It lacks polish, but the mini is an affordable and practical choice to serve any home
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Asus' first Windows Home Server system is a micro-tower that's simple in design. Round the back are six USB and two eSATA ports, and that's just as well because internally there's room for only one extra 3.5in drive, in addition to the preinstalled 1TB Hitachi unit.Inside you'll find an Intel Atom N280 CPU, partnered with 2GB of RAM, giving power enough for typical server duties while keeping power consumption and heat dissipation low. The whole thing is whisper-quiet, and sitting idle the device (and its one hard disk) draws just 20W.Home Server systems all offer the same basic interface and features, but that's no bad thing, especially since the recent update to Home Server PowerPack 3. The OS now integrates smoothly with Windows 7 libraries, serves video and music to Media Center PCs and streamers, archives your recorded TV shows, and can even produce low-resolution versions for mobile devices.Asus has also included add-ins. Asus WebStore boosts security by letting you back up data to a remote server, and comes with 500MB of free storage. The Xtor Manager lets you back up removable devices (such as USB hard disks) to the server. There's also a monitoring tool, showing fan speeds, temperatures and other hardware information.A few rough edges hint at Asus' inexperience in home servers. Accessing the drive bays involves five screws and some forcible waggling of the drive cage. And the Asus add-ins have ropey graphics and poorly translated text that jars next to the slick Home Server UI.Still, $665 is a good price for 1TB. It may lack high-end enterprise features, but the mini is a practical and affordable Home Server.
This Review appeared in the May, 2010 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing
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