HP Announces MediaSmart Server EX490 and EX495

by Alex Kuretz on September 14, 2009 · 15 comments

in News


HP is announcing the release of the 3rd generation MediaSmart Server, featuring upgraded hardware, a ton of new Mac features, better Media Collector and Video Converter, and a whole new user interface. You can read the announcement from HP below, download the Datasheet, and be sure to check out my review.

HP Launches New Home Server With Enhanced Features for PCs and Macs

PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept 15, 2009 — HP today launched the HP MediaSmart EX490 and EX495 Home Servers, new models offering increased capacity, high-performance processors, more control, new user interface and additional Mac support – all at a lower price.

Based on the Microsoft® Windows Home Server platform, the updated HP MediaSmart Servers have a refined user interface and a web-based home page that makes accessing and using the server easier than ever. Additionally, the new models offer a new video converter with custom settings and profiles that will automatically convert video libraries, including unprotected DVDs.(1)

“The explosion of digital content is attracting a new kind of buyer to the home server space,” said Jason Zajac, vice president and general manager, Worldwide Attach Group, HP. “This buyer wants all the power and capacity that past buyers wanted, but also wants it to be easy to use. The new MediaSmart EX490 and EX495 give them both.”

The MediaSmart Server features a new media collector, which allows users to collect media by computer, media type or file location. The server automatically collects and organizes media files across Macs and PCs and streams it across a home network and the Internet.(2)

The HP EX490 and EX495 offer additional features for Mac users, including administration, media collection and a new disc recovery utility providing bare metal recovery on a Mac using Time Machine.(3)

“The new release of HP MediaSmart Server software and hardware continues HP’s leadership in building compelling functionality on top of the Microsoft Windows Home Server Platform,” said Russ Madlener, director, Solutions Marketing, Microsoft. “HP is delivering a true cross-platform product by adding the ability to administer the server from a Mac using Microsoft’s new Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac 2.”

The new video converter automatically converts videos, including unprotected DVDs, into a format that can be played at the home or remotely.(4). Users are able to control how their videos are converted by selecting the device the video will be played on or choosing specific video settings using the advanced controls features.

In addition, owners of an iPod Touch and iPhone can download a free HP MediaSmart Server iStream application from the Apple App Store, enabling them to stay connected to their digital media stored on the server. Users can easily access their pictures, listen to their music collections and watch their favorite videos – all streamed directly to their mobile device from their HP MediaSmart Server.

MediaSmart Server EX490 and EX495 features include:
• New HP Media Collector
• New HP Video Converter
• Improved user interface with new web-based home page
• Mac administration, media collections and a new Mac disc recovery feature
• HP Media Streamer
• Server for iTunes
• PC Hard Drive Backup
• Server Backup
• Smart Power Management
• Processors:
o EX495: Intel® Pentium® Dual Core
o EX490: Intel Celeron®; Two gigabytes (GB) of DRAM
• Expandability: additional drives can be added for up to 7 terabytes (TB)
internal storage and 17 TB of storage using internal and external drives.(6)

Pricing and availability
Manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the HP MediaSmart Server EX490 with 1 TB of hard disk storage is $549 while the HP MediaSmart Server EX495 with 1.5 TB is $699.(4)

The HP MediaSmart Server can be preordered beginning today. The servers will
be introduced in select European countries beginning next month.

More information is available at www.hp.com/go/mediasmartserver.

About HP
HP, the world’s largest technology company, simplifies the technology experience for consumers and businesses with a portfolio that spans printing, personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure. More information about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at http://www.hp.com/.

(1) Wired or wireless home network required.
(3) Internet access required and sold separately.
(3) Requires Time Machine, a formatted USB Flash Drive and the original Mac OSX install disc.
(4) Estimated U.S. retail prices. Actual prices may vary.

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.


Brandon September 14, 2009 at 10:28 pm

And I just purchased an EX487 a few weeks ago from HP… Grrrr. I wonder if the extra admin features will be added to the EX485s along with the bare metal recovery?

The admin features I don’t really care about as I use the Remote Desktop Connection hack detailed by MS, but the bare metal recovery is an awesome addition.

Alex Kuretz September 14, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Hi Brandon, I’ve got some info on this in my review, check that out and let me know if you have more questions.

Brente September 15, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Whoa horsey, whoa !!!! Now this is cool. I am a Mac user and was looking for a media serving storage solution just like this. The video converter, iTunes server (this really helps with having multi libraries in one house on one network) and the mobile iPhone server as well? Killer. Wow. I am deeply impressed here.

It sounds like its between HP, Drobo and a MacMini for home server choices now.

Rick Marshall September 16, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Thanks Alex,

I just purchased the latest and greatest MediaSmart server (EX487) this Sunday on-line. Labor day sale price $549. I saved $200! On Monday I find out HERE that HP is releasing the new & improved 3rd generation servers with more power and latest software FOR THE SAME PRICE!!!

Kudos to HP – Prod support E-mailed me an RMA number and postage paid FedEx shipping label with few questions. They did offer a $40 rebate to keep the EX487, but COME ON. Who wants yesturday’s server when you can have today’s at the same price?

Now I just have to wait three more weeks until the EX490 is available. But it’s worth it. Thanks for the save Alex.


Alex Kuretz September 16, 2009 at 9:42 pm

Hi Rick, thanks for sharing your story and I’m glad HP took good care of you!

Rich September 17, 2009 at 7:04 am

I have read the official press release from HP, but i don’t recall an official release date for the U.S.

Do you happen know what time frame HP is looking to release the 3rd generation servers to the U.S.?

Rod September 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm

Are we early adopters going to get the new software for our servers?

Alex Kuretz September 24, 2009 at 2:03 pm

Rich, I believe they’ll be available in October, I don’t have a hard date.

Rod, yes, I cover this in my review.

Rich - a.k.a maj_rocks September 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm

i just got the ex495 delivered today from amazon.com, setting it up as i type this.

I’m so Stoked !!!

James Allen December 29, 2009 at 12:44 am

I just purchased the HP ex490 and find it slow to transfer pictures and videos onto, does that sound right? I am second guessing the purchase and wondering if I should have bought the ex495, is there much of a noticeable difference in transfer speed? Curious to hear your thoughts on the ex490 and comparison to the ex495.

Alex Kuretz December 29, 2009 at 1:51 pm

James, I’ll suggest you check out the EX490/EX495 forum for discussion this, and then create a new post if you need further help. Most people have found some initial load upon setup of the server that improved after some time.

Randall Lipton October 16, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Hi Alex,

Just unpacked and installed my new HP EX495. I’m looking forward to learning it and making good use of its capabilites.

My question is this; who makes the best (reliability, performance, value) additional internal drives for it and from where should they be purchased? My best efforts to find this information did not yield a result.


Alex Kuretz October 16, 2010 at 10:32 pm

Hi Randall, congrats on the purchase! The drives people use really tend to depend on personal preference, what people have liked in the past, etc. I’ve tried all the major brands, I’ve been a big fan of the Western Digital GP (green) drives, but read up on “Advanced Format drives” (a search on my site will turn up lots of discussion) before you purchase. Currently my primary home server has 3 of the Samsung low power drives, they run cooler than the other brands and have been serving me well. Check out the forums, we have a Hot Deals section where people post deals regularly, and I buy most of my gear from http://www.newegg.com . Sign up in the forums and let us know what you end up getting!

Trevor May 12, 2011 at 5:49 pm

hi Alex,
Bought a new 1TB for my sm490. But I couldn’t set up as Raid.
Is that because the OS? and what if i upgrade to windows server 2011?

Thank you

Alex Kuretz May 13, 2011 at 8:23 am

The MediaSmart Server and Windows Home Server don’t use or support RAID. You can add the drive to your WHS storage pool, or if you are planning to upgrade to WHS 2011 there is some discussion here: http://www.mediasmartserver.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=10142

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

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