Most tinkerers and enthusiasts are used to having control over their computer's temperatures and fan speeds. There are a few freeware options available for the PC that don't work as well on HP's MediaSmart Server line. Thanks to Alex Kuretz of MediaSmartServer.net there is a new Add-In that enables you to change your fan speeds and a few other options. Lets have a look.
Test Environment – HP MediaSmart Server EX-475, Ambient Temperature 69c
Upper Fan - 1442
Lower Fan - 1454
System Temperature- 32c (see note)
CPU Temperature– 24c
Note: My testing environment is rather cool so it was difficult to bring the temperature up on the EX-475.
The Add-In initial state is set as follows:
Constant Fan Speeds 50%
Enable Advanced Controls - Disabled
Fan Speed Adjustment 0 RPM
Threshold Temp Adjustment 0 Deg C
As the readme file included with the add-in states its good to start with optimized defaults. This changes the threshold temps to -20c.
Constant Fan Speed
After applying the optimized defaults the HP MSS Health Status Indicator will flash until the changes are made to the system. Until that point your WHS will not respond to any other input. Since only thresholds are changed via the Optimized Defaults you will not notice any physical changes.
So what does the MSS sound like with fans at 90 to 100%? It’s a bit on the loud side but the fan speeds are up to 2500 to 2600 RPM. You can certainly hear the fans whirring. At five feet with other PC noise I can’t hear the MSS at factory default which is around 1400 RPM. These settings, as the heading suggests, are constant. There is no logic beyond the setting of the fan RPM. (There is a safety measure included which will not allow the top fan speeds and top temp to be overridden. Should the system become too hot the fans will increase speed)
Now let’s enable the Advanced Controls.
Each individual installation of the MSS will no doubt be different so I can’t recommend an exact setup of Advanced controls. In fact, it’s probably better explained by the author.
There are 9 Fan Speed levels and 8 Threshold Temperatures defined in the MSS.
This means that for a given temperature, the fan will operate at a
specified speed. The Fan Speed Adjustment slider adjusts the Fan Speed levels
by the configured amount, so that instead of spinning at 1200rpm when the CPU
is 50C, the User can configure the fans to spin at 1400rpm by increasing
the Fan Speed slider to +200. By adjusting the Threshold Temp slider, the
user can configure the system to move from Fan State 0 to Fan State 1 when
the CPU is 31C instead of 51C by setting the slider to -20C. This is exactly
what the Optimize button does.
In my situation I don’t need to cool the system any more than it already is. I will benefit from decreasing fan speed and hopefully saving a little bit of energy.
The controls are hidden in the Settings tab of WHS which is where I think they should be. There is no need to have a toolbar icon for this Add-In. The sliders and features present very well and are easy to understand. This is the second Add-In by Alex Kuretz. He has also written Remote Notification that works well with both HP's line of servers as well as home-builds. There are some Add-ins out there that I just don’t trust and they will never cross my shared software folder . Alex’s work is not one of those add-ins. I trust his programming skills and his knowledge with the MSS system and I am officially adding MSS Fan Control to my Toolkit that I use for WHS customers. I’m giving it 5 Drives.