How To Prepare And What To Do If Something Goes Wrong
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
Now tell us how we can convert a zyxel router into a storage system, or how we can mod a sata controller into a sas controller, or whatever else can be done to hardware if you know how.
ps. it's a bit wierd that you describe how to unplug an atx power cable ... I would expect people who'd dare take their working nas apart would know, or figure that out, on their own.
Slow news day I guess.
Good Question! I didn't think to tackle this within the scope of the current story, but it certainly would make fertile ground for a look at WHS in general. Having built numerous (more than 20) AMD AM2 systems and benchmarked them all, I didn't get the sense that we were dealing with motherboard limitations. Tim Higgins at SmallNetBuilder gives the EX470/475 models pretty high marks in head-to-head comparisons with other NASes so I don't think this box is hampered by inherent performance problems. But comparing it to other builds/set-ups is a good idea, and I will see if my editor is interested in a follow-up.
PS to neiroatopelcc: I wish I knew how to convert a zyxel router into a NAS/SAN, or how to mode SATA into SAS controllers. Both are things I too would like to know how to do.
Next up; guide to fitting square peg in square hole?
I'd like to thank HP and Micron/Crucial for their support of this article. Micron actually overnighted me a 4GB DDR2-667 SDRAM module when I was unable to buy one anywhere in the US, on very short notice.
I'd also like to thank the following terrific HP MediaSmart sites that helped me learn what I needed to know to write this story:
1. Alex Kuretz: www.mediasmartserver.net
2. Capable Networks MediaSmart Home (May be MS sponsored, hard to tell, still useful tho)
3. Terry Walsh We Got Served4. Andrew Edney Using Windows Home Server5. Donavon West Home Server Hacks6. Microsoft WHS Team Homeserver Blog
There may be more, but these are the most useful such sites I found. If you know of any please add them here.
I recently blogged on my own Vista site to list all of the latest workable drivers for the EX470/EX475 MediaSmart Servers. Anybody interested in making sure they're current on drivers should find this useful. I include the link to download.com for some less-than-brand-new drivers (which SiS has since updated, but which don't work on the EX47* models) because SiS doesn't keep an archive of older drivers (at least, not where I could find them).