So as is the case for many people at the moment I am on a tight budget. This I think, makes projects that little bit more interesting. Especially considering that normally uber = money * effort. Either money or effort has to be vast to achieve uber.
As you have probably noticed I am a regular to the HotUkDeals.co.uk website. Recently on the news for reporting a pricing error of tesco’s oranganic food.
But coming up on this site quotes bit was the HP ProLiant Micro Server for the bargain price of £189 plus £100 cash back from HP. This little server come with quite a fair amount of umph for buck :-
At A Glance
AMD Turion™ II Neo N54L (2.2GHz)
AMD RS785E/SB820M chipset
Two (2) DIMM slots
2GB (1x2GB) Standard or 4GB (1x4GB)/8GB Maximum, using PC3-10600E DDR3 Unbuffered (UDIMM) ECC memory, operating at max. 800MHz
Embedded AMD SATA controller with RAID 0, 1
Embedded AMD eSATA controller for connecting external storage devices via the eSATA connector in the rear of the server
Internal Drive Support:
4 Internal HDD Support
Maximum internal SATA storage capacity of up to 8.0TB (4 x 2TB 3.5″ SATA drives)
Embedded NC107i PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet Server Adapter
[Full specifications: on HP's site]
Pretty impressive considering a nexus 7 is a good 100 pounds more and a lot less powerful (although I agree it is not fair to compare).
Anyway, I had snatched one of these up as it was too much to not resist. But little did I know that my trusty shuttle server, that had sat uncomplaining for years had actually bust it’s only fan and was in the process of cooking it’s self. Not long after I had placed the order did it faithfully deliver it’s last TCP packet and then splutter away.
I had always wanted to use the shuttle as a media centre but I had been put off by the lack of HDMI and no digital out on the default hardware. Also it’s tiny processor often had issues with running the services on it alone, never mind streaming a HD movie as well.
So when this server first turned up I cracked open my freebsd USB key, partitioned the drive and got installing. It was lightening quick!
Then it dawned on me. There was expansion ports on the motherboard. I wonder if this thing could run something like XBMC. Well my first concern was that there is really a very limited amount of space inside this thing. Getting both a sound card and graphics card could he both costly and troublesome. Doing a little googleing I quickly found out that many people had already done this and fixed this problem already. On the XBMC wiki there was even a list of all the compatible hardware…. Bonus
The graphics card that I went for was the GT 210 GeForce Nvidia. This fixed the need for accelerated graphics and for sound as this is supported via the HDMI out by default. You can pick up a pretty decent one of these for about 20 pounds on Amazon. Remember that space is limited so get the one with no fan!
The only suggestion I would make is to get yourself more space and of course a external DVD/Blueray drive for ripping your movies. The standard space is quite small for a large collection. There is now a large amount of 3TB drives popping up on HotUkDeals so shouldn’t be too much more expensive.
Total Cost : £100 [Bargin!]