I have been using the Acer easyStore h340 Home Server for a while now. Most things work pretty well. But as you probably know, Windows is not the most stable platform and I run into occasional file corruption sometimes (which is not supposed to happen, Microsoft…) Most mysteriously, the Home Server restarts from time to time unexpectedly and there are no useful system events logged to help me diagnose the problem.
So I have been trying to see if I can find a video card for the server because it did not come with any video output. It is supposed to be headless but when it comes down to diagnostic and BIOS setup, it is next to impossible.
There is only one expansion port inside the server, a PCI-e 1X port. The 1X video cards are difficult to find and they are in generally very expensive because the demand is low and if you need one, the computer stores know you “need” it. Also, I like to use that expansion port for the eSATA adaptor in case I need to hook up more external hard drives to the server. Currently, I have the a total of 8 drives, 2 of which are backup drives and 6 are actively being used for the OS and the data.
So if you really want to add a video port without sacrificing the only expansion port, here is a product that might save the day. This product is designed specifically to be used with the HP and Acer Home Servers:
- HP MediaSmart Server EX-470 and EX-475
- HP MediaSmart Server EX-485 and EX-487
- Acer Aspire easyStore H340
The motherboard of these servers has a KVM connector (CN9 above) that is made for connecting the Keyboard, Video and Mouse. This connector is considered to be a service connector and you probably won’t find official support for using this connector. HomeServerHacks.com has a good write-up on how he connected a monitor to an HP ex470 Home Server using this hardware, essentially turning a headless server to be a regular server with a monitor.
You can buy this piece of hardware by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The owner of this company, Charles, is working on his website as we know it. But more importantly, his hardware cable seems very decent and I am interested in getting one to help me with diagnosing problems I am having with my server. You can read more about how to order from vovtech.com at the media smart server forum discussion thread.
Do you own a headless Windows Home Server? What do you do to help you diagnose problems?
Update 2010-02-17: Charles shipped my cable and I am looking forward to hooking up KVM to my Home Server. Will keep you posted.
Update 2010-02-27: Cable arrived and plugged into my server.