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HP MediaSmart EX485, EX490, EX490 or wait


theseeker
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I have been waiting for 2+ years now for Vail (WHS 2.0), since I'm really looking forward for media center running natively on WHS (but it looks like that might not actually happen now with WHS 2.0, which is a huge shame).

My media center had a 1TB RAID 0 as a C:\ drive, which now died twice (Seagate HDD failure in < 7 months); and without having a WHS, I had to rebuild it from scratch twice now.

So I guess I don't want to wait until WHS 2.0 will be available, since nobody is saying nothing about when it will be available; and I don't want to repeat rebuilding my media center again.

I'm looking at special prices and specs, and people complain about ex485 being slow, but at the same time they say that ex495 is over-spec'ed / over-priced, which I guess I don't understand, since from the pure spec point of view the ex485 and the ex490 both have a 64bit celeron chip just 2.0GHz vs 2.2GHz and both have 2GB RAM.

The ex485 can be found for about $350, the ex490 for about $510, and the ex495 for about $630. I don't mind spending $600 *if* this will buy me future proof, since I want to install Vail for sure. I have 3 extenders and pondering adding a HTPC to the mix, I have a DVD collection of 200+ DVD's and want to add new movies as BluRay's. All my TV I view is recorded and I would love for the WHS to record them, so that I don't have 2 servers running. I bought 2x 2TB drives, and I have 3.5 TB (1TB external SATA + 500GB external USB + 1.5TB internal SATA) in my media center that I want to move over to the WHS.

What do you guys recommend?

Thanks so much for any response in advance!

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I was just having this conversation with a colleague yesterday. He is borderline on needing a Home Server, and right now he backs up all his data on externals. He decided he is going to wait for Vail. And he is definitely buy OEM type of person and not a DIY.

My gut feeling is that Vail will be out for Christmas, but that is just my guess. And I am not sure if Vail is guaranteed to have a built in Tuner capability.

Are you dead set on buying OEM? Or is a DIY build a possibility? If you go with DIY, I would jump in the WHS world right now and you can build a nice system for under that $600 mark and it will be a more powerful setup. That way, you can get your hands dirty with WHS right now, and move comfortably into Vail upon launch.

My $.02

Craig

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I'm a software engineer myself, and have done my DIY for desktops before, but I heard good things about the HP MediaSmarts; and I'm don't have too much time to tinker around: for the WHS I would like it to just work, and I like the plug and play drive bays from the MediaSmart. If you do your own DIY, do you have a component list, and where do you get those drive bays? I would consider using the HD HomeRun cable card editions if Vail supports TV recording, and if so, do you think a Ex485, Ex490 or Ex495 would be best suited?

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Hi,
If you like the HP boxes as I do, I would recommend doing what I did. (I do still have my EX470 with a BE-2300 CPU as a test box). Purchase the EX490 which is very quiet and spend the extra money on replacing the CPU with the same E5200 for a lot le$$ or spend the same money and upgrade the CPU to another CPU in the same family.

I was lucky enough to get my EX490 at $399 but passed on a E5200 at $48, now the E5200 are around $60. With the builtin HP software, if you use the Video Conversion or Twonky, you will notice a lag when they are running, hence the better CPU.

This box will surely be ready for WHS V2. I'm sure the current Atom based WHS will not be up to par on WHS V2.

The EX485 port multiplier only supports 1 eSATA external drive while the EX49x/x510 support 5.

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Thanks so much, I think that makes me much more confident that I can just go with the Ex490, and then once WHS V2 comes out, I can put in a new CPU like the E5200, or E6300, or whatever I find cheep. Is it just as simple as buying any E[6|5]xxx, LGA 775 socket chip, and replacing the existing CPU?

Is there any room/place to install any TV tuner cards?

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here is something interesting, you can replace the 490 CPU with the E6200 even though this article is for the 485. the 490 comes with the 3.0 software update included where as for the 485 it's extra, you get the 2.5
http://www.mediasmarthome.com/article/14459/Upgrading-the-HP-EX485-487-MediaSmart-Server-Processor-Removing-the-Smoke-and-Mirrors/?textpage=5

no room for a tuner unless you want to hack the box and install a USB tuner internally. Your best option here is to get the HD Homerun.

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You can get the drive bays from a lot of places like newegg. They come in many configurations from 1 to 5 drives. I just put a 4-drive bay in my case. As far as components. I built 3 servers last year and used an Asus/AMD combo with 6 sata ports. dual core and very low power and fairly inexpensive. If I were to build on right now it would be an Intel i3 CPU of some sort. There is a thread in the forums about those boards and it will be discussed on upcoming podcasts I believe.

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