ProLiant N40L and NAS Upgrade

Posted in Uncategorized by walkingTarget on March 1, 2012 No Comments yet

My server was a piece of crap.  It had a large CPU cooler and an overpowered video card.  Its two optical drives spun up, flashed their pretty lights, but couldn’t read a disc.  Basically, it was old, over-sized, and noisy.  And it had to go.

My requirements for a replacement were pretty simple.  It had to be quiet and relatively small.  After a year with my old server, all of its other disadvantages took a backseat to those two characteristics.  Extra points were awarded for having nice features like RAID, lots of hard drive slots, and low power consumption.  All I had to do now was start looking.

I first stumbled across the HP ProLiant Ultra Microserver on Slickdeals.  It was recently on sale and I had missed it.  However, it was mentioned that it was on-sale often, and upon looking up the details it became the baseline for all my future searches.  When it went on sale again at PC Connection for $179, and I jumped at the opportunity.

I’ll spare you the unboxing video, but suffice it to say that it’s put together pretty well.  The door opens to your hard drives, and the top of the case slides to reveal an additional 5.25″ slot.  That gives you up support for up to five drives, if you buy a 3.5″ to 5.25″ adapter (I did).  I store the OS drive in the 5.25″ slot and all of my data in the easy access slots behind the door.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of my old, full-size ATX tower.  Check out the big differences in size. (Small? Check.)

Cable management is really nice too, as you can see in the comparison photos.  While it wasn’t that much of a hassle with my old rig, the ProLiant pretty much avoids cable management altogether.  Everything is already run where it needs to be (except for the 5.25″).  To connect hard drives, just pop out their chassis and mount them.  When you lock them back in, they connect to the interfaces in the back of the hard drive cradle.

Everything about it is organized.  They even include a star wrench and mounting screws in the door for you to use.

Bottom line, I’m really enjoying my new machine.  I’ve got it running Ubuntu Server 11.10 and it makes a nice, quiet addition to my home network.