2.1 - BIOS
Updating your BIOS can increase the speed of the Optical drive SATA port, as seems to be limited to operate in a combined IDE mode when shipped originally. However it was reported that the later HP BIOS supports the full speed but this has since been confirmed false, you will need the 3rd party modified BIOS to unlock AHCI mode for the 5th SATA port. There may also be other benefits of upgrading.
Latest HP BIOS:http://h20000.www2.hp.com/bizsupport/TechSupport/SoftwareDescription.jsp?lang=en&cc=us&prodTypeId=15351&prodSeriesId=4248009&prodNameId=4310887&swEnvOID=4064&swLang=8&mode=2&taskId=135&swItem=MTX-42694d7e7bb8426fb0d8637ec4
Original post to 3rd party BIOS to increase SATA speed:http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/16427-whs-on-hp-proliant-microserver/page__st__120__p__104539#entry104539
Updated 3rd party BIOS to increase SATA speed, which is based on the newer BIOS:http://www.avforums.com/forums/networking-nas/1521657-hp-n36l-microserver-updated-ahci-bios-support.html
BIOS mod guide if you already have the BIOS dated 01.17.2011 preinstalled from factory: (Thanks Clock'd)http://www.avforums.com/forums/15113684-post355.html2.2 - RAMECC or NON-ECC?
What is ECC memory: http://www.tech-faq.com/ecc-memory.html
Basically is has in built error checking, which makes it more reliable (but slower and more expensive). Modern RAM is reliable enough you are highly unlikely to see any benefit in ECC.What should I chose?
If you decide to run mission critical software that will have a lot of RAM throughput on it, then ECC may be worth while!
Most however have gone for non-ECC as it is inexpensive and an easy upgrade!
The HUKD thread has mentioned the below ECC (Thanks Clock'd):http://www.base.com/buy/product/kingston-valueram-memory-2-gb-dimm-240-pin-ddr3-1333-mhz-pc3-10600-cl9-1-5-v-unbuffered-ecc/dgc-kvr1333d3e9s_2g.htm
Also the 4Gb module:http://www.base.com/buy/product/kingston-4gb-ddr3-1333mhz-ecc-240pin-dimm-memory-module/dgc-el-02026393.htm
Slightly cheaper at Kikatech:http://www.kikatek.com/product_info.php?products_id=114632When choosing 'performance' RAM that is cheaper than ECC, please be aware that some modules by brands such as Corsair, Crucial, etc will feature large heatsinks. Due to low clearance above the RAM slots on the microserver motherboard it is not recommended to buy RAM with large heatsink unless these can be removed.2.3 - Hard Disk / Solid State / USB Drives?PLEASE NOTE: SCREWS FOR MOUNTING DISKS CAN BE FOUND ON THE INSIDE ON THE FRONT DOOR.
The most popular choice of HDD for storage is the Samsung F4 2TB, I'm not saying this is your only choice, but works well with the server and plays nicely with RAID (Some drives wont). Also it's the best bang for buck (or was until the flood)
Also make sure the firmware on the Samsung drive is up to date, the early model has a slight fault in the firmware. Guide here to update firmware: http://www.tekforums.net/guides-projects/how-to-update-firmware-(flash)-samsung-2tb-hd204ui/
Official specs from HP state a 2TB per drive limit, however there are people happily running 4x3TB drives, it looks to be supported by default, but is worth checking before purchase. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU APPEAR NOT TO BE ABLE TO BOOT FROM 3TB DRIVES.
Some people chose to boot from USB drives, meaning that the full 5 internal SATA slots can be filled with HD's for storage, usually this uses a linux NAS distro (See "Which OS") You can also use an internal USB drive for keeping a drive image of the OS drive as I do with Acronis.
Solid State Drives.. Yes they work, but no I haven't a lot to add at this point. However you can fit a slim SSD or laptop HD in the top section along side another HD or optical drive, but you will need to take a feed from the eSATA and pass it through the cover over the PCI slots. If used I believe you will need to slide this in under the top part of the chasis above the HD array bays, this obviously wont be mounted securely!!!2.4 - Graphics
Generally you should not need a graphics card if you are just planning to use the server as a fileserver, the onboard ATI powered graphics are more than capable for basic running.
If you are considering a HTPC or transcoding media server, you will need something more substantial. The two most recommended cards I have seen are the Radeon HD5450 1Gb which will confidently play 1080p with HDMI audio passthrough, or for those that prefer nVidia or wish to use linux/XMBC setup the GT510/GT520 cards are the recommended options, as these have better driver support.You need to choose cards that are half-height and with low profile heatsinks, preferably passively cooledRecommended cards
HIS HD 6450 Silence Edition £36.99 playing 1080p with audio pass-through in XBMC - confirmed by sexytw
Sapphire Radeon HD5450 1Gb - should come with half-height brackets and is suitably low profile
Zotec nVidia 210 512MB graphics card, its £25ish and plays 1080p with HDMI audio, also had more luck with nVidia cards over ATI when running on Linux (Ubuntu or XBMC Live). - Recommended by Leon
3.1 - HardwarePLEASE NOTE: SCREWS FOR MOUNTING DISKS CAN BE FOUND ON THE INSIDE ON THE FRONT DOOR.
Useful guides and videos to assist with hardware installation:HP Parts and Upgrades Guides
Direct Link to Video guides:HP Parts and Upgrades Video Guides3.2 - AccessoriesThere is no additional SATA cable provided for a 5.25" bay device and the power connector located here is a 4-pin molex, not a SATA power connector. Please check if you have these cables spare if necessary, if not factor these into your purchasing.
Some tall USB pens such as the Cruzer Contour will not fit the internal USB slot without a flexible adapter.
If planning on routing an eSATA to SATA cable through the expansion slot at the rear, a 0.5m cable length is perfect to accommodate this.For mounting HDDs in the spare 5.25" bay
Cheap & cheerful (as used by Clock'd 0Ne):StarTech.com Metal 3.5 to 5.25 Inch Drive Adapter Bracket
- only £2.32 w/ free delivery from Amazon.co.ukRemovable swap bay for the spare 5.25" bayIcyBox IB-168SK-B Mobile Rack
Cheapest prices found at Scan
(both ex delivery)
Cheapest alternative found at Amazon.co.uk w/ free delivery: StarTech.com 5.25" Tray-Less SATA Hot-Swap BaySome installs
have managed to squeeze two 3.5" HDDs into the 5.25" bay using a Nexus "Double Twin" HDD Silencer
or Noiseblocker X-Swing
, but these are a discontinued line and now very hard to find, you may be able to find one via some extensive Googling or on eBay.3.3 - Which OS
Windows Server 2003/8 - Is a popular choice for those people who want to use RAID 5 and have the ability to run other software, 2008 is officially supported by HP
Windows Home Server - This is also a popular choice for the more domestic use and now 2011 is now officially supported by HP, and 2003 works without problems.
Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Server - I assume will also give the RAID5 benefit and the official support by HP, but for those in the Linux camp (I'm not)
Windows 7 - Good if you don't want RAID5 and want a lean windows machine, pro version is however desirable if only for remote desktop access.
FreeNAS - Able to boot from the internal USB slot, leaves the rest of the SATA ports for pure storage! But that is all you will get, you can't run other software.
Unraid NAS - Similar to the above, but I believe a bit more advanced - unRAID guide here: http://www.tekforums.net/guides-projects/unraid-server-setup-management-guide-(using-an-hp-microserver)3.4 - DriversOfficial Drivers:
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Foundation Edition
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008 R2
- Microsoft Windows Server 2008 Small Business
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Server (x86)
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 Server (x86-64)
Available at: HP Business Support WebsiteServer 2003
- Thanks Russell
NIC Driver - http://www.broadcom.com/support/license.php?file=570x/win_xp_2k3_32-22.214.171.124a.zip
taken from http://www.broadcom.com/support/ethernet_nic/netxtreme_server.php
AMD Processor Driver - http://support.amd.com/us/Pages/dynamicDetails.aspx?ListID=c5cd2c08-1432-4756-aafa-4d9dc646342f&ItemID=173&lang=us
(You'll need to have at least SP1 for 2003 on before installing the Processor Driver, which is a nice 372mb download.)
Chipset & CPU - http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/embedded/Pages/embedded_windows_all.aspx
think I've got the right one from a rather long list* on http://wwwd.amd.com/AMD/SReleaseF.nsf/softwarepages/DriversbyDeviceChipset?OpenDocument
Graphics Driver - Packages\Drivers\Display\XP_INF section in the Win XP Drivers from here: http://support.amd.com/us/gpudownload/embedded/Pages/embedded_windows_all.aspx* For Server 2008 users the Vista/Win 7 drivers should be usedWindows XP (and 2003)
This forum post: http://forums.overclockers.com.au/showthread.php?p=13201219Windows Home Server
This forum post has quite a bit on WHS: http://forum.wegotserved.com/index.php/topic/16427-whs-on-hp-proliant-microserver/page__p__98307#entry98307Windows 7
Apparently doesn't need drivers, W7 picks them up just fine (If anyone can confirm)
4. Misc Links
Tim's 7.24TB "Tiddler" Unraid NAS - includes BIOS mod/settings
Very cool: Massive Array of Inexpensive Servers (MAIS)
Install XBMC on it: http://www.tekforums.net/guides-projects/%28wip%29-automated-media-server-xbmc-setup-%28long-image-heavy%29
Excellent guide/users thread over on LimeTech/unRAID forums: http://lime-technology.com/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=67cf6f16a4c7a6288e9c8d8549815005&topic=11585.0
Microserver front door 'dust filter' mod: http://forums.hexus.net/chassis-system-modding/201873-hp-microserver-dust-filter-mod.html
- Suitable with this filter material