Could HP Be Planning a More Powerful ProLiant MicroServer?

You’ve seen the HP ProLiant MicroServer by now. It’s taken a grip of the home and small business server market for sure this year, courtesy of the original N36L in 2010 and refreshed N40L model this year. But look carefully at HP’s Maintenance and Service Guide for the MicroServer, and you’ll see the company has apparently been testing a much more powerful version of the model.

Detailing the MicroServer’s BIOS configuration, HP unwittingly included a screenshot of a prototype model, running AMD’s Turion II Neo N54L processor – a dual-core chip, clocking in at 2.2GHz and, according to AMD, more than a match for Intel’s Core i5 processor.

The current MicroServer, the N40L, ships with a 1.5 GHz version of the same processor whilst it’s predecessor coped with AMD’s Athlon II NEO chip, running at 1.3GHz. HP’s prototype shows the same meagre 1GB RAM.

At this point, no updates to the MicroServer line have been announced, and the screenshots may well have been taken from an engineering sample that would not see the light of day. But the prospect of a more powerful MicroServer is tantalising for advanced users, providing a mid-point offer between the entry-level N40L, and HP’s ProLiant ML 115 which is most definitely a business-class device.

Does the world need a more powerful MicroServer? Would you buy one, and how much should it cost? Let us know your thoughts.

(Thanks to Arie for the tip.)



  1. I’m fine with the current power… I just want NewEgg to run another Proliant-plus-WHS-for-$250 special like they did back in November!

  2.   I wouldn’t mind a more powerful version – depending on the cost, somewhere in the $400 – $500 range.  But I would want to see a few minor upgrades.  Perhaps 2 or 4 USB3 ports and an 1 or 2 eSATA ports with port multiplier.  I don’t think that would add too much to the cost. I’d even go for the same case. It kind of grows on you after awhile.

      Of course, right now is kind of a bad time. It is less than a month after Black Friday / Cyber Monday. Newegg had a great deal on the N40L (and a few other items) and it was too good for me to pass up. But Eddy in the previous post had a point.  Give me the same $250 deal on the N40L/WHS2011 and Newegg will tag me again. Just not the ShellShocker nonsense though, those always happen when I can’t get them.

  3. This interests me – I would like to see support for 16Gb of RAM (or more), sleep modes and IOMMU for hardware passthrough to VMs, and maybe one or two more drive bays.

  4. I would definately buy one.  The low power is what has kept me from pulling the trigger on this unit so far…  For those of us that want to transcode / serve video’s the additional horse power is necessary.

  5. I bought one on the black friday event. I could not resist. I posted a picture of the motherboard on my blog. It has a mini-SAS connector on the motherboard to connect the drives, also has an internal USB, and 1 internal SATA connector for a optic drive. Also has a PCI express x16 slot, and a unique HP 1x slot that allows the LOM card to be installed. People complain about the smaller hard drive, or price, but looking at the current prices of drives, I can see why. Also the lack of ram (only 2G) people complain about. Everyone forgets ECC costs quite a bit more than non-ECC. You can run non-ECC on this, I just wouldn’t advise it.


  6. As much I wish this were an upcoming model I don’t think that’s the case. The system dates show 2010 so this is likely an engineering sample. 

  7. I certainly hope it is an upcoming model.  Would really like to see 16GB RAM capability for testing virtual machines with Hyper-V.

    1. I have 2 of this model, one with 8gig of ECC ram and a LOM card, and one with 4gig ram.
      The speed that this baby’s serve files is amazing. They almost max out my gigabit network. Nice with ECC ram, to protect your important files

  8. I’d like to see a more powerful Microserver, with better USB, eSATA, Memory and VM support (ie RAID), priced the same as current model but without RAM or HD included.

  9. Hello, the ideal NextGen Microserver would be:
    – 16GB RAM MAX (or even more)
    – SATA3 (to be able to connect SSD drives)
    – No DVDRW drive! 4×2.5″ HDD/SSD SATA slots instead
    – 2x1Gbps Eth. slots

    Current CPU is more than enough. AMD Neo CPU does what it must! Love it’s small energy consumption. Slow SATA (SATA2=300Mbps when SSD can drive 450Mbps or even more) and 8GB RAM limitations are more essential.

    1. I certainly hope they don’t goto SFF slots over LFF. That would be a serious PITA.  A huge portion of the market uses these for cheap file/network servers.  Which run on LFF disk. Mind you HP has done a particular model in SFF and LFF both, so here’s to hoping. I know I’m currently holding off downgrading a ML350 G5 server until the next iteration of the microserver is released.. I passed on the 119 deal.. the 200 deal.. the 250 deal.. I saw them all.. the dolt I am.. But for me, one of the main things I wanted to do is PCIE Passthrough, which isn’t an enabled option on the boards chipset.  Whilst the CPU supports IOMMU/ which is AMDs VT-D.  So the N36L was believe it or not a more functional machine.. ironic.  But here’s to hoping that the next model is properly done, and the LFF remains.  I did buy one of these for a buddy as a media server.  Even for a HP this is an impressive box.  If you’re on the fence, buy it. It’s a great server.  Cheers,
      Ravi Shanghavi, Ottawa

  10. Is there any update on this speed bump? Some markets are running low on stock (AUS/NZ) but the rest sound healthy, so I wonder if it will happen soon?

  11. Absoloutely dying for a replacement to mine, it’s a great little beast but I want about 25 to 50% more CPU power – it’s all I need. I’d like USB3 and another ESATA but I could live without them. Damn I need that CPU power though.

  12. Interesting. Our reseller gave us some options for a MicroServer the other week, and included these two options….

    704941-421 MicroServer AMD Athlon NEO N54L (2200-2M) Dual Core 2GB, 250GB NHP SATA
    708245-425 MicroServer AMD Athlon NEO N54L (2200-2M) Dual Core 4GB, Diskless NHP SATA

    Only hit on Google on those part numbers shows up a Canadian HP price list from last month with them both listed:


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