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Hacking The HP EX470/475 MediaSmart Servers

How To Prepare And What To Do If Something Goes Wrong

The Kalapatis cable hooks up to the 26-pin block on one end, with ports for VGA, mouse, and keyboard (both PS/2) on the other.

The HP MediaSmart 47* servers will let you manage boot-up, so you can boot from a USB flash drive from which you can run repair utilities, restore the original BIOS, and perform other repair operations. But to do this, you’ll need some way to attach a monitor and a keyboard to your box.

There’s an unoccupied 26-pin header block on the motherboard, to the right of the 20-pin power cable block and the LED/sensor cable block. Independent fabricator Charles Kalapati sells a $70 cable that plugs into this header with PS/2 ports to connect a mouse and keyboard, as well as a VGA monitor. For those intrepid enough to want to build their own cables, a complete schematic is available online.

When I did the BIOS hacks I had no trouble at all following the instructions provided here. But I purchased the aforementioned cable just in case something did go wrong. You can certainly take the chance on a perfect outcome, but if something does go wrong you won’t be able to use your MediaSmart server until you obtain the cable that lets you restore it to operating condition. Perhaps this explains why lots of users are content to skip the CPU upgrade or to drop in an LE-class processor and live with the “AMD Processor model unknown” message that appears on a machine with an unhacked BIOS.

Check prices for HP's MediaSmart EX475