I have a dumb question . . . if you are using this box as a true media server, why the need to upgrade the CPU?
I have been looking at one of these . . .
The HP EX490 only comes with a Celeron single core cpu, and is quite a snail when it comes to transcoding, converting, duplicating, migrating, collecting, etc. which are all things the HP MediaSmart Server does on a regular basis. Add to that the ability to stream, and transfer files all at the same time and you now have a server that's slower than.....well, you get the point. A dual core processor is the minimum in my opinion, and a quad core would be really nice for when multiple people are accessing your server at the same time or just when there's a lot going on inside the server, and you would like to access it at the same time.
Since I posted this thread, I have received the EX490, and upgraded the cpu to an E8400 which made it a LOT snappier, and I even bought a Q9300 yesterday since it's on sale at Tiger right now, and I got it for $120, shipped, so I couldn't pass up the deal. Heck, if it doesn't work, I'll just throw it in my parents' desktop which only has a Q6600.
quick question... how come you went the HP route instead of building your own HTPC rig? Is it price or convenience? I'm looking into building one myself. Since the move, there's no way for me to connect my main rig to the main TV in the living room because of logistical reasons. There's only two choices for me now, either a HTPC or a portable media player (WD Live) connected to an external HDD or wireless streaming.
I went with the HP for several reasons. First, and foremost, I went with it for both the price and convenience. Second, the power savings. It only uses a maximum of 50watts and that's with four 7200rpm hdd's and during a lot of tasks going on which are utilizing the cpu about 75%, so at idle, its probably only using around 40watts, which is nice since its on 24/7.
I also went with it for the resale value. Selling a retail box unit (with manufacturers warranty) is always easier to sell vs. a custom built rig.
At first, I wasn't sure if this was even going to work for me, so I went with the safest route just in case I hated it......but now that I have it, I love it. Thing is, I really don't see the advantage of building a full custom rig. This little server does everything I would want it to do, and instantly, so there's really no more performance to be gained by building a server from the ground up. It would still be limited by two things: HDD read/write speeds and your internet connection. The HP server has the ability to process and transfer data faster than my internet connection so (when using it remotely) having a faster rig would do me no good.
Last, this thing is only the size of a large textbook. I have it tucked away in a spare bedroom, and it doesn't even get noticed by anyone. It just hangs out and does its thing for everyone in my home to enjoy. I love it.