HP MediaSmart Server - works well with Macs?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by CyberBob859, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. CyberBob859 macrumors 6502

    CyberBob859

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    #1
    I've been thinking about getting one, but wanted user experiences with an all Mac home setup.

    Any issues with Time Machine, iTunes, iPhoto, etc? How easy is it to expand hard drives? Is it like a Drobo where you can add drives from any manufacturer and any size? What kind of redundancy and protection is available?

    Has anybody used the included video conversion and streamed to an Apple TV?

    Any real-world experiences would be appreciated.
     
  2. mikepro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    #2
    Realize this is a month old, but I love my HP Mediasmart EX 490 (upgraded processor to dual core 495) server with my Macs.

    I have the original 1TB drive, plus a 1.5 and a 2TB WD Green power drive installed. Super easy, can add any drives. Setup shares that you wan't data duplication, and it handles it.

    I use it for my Time machine backups, works great.

    Also, it automagically consolidates all of the media from all my Mac windows machines onto the server. Has an itunes server built in, so it shows up in itunes with all of the music and playlists from all of your machines.

    Built in video converter works great for making iphone version of any movies.


    All in all, it's one of the few consumer electronics purchases I've made that I am extremely happy with, and feel I've gotten more than my money's worth, with all of the features and benefits of it. Highly recommend.
     
  3. SidBala macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    #3
    Well, I don't have a HP Mediasmart. But I do have a WHS box, and do indeed love it.

    Just simply awesome.
     
  4. mcruzader macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    #4
    @mikepro Is it possible to backup files on the mediasmart server? Have you been able to stream movies to a ps3 or xbox? Reason I ask is that I am unsure if I should get the hp mediasmart server or a mac mini. I have over 2 TB of Movies and Music and want to place it on the server to be able to share to my xbox and ps3 or macs. But with streaming, what if the file format isn't compatible with xbox or ps3, would one be able to transcode on the fly or not?
     
  5. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #5
    I concur. I've had my EX490 coming up on a year now and it has been far more flexible than my Time Capsule.

    I have mine populated with the stock drive and 3 additional 1 TB drives and have not yet upgraded the processor, but will probably do so when the warranty is up.

    I'd definitely go for the 495 or upgrade the processor if possible if you want to transcode.

    I've disabled Twonky and FireFly since they both drive the CPU to 100% (I think there may be some issues with the size of my library and/or some of the items in it, so I just use the built in DLNA when I am booted to W7 and browse the file structure when booted to OS X.

    EDIT: Just note that WHS Vail (Version 2.0) is expected out any day now and includes quite a bit new functionality though some things have also been removed. I'd also expect a new version of the MediaSmart servers out so you may wish to wait a bit before taking the plunge.

    B
     
  6. mikepro macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2010
    #6
    - You can backup files on the server to an external disk. There are also some plugins you can get for doing backups to online services, like Amazon S3, or Jungle disk. Haven't looked too into that.

    - I stream all the time to my PS3, works wonderfully. I use the built in twonky media server, as well as the PS3 Media Server add-in. It does transcoding just fine.

    - For the guy that complained of Twonky taking up 100% of CPU, you need to reset your database, and then look at the status log to see what file it is hanging up on. Remove that file(s) and it will be fine. I have a few movies that must have had something strange with them that caused the Twonky to get to 100%. Removed them, and all was OK. Just re-encode them to another format or something, or use PS3 Media Server.
     
  7. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #7
    Thanks. For both Firefly and Twonky, I've rebuilt the db repeatedly, removed the offending track, but then it happens again. (100% CPU on these headless boxes is a real PITA since you have to remote in and it won't respond).

    My music library consists of over 20,000 (MP3/AAC) tracks from 800+ physical CDs and lots of albums and tracks purchased from Amazon and iTunes over the years, so finding individual offending tracks is a royal pain, and rebuilding the db takes a long time on the 490 anyway. (Hence the idea of upgrading the CPU once the warranty expires).

    Overall, the built in DLNA server works fine for my needs when I'm booted to Windows, and Firefly won't stream to my :apple:TV, so it's just not worth the effort. Ultimately, where I'm heading is that all the files will be on the server and I'll reference these files in an iTunes library on the iMac (both on the wired network) to give full access to all my media while at home.

    Basically, I've turned off most of the special features of the MediaSmart (except for the Time Machine support) as they just don't seem to scale particularly well for me and I end using it more like a stock WHS server.

    B
     
  8. mcruzader macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    #8
    Is it possible to backup to another internal drive in the server?
     
  9. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #9
    Yes and no.

    First of all you can enable duplication on a share-by-share basis which will make sure that any files in the share are duplicated to another physical drive in the pool. (file level mirroring). This makes sure that a file is preserved due to a single drive failure.

    When you add a drive to the system (internal or external) it can either be added to the pool (and thus be treated as one large drive along with the others) or be kept aside and used for backups.

    See these two links for more info:

    http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/2009/04/18/adding-a-drive-to-your-windows-home-server/

    http://usingwindowshomeserver.com/2...r-shared-folders-with-an-external-hard-drive/

    However if you use an internal drive for backups it really doesn't give you anything you don't already get from duplication, does it?

    Are you just trying to save a few bucks on an enclosure?

    B
     
  10. mcruzader macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    #10
    Its that I want to make sure I can do what I want before I go ahead and buy something. I was going to buy a mac mini with an external raid 5 enclosure from macsales before I heard about the hp media server. Thing is I want to make sure I can share everything and also have it duplicated for redundancy. In the case of the HP Media Server, if I can do it without the need for for external drives, great! If not I well thats OK too, but in that case I might as well go for the mac mini, and just use PLEX and have all my machines backup to the external drive connected to the mac mini. What do you think I should do?
     
  11. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #11
    You haven't given me the whole picture so I really can't say.

    What drove me to the MediaSmart was losing faith in the Time Capsule and needing a solution with enough space and flexibility to back up my three Macs (both dual booting OS X and Windows) plus the PC.

    The NAS and media streamer functions were secondary to me, though the iOS integration was a bit of a pull pre-Airplay.

    What devices are on your network? Macs? PCs? PS3? Xbox? What functions are important to you in a home server? How much space do you need? (EDIT: I saw some of this above. Is it really mainly movies you're after then.)

    If you are all-Mac, stick with the Mini+RAID, but you still need to back that RAID up. Don't you?

    Personally, as I said above in the thread, I'd wait and see what WHS Vail based solutions bring to the party.

    B
     
  12. mcruzader macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    #12
    Currently I have 2 Macbooks, 360 and PS3, my picture files are over 300GB, Videos 2.5-3TB, music about 45GB, I want to be able to share that over the network and also have a back up of all that info, and have backup of everything on my macs. I'll post on what I ended up getting.
     
  13. jaw04005, Nov 23, 2010
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2010

    jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #13
    FYI - Microsoft announced today that they are killing the "Drive Extender" technology in Windows Home Server 2 (codename Vail).

    So, you might want to make that HP Server purchase soon or consider a Drobo instead if you plan on pooling together multiple hard drives.

    http://windowsteamblog.com/windows/...indows-home-server-code-name-vail-update.aspx

    The software-based pooling technology was basically the primary reason to purchase a Windows Home Server device. Otherwise, it's just a Windows PC.

    I have an HP EX470 that I absolutely love, but I can't recommend any future WHS products based on today's news. This combined with two major cut features from Vail (Media Center integration and SkyDrive/Live Mesh support) makes it sound like Microsoft plans on phasing the WHS product out after Vail's release. I wouldn't expect much support in the future for the platform.
     
  14. balamw Moderator

    balamw

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2005
    Location:
    New England
    #14
    With HP dropping support for the platform this is just another nail in the coffin. I too can no longer recommend WHS.

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?p=11510803

    Costco has a good deal on the EX490 with a second 1TB drive for $399 for anyone looking to pick one up. That's $100 cheaper than a 2TB Time Capsule if you want it mainly for backup.

    I've been struggling with poor performance on my EX490 over the past few weeks, and with HP leaving the market odds for decent support are slim to none. :(

    Sigh.

    B
     

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