HP announces GX3297 MediaSmart Server

by Alex Kuretz on April 1, 2009 · 17 comments

in MediaSmartServer.net

HP has granted me the exclusive rights to announce the upcoming release of their newest offering to the MediaSmart Server series of Windows Home Server systems. The GX3297 features bays for an astounding 32 internal hard drives, with an equal number of USB ports for external connectivity should the internal 64TB (using currently available 2GB drives) capacity be insufficient. The GX3297 ships with two 2TB Seagate drives, while the GX3295 ships with a single 2TB drive. Both models retain the familiar tray for tool-less hard drive installation, use an Intel processor, and include 2GB of RAM.

The new GX3297 beside a 3'6" model for size comparison

The new GX3297 beside a 3.5 foot model

I asked HP for some insight into the thinking behind the design of the GX3297, and here’s the statement I received.

After the EX485 and EX487 servers shipped without the necessary port multiplier support for multi-drive eSATA storage enclosures, we heard loud and clear the feedback from the MediaSmart Server community, in particular the highly vocal enthusiasts of the MediaSmartServer.net forums. This inspired us to create the GX3295 and GX3297 MediaSmart servers, to allow the maximum expandability ever heard of in a Windows Home Server device. These servers are so ginormous, we even had to change the model designation from EX to GX.

I’ve had the opportunity to spend some time with the new server, loading 16 drives into the chassis, at which point due to the significant weight I was no longer able to move it. It is also too tall for storing on a normal shelf or desk and is required for safety reasons to be stored on the floor. This incredible height and weight seems fairly risky, and so my first hacking article will be a tutorial showing how I mounted training wheels to the server to avoid it tipping over and crushing any small children or animals.

GX3297 loaded with 16 drives

GX3297 loaded with 16 drives

Pricing and availability dates have yet to be announced. Thank you to HP for providing me the opportunity to spend some time testing the GX3297 and to be the exclusive announcement source for this exciting new product.

Will you be purchasing the GX3297 in order to be able to meet your massive storage needs, or are content with your current server? Please leave a comment here or post in the forums and let us know what you think of our April Fools joke. :)

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.


Rob April 1, 2009 at 4:19 am

Nice one – I suppose a fool could buy one starting 1 April?

Igor April 1, 2009 at 5:04 am

Free kid with purchase?

JohnBick April 1, 2009 at 8:00 am

It is my understanding that they will also offer an option for a refrigeration unit to be added to the top for keeping Guinness cold while you are working…

Sign me up!

DamianP April 1, 2009 at 8:20 am

I never thought HP would use the word “ginormous”. Also, is that a young Billy Idol???

Donavon West April 1, 2009 at 9:43 am

Good one Alex!

Larry April 1, 2009 at 10:06 am

Training wheels with a robotic motor and a little aibo action; could make for interesting computing times.

Tommy Tse April 1, 2009 at 11:19 am

Cute photo and post! Happy April Fools Day! :)

LPersonne April 1, 2009 at 11:31 am

Can’t tell from the photo which is the server and which is the 3.5′ model. If it’s the server on the right, I commend HP for their design innovations with the green bootlike footings. Perhaps changing those to roller blades would provide your desired mobility. Thanks for the exclusive insider preview.

Scott April 1, 2009 at 2:02 pm

I like the green boot option.

IceCoolDesi April 1, 2009 at 3:36 pm

I like the gold(ish) heatsink!

Solag April 1, 2009 at 9:51 pm

What is not covered is whether these units would have the necessary port multiplier to support my 32 drive eSATA enclosure.

paul April 2, 2009 at 8:15 pm

64G and not 64T??

Alex Kuretz April 2, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Thanks Paul, I fixed the typo. :D

Stephan Potter April 7, 2009 at 9:03 am

Bet we won’t get it in Europe!

John Neale April 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm

Guess HP are so busy making GX3297s that they can’t be bothered to supply any Ex485/7s to UK. Anyone know what they are up to?

D. Offutt August 22, 2010 at 10:17 am

As of the date of this posting (2010-08-22) there appears to be no recent information regarding the current state of HP MediaSmart servers. (i.e.: EX49x) Looking at the HP website there is no indication that a GX32xx ever existed or that he 49x series is here.

Would like to see some comparisons of the EX47x, 48x, 49x series. We have a 1TB 475 running V1 OS and are in the process of deciding whether to upgrade the 475 (2G RAM + V3 OS) or replace with 495.

Alex Kuretz August 22, 2010 at 10:10 pm

This was an “April Fools Day” fake news story, sorry for the confusion. The EX49x is still being sold and info is available on the HP site. I have reviews of every EX and Data Vault model in the reviews section of this site, including some details on the differences from the previous models.

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

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