What the Media Smart Server line lacked, until fairly recently, however, was a sub-0 entry that would appeal to the budget conscious crowd.
At this writing, the company offers two mainstream Media Smart Servers, the single-HDD EX485 at 0 and the dual-HDD EX487, for 0.
I've been an unabashed fan of HP's Media Smart Servers since the first one appeared a few years back and I use their latest server here as the center of my own network, and recommend it to others.
HP's take on Windows Home Server hits all the right notes, and they've done a fantastic job of taking the solid foundation of WHS and extending it with their own, smarter, out of box setup experience, an accomplished collection of add-ins, and some of the best-looking hardware I've ever seen.
And when you consider that just explaining a home server to the typical consumer is an uphill battle--go ahead, you try to do it in just a few short sentences--HP, like other WHS vendors, hits a wall of sorts. This is a completely new Media Smart Server, with a brand new, attractive styling that, to me, visually resembles the monolith from "2001, A Space Odyssey." While I would have went with something a little more akin to the other Media Smart models, the LX195 is certainly nice looking and will appeal to techies and non-techies alike. But it lacks the ability to add a second internal drive.
In keeping with its even smaller form factor, the LX195 strays a bit from the rest of the Media Smart line, and in many ways you might consider this the "netbook of home servers." It features a 1.6 GHz Atom processor, 1 GB of RAM, and a single 640 GB hard drive. Add that all up and you can see where HP cut corners in order to cut costs.
The HP software adds another button as you can see above, with some additional features like an i Tunes music server, so I have my i Tunes protected music streaming from there to other instances of i Tunes around the house, and my unprotected music streaming via Windows Media Connect to the Xboxes.
These are fine machines, with decent 2 GHz processors, enough RAM (2 GB) to handle a slew of add-ins, and internal expansion for up to 4 HDDs.
But they're kind of expensive, especially in this day and age. The HP Media Smart Server LX195 is small, attractive, and nicely-appointed.
A single drive solution is not adequate, in my book, because you can't take advantage of WHS's excellent and desirable drive duplication functionality.
But the only way to add a drive is to do so externally, and then only via USB.