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Quick Look: HP's MediaSmart EX495 Home Server

Benchmark Results

As we’ve done in the past with the EX47* models, we ran the Intel NAS Peformance Toolkit on several MSS configurations. We used the stock EX485, an EX485 with a Pentium E5200 installed, and an EX495 with the stock Pentium E5200.

TaskEX485EX485 E5200EX495Explanation
HD Video Playback19.723.033.0Play back single HD video stream
2 x HD Playback21.125.333.2Play back dual HD video streams
4 x HD Playback22.226.336.5Play back 4 HD video streams
HD Video Record91.498.9124.8Record single HD video stream
HD Playback and Record26.329.333.7Play back and record single video streams
Content Creation4.86.05.7Use the MSS as storage target when creating Web pages, flash content, etc.
Office Productivity17.220.323.8Use the MSS as storage target when creating, modifying, and deleting files in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.
File Copy to NAS106.5137.8122.5Copy a single large file from client to MSS.
File Copy from NAS29.941.433.8Copy a single large file from NAS to client.
Dir Copy to NAS13.115.014.2Copy an entire directory from client to NAS.
Dir Copy from NAS5.97.26.9Copy an entire directory from NAS to client.
Photo Album9.921.411.2Open, view, and save photos on MSS from client.

The numbers in the middle columns purport to measure megabytes of network throughput per second, but when multiple streams are involved, HD video recording is underway, or when a file copy to NAS operation occurs, Intel is obviously double-counting or synthesizing those values, because the theoretical limit of gigabit Ethernet is 125 MB/s. Also, it’s weird that playback scores improve as the number of streams increase. Therefore, please don’t take these numbers as true and accurate measurements of network speed or throughput. Use them instead as Intel intended: to compare results across multiple platforms.

The numbers show that, as processor and drive speeds increase (the latter is the major difference between the EX485 and EX495 when they use the same CPU), so does performance. Given a modest $60 for the Pentium E5200, it seems an entirely worthwhile upgrade for the EX48* machines. Given costs of $138 (Q8200S) and $247 (L3110), I’m not sure the price-performance benefit justifies the increase in price over a stock EX495. And for what it’s worth, it was also our observation that the EX495 was noticeably faster than either EX485 model, even when both were equipped with the same Pentium E5200 CPU. Thus, the numbers as reported in the above table also align with our perceptual experience.