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My First Impressions of the HP EX470 RRS feed

  • General discussion

  •  

    Just got my EX470 yesterday and it's also (almost) my first experience with Home Server. I say almost because I had a chance to look it over just a little bit in a VMware installation.

     

    First, I was surprised at how small this box is. It's very similiar in size to a typical NAS box that holds about 4 HDs. I also like how much like an appliance this is so that you don't have to mess with it. Set it up and stick it in a corner and forget it.

     

    There are no mouse/keyboard connectors, no audio, not even a video port. Just 4 drives bays, 3 USB connectors on the back, and one up front along with the gigE connector in the back. There is also an eSATA port - more about that in a minute. I was a bit curious how one would would reinstall the OS on a box with no monitor if you had to do so, but now that I've done it I have to admit I love how it works. The box shipped with a single 500GB drive but I wanted more so I've gone to 4 x 1TB drives. That meant completely removing the disk it shipped with. Boot the system after replacing the OS drive and the system health LED flashes red and blue. At that point you depress a recessed button with a paper clip and the server searches your network for a machine where you have launced the recovery program. Once it finds it (it took aboput 3 minutes in my case) you just follow the simple steps on your PC and it installs the OS over the Network. Very slick!

     

    BTW, one thing HP doesn't make really clear in most of their docs is that the eSATA port in the back DOES support a port multiplier. As a result, you can add even more HDs than the 4 internal + 4 External USB ports.

     

    Even maxed out internally with 4 HDs , the system is running quite and cool. HP adds Server Status information in the console showing fan speeds, temperatures, and voltages of the system and so far my CPU is only around 23 degrees C and the system is showing 29 degrees.

     

    I've already dropped on a few hundred GB and duplicated much of it and so far everything runs great. I have another couple hundred GB in MP3 files but because of the bug involving Alternate Data Streams I have not dropped that on the Server yet. Unfortuantely, Roxio Easy Media Creator created an ADS for all these files and I'm having difficuty removing them. Supposedly that fix for WHS (along with several others) will be out about Nov. 27.

     

    Only other negative so far is not having 64-bit Server Connector software. I have 2 systems running 64-bit Vista so I have to continue using my old backup schemes till that software is released.

     

    All told, I'm extremely happy with the system so far. The small size and fact that I can just hide it away and forget about are great for me where space is at a premium.

    Wednesday, November 21, 2007 11:22 PM

All replies

  • Please let me know what your tansfer and read speed is with this box... that would be a great help. Thank you

    Friday, November 23, 2007 1:18 AM
    Moderator
  • Nice review, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience with us. I'd be interested to hear the experience with the eSATA port multiplier, that'll be a nice way to expand storage.

     

    If you have more tips or issues, we'd love to have you contribute at the http://www.mediasmartserver.net forums also. Smile

     

    Thanks,

    Alex

    Monday, November 26, 2007 5:49 PM
    Moderator
  • I got mine today and like it. The photo sharing stuff in it will thrill my wife.

     

    I purchased 3 Western digital Green Power Terabyte drives for it. One was DOA, but I got another one and all three are up and running.

     

    I was about to reinstall the OS on a larger drive until I saw that the eSATA port supports the multiplyer. So I am going to order one and see how it works.

    Monday, November 26, 2007 5:58 PM
  • I put in 2x 750GB SATAII seagates... (try get seagates with 5 year warranty)... i sugguest you make the largest drive your system drive... as in dont keep the 500GB with the system OS and then add the terrabytes...

     

    Rather use one of the TB drives and reinstall the OS onto that one... and use the others for storage.

     

     

    Monday, November 26, 2007 6:05 PM
    Moderator
  •  Alexander K wrote:

    I put in 2x 750GB SATAII seagates... (try get seagates with 5 year warranty)... i sugguest you make the largest drive your system drive... as in dont keep the 500GB with the system OS and then add the terrabytes...

     

    Rather use one of the TB drives and reinstall the OS onto that one... and use the others for storage.

     

     

     

    If you decide to do this, please be aware that there can be issues if you use that original 500GB drive in your server, read more here:

    http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=12

    Monday, November 26, 2007 6:24 PM
    Moderator
  • thanks for the heads up but no problems.... i think its a given that one formats/low-level all the drives first before readding Wink

     

    My HP MediaSmart Server EX470 is now running 1GB DDR2 (i replaced the generic 512DDR2) and 2x 750GB SATA II with no problems.


    In its original state with the single 500GB drive, i had a lot of problems - mainly performance problems. 512MB should be enough but HP added a lot of extra overhead like itunes server and POSTGRESQL so once i replaced the RAM it really made it faster.


    Just make sure you wipe and drives including partitions before re-adding them as the primary storage.

    Monday, November 26, 2007 6:29 PM
    Moderator
  • Are you still experiencing the slow network read issue with that large video file? Or has that been resolved?

    Monday, November 26, 2007 7:09 PM
    Moderator
  •  

    Unfortunately no luck, after changing the hard drive to 2x 750GB SATA II seagate(s) ,re-imaging the WHS; and after the 1GB RAM upgrade it is definitely faster. To clarify what I mean is that the windows home server console is a lot more responsive… the web-interface is faster too.

    My writes are (single 3.5GB file) a good ~~50MB/sec but the fastes read I ever had was 12MB/sec after these upgrades…(before i barely got 6MB/sec) it does however then drop and eventually cruise around 6MB/sec-8MB/sec

    I did notice that when logged in via terminal there is a hardware update for the Marvell Virtual Device driver. – I have installed that a couple of times too – no verdict yet.

    I also bought another gigalan switch/router... just in case but no luck - using CAT6 everywhere
    Monday, November 26, 2007 7:21 PM
    Moderator
  • Not sure if this is spot on for slower file transfer but it makes sense.

     

    They have their own file storage system, although not a Raid system it is still mass storage. Just like in raid a writes takes longer even though you have the bandwidth. It is because of the multiple drive setup.

     

     

    Monday, November 26, 2007 7:28 PM
  • yes, one would assume WRITEs to be slower becuase of that... and READs to be faster. Sadly, this isnt the case, in addition i also tried with just a single drive attached,... and as always folder duplication to be disabled.

     

    Monday, November 26, 2007 7:32 PM
    Moderator
  • Alexander K,

     

    How hard was it to open the box to replace the RAM?  And, what particular stick did you buy and what speed?

     

    Just ordered mine tonight and want to bring RAM to 1 gig and any help is appreciated.  Thanks.

     

    Tuesday, November 27, 2007 1:55 AM
  • I have taken mine apart as well and there may be more than one way...but

     

    Make sure you remove the power and the network cable first.

     

    Open the front door.  You will find 2 very small black screws holding the panel on that has the lock button.  Remove those 2 screws and then pull off the panel.  There is a small connector there that you can detach then set the panel aside.

     

    Remove all 4 drive holders and set them aside.

     

    Looking behind the panel, you will see one screw holding the lower hinge for the door so just loosen that one and the door should come off then.  You will also see 2 silver screws just behind the panel you removed ealier as well.  Remove them.

     

    Now slide the top plastic silver cover/top forward and it should just slide right off.  That will expose 3 connectors, 2 for the fans and one for the drive lights.  Unhook those remembering what order they go in.

     

    You will also see 2 light blue hold-down levers that you just rotate around to release the drive back plane.  Now reach inside the drive area and just push the back plane up and it should pop right off of the mother board (the backplane sockets in to the motherboard).  You can then remove the backplane.

     

    Now with the backplane out, you should be able to slide the power supply/motherboard assembly right out. 

     

    Reverse the process to put it back together.

     

    The whole process took less than 10 minutes start to finish and obviously this may void your warranty.  Go slow and be careful and you should have no problems.  I'm writing this from memory so I hope I'm remembering all of the steps.  If not hopefully someone will correct me.

     

    The memory I used was the cheapest PNY or Kingston (can't remember the brand for sure) PC5300 1GB sticks BestBuy had.  I think they were about $28 and they are working great so far.

     

    I noticed that during backups, my system is using 259MB just for the backup program (putting total ram used at 750MB) so IMHO getting the extra ram didn't hurt at all.

     

    Good luck....

     

     

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 7:10 PM
  •  

    great instructions! it is true that replacing the RAM made a huge different (i did put highend RAM) but ultimately just make sure its DDR2 and it will be a good move.

     

    My only problem now is that Vista is so slow when transfering over my giglan... i tried everything from different Vista machine, network drivers, CAT6 cable, autotunning off, IPv6, Remote Differential Compression... pretty much anything i could think off.

     

    When i install XP onto my desktop my network transfer say a 3.5GB file is 1minute and 9 seconds... on the same box with Vista its is close to 9 minutes (if i am lucky)

     

     

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 7:19 PM
    Moderator
  •  Alexander K wrote:

     

    great instructions! it is true that replacing the RAM made a huge different (i did put highend RAM) but ultimately just make sure its DDR2 and it will be a good move.

     

    My only problem now is that Vista is so slow when transfering over my giglan... i tried everything from different Vista machine, network drivers, CAT6 cable, autotunning off, IPv6, Remote Differential Compression... pretty much anything i could think off.

     

    When i install XP onto my desktop my network transfer say a 3.5GB file is 1minute and 9 seconds... on the same box with Vista its is close to 9 minutes (if i am lucky)

     

     

     

    I've done the same things on Vista to improve speeds and I'm seeing rates similar to yours.  I hope they fix some of the network issues in Vista SP1.  I do recall some updates to Server 2003 that related to slow file transfers but I don't have a clue if they would apply here.

     

    David

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 8:13 PM
  • Are you running anti-virus software on that Vista machine?  I've read that that seems to be one reason for major slowdowns on Vista transfers.  I was running the free AVG software and a transfer that would take 4 minutes on a XP machine would take over 1 hr on the Vista (which has twice the RAM and processor power of the XP machine).

     

    That isn't to say that Vista is god with file transfers because everyone is experiencing slow transfers.  (And MS wonders why people are dumping Vista).

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 8:23 PM
  • not to piss on anyone’s bonfire but i have tried the Vista sp1 6001 build on one of my Vista machines and it did nothing to improve my network speed... but i am keeping my fingers crossed...

     

    however, i now have tried at least 10 different 1000Mbps NIC cards, from Netgear, Linksys, D-Link all the way to US Robotics... formatted at least 20 times within the last week, even using Vista Images, no AV no firewalls just to keep things simple and re-testing... i dont think it is a hardware problem...but something is making Vista boxes much slower than XP

     

    i dont know what to do?

     

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 8:27 PM
    Moderator
  •  sic0048 wrote:

    Are you running anti-virus software on that Vista machine?  I've read that that seems to be one reason for major slowdowns on Vista transfers.  I was running the free AVG software and a transfer that would take 4 minutes on a XP machine would take over 1 hr on the Vista (which has twice the RAM and processor power of the XP machine).

     

    That isn't to say that Vista is god with file transfers because everyone is experiencing slow transfers.  (And MS wonders why people are dumping Vista).

     

    yeah Symantec Endpoint Protection 11 AV only but during tests i formatted clean and never installed any AV

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007 8:28 PM
    Moderator
  •  Hannes S wrote:

    Only other negative so far is not having 64-bit Server Connector software. I have 2 systems running 64-bit Vista so I have to continue using my old backup schemes till that software is released.

     

    All told, I'm extremely happy with the system so far. The small size and fact that I can just hide it away and forget about are great for me where space is at a premium.

     

    I got mine the same day too, I even got 3 more drives to put in it...BUT I didn't follow the beta releases and forums and didn't know 64bit doesn't work now. I would have held off buying it if it said on HP's or WHS main pages about it not supporting 64bit now. Is it that difficult to put the text "WHS does not support client computers running 64-bit operating systems" on the main web pages about them? I'm still deciding whether or not to return it or wait.

     

    So...today I've been looking through the forums and blogs about WHS and the EX470. What I'm wondering is, is WHS a 32 bit OS? If so then why does HP always hype the "64-bit Sempron Processor for fast file access....?"

    Thursday, November 29, 2007 12:58 AM
  • Yes its a 32bit OS Sad

    Windows Home Server 64-bit is not expected until version two, which is scheduled for release in 2009... so i have been told.

     

    Thursday, November 29, 2007 1:10 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks DoDad.  Great response.

     

    Friday, November 30, 2007 12:15 AM
  • Does the HP have one DDR2 slot or two?

    Is 1Gb DDR2 that maximum amount of memory supported?  Or could one use a 2Gb DDR2 module instead?

    Is the Sempron 3400+ soldiered to the mainboard?
    Friday, November 30, 2007 7:19 AM
    1. One DIMM socket.
    2. HP hasn't released the specs on the board, but you won't see a performance improvement from 2 GB of memory over 1 GB. There will probalby be one, but it'll be masked by network latency.
    3. I don't know, but the HP MediaSmart Server is so tight inside that it doesn't matter. The Sempron is probably just about the fastest processor they can put in there without it overheating.
    Friday, November 30, 2007 12:49 PM
    Moderator
  • Correct 1 slot, use the 2GB Single DDR2 module if you can!

    Changing from 512MB to 1GB really made a difference Smile ,... but its a 32-bit system so 4GB is your max amount of RAM one could ever throw into it Sad

     

     

    Friday, November 30, 2007 4:24 PM
    Moderator
  • There are some known issues with mixing GigEthernet and 100Mb Ethernet on the same subnet.  See this article on flow control, maybe that is causing your transfer speed issues.

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/content/view/30212/54/
    Wednesday, December 5, 2007 3:39 PM
  • For those of you that are looking to update the RAM in you MediaSmart server, we created a step-by-step tutorial that walks you through the process.  We used a single stick of DDR2 PC-5300 (667) and our server is much happier

    Head on over to http://www.MyHomeServer.com for the tutorial
    Friday, December 7, 2007 12:41 PM
  • I don't get it.  Why did you buy an EX470 machine in the first place?  If you open the case you void the warranty.  The idea of the design is to minimize watt usage yet provide a good media server.  You don't need lots of RAM to make that happen.  As others have stated the Sempron has sufficient horse power to act as a home server.  What you need is a fast network and plenty of fast storage.  I have 4TBs of fast Seagate 7200.11 hds connected to a fast gigabit wired network.  I have no problem with any noticable latency issues with multiple computer clients streaming lots of HD content.  I think the key is to have fast hard drives and a good network.

    Friday, December 7, 2007 3:49 PM
  • Well i have 2x 750SATA II Seagates a giglan with a $400 switch, CAT6 and my performance left much to be desired.

    Please do not forget that 512MB might be enough for HomeServer as per Microsoft design/requirements, but HP added POSTGRESQL among others - so when checked and confirmed by others by boot up the EX470 actually consumed close to 700MB of RAM.

    Let me ask you this, as i envy your fast network speeds... are you using any Vista clients???

    I have added RAM to my EX470 and the performance increase was AMAZING! - there are no stickers that one needs to remove and if one uses the right tools and dont strips any screws there is no way HP can tell one has been there and done that - one shouldnt forget to place the original RAM when servicing though

     

    Friday, December 7, 2007 3:58 PM
    Moderator
  •  pd48 wrote:
    There are some known issues with mixing GigEthernet and 100Mb Ethernet on the same subnet.  See this article on flow control, maybe that is causing your transfer speed issues.

    http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/content/view/30212/54/

     

    Thank you, but I actually came across flow-control a while back and I can now eliminate it as a possible cause… also my entire network is cat6 and 1000Mbps NICs… funny enough my desktop uses the same intel NIC as in the article allowing me to disable Flow-control at the NIC level, needless to say my XP machines are transferring at at-least 50MB/sec whereas my Vista machines are getting 6MB/sec-9MB/sec… tried everything – definitely a Vista thing at my end!

    Friday, December 7, 2007 4:02 PM
    Moderator
  • No I am using XP/MCEs.  I am waiting on the SP1 Vista fix that is suppose to "fix" the Vista network slowdown before I go Vista. 

    Friday, December 7, 2007 4:12 PM
  •  KenAF wrote:
    Does the HP have one DDR2 slot or two?

    Is 1Gb DDR2 that maximum amount of memory supported?  Or could one use a 2Gb DDR2 module instead?

    Is the Sempron 3400+ soldiered to the mainboard?

     

    Upgraded to 2GB stick of ram and the system is much much happier.   Cost $70.

     

    Here is a website with the detail to do it.  Be careful with the screws.   http://homeserver.netartifex.com

     

    Cheers!

     

    Sunday, December 16, 2007 6:54 AM
  • I noticed that flow control is enabled on the HP's gigabit network adapter.

    Did all of you disable that using Remote Desktop?
    Sunday, December 16, 2007 12:43 PM