Good Cheap Server - HP Proliant Microserver 4 BAY - OWNERS THREAD

Associate
Joined
21 Oct 2002
Posts
1,570
Location
East England
Has anyone converted theirs into a HTPC?

I connect my HP MS (HD5450) to Amp - TV via HDMI and use it as a Plex server and client. I have Rasplex as a client but it is too clunky and slow in menus, even overclocked.
I like how I can stream straight from the HP to TV without any issues at 1080p inc DTS-MA etc so want to lose Rasplex.

Only issue I have is that I cannot get it to bootup and go straight into Plex front end. I am using WHS2011 which might be the problem but not sure which other OS will work well.

I think you might be referring to the Gen7 MS but I personally wouldn't use the Gen8 as an HTPC becuase it's simply too loud. On the Windows front I've seen this thread: https://forums.plex.tv/index.php/topic/98332-home-theater-autostart-with-windows/ (but I'm not sure if this is relevant to WHS, and I've just seen the same question asked in the thread - is this you?).

Personally I am a huge fan of using the Pi & RasPLEX along with the mobile clients so don't need anything more powerful. That said I didn't think it was possible, or recommended, to use the PMS machine as the client at the same time.
 
Last edited:
Associate
Joined
30 Dec 2005
Posts
2,131
I think you might be referring to the Gen7 MS but I personally wouldn't use the Gen8 as an HTPC becuase it's simply too loud. On the Windows front I've seen this thread: https://forums.plex.tv/index.php/topic/98332-home-theater-autostart-with-windows/ (but I'm not sure if this is relevant to WHS, and I've just seen the same question asked in the thread - is this you?).

Personally I am a huge fan of using the Pi & RasPLEX along with the mobile clients so don't need anything more powerful. That said I didn't think it was possible, or recommended, to use the PMS machine as the client at the same time.

Yes mate, good thing with my N54L is that its been fan modded and has a silent PSU so you can barely hear it :)

I tried that autostart which seems to kind of works, although the plex home theatre window is still minimised when booted up. I will try that EventGhost prog.
 
Associate
Joined
21 Oct 2002
Posts
1,570
Location
East England
Update on the progress of my build. The additional parts I needed arrived:
  • 2 Port PCI-Express SATA 6Gbps card turned up this morning.
  • 4-pin floppy to SATA power adaptor that I managed to pick up for £1 on Thursday.
That was the easy bit! Was pretty challenging trying to install Ubuntu Server on this box and I lost hours today just trying to figure out how to install Ubuntu Server on the SSD. Indeed for a while I thought that the SSD couldn't even boot from the new PCI-E card :confused:

I nearly gave up on the card and resorted to this ODD SATA workaround I didn't know about (until corrected on HSS forums): http://jarrodla.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/hp-microserver-gen8-boot-from-5th-sata.html

Anyway a summary of the issues I ran into:

  • The USB stick on the HP Gen8 boots is detected as /dev/sda, rather than /dev/sdb device. This results in fatal error on installation of Grub2 so although you can complete the installation of the OS it will not have a bootloader installed.
  • The BIOS (apparently some Intel motherboards are like this) will only let you boot from that drive if you have a boot flag enabled (seems to assume OS is Windows) which I didn't becuase Grub couldn't even be installed through the installer.
  • Cannot use guided partitioning through the installation process. You need to use manual partitioning install option to install the OS onto the SSD and click on the first partition to assign a boot flag.
  • Need a fully installed OS and not LiveCD (Ubuntu installed to USB stick is fine) to install Grub Loader onto the SSD. Luckily I still had the USB-installed Ubuntu stick from playing around with the box earlier this week.
  • The HDD booted from PCIE card (yay) but then displayed grub rescue (boo).
  • So I then needed to use a live CD to repair the Grub. However the end result is a working Ubuntu Server...or at least so far, until I break it. :)
There is probably a far smoother process, particularly around assigning the boot flag, or even finding some way to force the USB installer to use sdb. But anyway now able to at least configure Ubuntu and the applications I want to run.

Picture of the power adapter making it fairly simple to install the SSD:
FullSizeRender%2B%281%29.jpg
 
Last edited:

KIA

KIA

Man of Honour
Joined
14 Nov 2004
Posts
13,657
[*]The USB stick on the HP Gen8 boots is detected as /dev/sda, rather than /dev/sdb device. This results in fatal error on installation of Grub2 so although you can complete the installation of the OS it will not have a bootloader installed.

There is probably a far smoother process, particularly around assigning the boot flag, or even finding some way to force the USB installer to use sdb. But anyway now able to at least configure Ubuntu and the applications I want to run.

JN19fab.png


n5q6dCX.png
 
Associate
Joined
21 Oct 2002
Posts
1,570
Location
East England
Thank you for the reply and cripes. I'm keeping notes in a Google Doc so will update these.

So if I select <No> on the 'Install Grub boot loader...'? will this automatically add the boot flag, or would I still have to use the manual guided partitioning as mentioned above?

I should retry the process now ideally but having built the RAID1 array and set-up Samba etc. I'm loathed to do that.

If fact I'm currently struggling with awful Samba transfer speeds to a Windows 7 machine (about 5-7MB/second) rather than the 80-100MB/second+ I was seeing from my old Ubuntu Server. Nothing has changed on the Windows 7 machine and I'm using Cat-6 cable throughout on GigE equipment so I sense it's a Samba issue. Transfer speeds to my iMac seem much faster which support this theory.

EDIT- scratch that. Moved the box into the office and I'm now seeing full speeds so something wasn't right in the switch I had in the lounge. Either way SMB shares are pretty fast at transferring.
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
5 Nov 2011
Posts
5,254
Location
Derbyshire
Common problem with installing Ubuntu server from USB at the moment. When you get to the first screen that asks if you want to install GRUB, pull the USB stick out. The installer will continue and it will write grub to the first HDD (which should be your /boot partition).
 
Associate
Joined
21 Oct 2002
Posts
1,570
Location
East England
I had the /dev/sd[a|b] issue with centos 7.

Solution was to install to sdb then ensure i labeled teh disk and edited fstab to use label / uuid

Common problem with installing Ubuntu server from USB at the moment. When you get to the first screen that asks if you want to install GRUB, pull the USB stick out. The installer will continue and it will write grub to the first HDD (which should be your /boot partition).

I've installed Ubuntu/Linux on a few different machines although this is the first time I've ever encountered the problem. That said I'm still very new to Linux but I am finding my feet.

What didn't help was that I didn't twig this was the issue until later on. The first Google results started to make me think it was the PCI-E card rather than an installation issue, or recommend installing the Grub manually - which I did. Still got there in the end and as mentioned I've documented everything so this is a lesson learnt (thank you again)!

Another question to anyone that owns one and is running it with Linux - do you put the machine into standby and if so, how?

I've tested the rtcwake command and this machine won't suspend to RAM or go into standby. It does appear to suspend to disk. Annoying becuase on my last Linux Server I could set a cron job to suspend to ram overnight each night. Wondered and how and if people were achieving this.

Does anyone have any ideas on what you can buy to fit two hard drives in the n54l's ODD bay? Nexus mounts are no longer available :(

Sorry personally not seen anything other than the bespoke adapter over at HSS forums, which I believe is expensive becuase the contributor is US based.
 

KIA

KIA

Man of Honour
Joined
14 Nov 2004
Posts
13,657
So if I select <No> on the 'Install Grub boot loader...'? will this automatically add the boot flag, or would I still have to use the manual guided partitioning as mentioned above?

You'll have to continue to use manual if guided doesn't do the job.
 
Soldato
Joined
29 Jul 2010
Posts
21,215
Location
Lincs
*cough* a bit of a noob post :o

I've had my Microserver (N36L) for a couple of years now but only finally got around to setting it up with Unraid last week :o

Now, I had previously tinkered with it before, putting in drives, RAM & changing the optical for a HDD etc, but I can't remember if I flashed the modified bios...how can I tell if I have?

I had a google yesterday but my bios options weren't the same (in the chipset/SB chipset/ section) for the hot swapping of disks - not bothered about that tbh, but I do want the AHCI/full speed of the 5th SATA port.

Now I did check the IDE section and it had an option to set the port as Auto/1.5Gbps/3.0Gbps - does that mean it has been changed?
 
Associate
Joined
30 Oct 2002
Posts
1,061
Location
It's all a bit Reddish...
*cough* a bit of a noob post :o

I've had my Microserver (N36L) for a couple of years now but only finally got around to setting it up with Unraid last week :o

Now, I had previously tinkered with it before, putting in drives, RAM & changing the optical for a HDD etc, but I can't remember if I flashed the modified bios...how can I tell if I have?

I had a google yesterday but my bios options weren't the same (in the chipset/SB chipset/ section) for the hot swapping of disks - not bothered about that tbh, but I do want the AHCI/full speed of the 5th SATA port.

Now I did check the IDE section and it had an option to set the port as Auto/1.5Gbps/3.0Gbps - does that mean it has been changed?

I would say purely based on the fact you can't see the Chipset/SB options, you're not on the hacked BIOS.

/edit This is based on the assumption that with most of the hacked BIOS, they tend to have every single available option toggled as available when they're modified (even dodgy options you don't want to be touching!). Given there's no offical source for this BIOS you could of course have one that has just the SATA port modified for full speed but seems unlikely.
 
Last edited:
Soldato
Joined
29 Jul 2010
Posts
21,215
Location
Lincs
[RB];27433938 said:
I would say purely based on the fact you can't see the Chipset/SB options, you're not on the hacked BIOS.

It does have some options there, just not quite the same as I found via google, which was for a hacked bios dated quite recently.

If I did update it would have been from a linked bios from this thread a couple of years ago.
 
Caporegime
Joined
11 Nov 2002
Posts
82,254
Location
Barcelona
Associate
Joined
30 Dec 2005
Posts
2,131
Hi all,
I did a clean install of Win 8.1 on my N54L, all u and running fine but when booting the system takes ages. It usually sits at the blue window icon screen with the spinning dots for a minute or so. This is on a SSD aswell, anyone else have any issues? Cheers
 
Soldato
Joined
22 May 2003
Posts
4,055
Mine is on 8.1 and boots in under 10 seconds on an SSD (Crucial M4). I do have the latest modded BIOS and use the SSD in the ODD off the extra SATA port, but it has always been pretty quick regardless.

Check event viewer etc, startup apps.
 
Associate
Joined
30 Dec 2005
Posts
2,131
is that the sata on the rear? mine is connected to the blu-ray there. Will have a look at event viewer, maybe check if there is a firmware update on the ssd.
 
Top Bottom