in bold blue too.
The server is setup to boot from USB as soon as you take it out of the box, which is great if you don’t want to install an optical drive. I used a USB Key with Ubuntu 10.04 LTS x86_64 installed on to get things going. You can easily create a key with your own distro using Pendrive Linux tools.
Installing took a few minutes and after rebooting, I was able to see all the drives I had installed in the front bays.
After you’ve installed the operating system is purely down to what you want to do with the system. Mine is setup purely to be a media hub, as well as a DNS server for the local network. I have webmin installed which allows me to manage the system using a very nice web interface, and I’ve also enabled VNC and SSH for access. This system is now completely monitor and inputless. It sits nicely under my stairs and is almost silent, even during heavy processing.
Overall it’s a very nice system, made even better by the £100 cashback offer from HP.