Review: Acer easyStore H340

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004 Windows Home Servers are dropping in price and the Acer easyStore H340 is leading the charge; I like that. This server doesn’t offer a lot of extras like the HP MediaSmart line, but it’s amazingly low price outweighs everything else.

Specs:

  • Intel Atom 230
  • 1 TB hard drive
  • 2 GB DDR2 memory
  • 5 USB 2.0 ports
  • 1 eSATA port
  • Gigabit Ethernet

Hardware:

This isn’t a tiny box. It’s a good size larger than the HP MediaSmart. Up-front there are four removable hard drive trays, along with status lights, USB port, and power button. I can’t tell you how much I love the front facing power button. HP continues to place its power buttons on the back of its WHS which is a pain in the ass. Around back there are 4 USB ports, eSATA port, 10/100/1000 Ethernet jack, and power jack. There isn’t anything missing. This server is fully equipped. whs3

Performance:

I was slightly concerned that the Atom CPU would disappoint me, but just like with the HP LX195, this guy works just fine. The low power-consumption CPU handled running uTorrent 24/7, unRARing, and backing-up just fine. I didn’t notice any hiccups or performance issues at all when using this server.

Software:

HP has dedicated a lot to building-up an extensive suite of applications to enhance its line of MediaSmart WHS. The EX line can do everything from stream content to iPhones, back-up Macs, transcode video on the fly, host a photo sharing site, and all this is done through a refined user interface.

Acer hasn’t done any of this with the easyStore. Instead, the company installed a couple of WHS add-ons and shipped the product. That’s fine with me. I could care less about all the extra crap loaded on HP’s boxes – except the OS X compatablilty. Windows Home Server is a solid piece of software by itself and there are a ton of additional add-ons that users can easy install themselves. As long as the server provides a reliable file storage and back-up solution, I don’t think you can ask for more.

There is one thing: OS X backups. The easyStore H340 doesn’t support Time Machine and so it cannot back-up OS X natively like all the new HP LX and EX MediaSmart WHS can.

Price:

This thing is a a great deal at its $399 MSRP. That’s almost the same price of the HP LX195, but comes with a 1TB hard drive instead of 640GB. Plus, it’s $200 less than the 750GB EX485 and $350 less than the 1.5TB EX487. Those HP servers do feature all of the benefits above, but you could add three 1TB drives for a total of 4TB and still come under the cost of the top HP MediaSmart. Storage capacity tops software in my book.

Conclusion:

Besides the small downside of not being Time Machine compatable, I cannot think of a reason to buy any other NAS/WHS over the Acer easyStore H340. The hardware is solid, the performance is acceptable, and the price is stellar at $399. It’s even better at Amazon: this model is $349 right now.

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