Category Archives: HP Proliant Microserver

HP Microserver G1810T (Gen8) | Windows Server 2012 R2 Storage Drivers

My configuration of the HP Microserver G1810T uses all 4 x HDD disk bays (2 x RAID1) with 1 x HDD (2.5″) attached to the secondary SATA connector on the motherboard.
This 5th disk for the OS was configured under the controller options to use RAID0.

When installing Windows Server 2012 R2 for the first time you will need to specify the B120i controller drivers for Windows to be able to see the disk.
The driver can be downloaded from the HP Microserver webpage and is listed under the “Driver – Storage” section.

The ILO made it easy for me to install Windows remotely from my desktop and attaching virtual media (ISO) and folders. Continue reading

HP Proliant Microserver | AMD RAIDXpert RAID Rebuild

I recently developed a few faults with Windows Server 2008 R2 install running on my HP Proliant Microserver.
A number of posts and articles suggested the fault maybe the result of a faulty HDD therefore I ran a series of disk checks and applications to verify. Unable to locate any faults I opted to remove both 2TB HDDs (configured in RAID1) in order that I could dock them in another workstation and run thought some more thougher checks.
strangely as a result of removing the HDDs the Windows “BSOD” and crashing did stop, however I was still unable to locate any errors on the HDDs.

Rather than installing both HDDs back in the system, I thought it best to only reinstall one HDD in order to fault find, therefore breaking the RAID. Once happy that the fault was correct (Never found out the issue) I started RAID1 rebuild process using the following steps.

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HP Proliant Microserver | AMD RAIDXpert Software Download Link

Please can someone tell me WHY is it so HARD to find the DOWNLOAD for “AMD RAIDXpert” ? Makes me so frustrated when you know the software you need (it’s free) but there are so many links and hoops to jump through in order to download it!

As of December 2014 this is a valid link for the “AMD RAIDXpert v3.3.1540.19” direct from AMD (Release Date: 3/28/2012). The AMD RAIDXpert utility gives you complete control of your RAID arrays within a simple web browser based application. This tool allows you to monitor and manage your RAID arrays in the Microsoft Windows environment or via remote login to your system.

Here is the latest direct AMD RAIDXpert Utility URL for the AMD SB7xx/SB8xx Chipset:


RAIDXpert information:

The RAIDXpert Utility isn’t listed on the HP Microserver driver page (http://goo.gl/utZgj) for Windows Server 2008 R2 (even if you do login). When I contacted HP to obtain this software I was told that this software was not supported on the HP Proliant Microserver and that I would need to contact the software vendor (AMD) to get hold of the download. I’ve been given some dodgy advise from HP before so rang back a 2nd time to confirm, again being told that the AMD RAIDXpert utility was not supported on the Microserver or any HP 100 series and that no downloads were available or listed on the HP website but then I stumbled on this link which would completely contradict the information I was provided by HP… 

HP ProLiant Microserver – How to Configure AMD RAIDXpert for E-mail Notificationshttp://goo.gl/gjQKr (artical ID: c03143514) 


Software Notes:
AMD RAIDXpert Utility Info:

  • URL: http://localhost:25902/amd/screen.jsp
  • Default Username: admin
  • Default Password: admin

Locating hardware serial number in Windows:

  1. HP Serial number finder or wmic bios get serialnumber

HP Proliant Microserver | Benchmarking

HP Microserver 1: AMD Athlon II Neo N36L 1GB RAM 160GB (P/N: 612275-421)

I finally got round to benchmarking some Graphics cards on the HP Microserver. Although I have not played around with much benchmarking before I thought I would start here as it seems to be a hot topic at present.

My first thoughts were “What do people really want out of the HP Microserver?” – Originally I wanted it as a replacement to my Acer Aspire Revo 3600 and run it as my dedicated HTPC. However this developed through time to become a replacement for my NETGEAR MS2000 Stora NAS while streaming the shares and content to my Acer Aspire Revo 3600 running XBMC.

I was previously using the Negear Stora, but was not satisfied that if the drive failed that I could easily get the data from one of the mirrored disks due to its XFS file system. There are some guides to doing this and I played around with accessing the XFS HDD from a Linux VM but this got quite messy and I had to refer to the good old rule “K.I.S.S.” therefore decided to purchase 2 x 2TB hard drives for the Microserver, RAID1 them and then dump all my media onto here and share using the Dreamspark version of Windows Server 2008 with shared folders. A nice method, however this didn’t allow me to use Streaming Media to my DNLA enabled devices, TV, iPhone, WDTVLive & other Windows 7 Computers.

With the release of Windows Home Server 2011 and dedicated DNLA support I decided I would install this as a VM on top of Windows Server 2008 R2 – 100% NOT SUPPORTED and definately frowned upon by many. But it is all in the name of testing and experimenting with the system. The reason I did this was that in order that I was still able to play around with Hyper-V and Windows Server 2011.

HP Microserver Number 2: AMD Athlon II Neo N36L 1GB RAM 250GB (P/N: 633724)

I recently purchased my 2nd Microserver to play around with Citrix Xen Server and would allow my current Windows Server/Home Server 2011 to stay in one piece. Xen works fine on this box, however I have not put it to the test and only had a limited number of VM’s on the system so will look at the development of this later on.

Following on from my original article I decided to see how well the performance was of the Radeon HD5450 Graphics Card. There has been a lot of talk about whether this card will do a good job as it seemed to be the fastest low profile card (at time of this article) that could be found. To try and improve performance I decided to run with Windows 7 x64 as the base OS, this offered fully supported drivers for all the graphics cards.

Windows 7 was installed on an external HDD and attached using the eSATA connection. A good solution if you don’t want to mess around with the current drives and OS already installed.

I ran through a number of tests on the following cards:

  1. Original Radeon 4200 (This is the onboard graphics card) – VGA with no Audio
  2. PNY Geforce 8400GS (Low Profile PCIe) with Heatsink – HDMI with Audio
  3. Sapphire HD5450 (Low Profile PCIe) with Heatsink – HDMI with Audio

I used the following tools for benchmarking: (There maybe better tools available however as I have only played around with this brief this is what I went with)

  1. Passmark Performance Test 7.0 (Trial Version)
  2. 3D Mark Vantage (Free Basic Version) The latest version of 3D Mark 11 only works with Directx 11 cards.
  3. PC Mark 7 (Free Basic Version)
  4. CPUID (Free)
Although it isn’t a fair test comparing onboard vs a 1GB DDR3 Graphics Card. I was really curious as to how much better the performance actually worked out at. The test results don’t display a massive contrast between cards until the 3D results come into it. Throughout all my testing I have come to conclusion that the HP Microserver still isn’t man enough to handle large 720/108o .MKV video files (I could be doing something wrong?). Running media over a 1GBps network link & even playing content locally I still have performance issues and glitching whereby the same media streams perfectly to my WDTVLive.

Passmark Performance Test Scores

  1. Original Radeon 4200 – Score: 440.9 

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  2. PNY Geforce 8400GS – Score: 455.6 

    no images were found

  3. Sapphire HD5450 – Score: 468.7 

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3D Mark Vantage

  1. Original Radeon 4200 – Score: TBA
  2. PNY Geforce 8400GS – Score: P435

    no images were found

  3. Sapphire HD5450 – Score: P1091

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PC Mark 7

  1. Original Radeon 4200 – Score: 974 
  2. PNY Geforce 8400GS – Score: 994 
  3. Sapphire HD5450 – Score:1034

CPUID Temperature Tests

  1. Original Radeon 4200 N/A
  2. PNY Geforce 8400GS 
  3. Sapphire HD5450 

Power Tests:

Another question I always asked myself was whether the Microserver could be left on all day without costing too much and eating up too much power? The results from a electric meter gave a good indication to this and looks similar to leaving a couple of lights on.

Wattage when Idle (GF8400GS Card, 1 x eSATA & 2 x SATA HDD)

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Wattage when Underload (GF8400GS Card, 1 x eSATA & 2 x SATA HDD)

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HP Proliant Microserver | RAID Chipset & Disk Array Failure

Having created a RAID1 mirror using the AMD SB8xx SATA RAID, I recently faced the following problem:

“Logical Drive “HDD” Goes Critical”.

This error would be directly related to disk failure! I decided not to replace the 250GB HDD but instead remove the RAID array and keep as a single logical drive (no RAID). This would prevent the error from displaying eachtime Windows loads. The problem I had was with the wording “Press Ctrl+Y to delete the data on the disk!” prompt when deleting the RAID. Not sure if this meant all HDD Data or just the RAID Data. Rather than taking any chances with precious data, I backed it up before proceeding with the changes…

To Confirm: The removal / dismount of the RAID Array can be done so without any loss of data or disruption to the system workings. I am simply reporting my experience! 

Note: This is using the same RAID chipset as the HP Microserver, but actually on a Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H (Socket M2) Motherboard

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HP Proliant Microserver as HTPC Overview

So here it is the HP Microserver. Many people will have snapped up one of these with the £100 cashback deal, making the cost around the £110 mark. I particular like the HP sales image below, if only all servers were located in a nice comfy clean office (with loads of space) with a handy pad of paper to let us write those long command lines down before we enter them into the computer, hmm OK so not very true to life, but it’s a nice thought.

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The intention for this unit was to replace my Acer Aspire Revo 3600 and run it as my dedicated HTPC using Windows 2008 R2 as the base OS, XBMC installed and a couple of VM machines using Hyper-V ontop. Making the most of win2008r2workstation.com to tweak some changes. A lot you may ask of from a little system, but it seems to handle a lot… (at the moment)…

Why Windows 2008 R2 as the base OS? Basically due to Hyper-V and dreamspark.com

I found a nice little comparison for the CPUs of the Acer Aspire Revo3600 (Same as the Acer H340) (AMD Athlon II Neo N36L 1.3Ghz) and HP Microserver (AMD Athlon II Neo DualCore 1.30GHz) here:

http://www.tenniswood.co.uk/technology/windows-home-server/hp-microserver-vs-acer-h340-performance-comparison/

HP Microserver Upgrades:

Memory: Running a number of VMs and taking the system to the max was the dredded (costly) memory upgrade. This blows the socks off the original unit cost with nearly double for 8GB of Crucial DDR3 ECC. Not much too it, other than putting it in. This is really straight forward, the perfect thing with this unit is that it is “a server” the door opens (like an invitation) for you to undo the self explanatory screws and cables in order that you can slide the MB out on its little tray. No fiddling with little screws and working out how climps come off like with your laptop or desktop case!

Graphics: Did someone say “GRAPHICS for HP Proliant MICROSERVER” This proved to be a little bit more tricky… Searching the internet for a while I managed to come up with the options available with the main issue being that the unit needs a 1 x 16PCI-E low profile card. The good aspect of this is that at least it limits your choice! (Once you have some)

The range of cards I found (Jan 2011) (Hey Dom! you do know this will go out of date in 6months time and this will be obsolet!) is as followed…

Hopefully this will give you some idea of whats available offering low profile and HDMI output, there are low profile cards available without HDMI (not listed), but for the HTPC we really need the sound output, otherwise there’s the extra cost of a 5.1/7.1 digital sound card.

ATI Radeon HD 4350 Series

  • SAPPHIRE ATI HD 4350 Series
  • XFX ATI HD 4350 Series

ATI Radeon HD 4550 Series

  • SAPPHIRE ATI HD 4550 Series
  • XFX ATI HD 4450 Series

ATI Radeon HD 5450 Series

  • SAPPHIRE ATI HD 5450 Series
  • XFX ATI HD 5450 Series

NVidia Geforce GT210 Series

  • XFX Geforce GT 210
  • Gigabyte Geforce GT 210
  • Asus Nvidia Geforce GT 210 (LP but Fan wont fit in case, see artical below)

NVidia Geforce GT220 Series

  • XFX Geforce GT 220 (NOT LP)
  • Gigabyte Geforce GT 200 (NOT LP)
  • Asus NVidia Geforce GT 220

Fans/Heatsinks/Power

Although there is room for a large heat sink within the case you need to take into account that the expansion slot is on the right handside nearer the side of the case than the PCI-E x1 slot therefore very close to the rails that the Motherboard slides into, this doesn’t leave much room for a large heatsink. I learnt this lesson the hard way after I took a gamble on the MSI N210-MD512H (Nvidia GeForce 210 512MB DDR2 Low Profile HDMI) Graphics Card (which didn’t actually come with the low profile bracket) and didn’t fit in the case due to the heatsink size…

High rails for motherboard so the large MSI heatsink wont clear it.

My second option was to go down the AMD chipset route instead (and a slight increase in DDR). This is the HD5450 chipset and manufactured by Sapphire which fits nicely inside the case. There are other manufacturers however Sapphire seemed to be fairly cheap and included a smaller heatsink (rather than fan) that other brands offer.

Sapphire HD 5450 1GB DDR3

The physically works of the card are fine, however I will move onto issues i’m experiencing with running this card on Windows Server 2008 R2 and performance outputting to a Sony 37″ LCD TV…

The temperatures don’t run too hot, but then again I haven’t put it under much stress. Constantly running 2 x Hyper-V systems with 3GB of RAM allocated for around 127hours (as of this update).

Windows Server 2008 R2 output to ATI Radeon 5450 as HTPC.

OK. So I know what everyone is thinking. Why the hell are you using Windows Server to host an HTPC environment. Well as I said before I then have the functionality of Hyper-V on the same box. Yes you could use VMWare Player or Virtual PC on Windows7 but it’s not such a nice intergrated solution that Hyper-V offers.

The benchmarking of this Graphics card and Server 2008 is not as expected. I’m sure if I was working on Windows 7 with the latest drivers then this should fly through the MKV and DVD files, but alas it doesn’t… I just need to work on it to see what the main issue is… More that likely lack of specific Windows 2008 x64 server drivers, however I can’t see how this would differ from Win7 x64/Vista x64 ones. Other aspects I need to look at are outputting to a 37″ HD display which could give the card a pounding, but I’m still not sure the Acer Aspire Revo 3600 would be able to cope when running with a Nvidia ION.