Acer easyStore H340 review

£400
Price when reviewed

The boxy easyStore H340 is Acer’s first home server appliance – but in use it feels like a mature, professional device. Behind the glossy front panel sit four screwless drive bays, three of them hot-swappable (the bottom one is the system drive) and two pre-populated with 1TB Hitachi drives.

There’s also a front-facing USB port, and if you plug in a hard disk or flash drive you’ll see a button marked “USB backup” light up. Press it and the drive’s contents are automatically duplicated into a shared folder on the server. The Acer isn’t the only server with a feature like this, but the one-touch approach is appealingly simple.

The software too has a few tricks in addition to the usual Windows Home Server features. Acer preinstalls the LightsOut service, which automatically puts the server to sleep to a user-defined schedule, or when all clients are idle. It will power back on at a time you specify, or can otherwise be remotely woken from any client PC.

It’s a smart way to reduce the server’s power footprint, and a welcome one, as sitting idle in a two-disk configuration the device draws 37W, falling to 31W if one drive is removed. For comparison, the single-disk Asus TS mini demands just 20W.

Acer easyStore H340

Acer also provides a six-month trial of the McAfee Total Protection Service, which automatically scans your data for malware. That’s good for peace of mind, perhaps, but when the subscription fees kick in you’re looking at around £20 a year to keep the service going – and there’s no obvious way to uninstall it.

A final distinction is the system monitoring interface, which lets you monitor CPU temperature and activity, plus disk and RAM usage, with email alerts to warn you when pre-defined thresholds are passed.

The easyStore’s case can be opened by simply removing three small screws, but inside you’ll find no free DIMM slot and no “secret” ports for data or video. There is, however, a half-height PCI Express x4 slot that could support extra drive controllers, should the device’s five USB 2.0 and one eSATA port not satisfy.

If your key concerns are power consumption or size then this may not be the appliance for you: check out the Asus TS mini instead. But if swappable drive bays are your thing it’s well worth considering the easyStore H340 as an alternative to the Tranquil SQA-5H, especially since it’s rather cheaper.

Warranty

Warranty 1 yr return to base

Basic specifications

Total hard disk capacity 2,000
RAM capacity 2.00GB
Screen size N/A

Processor

CPU family Intel Atom
CPU nominal frequency 1.60GHz
Processor socket N/A

Motherboard

Motherboard chipset Intel 945GC
Conventional PCI slots free 0
Conventional PCI slots total 0
PCI-E x16 slots free 0
PCI-E x16 slots total 0
PCI-E x8 slots free 0
PCI-E x8 slots total 0
PCI-E x4 slots free 1
PCI-E x4 slots total 1
PCI-E x1 slots free 0
PCI-E x1 slots total 0
Internal SATA connectors 4
Internal SAS connectors 0
Internal PATA connectors 0
Internal floppy connectors 0
Wired adapter speed 1,000Mbits/sec

Memory

Memory type DDR2
Memory sockets free 0
Memory sockets total 1

Graphics card

Graphics chipset N/A
DVI-I outputs 0
HDMI outputs 0
VGA (D-SUB) outputs 0
DisplayPort outputs 0

Hard disk

Hard disk Hitachi HDT721010SLA360
Capacity 1.00TB
Hard disk usable capacity 930GB
Internal disk interface SATA/300
Spindle speed 7,200RPM
Cache size 16MB
Hard disk 2 make and model Hitachi HDT721010SLA360
Hard disk 2 nominal capacity 1,000GB
Hard disk 2 formatted capacity 930
Hard disk 2 spindle speed 7,200RPM
Hard disk 2 cache size 16MB

Drives

Optical drive None

Case

Dimensions 198 x 207 x 210mm (WDH)

Rear ports

USB ports (downstream) 5
eSATA ports 1

Front ports

Front panel USB ports 1

Operating system and software

OS family Windows Home Server
Recovery method Recovery disc

Noise and power

Idle power consumption 37W
Peak power consumption 41W

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