HP ProLiant MicroServer N36L review

HP's ProLiant MicroServer may look like a consumer NAS box, but it's actually aimed at small businesses as a better-designed alternative to a PC for file sharing. We take a closer look to see what else this little cube has to offer.


The small power button on the top edge is a little too exposed, but fortunately won't shut the OS down if pressed accidentally. Below this are four USB ports plus two more round the back along with an eSATA port. There's even an internal USB port which can be used for connecting a boot disk for use with a virtualisation hypervisor.

There may be four drive bays but hardware RAID options are very limited. The motherboard uses an AMD RAID controller which only supports JBODs, stripes and mirrors so you can't create RAID 5 or 6 arrays.The controller doesn't support hot-swap either, so if a drive fails the server must be powered down to replace it. However, it can handle 2TB SATA drives so there should be sufficient future storage expansion for most uses.

As you'd expect, it's very cramped inside. The only way to access the pair of PCI Express slots and memory sockets is to release the motherboard in the base of the server and slowly slide it forward unplugging the various interface and power cables as they become exposed. It takes time, but your patience will be rewarded.

The embedded AMD processor may not be overly powerful, but its TDP of 12W keeps consumption right down. We measured the review system drawing a mere 22W with Foundation in idle which rose to only 31W with SiSoft Sandra pushing the processor to the max.

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