Hacking the HP EX470/EX475 Servers

by Alex Kuretz on March 11, 2009 · 6 comments

in News

Ed Tittel has written a great article for Tom’s Hardware that covers the full extent of hacking the hardware of your HPMediaSmart EX47x Server. This is all info that is available here in the Wiki and various forum posts (as well as other popular sites) however Ed has done a great job of aggregating the info from all these various locations into one straight forward guide that should be especially beneficial to those new to the MediaSmart Server or computer hardware upgrades.

Here’s an excerpt from the article where Ed discusses what areas he’ll be covering.

In the sections that follow, I’ll provide step-by-step instructions on what to buy, what tools you’ll need, and how to perform various upgrades or improvements on an AMD-based MediaSmart Server. Here’s a more detailed description of these tasks, in the order in which they will be completed:

1. Replace the 512 MB 240-pin DDR2 Hynix DIMM with a modestly-priced 2 GB module. Total cost should be somewhere between $20 and $30 (I paid $17 for mine).
2. Remove the northbridge heatsink and the thermal adhesive HP applies to this device, then lay down a coat of Arctic Silver to improve heat transfer. A stock EX47* northbridge usually runs at 57-59 degrees Celsius (137-139 degrees Fahrenheit). Judicious application of a high-quality thermal compound can bring temps down to 52-55 degrees Celsius (127-131 degrees Fahrenheit).
3. Install a replacement CPU in the AM2 socket on the EX47* motherboard. This also involves laying down a coat of Arctic Silver to help things run as cool as possible.
4. (Optional): If you want to install a dual-core CPU in the EX47*, you must first patch the BIOS to permit it to recognize such a processor. This is easily accomplished using free tools and BIOS sources via a remote login to the MediaSmart box.

You can discuss Ed’s article in our forums, where I’m sure Ed will chime in if you have any questions.

There’s also a UK version of the article here.

Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of MediaSmartServer.net. I was the Lead Test and Integration Engineer at HP for the MediaSmart Server until April 2008 when I moved on to other opportunities outside HP. I've kept active in the Windows Home Server community, creating several add-ins and helping users make the most of their Home Servers.


Phil March 11, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Hey Alex,

Both links to the articles seem to be down – 2:30 PM EST, 3/11/09.

Alex Kuretz March 11, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Thanks Phil, I’ve updated the blog post and sent an email to Ed to see what’s going on.

Alex Kuretz March 11, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Both links to the article seem to be working now!

Ed Tittel March 13, 2009 at 6:24 am

If you check out the comments on the article at Tom’s you’ll see there’s been a fair amount of activity, and a lot of good questions there. I’ve made numerous references to several of Alex’s articles over there, plus some of the good stuff from Donavon West’s HomeServerHacks.com and WeGotServed.com as well. I hope this new outlet for MediaSmart info draws more people into the overall community of users and enthusiasts.


James Walker March 16, 2009 at 10:42 am

I like your article, however I was surprised that you did not do all the tweaks neccessary when adding more memory. If I understand the HP HTPC OS it is pretty much a windows based pc/server. With that thought in mind there are some tweaks that could have helped your results when you added the 4 Gigs of ram. Did you look at the virtual swap file settings to see how windows set it when you added the 4 gigs of ram? I know that based on 32 bit or 64 bit version of the OS it drives weather the OS sees and can use the “extra” ram. This may explain why your results look almost the same when you had 2 gigs verse 4 gig of ram.

Thank you
James Walker

Ed Tittel March 17, 2009 at 1:29 am

Windows bumped the swap file to match the usable memory amount (just over 3GB on the 32-bit-only WHS software the EX475 runs)plus another 3GB or so. Are you suggesting I should have trimmed the size of that paging file to force more use of physical memory? I’ve tinkered with that in both XP (which is more like the WinServ03 that WHS is built upon) and in Vista/2008 without ever seeing any kind of dramatic results myself. What did I overlook, do you think?
If I need to rework the results, I’ll gladly do so: the memory swap is trivial to perform, and the benchmarks (while time consuming to set-up, the computer does all the work) likewise easy to run. Happy to repeat the tests, if you think we can improve or substantially alter the results.
Thanks very much for this feedback: I’m always eager to improve upon my knowledge and the accuracy/validity of the tests I run.

Comments are closed, visit the forums to continue the discussion.

Previous post:

Next post: