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 Post subject: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decoding)
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 9:20 am 
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Hi All

I just thought I'd see what people thought of this new system from HP - it seems as though it meets the spec for what a lot of people here want to build - a low power, low noise server for media streaming.

http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm ... 48009.html

Image

Specs:

AMD Athlonâ„¢ II NEO N36L
AMD RS785E/SB820M chipset
1GB (1x1GB) Standard/8GB Maximum, using PC3-10600E DDR3
Embedded AMD SATA controller with RAID 0, 1
Embedded AMD eSATA controller
4 Internal HDD Support
Embedded NC107i PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Server Adapter
Slot 1: PCI-Express Gen 2 x16 connector with x16 link
Slot 2: PCI-Express Gen 2 x1 connector with x1 Link
Slot 2-2: PCI-Express x4 slot for optional management card
Seven (7) USB 2.0 ports: 4 front , 2 rear, 1 internal (for tape)
200 Watts Non-Hot Plug, Non Redundant Power Supply


My interest is really in this being used as a combined media center / NAS storage. It seems the athlon II neo outperforms atom a fair way, so it should be reasonably capable for these duties on WMC 7.

The big things for me are:

- low power (12W TDP cpu), low noise (only two fans)
- PCI-E x 1 slot for TV card
- PCI-E x 16 slot for discrete graphics, something like the ati 5450 (comes with radeon HD 4200 graphics onboard though which has hardware decoding, but only VGA out as far as I know, no HDMI)
- full size DDR3 slots (not expensive laptop memory) so can upgrade to 2 or 4 gb cheaply
- 4 x caddies, without excess bulk
- perfect form factor, nice build quality - even the motherboard slides out on a tray
- internal power supply
- full size CD drive
- gigabit ethernet
- It's in the US at $299!

video review

http://www.techhead.co.uk/video-hp-prol ... -on-review

I'm very very tempted by this. Sticking in a 30gb SSD for a super responsive media center experience, plus a couple of hard drives, an extra 2gb stick and a discrete graphics card for tv out and HDMI etc) - It seems like the perfect system. If only HP had included HDMI out! (is there any way we can get this product suggestion over to them?)

I can't think of anything that can really compete with this in the same price range, given the low power, low noise and reasonable performance.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 10:46 am 
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Oli wrote:
- full size DDR3 slots (not expensive laptop memory) so can upgrade to 2 or 4 gb cheaply

Laptop memory isn't expensive anymore. Price difference between cheapest 2x2 GB DDR3 at newegg is $3.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 1:38 pm 
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Wow I am liking this model a lot. I'm evaluating some replacements for my current HP EX485, which is noisy and out of warranty.

My gripes with this model are:
- VGA only. Would be nice if they threw in a couple of displayports.
- AMD: I have not been keeping up with AMD's latest, but Intel seems to always the most solid and reliable chipsets. Does AMD still have problems with SATA AHCI?
- 5.25" drive wastes space. I wish they would have a slim optical size drive opening or none at all!

Is there a spot for a 2.5" drive? It would nice to keep WHS solely on a 2.5" laptop drive/SSD.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 03, 2010 5:17 pm 
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This looks like a great niche product Oli, thanks for pointing it out... and welcome back to SPCR after your long absence. ;)

Not sure where you see $299. All links I found show only the the base model w/ 1gb ram and 160GB Non-hot-plug LFF SATA Internal for $329. LFF is obviously some kind of drive...

It seems clear the machine could be used as a combo file server + spare or utility PC if Windows 7 was installed... one would think W7 would work, tho it's not mentioned as a supported OS; only MS server 2008 & Red Hat 5 are mentioned. There are 2 DDR3 ECC slots for up to 8GB, tho the base machine comes with just 1GB.

The absence of an OS compared to HP's WHS Atom-powered boxes makes the price analysis a bit complicated. The cheapest HP StorageWorks X310 w/ dual-core atom 1.6ghz, 1tb drive, 2gb ram, 3 open drive slots and HO's customized WHS is just $400 at Newegg right now. The MicroServer obviously has a more capable CPU, but no customized OS and less capable hardware as well.

The 21 dBA noise claim is pretty good. Seems quieter than the <30 dBA spec for their home server and storage works machines. Too bad there's no back photo. We need to get one in the lab.

EDIT -- had a look at the linked video review. Looks like it's a modified mini-DTX board. The little fan on the back looks like it could become noisy at higher load or hotter weather.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:32 am 
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LFF means 3.5 inches.

The full-sized 5.25 slot is probably meant for tape drives. This ain't marketed for home media streaming but for small businesses and the like. This is why it officially supports RHEL but not WHS.

These babies look interesting.
Does anyone know if the optional remote management card is any good?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:43 am 
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MikeC wrote:
The 21 dBA noise claim is pretty good. Seems quieter than the <30 dBA spec for their home server and storage works machines.

I haven't found any specifics about what to compare their 22dB figure to but I suspect we need to compare it to the rest of the Proliant line. They claim 25dB (operating, not idle) for the next model up featuring largish fans and regular Intel processors like Clarkdales and quad-core Xeons. In that spec sheet, they tell us that's the A-weighted figure for the "bystander position" and they name-drop ISO 7779 and 9296 (no idea what it means, sorry).
Random people on the web say the Microserver is "quiet" or "very quiet" but that could be quite loud and I don't trust HP's suspiciously low numbers. Maybe if the PSU's small fan doesn't spin at 23C (that's the ambient temperature they state for the measurements on the ML110) with a <50W load...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 11:23 am 
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HFat wrote:
MikeC wrote:
The 21 dBA noise claim is pretty good. Seems quieter than the <30 dBA spec for their home server and storage works machines.

They claim 25dB (operating, not idle) for the next model up featuring largish fans and regular Intel processors like Clarkdales and quad-core Xeons. In that spec sheet, they tell us that's the A-weighted figure for the "bystander position" and they name-drop ISO 7779 and 9296 (no idea what it means, sorry).

That's interesting. Seated operater SPL is what's usually used, but maybe because it's meant to be a server...
Quote:
The bystander positions shall be 1,00 m ± 0,03 m away from the projection of the reference box on the horizontal plane 1,50 m ± 0,03 m above the floor.

So a little over a meter distance, compared to around 0.6m for seated user:\
Quote:
For desk-top equipment which normally has a detachable keyboard and which is tested without the keyboard (e.g. a desk-top personal computer or a video display unit that is tested without a keyboard), the distance from the front end of the reference box, for purposes of determining the operator position, shall be 0,50 m ± 0,03 m in front of such equipment

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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sat Oct 16, 2010 8:48 am 
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first impression (unmodded with factory BIOS settings): I like the overall design and the price but the unit I got is not quiet. It gets a bit louder from time to time even under a light load (as well as when swiching the server on). It's not as loud as most servers obviously but you wouldn't want to sit next to one of these. Some people wouldn't mind and there are much louder PCs out there but this is SPCR. Though the noise offends my perfectionist sensibility somewhat, I think it will be quiet enough in many cases. If one could put it somewhat out of the way and behind or under a piece of furniture without loosing too much airflow or ease of access to the front panel and its drive racks (a cool feature for such a cheap server), I think the noise would be alright for all but the most picky.
At least with a light load and while the case is fairly cool, the PS is quiet. I assume it's got a small fan and it's not some hum I'm hearing when the largish system fan is disconnected. There are no fans on the CPU or the (mobile) GPU. The main fan is disappointingly noisy however. One reason is that this fan is apparently supposed to cool the drives by making air move through the front panel and along the drives. As a result, the front panel only attenuates the noise slightly. This arrangement seems this cool the drives really well (I would need to try other drives than HP's to know for sure). It's overkill if you ask me.
Hopefully that fan can be tamed in software. If I experienced the lowest possible setting, the first thing to try might be an in-line fan controller (does anyone make these for 4-pins?). Replacing the fan would require a lot more work and might not be possible without voiding the warranty. I guess another option would be to install a smaller fan without removing the stock fan.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Thu Oct 21, 2010 1:07 am 
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Well, there's nothing in the BIOS to control the fan as far as in can see. Maybe Speedfan can do it in Windows but the RHEL5 support is a bit of a joke. I didn't really investigate the issue in any depth but I've had to use a third-party repository to check the CPU's temperature. I'm not reading all sensors so I'm obviously not controlling the fan either.
While the noise would be obnoxious if I was sitting next to the box, the cooling is more than adequate. Perhaps it's necessary with more drives but, in HP's stock configuration, the fan speed (1150 rpm) is overkill (assuming the sensors don't lie). The CPU went from reporting 38C at idle to 44C (stable after boinc-ing for hours on end) under load while the drive remained very cool. And the BIOS claims the GPU and the northbridge are hotter than the CPU but not by much. The system seems to run well in x64 mode by the way.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 5:33 am 
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Has anyone heard one of these as well as an SG05? I have an SG05 as a home server at the moment and like the look of this to replace it but I certainly wouldnt want anything louder than a stock SG05


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:14 am 
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wild9 wrote:
Has anyone heard one of these as well as an SG05? I have an SG05 as a home server at the moment and like the look of this to replace it but I certainly wouldnt want anything louder than a stock SG05

At modest load, the SG05 (assuming fan speeds are tweaked) can be considerably quieter, because the HP's fans run faster, they're not as easy to slow down, and its 40mm fan can't help making more of a tonal noise.

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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2010 11:27 am 
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In the meantime, I tried using four drives at the same time and the cooling is still overkill in my opinion. The large fan should be running slower.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sun Dec 12, 2010 6:21 pm 
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I also got one, because ECC memory support is simply impossible to get elsewhere in a package this small. But I must concur with HFat, this thing is ridiculously loud.

I'd ordered a Scythe S-Flex to replace the system fan, but unfortunately the system requires a fan to be installed using a 4-pin connection (I don't know if the fan must support PWM) or else it powers down in less than a minute and I don't have an appropriate converter at hand. I'll try running the Scythe fan from one of the SATA power connecters and stopping the Delta fan that shipped with the system to see if I can live with the power supply noise. Replacing the fan wasn't difficult, used the included key to remove four screws and the fan simply slides out. I haven't taken the fan cable out of the loom yet, but that shouldn't be too difficult.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 5:27 am 
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I don't recall it beeping. I don't know if it's even capable of beeping.
Boot something that has network services and you'll know if it works.

I'm not sure the ECC works. Memtest detects ECC support but I don't have a bad DIMM to test if it actually works and I don't know what drivers (if any) support error detection for that hardware.
The drivers I got can only read the CPU's temperature by the way.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:10 am 
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HFat, thanks for the reply. ECC is supported by the chipset, so no drivers are needed as long as you have ECC capable memory installed. I wanted to have ECC, because I will probably be running Linux or Solaris on ZFS (Solaris would require another box to take care of media playback ). ECC is strongly recommended with ZFS, so the choice was made.

I previously posted about not getting graphics out, but I realized I'd managed to unseat the graphics card, and that was why I was getting no picture out. So that's settled now. I looked around and I didn't see any speakers, so I suppose it really cannot beep for errors. They are not mentioned in the documentation anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 8:34 am 
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What OSes are you guys running on your HP microservers?

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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Mon Dec 13, 2010 9:04 am 
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CentOS5

sgny wrote:
ECC is supported by the chipset, so no drivers are needed as long as you have ECC capable memory installed

I gather it's not a mainstream server chipset. I kind of trust HP on this one... but it would be nice to know for sure.
As to drivers, they're not strictly needed but the point is to get a warning when errors are detected. Basic ECC may not be enough if one of your DIMMs goes bad and starts spitting correctable errors by the hundred (better replace it).


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:07 am 
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Ah, I see what you mean regarding ECC. I suppose if a stick has gone bad, ECC won't be enough to prevent crashes, but still it would be good to be alerted if errors become frequent.

I haven't decided on an OS yet, but people have been running anything from Windows 2008R2, to Linux or Solaris/Nexenta. I'm still trying to decide if it is a keeper as a media player - it all boils down how quiet it can be.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2010 2:31 pm 
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HP is offering £100 cash-back 'til the 31st of December -- bringing the total to a pretty affordable £121.49 (you may even find it cheaper than the linked Misco).

http://www.misco.co.uk/applications/sea ... pNo=483839
http://h41112.www4.hp.com/promo/prolian ... g/go_proli


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 5:24 am 
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sgny wrote:
I'd ordered a Scythe S-Flex to replace the system fan, but unfortunately the system requires a fan to be installed using a 4-pin connection (I don't know if the fan must support PWM) or else it powers down in less than a minute and I don't have an appropriate converter at hand. I'll try running the Scythe fan from one of the SATA power connecters and stopping the Delta fan that shipped with the system to see if I can live with the power supply noise. Replacing the fan wasn't difficult, used the included key to remove four screws and the fan simply slides out. I haven't taken the fan cable out of the loom yet, but that shouldn't be too difficult.

Unfortunately the 4 pin connector does not have the standard pwm shape. It's probably a custom HP connector. I tried to put a jumper between the first and second pin following this instructions http://pinoutsguide.com/Motherboard/hp_compaq_cpu_fan_pinout.shtml but without success. The system shutdown in a few seconds.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:14 am 
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According to that link, you still need tachyometry on pin 3 after bridging 1 and 2.

This is bad design on HP's part since I suspect the system would run fine with an external fan (or even without any fan) in an emergency. They sell this product as more reliable than a PC but force downtime on you if the fan craps out!
It's still a lovely box for the money (local prices have dropped a bit). I've had no issue with mine so far apart from the lack of drivers and the noise.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 8:24 am 
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HFat wrote:
According to that link, you still need tachyometry on pin 3 after bridging 1 and 2.

HFat you are right, I'll try with a 3 pin fan and see if the server remain on.
HFat wrote:
This is bad design on HP's part since I suspect the system would run fine with an external fan (or even without any fan) in an emergency. They sell this product as more reliable than a PC but force downtime on you if the fan craps out!

I completely agree with you. The CPU uses an heatsink so the system should be able to work even without any fan.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Wed Mar 02, 2011 11:51 am 
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vlrnmz - did you get the 3-pin fan working?


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2011 4:29 pm 
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Has anyone figured out a replacement system fan for one of these systems as yet... I'd really like to reduce the noise if I could?


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 2:30 am 
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Anyone figured out how to quieten down one of these systems - replacement system fan / fan controller / ??? . Need to reduce the noise as I have nowhere else but my desk to put it.. Thanks


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 2:14 pm 
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The 12cm fan on the microserver is a PWM one, however it does not use the usual pinout.

So, it can be replaced by a nice silent PWM fan like the Akasa Apache Super Silent, however you will have to re-route the pins as follow:

1 - Speed control (green on the existing HP fan)
2 - GND (black on the existing HP fan)
3 - +12V (red on the existing HP fan)
4 - Sensor (yellow on the existing HP fan).

It won't make the machine silent (due to PSU microfan and HDDs) however, it definitively helps make it quieter.

Just be aware that this probably void your warranty and if you get it wrong you will quite possibly fry the motherboard.

HTH


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2011 1:56 pm 
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http://www.silentpcreview.com/HP_Proliant_MicroServer

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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2011 6:08 am 
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Mike,
thanks a lot for citing me in your review.


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 3:59 am 
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Hi all,

My question is did vlrnmz (or anyone else) find any problem using a 3-wire fan?

I'd like to build this with a Noctua or Scythe fan that is non-PWM. Reading Mike's review, there seems no advantage with a PWM fan. My plan would be to use the HP connector and simply not have the control wire in place (Just +12, GND and Sense)
Appreciate any help/advice if I'm missing something.

Marsha


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 Post subject: Re: HP's new Neo (12W TDP) based microserver (with HW decodi
PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 11:00 am 
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mg1394 wrote:
Hi all,

My question is did vlrnmz (or anyone else) find any problem using a 3-wire fan?

I'd like to build this with a Noctua or Scythe fan that is non-PWM. Reading Mike's review, there seems no advantage with a PWM fan. My plan would be to use the HP connector and simply not have the control wire in place (Just +12, GND and Sense)
Appreciate any help/advice if I'm missing something.

Marsha

This was not tried but it would probably work. Just keep the wiring straight; it is a PITA. I presume you'll use a hardware voltage controller for fan speed?

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