HP Microserver G8 is here!

psikey

Distinguished Member
Is it as quiet as they say filled with drives or is it bull again like the G7 :)
Its still in my noisy IT room at work (multiple servers +AirCon) so can't comment on noise level yet. I'm on holiday tomorrow so will likely be taking it home to config/test so will report back.

I have had the previous Microservers, still have a QNAP TS-469Pro and built a near silent i5 server so can give some feedback compared to those.

Just had Windows 8.1 on it and all went fine. The 16GB RAM just arrived so I'm now installing ESXi to a 2GB microSD card for a quick test.

I'd say windows-to-go will also install to the microsd card which is now a viable option with the new Sandisk high speed cards (16GB 90MB/s for under £30).

Single rear fan looks to be 120mm and easy to replace if needed. PSU fan doesn't seem to make much noise.
 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
ESXi working perfectly on a standard 2GB microsd.

Only currently have a 120GB SSD as my datastore and one Windows 8 VM using 4GB RAM and 32GB storage.

Sat idling with just the 120GB SSD in Windows 8 its only pulling 26w at the wall socket :D
 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
Now installed Windows 8 to the 120GB SSD connected to the Optical SATA. I have a floppy to molex power adapter coming but I had a two way Molex splitter and molex to SATA power cable so just broke into the cable under the ODD bay.

As you can see from the photo below the SSD easily fits. I was going to use some double-sided sticky tape to hold it down but I slight bending down of the ODD bracket easily holds the SSD firmly in place.

Neat layout for cabling (floppy power connector not used at the moment but could be)


Side showing the 2 x 8GB Kingston RAM and the molex power splitter coming out from under the ODD tray.



Just a very slight bending forward of the tab holds the SSD tightly in place without needing to resort to sticky-tape

 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
Have it setup at home now in a quiet lounge and fan noise is bad. Far louder than the N40L which I found to be nice & quiet and QNAP is hardly audible.

Can't find any way to reduce it in the BIOS (can increase it!) and Speedfan shows nothing.

If fan speed can't be lowered by a setting or changing to a different fan its a no-go for a living room.

I've got it in an open backed cupboard in the lounge and I can ear it in the dinning room!

I do have a couple of supposedly silent fans so may try one.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Well that fan doesn't look like it can be altered and minimum looks to be 36% (doesn't show RPM). System shows as no fan in speedfan :confused:

Also, the connector is non-standard so not a straight fan swap (was going to try an Apache Silent fan).

Good news is it easily transcodes plex using only about 30% for a transcode from 1080p 10mbps to 720p 3mbs to my Android S4 phone.

The QNAP TS-469Pro (Dual core 2.2GHz Atom) can't do a 1080p stream transcode.

Some comparison shots to the QNAP which is still much smaller, plus some of the fan connector.











 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Anybody have suggestions for getting fan speed down or changed to a quiet fan? Its not noisy as such but certainly too loud to be in the living room unlike the previous Microserver or a QNAP NAS which can hardly be heard.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
In this forum it mentions its noisy in SATA AHCI but not using the B120i

Installed Xeon E3-1230V2 in Gen8 HP Microserver | b3n.org

So I created another ESXi host using a RAID array managed by the B120i and no difference, but didn't think there would be. [Not true, read further on]

Its reasonable noise for a sever but makes more noise than a standard desktop PC. Fan seems to stay at around 34-37% depending on ambient.

You can set the OS to control power but didn't seem to affect fan control. I think the fan is governed by the "Sea of Sensors 3D" control on multipoint temperature measurements.

The other thing when enabling the B120i is it included the ODD SATA I had the 120GB SSD connected to so couldn't boot the Windows 8 install. I thought it would just control the 4 bays like the AMD RAID did in the previous Microserver but looks like you can have all 5 SATA as a RAID0 if you wanted.

I've no need to get rid of it because this is going to be used as my ESXi Lab at work so noise no issue for that. Just took it home to play around with it while I'm off today and give some feedback on noise level.

I also found last night that it couldn't handle all transcoding types without maxing the CPU in plex. I did a force transcode of a 1080p 12mbps to a 1080p 10mbps and it didn't handle that without delays (not that you would do that anyway!).

Anyone considering a move from a N36/40/54L if using it as a HTPC or media streamer I'd say considering the price it would be more cost effective to build your own 4 bay ITX server, especially if its to be located in your living area.
 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
Well I took the fan and booted without and nearly silent so its not the PSU fan. Boot sequence obviously detected no fan so powered down. Ran with fan outside case and definitely the main 120mm far running for too fast in my opinion.

Its a Delta AFB1212SH DV12V 0.8A with the special connector.

EXSi actually booted and ran fine without the fan cooling with the CPU being passive cooled. The bulk of the air draw is through the hard drive caddies anyway.

So, see if I can figure out the fan wiring.

:UPDATE:

Wiring colour looks to be same as previous microserver http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1193-page7.html but the black is looped over to two pins.

Was going to mod a 120mm Akasa Apache fan I have but its only rated at 1300 and link above said a 1900 fan worked on the old one. Going to leave it as not critical for me (like playing :D ) and see what others come up with.
 
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biohead

Novice Member
Are you absolutely sure its a standard PCI slot and not PCIe? As all the literature HP have state it's PCIe Gen2 and it even states PCIe x16 on the rear of the case next to the slot :confused:
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Are you absolutely sure its a standard PCI slot and not PCIe? As all the literature HP have state it's PCIe Gen2 and it even states PCIe x16 on the rear of the case next to the slot :confused:
Sorry for confusion but yes, it is a PCIe x16 but without the normal clip that holds the GPU tongue in place :facepalm:

Don't have a GPU to try in it though at the moment. But, without a fan change (if possible) its too noisy as a HTPC (unless its just mine that has a noisy fan).

 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
I've order a Zalman PWM Mate (£8) so I can have a play with fan speed and different fans.

Really impressed with the machine apart from the fan noise for home (lounge) use. The ability to change the CPU is a massive plus and its so easy to open up and get to all the parts.

With ESXi 5.1 installed on the 2GB microSD, 16GB Kingston RAM, and the B120i Smart Array managing a 120GB SSD off the Optical SATA and a 1.5TB WD RE4-GP HDD in one of the bays its only pulling 35W idling with a single Win8Pro VM on the 1.5TB Datastore.

Unless I'm missing something I cant use/passthrough the USB3 ports in ESXi.
 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
Just realised a potential bigger problem for some.

If your intention is to use 4 drives in the bays for storage and an SSD off the ODD SATA for an OS SSD then there appears to be no way in the BIOS or boot options to let Port5 (ODD) be the boot hard drive, so it tries to boot off the drive in Port1 and seeing as no OS just cycles through the other boot options.

If you unplug the other drives just leaving the ODD SATA connected then it will boot but on restart will try & reboot off Port1 again if a drive is inserted.

Just worth mentioning.
 

cjed

Well-known Member
... If your intention is to use 4 drives in the bays for storage and an SSD off the ODD SATA for an OS SSD then there appears to be no way in the BIOS or boot options to let Port5 (ODD) be the boot hard drive, so it tries to boot off the drive in Port1 and seeing as no OS just cycles through the other boot options.

If you unplug the other drives just leaving the ODD SATA connected then it will boot but on restart will try & reboot off Port1 again if a drive is inserted.
That sounds very similar to the HP G7 ML110 server I have - no way to avoid it attempting to boot from the disks in the bays. I ended up putting the boot drive in bay 1 and the 4th data disk in the spare optical bay.

Discussion on the HP forums here.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
That sounds very similar to the HP G7 ML110 server I have - no way to avoid it attempting to boot from the disks in the bays. I ended up putting the boot drive in bay 1 and the 4th data disk in the spare optical bay.

Discussion on the HP forums here.
Can't easily do the same on the G8 Microserver as only room for a 2.5" size drive in the optical area.

My next testing is a Windows To Go install off the microSD (only a Class10). I've done this before of a fast USB3 stick. If Boots OK It would free up the ODD SATA for another drive (2TB 2.5"??).
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Decided to save myself some grief and gone for an add-in SATA/eSATA card

Startech.com 6 Gbps PCI Express SATA Controller Card Adapter with 1 eSATA and 1 SATA for £22. I've no need for any other card in the PCI-e slot really.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B003N3FP2O/ref=oh_details_o00_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

This way I can use the SATA to drive the SSD OS drive and provide an eSATA on the back thats missing from this server which can handle Port Multiplier external drives for even more storage if needed later.

I can then have all 5 internal SATA for storage drives (managed by the B120i RAID controller if needed).
 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
After lots of testing and some reading online the cooling fan can go to low noise level but for some reason only when using the built-in SmartRaid B120i controller ??

Plus you also get the optical SATA to be controlled by the B120i so can set that up as a RAID0 SSD System boot disk then the 4 bays as a RAID 0/1/10 for storage.

The only negative doing it this way is that I don't think the SmartArray drives will go into standby (stop spinning) saving some energy. This was the same with the AMD RAID on the N36/40/54L Microserver.

The adapter cable to covert the optical bay floppy drive power to SATA power arrived and works perfectly.

The fan swap/PWM controller tests went bad!

This is less relevant now I've got fan speed down with the B120i but posted my finding below anyway:


After an afternoon of cutting and soldering I got the Zalman in-line.

Non of the other two lower speed fans I tried worked. The on-board health checking realised the fans were not the correct speed and came up with a fan error before restarting or with the front Blue LED flashing RED (even in manual).

With the Zalman automatic PWM at 25% and 75% the Microserver just tries to compensate by running the fan even faster! The only way I got it to work was using the Zalman in manual mode so at a fixed speed.

Manually set the fan to a level hardly audible and set PRIME running while monitoring temperatures via iLO4 3D Temperature sensors. CPU never gets above 57C (70C caution level). The hottest part is the Chipset which gets to 77C (105C caution level). The fan idle hovers around the 35-37% mark and during PRIME95 indicates a level of 61% but in reality fan speed doesn't actually change now I've set it fixed.

Pin Outs

STD FAN
Pin1 GND - Black
Pin2 +12V - Yellow
Pin3 Sense - Green
Pin4 Control - Blue

G8 Microserver FAN
Pin1 GND - Black (also looped to other pin on 6 pin connector)
Pin2 +12V - Red
Pin3 Sense - Yellow
Pin4 Control - Blue

Now this is likley a problem with the Zalman PMW box but on a system restart it doesn't seem to remember the setting in was on (25%/50%/100%/Manual) so completely useless with this Microserver. A purely manual speed controller will probably work.
 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
Just a bit more info on fan speed.

With the drives configured as SATA AHCI mode the fan doesn't seem to go below 33% yet when they are managed by the B120i SmartArray it is running at only 6% and super quiet.

Surely this must be a bug :(

With drives going to sleep in AHCI mode power use is around 30W (comparable to a 4 bay NAS) but with the B120i they always spin using 50W (again similar to a 4 bay NAS).

Apart from no drive standby if using the B210i SmartArray this box does everything I need and has no issue transcoding plex media as needed. Would prefer to use as SATA AHCI to get drives to sleep but noise level from fan is then too great for a living room environment. See if a future firmware update fixes this.
 
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blue max

Distinguished Member
Just wanted to thank you psikey, as you seem to be adding to the thread single handedly :D. All great info!

Still not got one, but when funds allow, sounds like a great machine.
 

psikey

Distinguished Member
Rare in UK but managed to get a Xeon E3-1265LV2 45W on order for delivery in next 10-15 days. This is effectively the Server version of the i7-3770T. Already shown to work no problem in the G8 Microserver, supporting ECC RAM & VT-d.

Performance PassMark:

G2020T standard in the G8 =2,594
i7-3770K = 9,590
Xeon E3-1265LV2 = 8,306

So a massive leap in processing power with a max TDP of only 45W.

Some owners have even put a 69w Xeon in theirs disabling Turbo and still with temperature tolerance within the passive CPU cooling under load.

This is the most powerful CPU for the G8 Microserver without go too far over the 35W standard. 2.5GHz with a Turbo boost to 3.5GHz!!

Also, my SATA/eSATA PCI-e card arrived today so going to do a bit more playing about with that for the boot drive with the internal drive in AHCI mode. From further reading looks like I will loose the quiet fan operation again as it seems unless you use a HP SmartRaid card, drive temperatures are not reported to the iLo4 so it sets itself at around 33% speed to play its safe. With the B120i used it never moves from 6% even under load from my initial experience.

This is all just playing as the final configuration is likely to be the Xeon processor with 16GB RAM running as an ESXi multi-VM box booted off the microSD with 4 x 3TB in RAID10 as DataStore.
 
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psikey

Distinguished Member
Tried the add-in SATA/eSATA PCI-E with the internal drive bays set to AHCI.

No problem booting an OS drive off the new card but because the SmartArray is no longer passing hard drive temperatures to the iLO4 chip the fans go high again (36%) rather than 6% when using the B120i. The drives will power down saving energy in AHCI mode.

If your not bothered about drives powering down then best option is to use the B120i with the Optical SATA set as a RAID0 boot drive and the 4 bays as the Media Storage drives. This way you get the low 6% fan speed making the system very quiet.

With SSD and 4 x 3TB WD RED in AHCI the idle power draw when drives spinning down is ~28-30W.

Using the B120i your pulling ~48W in idle (as drives won't power down). Other than power usage many people believe your drives last longer/less issues keeping them spinning anyway.

The extra 20W constant usage 24/7 works out at about £28/year extra.
 
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kamaran

Member
The G1610T seems quite widely available now, the higher spec G2020T still not being stocked at any large UK retailers.
 

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