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Hacking The HP EX470/475 MediaSmart Servers

Benchmarking The EX475 With Sempron 3400+, LE-1640, And BE-2350

Interestingly, the LE-1640 and BE-2350 bring different strengths to the contest so that the outcome is not as cut and dried as you might expect. Table 4 includes the values from the NASPT benchmarks for these three processors, where all were equipped with 2 GB of RAM.

Table 4: Benchmarks for Sempron 3400+, LE-1640, BE-2350 with 2.0 GB RAM

Task3400+LE-1640BE-2350Notes/Remarks
HD Video Playback33.231.028.6Weak inverse correlation to procstrength
2x HD Playback11.710.99.8Inverse correlation to procstrength
3x HD Playback9.98.19.2Weak inverse correlation to procstrength
4x HD Playback9.87.88.6Weak inverse correlation to memory size
HD Video Record137.0134.5137.5Little or no benefit to procstrength
HD Playback and Record39.038.036.0Weak inverse correlation to procstrength
HD 2x Playback 2x Record20.921.221.9Little or no benefit to procstrength
HD Playback with Office36.034.030.5Inverse correlation to procstrength
HD Playback with Backup27.626.328.1Mixed bag: no clear benefit
Content Creation6.76.56.7Mixed bag: No clear benefit
Office Productivity23.422.923.8Mixed bag: No clear benefit
Backup48.754.552.3Mild correlation to clock rate
Restore18.419.217.7Mixed bag: No clear benefit
File Copy to NAS72.474.274.2Mixed bag: No clear benefit
File Copy from NAS38.340.635.3Mixed bag: No clear benefit
Dir Copy to NAS5.64.05.7Mixed bag: No clear benefit
Dir Copy from NAS34.134.831.5Mixed bag: No clear benefit
Photo Album23.320.419.3Inverse correlation to procstrength

I went into this exercise expecting the dual-core BE-2350 to swamp both of the other single-core processors, but came away believing there’s no clear advantage here. Except for inveterate tinkerers, this tells me that a CPU upgrade isn’t really necessary. In fact, if you accept the sum of all benchmark values for each processor as a rough-and-ready basis for comparison, the 3400+ comes out on top (596), followed by the LE-1640 (588.9), trailed by the BE-2350 (576.7).

Of course, there’s only a 1.2% difference between the 3400+ and the LE-1640, and 2.1% between the LE-1640 and the BE-2350, so we’re talking about a total variation of 3.3%, which I have to believe is completely within the range of sampling error. With no clear advantage for upgrading, this becomes a completely discretionary task.

Check prices for HP's MediaSmart EX475

  • neiroatopelcc
    Seems like a nice do-it-yourself guide. I don't own such a nas, so I can't tell if something's missing. But it's nice to see something like this on toms. Too rarely do we get such a treat.
    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.
    Reply
  • DiscoDuck
    Has anyone run performance numbers on single versus dual core on a homebrew WHS? IS it possible the small gains on the HP dual core setup are a limitation of the motherboard?
    Reply
  • FrustratedRhino
    It is a computer... no matter how evil it is inside, since the compaqs of the late 80s/early 90s every computers is very easy to upgrade. To say that a HTPC knockoff needed a whole guide, to upgrade it, is rather silly.

    Slow news day I guess.
    Reply
  • deredita
    Excellent write-up. I been thinking about the HP MediaSmart servers, and what would be involved to mod one.
    Reply
  • etittel
    DiscoDuckHas anyone run performance numbers on single versus dual core on a homebrew WHS? IS it possible the small gains on the HP dual core setup are a limitation of the motherboard?
    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.
    Thanks!
    --Ed--

    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.
    Reply
  • MoUsE-WiZ
    FrustratedRhinoIt is a computer... no matter how evil it is inside, since the compaqs of the late 80s/early 90s every computers is very easy to upgrade. To say that a HTPC knockoff needed a whole guide, to upgrade it, is rather silly.Slow news day I guess.Yeah, that. Glancing through the guide, anybody who's ever done any sort of hardware upgrade on any machine should be able to figure all of this out, changing the BIOS is probably the only bit that requires any extra knowledge.

    Next up; guide to fitting square peg in square hole?
    Reply
  • etittel
    To all:

    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.

    --Ed--
    Reply
  • etittel
    Drivers for EX47* Servers

    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).

    HTH,
    --Ed--
    Reply
  • etittel
    Sorry forgot the driver link URL: http://viztaview.wordpress.com/2009/03/05/drivers-for-hp-ex-47-mediasmart-servers/. My apologies.
    --Ed--
    Reply
  • cruiseoveride
    So basically, you buy an over priced media center "PC" and then upgrade it?
    okaaaaay
    Reply