HP Proliant MicroServer

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Slide the top cover forward and up once the thumbscrew is loosened, and it comes off easily. The front door lifts neatly off its hinges when the top cover is off. Most of the screws used in the MicroServer are Torx types, and amazingly, an L-shaped wrench screwdriver with two different size Torx heads is included, clipped in a purpose-built spot on the inside of the machine’s front door. (Mind you, using it to remove the 120mm fan screws proved slow and painful to the fingers; the lab's cheap set of Torx screwdrivers with proper handles proved much easier to use.)

The quality and thoughtfulness of the MicroServer's construction and design is excellent. Everything fits well in modular fashion, and the double-layer steel panels provide an assuring weight and sense of strength. It is clear that this product has more in common with real servers than with the consumer-oriented SFF PCs or NAS boxes it resembles on the outside.

Here's a view with both the top and front cover removed, with one drive partially slid out. The plastic clamping mechanisms work well enough, and a SATA plane on the inside accepts the bare connections directly when a drive is slid into place. As with a hot swap bay, there is no need to fiddle with connectors and cables.

A WD Green and the frame used for mounting. The HDD attaches to the plastic frame, which seems sturdy enough, with 4 ordinary drive screws.

The 120mm fan slips out easily once the four Torx head screws securing it are removed from the back panel.

The 120mm fan is a Delta, rated at 0.6A. A web search turned up a Delta spec sheet that listed the AFB1212VH as a 0.4A fan with max speed of 3100 RPM and 44.5 dBA SPL. Since ours is rated at 0.6A, it could be an even faster, noisier variant.

All drives removed. Small PSU uses 4-pin Molex connectors to power the SAS backplane. Venting on the back of the HDD cage is decent, as is the space between the drives. Even when all four bay are populated, cooling airflow should be good enough. Optical drive slides out easily with single lock snap. Two blue captive spring loaded thumbscrews, one on either side of the front edge, are all that need to be undone to remove the motherboard — that plus removal of all the connectors to the board.

The motherboard pulled out just far enough to remove all the connectors so that it can slide all the way out.

The motherboard is about 16 x 20 cm (W x L), which is close to the 20 x 17 cm (W x L) of mini-DTX. It appears proprietary. The Athlon II Neo CPU is under the large center heatsink. The single SATA port is used only for the optical drive. The 4 HDDs connect to the server backplane, which is connected to the motherboard through the mini SAS port (near the bottom right corner in the photo above).

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