Scott Hanselman

Power Consumption of the HP MediaSmart HP Home Server

December 09, 2007 Comment on this post [16] Posted in Home Server | Musings | Reviews
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There's a lot of talk internally at Microsoft by users of Windows Home Server. Many have built them themselves and others have purchased or side-graded to an HP MediaSmart.

I had noticed that my DIY (Do It Yourself) Home Server was noisy and HOT. Like room-warming hot. I kept it in a closet and it was hot to the point of dangerous. That got me thinking about power consumption.

Here are some numbers that I was given permission to share. These are just one person's numbers using a "WattsUp?" device. These aren't official, but they do, I suspect, reflect a reasonable reality. Thanks BethD and BethD's Mystery Friend!

"I took power measurements on your new HP MediaSmart Server EX475 with my WattsUp? Pro power logging meter. There is a power data log in the meter that I can provide if anyone wants to see it.

Test conditions:

  • EX475 has two 500 GB HDD
  • Server and all network hardware on APC BackUPS Pro 650
  • Measurements taken for Server only
  • Server ran for 15:45 hours:minutes
  • Server room temperature 60 deg F
  • Server streamed music to two Roku SB Radios for 5 of 15 hours
  • Server performed three PC backups during the measurement period
  • Min/Max measurements do not show Server start up, only shows running min/max data


  • Volts: 112 min, 120 nominal, 124 max
  • Watts: 46.5 min, 52.2 nom, 80.2 max
  • Amps: .40 min, .41 nom, .63 max
  • Power factor: 1.00
  • kWh during measurement period: 0.841
  • Calculated kWh monthly average: 38.0
  • Calculated cost: $3.00 per month @ $0.079 per kWh

The HP data sheet does not show power consumption! But I found a UK reference showing EX475 (two drives): ~60W idle state, ~73W full load, so this data supports that claim.

Your previous WHS Beta PC was the ShuttleX and it used 150 watts nom and heated up the closet so much that I had to put in an exhaust fan. The HP Server has had no effect on closet temperature."

Very cool. I can handle 52 watts for a Home Server. Much greener.

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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December 09, 2007 14:54
Or 60 DKK a month if you live in Denmark. That is 12 USD. While it is affordable, improvements are needed. The WHS looks cool though.
December 09, 2007 18:39
Huh. That seems disappointing high, actually. My Presario laptop, ancient but good enough to run XP Home, pulls only 17 watts, for example. 13 with the screen off. Can it be set to shut off the hard drives if it's been idle for a while? How much does that save?

I wondered why HP wasn't mentioning how much power it pulled. Now I know. Think I'll wait for the next rev.
December 09, 2007 20:58
HP do qote the power consumption - I'm guessing I may be the "UK source" and I pulled the stats from HP's manual. Personally, I think it's reasonable, but would love to see HP work to reduce it in any future version.
December 10, 2007 1:04
3.00 a month isn't that bad. Here in Canada, it is probably more, but for those complaining, it does not compare to the other devices in your home that create a high electricity bill. ie: electric heaters, having your lights on at unecessary times and having lights on when you are not in the room. All those bulbs add up very quickly.
December 10, 2007 19:31

Two questions.

1. Why would you need a Home Server for backups if you use Mozy?

2. Have you compared the Hardware / Electric costs against something like Amazons S3 service? With S3 you have the benefit of off site storage built in. And your $3.00 a month electrict cost would buy you 20GB of storage at S3.

December 10, 2007 21:26
Hey Now Scott,
The more I read the more I like the home server.
Thx 4 the info,
December 11, 2007 7:02
>>1. Why would you need a Home Server for backups if you use Mozy?

For an off-site backup. You still have all your files in the same house, so even if you can't lose them when a single backup drive fails, you can still lose them if you get robbed, your house catches fire, a hurricane hits, etc. You can also lose your files if the entire Windows Home Server gets fried due to lightning or another failure, or just a random chance break-down of 2 or more of it's hard drives. With an off-site backup combined with Windows Home Server, then you're fat. You have the benefit of a backup in some other location in the country, and the ability to restore data much quicker thanks to your local backup.
December 11, 2007 7:08
>>2. Have you compared the Hardware / Electric costs against something like Amazons S3 service? With S3 you have the benefit of off site storage built in. And your $3.00 a month electrict cost would buy you 20GB of storage at S3.

The base model WHS lets you store 500 GB. 20GB of storage won't cut it... Plus, you have fast access to your data on your local gigabit network. When you access that HD movie off the WHS, you know it will play without fail, whereas if it is on Amazon S3, you'll not only be paying for bandwidth (if you have a bandwidth limit), but it may not be fast enough with your connection or there can be an internet problem... Things to consider.
December 11, 2007 7:24
Just noticed Amazon is out of stock of both the 500GB and the 1TG MediaSmart versions. I'm rather looking forward to picking one of these up, I think they really did a great job on the case in terms of looks, glad to see HP putting some dosh into design. I'm still hoping that somehow Western Digital will partner with an OEM and create a version that fit in with the look of a MyBook.

I think those numbers are pretty good considering the type of load it was under. An old laptop that's doing nothing more than Visual Studio or Word is a lot different than a something pulling constant network traffic, streaming media and doing backups.
December 11, 2007 7:39
Hi Scott,

Can I backup my dev server (Windows Server 2003 R2) with WHS? Does it take a image backup when backing up computers?

December 11, 2007 15:01
Hi Scott,

is it really necessary to run 24/7?
Main purpose of WHS for me would be the backup of all computers in my house. These are all switched of at night time. Wouldn't it be sufficient for WHS to cover that time? It would save a lot of energy to do so. But maybe I missed something ...

USD 3.00 / month is cheap. You are lucky. For me here (Germany) it would be USD 10.60 / month.
December 11, 2007 21:09
How do you plan on restoring the backups you are taking to your external hard drive? I assume you are just backing up the data drive.
December 12, 2007 12:49
@Rob - I'm robocopying the shares to the external drive.

@Bob - I use both Mozy and WHS. I like WHS for local speed, but it's not just for backup, it's also centralized storage.
December 12, 2007 20:33
I've taken Kill-A-Watt measurements that align closely with the HP published numbers, measuring watts with 1-4 drives both idle and at full load.

My understanding of WHS is that the Drive Extender technology spins up the HDDs every half hour to do a scan and see if anything needs to be balanced (data migrated or duplicated across disks). This means spinning down the drives may not be so effective.

December 18, 2007 12:44
This looks great - wish we could get power for that price - in UK we are looking at > $0.20 Kwh - so EVERY saving in watts helps

Did you take a look at Tranquil's servers - they claim thier units are 24W upwards....... staggering !

January 27, 2008 3:38
The Excito Bubba Miniserver uses only 9W at maximum load... so I guess the WHS project still has some way to go before they can call themselves eco-friendly. My Bubba sits in a backpack on top of a dresser in the bedroom. No exhaust fan, no noise, no nothing. High storage capacity, ability to run serverapps and share multimedia through DAAP, Pnp, SMB/CIFS, FTP and so on.

Come again Microsoft/HP..

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.