Hands-On: Acer Aspire easyStore Home Server
Manufacturer: Acer Model: Aspire easyStore Home Server H340
Price: $399 (US) £368 (UK est) Web: http://www.acer.com

 

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It’s taken a while, but Windows Home Server has its first truly global player. The clumsily named Acer Aspire EasyStore Home Server is shortly due to arrive in North America, Europe and Asia (in slightly different configurations) bringing the World’s number three manufacturer into the ring to kick off a scrap with the World’s number one, HP (Dell are distracted somewhere else launching ridiculously priced laptops). Given Acer’s reputation for low-price, well-featured hardware it’s no surprise to see their debut home server will launch at just $399 (with an estimated UK street price of £368), which brings keen pricing and strong competition into the category for the first time.

With HP’s decision to restrict the latest MediaSmart Server to North America, many prospective buyers will be keen to take a look at what the easyStore gets you for your money – in many countries, it is likely to be the first OEM-built home server to hit the market, so it’s an important release not just for Acer, but also for Microsoft and the home server category as a whole. Our review hardware, the European model, arrived last week, so let’s take a look to see how it measures up.

 

The Beauty Parade

Before we kick off the review, enjoy the following press shots of Acer’s debut home server. The model hasn’t changed in the time we saw it debut at this year’s CES in January.

Acer_Aspire_easyStore_H340-02_lfv Acer_Aspire_easyStore_H340-03_rfv Acer_Aspire_easyStore_H340-05_rfv_status-led Acer_Aspire_easyStore_H340-06_lfv_open-cover Acer_Aspire_easyStore_H3400-4_rfv_port

What’s in the Box?

The easyStore is presented in a colourful (the black design with the rainbow device reminds me of the old (and retro-cool) ZX Spectrum branding) square box with a top handle to help you transport it out of the store to home. The rear of the box has a cartoon to help bring the capabilities of the home server to life, and you’ll find easily understandable networking information on either side. So far, so friendly.

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In the package, you’ll discover the following:

  • Acer Aspire easyStore Home Server H340
  • Ethernet Cable
  • Power Connector
  • Installation CD, Home Computer Restore CD and Home Server Recovery DVD
  • Quick Start Guide (English, French, German, Spanish, Japanese & Chinese
  • Warranty Information

Acer do pack a full user guide with the easyStore, but it’s a digital file held on the installation CD.

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37 comments

  1. Any chance you could update this review with some performance numbers…. specifically if the atom is enough to run whs well compared to some of the other options.

  2. Great review, thank you Terry as usual. I have been looking for but can't find anywhere whether the Acer WHS machine will be available in Australia. Do you have any information on this?

  3. Hey Terry, very nice review so far! Just some questions that could be relevant for many ppl out there, since this NAS does include an ICH7R southbridge: Is it possible to access the RAID bios and set up a RAID5 config? Does this thing boot from USB (to run FreeNAS/Linux/whatever, if you don’t wanna install the OS on the storage disks), and what’s up with the eSATA port?

  4. Hey… could you plug it into a Kill-A-Watt and get some Idle and Streaming power numbers? Thanks!

  5. I recently bought a H340 Acer, and the machine does indeed come with 2GB of RAM, not sure, but it may be a regional thing? I bought it from Canada/US.

  6. Mine came with 2GB RAM too, bought it in Canada. Coming from SPCR, the builtin fan is quite loud for my tastes so I'll be taking it apart to see whether i can mod it. The CPU runs a little too hot for comfort; it's a toasty 63°C. Maybe software overclocking programs will be able to alter the frequency and voltage of the CPU.

  7. Could someone please comment on ShadowVlican's statement above that the Atom CPU is running at 63 degrees C in the Acer Easystore Home Server. This strikes me (as ShadowVlican says) as being a little too hot for comfort.

    I'm currently looking at choosing between a Tranquil SQA-5H-2000 and the Acer. It strikes me that cooler running should mean longer lifetime, and therefore the Tranquil – despite the higher price – is the better deal… Comments?

  8. I have a couple of burning questions:

    1. What's the performance like? Is the single core Atom good enough?
    2. Does the e-sata port work as a multiplier? i.e. can I put in a 4 bay e-sata enclosure to it?
    3. Some benchmarks compared to the HP's would be good.
    4. Network throughputs would also be good to hear about.

    Also finally, if I am an owner of a current HP 470, how could I migrate to this. I am having issues with my HP unit.

    1. Did any one find a descent Esata port multiplier (less than $200) and a 4 bay Esata enclosure kit that would read all the drives. This would seem to be the best way to go in adding storage. The Home computer with Vista Home Premium/64 is enough to act as a Home Server.

  9. I am new to the Home server scene, but I love the Acer product. It is attractive, and functional. I had the unit operational with a user added hard drive streaming movies (XVID) to my Xbox 360 in less than 30 minutes. I look forward to the potential.

    A bit of note, expect issues with buggy network performance while streaming if running Vuze, but this is to be expected (could also be due to crappy AT&T modem/router).

    Two thumbs up over here!

  10. I just took delivery of a H340 and am pulling my hair out trying to find out how to make the iTunes server work. Any ideas? I see it in the Itunes client application, but do not know how to get content into it. Many thanks.

  11. Thanks to Terry Walsh for the wonderful informative review and screenshots. I just purchased the Acer H340 yesterday 9-22-09 at Frys.com for $319.99. I believe the special sales price (online purchase with $50 instant rebate, and local in-store pickup only) is good through tomorrow only.

    What a deal!

    I am currently installing the Acer H340 on my home network. Love it so far!

    Cheers!

    1. You can download it directly from the server using port 55000 I believe.

      http://<your server name>:55000

      or (I believe)

      http://<your server name>/Software/Home Server Connector Software

      And you can always use a USB copy of the CD for non-DVD Home Server Connector Software

  12. One of the things I can't stand about the HP Mediasmart server is the "headless" feature. Can a monitor, keyboard and mouse be connected to the H340?

    1. I thought so before I bought this one, but no, perhaps keyboard/mouse, but a monitor… just forget it. No outlet suitable for connection of a monitor. 🙁

      1. There is a PCI card slot in the Acer – try an inexpensive video card. I plan on putting one in this weekend for a test. The USB should support keyboard and mouse.

  13. PRINTER
    How to connect a printer? The map Printer is a system map, and I do not have preveliges to do something there. The best is to reinstalthe home server software, I guess.

  14. Hi,

    I am new to this site. I really like your reviews. I am new to windows home server and I am looking to purchase my first one. So I have been going through your reviews. The one question I had was about Windows Home Server Vail. Will this unit be able to be upgraded to the next version of home server? some of the new things coming out seem pretty cool and I don't want to be stuck not being able to upgrade

    Thanks

  15. First… Excellent Review! I purchased one and feel that you need to add a Support section. You will have a doorstop if you run into any issues. From my experience, Acer support is unable to provide any type of support for this computer. I've tried 4 times and now have to try again tomorrow because there is nobody there today (it's Monday!) than can answer any questions. I would love this server if it worked for me so just be careful. I'm to the point now where it would be less expensive for me to buy an HP than spend any more time trying to get support

  16. I bought the ACER aspire H340 last week and I got it in my hands today. Unfortunately, I bought it from Tiger Direct as refurbished and it seems to be missing the software installation CD. Where can I find an image for that?

    1. I had the same issue, same vendor. Did you call Seneca at the number on the flyer inserted in the box? They are sending out the software overnight. In the interim you should be able to boot the server, look for it on your network from another home computer on the same network and double click on it. Or try typing this address into your web browser
      http://aspirehome:55000/ this should let you download the whs connector software to the computer and allow you to complete the basic WHS setup on the computer for backup and on the server as well. Hope that helps get you started!

  17. Hello there,

    I bought this unit from Romania and it misses some of the features that you are listing here.

    To be exact, it misses some software features, like System Information and Hardware Performance and Health Monitor.

    An idea where I can get them from?

    Thank you.

  18. Hello there,

    I bought this unit from Romania and it misses some of the features that you are listing here.
    To be exact, it misses some software features, like System Information and Hardware Performance and Health Monitor.

    An idea where I can get them from?

    Thank you.

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