Drivers for HP EX-47* MediaSmart Servers

I just finished an article for Tom’s Hardware on hacking the AMD-based HP MediaSmart Server models (EX470 and EX475, to be completely specific). It explains how to upgrade the memory, and drop in a more powerful CPU for those to whom the urge to tinker is strong. It even explains how to hack the BIOS to drop in one of a small number of dual core processors that will work in this compact little machine. I took lots of photos to illustrate the processes and activities involved, so those interested in hacking their boxes will have my work to draw on as well as the excellent how-to video from Home Server Show and the photo essays on this subject from WHS MVP Donavon West entitled “Upgrade the Memory in your HP EX470 or EX475” and “Add ‘Wow’ Performance to your EX470 with a Processor Upgrade.” I also compared and contrasted performance on the Intel NAS Performance Testing benchmarks for an EX475 with the stock 0.5 MB of RAM, plus 2.0 and 4.0 GB as well, and compared the stock Sempron 3400+ CPU to a single-core LE-1640 and a dual-core BE-2350 CPU (all with 2.0 GB of RAM because that’s the memory size that maximizes the price-performance trade-off).

In the follow-up since finishing the article, I’ve been researching the drivers that work best for these AMD based units, and have learned that anywhere from two to as many as five of those drivers can safely be upgraded. Here’s a list of recommended drivers based on my tinkering to see which may be safely be installed on the EX470 and EX475 models. I also provide a handy set of download links for those in need of a source for the update files. Where newer updates are available, except as noted, please assume I’ve tested them and they don’t work (thus, for example Uvga3_384.zip and Uvga3_385.zip are not suitable for SiS Mirage Graphics built into the HP MediaSmart models).

Recommended drivers for HP MediaSmart EX470/475
Driver Recommended
Name Version Date Source Remarks
SiS Mirage Graphics 6.14.10.3810 2007.06.25 Download.com Not needed unless you use direct VGA output
Sis191 GbE adapter 2.0.1039.1110 2008.03.03 Download.com None
Processor: AMD K8 1.3.2.0 2006.5.27 Download.com Newer version 1.3.2.0053 available; not tested
Marvell 61xx RAID 1.2.0.57 2008.1.2 Asus download Use Windows XP 32-bit version
SiS 0182/1182 RAID 5.1.1039.2110 2007.1.11 Download.com None

Before installing these drivers, it’s wise to take some precautions against potential problems. First and foremost, you’ll want to make a complete backup of your server’s system partition (Drive C:). This may require you to add another drive to your MediaSmart Server and designate it as a system backup volume, instead of adding it to the server’s storage pool. Because the MediaSmart Server system partition (Drive C:) is only 20GB in size this makes backup a perfect target for an older, smaller USB hard disk you may happen to have on hand. Even 80GB isn’t too small, given that complete system backups consume only 20 GB  (plus whatever you’ve got stored in the shared folders), and incrementals seldom consume even 25% of that amount.

Except for the graphics driver update (which most readers won’t need unless they purchase a header cable for VGA output and plan to hook a monitor up to the EX47x box itself) you can extract the files, and use the “Update Driver” button in Device Manager to point the updater at the proper directory and then perform the update yourself. For graphics, you’ll want to run the setup.exe file inside the ZIP archive named Uvga3_381.zip. When I tried the newer graphics driver updates that didn’t work, WHS was smart enough to revert to the Standard VGA Graphics Driver included in its driver library, so graphics kept working even after this failed, much to my great relief.

Some users have reported substantial improvements in network throughput resulting from the GbE driver upgrade; others have reported less variability in network throughput over time (with higher averages). The RAID driver updates are generally regarded as desirable from the standpoint of improving system reliability (earlier drivers suffered from documented issues with data corruption in the shared WHS storage pool). Other drivers may be updated more or less at your own whim or discretion. Enjoy!

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12 Comments

  1. johndinz
    Posted March 5, 2009 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    It’s funny that you are taking drivers from download.com. They don’t really keep themselves busy with updating new drivers for sometime now. Try driversguide.com (register first) or radarsync.com (eg http://www.radarsync.com/driver – no need to register) or simple google search.

  2. Posted March 6, 2009 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    Dear John:
    In this particular case, the latest and newest drivers won’t always work. That’s why I chose Download.com: because they can be relied upon to keep older drivers available for the foreseeable future. For example, for the various SiS drivers I couldn’t find any reliable mechanism to retrieve the drivers from them (which would ordinarily be my preference) because they only make the two most recent versions of their drivers readily available on their site. Because HP uses a Mitec board with their own customized runtime environment–including an abbreviated boot image for WHS on a Flash ROM–the most recent drivers from the component vendor won’t always work with the motherboard in the EX475 and EX470 models.
    I actually used DriverAgent (I pay for an annual subscription to them gladly, because they license by user not by PC, and $30 a year is a bargain for the 6 PCs I own, and the dozens I work on for Tom’s and others every year). Indeed those wishing to use RadarSync or DriversGuide should be able to use those services to grab stuff, but I wanted to provide a link that would stand the test of time and involve a one-click follow-up. Hope that makes sense, and thanks for your feedback.
    –Ed–

  3. Posted March 6, 2009 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the moral support!
    –Ed–

  4. tillig
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Ed: Have you tried the Marvell 1.2.0.68 drivers that have been released? Or would you recommend sticking to the older 1.2.0.57 drivers specified here?

    Also, note that the ASUS download link is slightly broken – it gets you to the download page, but you have to manually choose “WinXP” as the OS and then you’ll see the list of drivers.

  5. tillig
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    One other question: It appears that the ASUS page has drivers for Marvell RAID, the 88SE6111 SATA controller (which is, what I believe, the EX475 has), and the 6121 SATA controller. I’ve seen another article (http://www.homeserverhacks.com/2008/11/update-marvell-6121-esata-driver.html) where they used the 6121 driver. Is that what you used here?

  6. Posted February 26, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    As long as you don’t want to plug a port multiplier into the eSATA port on your EX-475 you can use the most current drivers. I don’t have a port multiplier myself, but I’ve heard that this latest driver renders them inaccessible through the eSATA port. OTOH, if you have but a single eSATA device to hook up through that port, the newest driver should be fine. I haven’t tried the latest Marvell driver, but I can and will do so right now…goes off to check…

    DriverAgent says I need 2 new drivers as follows:
    1. SiS191 1000/100/10 Ethernet Device Driver
    File size: 4.9 MB (5,186,828 octets)
    Driver Version: 2.0.1039.1110 (2008.03.03)

    2. Marvell 88SE61xx SATA Controller Driver
    File size: 992.6 kiB (1,016,458 octets)
    Driver Version: 1.2.0.68. (2009.02.08)
    This is the one about which I’ve heard Alex Kuretz say that it can render a port multiplier inoperative. I’ve tried it on my system (where I don’t have one) and it appears to work OK.

    HTH,
    –Ed–

  7. tillig
    Posted February 26, 2010 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I do have a port multiplier so it sounds like I’ll need to stick to the 1.2.0.57 version of the driver.

    I really appreciate your checking this out and posting the info. It’s super hard to find any information on this stuff so the more, the better. Keep up the great work!

  8. Posted February 26, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Dear Tillig:

    You’re very welcome. You’ll find Alex Kuretz’s site http://www.mediasmartserver.net to be just as helpful and informative as Donavon West’s homeserverhacks.com, and you might want to go up there and search their forums to see if there’s been any recent discussion on this. When I saw your posting I was *shocked* to realize it’s been over a year since I updated this stuff. Thanks for bringing it back to my attention.
    Best,
    –Ed–

  9. Posted March 19, 2010 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    According to MSS BIOS guru ymboc (he’s the guy who figured out the BIOS hacks for the EX-47* models with the AMD processors), the 1.2.0.68 drivers work fine on the MSS. Given his endorsement and his testimony that the upgrade *helped* with an external port multiplier, I’d say it was safe to go ahead.

    –Ed–

  10. Posted March 19, 2010 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    See my previous post. I didn’t see your postings until today, sorry for the slow reply. I’ve turned the e-mail notification on for future stuff so this shouldn’t happen again.

    Best wishes,
    –Ed–

  11. js
    Posted March 25, 2010 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    Great post Ed…I just got my mediasmart 3 disk from HP and figured I would do a little updating elsewhere and this did the trick.

    Additionally, which would you recommend radarsync or driversguide?

    Thanks again,

    John

  12. Posted March 25, 2010 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

    I use DriverAgent myself, but have worked with both of the others. It doesn’t really seem to make that much difference, so pick whichever one works best for you. That said, if you’re “flying blind” and need a good recommendation, let me suggest DriverAgent (they all cost the same, give or take cents) because I’ve been using it for four-plus years now and know and like it pretty well. None of them are perfect, though…so if you need tips on how to make the best of their information offerings, please ask!
    Best wishes,
    –Ed–


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  1. [...] read Ed’s full post, and download those drivers, click here. As usual, before you update any drivers, make sure you are sure you want to do it, and backup [...]

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