HP third gen media server gets new interface and improved Mac support (September 25th, 2009)
Product Manufacturer: Hewlett Packard
- Media Collector automates transfers
- Video Converter easy to use, configurable
- Features work on Mac or Windows platforms
- Backup works cross-platform
- Expandable to large storage capacities
- Easy-to-use interface
- Ships with 1.5TB drive
- H.264 video encoding
- Requires Windows PC for initial setup
- Some web-based tools launched in IE by default
- Media sharing sometimes requires manual configuration of ports
HP has quickly refreshed its MediaSmart servers with the new EX490 and EX495, which have arrived shortly after the second-generation EX485 and EX487. The review covers the flagship EX495 which sports an Intel dual-core CPU running at 2.5GHz, along with a 1.5TB hard drive and 2GB of DDR2 RAM. Aside from the slightly improved specs, the new user interface is a primary highlight of the latest systems.
form and construction
The EX495 carries the same basic form as its predecessor, with four drive bays and the computer components placed inside an attractive gloss-black housing measuring 5.5 x 9.8 x 9.2 inches. Drive status lights and power indicators are illuminated using blue LEDs, with brightness controls available in the configuration settings.
The front and back sides are both constructed of metal mesh, allowing air to easily pass through for improved cooling. The fan and drives are relatively quiet, not completely silent but significantly less noticeable than many dedicated NAS systems.
Both of the new servers offer a variety of expansion options for storage. Three drive bays are left empty, enabling users to bring total capacity up to 6TB just with internal storage. On the backside, HP integrates a 3Gb/s eSATA connection, with support for eSATA multipliers, along with three USB 2.0 connections. A single USB port is located on the front for attaching a flash drive or portable hard drive that might end up back in a computer bag.
The EX495 ships with a Seagate Barracuda 7200RPM drive, while the EX490 model provides a 1TB drive and a single-core Celeron processor running at 2.2GHz. Otherwise, specs appear to be the same. HP chose to offer both versions with a single drive, as opposed to the previous offerings which provided two drives with the high-end model.
The integrated dual-core, 64-bit Pentium E5200 CPU brings hardware performance on par with a variety of desktop computers. The additional processor capabilities would not be necessary if the device was just a storage device, but the speed definitely helps with many of the advanced features such as video conversion.