Introducing my HP Microserver N36L using WHS2011 + XBMC - Printable Version
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- poofyhairguy - 2011-06-28 09:40
Wow, nice HDs. Server grade, with nice low temps. THAT is the way to build a HTPC+NAS!
- Johnkg - 2011-06-28 13:37
I was turned off the HP Microserver as I read that it could be a bit noisy and went down the Zacate route, which works well for me. Your HD temps are a bit lower than mine, probably cos of the huge fan!
My Server is behind my TV and is silent except for a WD 2GB Caviar drive, which I suspect is noisy due to the compatibility jumper being set (I'm using the old WHS).
So I may have to investigate WHS 2011. It's certainly appealing for its DXVA2 support. DOes anyone know if DXVA2 is faster than the Crystal HD (on an E35 M1)?
- achoke - 2011-06-28 14:51
Quote:I think he was asking if you have any other devices / computer / media players accessing the files on the HP Microserver, hence the need for 24/7 availability.
Yes. I access my server from more than one device (TVs, computers, phones, tablets) and couldn't see turning it off any point. It has only been shutdown for moving and for a couple of power outages.
- jimbosis - 2011-06-29 23:52
Very similar to my N36L setup with a few minor differences.
1. I use a Zotac Synergy 210 512 MB low-profile - I like nVidia cards and wanted to go with a fan onboard because of the next item.
2. 4 x 2TB WD Greens. I run my drives with the onboard RAID 1 so this leaves me with 4TB. With all those drives and a video card jammed in that tiny case I wanted a safety factor form the potential heat. I haven't run any temp tests but it feels cool enough and it's not under heavy load.
3. 2K8 Server RC2 - I tried WHS 2011 and was pretty unimpressed. It's a bit sluggish with the Neo 1.3 and with 7 Pro I can push the backups. I had WHS v1 on my old Acer H340 (truly a POS attempting to be a server - headless sucks when the NIC drops dead...) and found Drive Entender nifty. That being said I'll take RAID 1 over DE any day of the week. The R/W performance on the array isn't particularly impressive but it's more than enough for my needs.
4. 2GB RAM - I know: I'm skimping here but for XBMC and file serving it gets the job done. I'd like to run Sharepoint down the line so I'll probably crank up to 4 or 8. On your box does 4GB on 1 side and 1GB on the other has any impact on memory performance?
5. XBox 360 Wireless Receiver for Windows - I prefer to use an XBox controller over a Remote for making my way around in XBMC.
Your high-end hard drives sound tempting but at $70 for the 2TB WD Greens and the mirrors I'm willing to take my chances.
I spend a lot of time on it through Remote Desktop to manage my torrents and serve a 360 and 4 other comps off it so it's a 24/7 rig. As to noise levels it's tucked under a 24" LCD in my bedroom ( I use the 47" in the living room if I want that home cinema experience) and I don't even notice it. I've got a set of Logitech Z523 speakers hooked up to it which is plenty for the bedroom. I've also got a set of Klipsch Promedia's I was using but they are brutally overpowered for a smaller room.
If there's a better multi-purpose box on the market right now I'm not aware of it. Much like you I put about 1K into my unit and I couldn't be happier. The N36L is built solidly and actually feels like server hardware. As mentioned I had an Acer H340 which got the job done for WHS but felt like a poorly designed toy.
My biggest design concern was identifying a suitable video card and it was a bit of a leap and a prayer on the Zotac Synergy because the PCI-e slot is a bit snug. A GT220 would have been nice (AVI hardware decoding) but the wattage would have been a bit much for the N36L.
I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with the optical bay. I don't watch much off of disc and use a USB external when necessary. I've thought about adding a USB card in the remaining slot but again that's not a priority.
For networking I use the onboard NIC hooked up to a D-Link DIR-655 hooked up to an AirPort Express which connects over wireless to my ADSL modem which is only wireless G. Convoluted but really good reception and since my local provider limits out at 300K (I live in the middle of nowhere) having a fast airpipe for my torrents isn't necessary. The wireless N off the D-Link keeps Remote Desktop pretty snappy and is more than fast enough to feed all of my machines 720p. I keep a few movies that deserve it in 1080p but for our purposes it works just fine.
The WAF is phenomenal, to the point that we've killed off cable entirely.
- QLink - 2011-06-30 11:23
sounds good jimbosis. i'm glad that you are also very happy with your choice.
jimbosis Wrote:That being said I'll take RAID 1 over DE any day of the week. The R/W performance on the array isn't particularly impressive but it's more than enough for my needs.
i was also going back and forth on how realizing data protection best.
in the end i'm now using whs2011 integrated software raid 1, because Drivebender final version isn't still available. when it's released, i'll probably use it instead of whs sw raid1...
i didn't want to use the onboard "fake" raid controller of the n36l, cause in the long run it combines the drawback of software raid with the drawback of hardware raid.
sw raid drawback: cpu power is needed(but with raid1 it's not that much)
hw raid drawback: if the controller dies(in case of onboard raid = mainboard), you can't access your data until you got the bad controller(=mainboard)
exchanged/fixed. if this happens in ~5years you only can hope that there's still a n36l mainboard as spare part available (because it's a true server part, it definitly should be available, so its not that bad concerning the n36l, but you'll never know)
conclusion for me: with onboard raid you got all drawbacks and none of the advantages of sw and/or hw raid.
jimbosis Wrote:On your box does 4GB on 1 side and 1GB on the other has any impact on memory performance?
haven't measured that up to now. do you have any recommendation, which benchmark i should use for testing this ?
all i can say is that i put the 4GB modul in slot 1 and the 1GB modul in slot 2 and it's working fine...
jimbosis Wrote:I still haven't decided what I'm going to do with the optical bay.
i use my bluray burner for backups too (half a year). you never know if the bad guys out there want to steal your pretty little microserver and all data is lost this way...
maybe you can use the odd for adding another 1 or even 2 HDDs.
you can use the russian mod bios to achieve this. here is a nice post from an n36l owner, who did that: Link
- BEKO86 - 2011-07-06 20:16
Wow just found this thread by accident, I was looking at buying WHS11 for £42.49!
Ive had my Microserver from day one got a 210 nvidia in there (passive, the one I ordered should have had a fan, not had any issues and only run max 720p anyway), initially I ran Ubuntu 10.10 with xbmc on the 160gb hard drive after a few major driver issues got it working then it decided to stop working, so I thought great i'll give xbmclive a whirl off a usb stick. Again after some really dodgy driver issues got it working. (I was a complete linux noob). at the moment I am running jbod, 1x1tb 2x400gb and the 160gb it came with. Its on 24/7 as the usb boot times are well VERY long.
Yet I am still not happy, I think I could make more use out of the microserver so my plans are,
Upgrade the hard drives to 4x2tb. (RAID5?)
Fit the 160gb into the optical bay and run the OS plus xbmc (longterm SSD maybe although I think that would be overkill) - Any advice.
Relocate the server to my dining room and just run a long HDMI cable/.usb extension for the hp mce ir (not that my server is noisy infact its only the hard drives that are audible when under load).
Itunes on the server instead of all over the place.
I have a 360 and don't currently use it to stream but could do for the bedroom (my 360 and Freesat are piped upstairs via a HDMI splitter). Does the 360 play all 720p files? or would I have to run something like PS3Mediaserver?
Any advice is appreciated.
- QLink - 2011-07-07 12:43
it depends what you want to do with your N36L...
if you are planning to run it 24/7 SSD would be overkill for sure imho. it will "only" give you much faster boot phase and applikations starts...
if you are just turning on your N36L when you want to watch a movie and you dont want to wait ~2mins until XBMC appears then a SSD would make sense...
if you want to use Raid5 you definitly need an dedicated hardware raid controller, cause the onboard raidcontroller only can handle raid0 and raid1.
or you use software raid... but then your read/write performance will suffer, cause software raid 5 is much more cpu intensive than software raid 1...
cant help you with your questions about concoles, cause i'm no fan of these
- BEKO86 - 2011-07-07 13:07
Want to use it as a server and xbmc for now, long term probably just a server, I think I will scratch the SSD idea as it will be on 24/7.
If I use the hacked bios and relocate the 160gb hard drive I could still have 4x2tb, would still have the esata port free for future expansion.
I like the sound of unRAID, but if I want to use xbmc then thats a no go, does whs11 have a similar solution? It would be ideal for me to grow my hard drives slowly and keep replacing the smaller hard drive.
- QLink - 2011-07-07 13:40
BEKO86 Wrote:Want to use it as a server and xbmc for now, long term probably just a server, I think I will scratch the SSD idea as it will be on 24/7. .
personally i think that's the best desicion for your usage... better safe the money
BEKO86 Wrote:If I use the hacked bios and relocate the 160gb hard drive I could still have 4x2tb, would still have the esata port free for future expansion..
BEKO86 Wrote:I like the sound of unRAID, but if I want to use xbmc then thats a no go, does whs11 have a similar solution? It would be ideal for me to grow my hard drives slowly and keep replacing the smaller hard drive.
you could use the whs2011 built in software raid controller and make raid 5 or something like that, but better solution would definitly be using Drivebender Add In for Whs2011 (as i mentioned in first post), cause of easy drive pooling no matter which size each HDD has and much more...
i'm using whs2011 build in software raid 1 now and will switch to Drivebender when Final Release is out. Now it's in Beta 4 Stage, right before RC1... so i hope final version should be released near end of august/beginning of september.
- Fizzy - 2011-07-08 18:53
I too have an HP Microserver running WHS 2011. Am really encouraged by this thread as also want to run XBMC under WHS. Nice to know that the server can cope with 1080 video streaming using XBMC.
I want to go one step further and seek some advice please?
Can I run two sound interfaces and direct audio to one or other sound interfaces?
Specifically I would like to run audio over HDMI (using say the Radeon HD6450) for normal HDTV work but also concurrently (but separately) pass an audio stream (local MP3, Flac, internet AAC radio stream etc) to a different audio interface to a stereo amp (for multiroom). Is this possible?
Not sure if XBMC can run two streams at the same time (video and separate audio) but not too bothered as I presume I can run the separate audio via WMP or VLC or somesuch. The question I guess is how do I ensure that I can choose which audio stream goes where.
Which leads me on to a further question if I may be please? Sorry to hijack this thread in this way!
Any recommendations on a USB sound card that gets close to audiophile standards? Most of my audio source files are high quality (flac or high res 320 MP3), I would hate to lose that quality by some c***py sound interface.