HP LX195 Budget Windows Home Server Review

The Gadget: HP's LX195, their stripped-to-the-core (but Apple Time Machine capable) implementation of the Windows Home Server, which comes with a 640GB internal drive, but can only be expanded via the four USB ports in the back.

The Price: $US390

The Verdict: Quite good. If you weren't quite sure Windows Home Server was right for you, and you have a family with both Mac and PC machines, the LX195 is an easy way to experiment without paying the $US600ish dowry to hitch yourself to a full-blown EX machine.

The Catch: Like the EX HP Home Servers, you can retrieve individual files off the Time Machine backup, but you can't use it to restore your machine at boot time. Which means if you don't have a spare Mac in the house to grab the files off the server and load it onto a USB drive from which you can do a restore, you'll have a more roundabout recovery process than you'd like.

The Point: The LX195 works just fine as a Home Server and a Time Machine target backup drive (its Gigabit Ethernet makes file transfers rather speedy), but lacks the extras the company just introduced to the EX485 and EX487 that allow users to stream and convert video to iPhones and PSPs. If all you want is the base functionality, this is definitely a fine choice. But at the same time, you have to look at Acer's $US400 solution that does have four expandable drive bays. But Acer's might not have the iTunes server and media capabilities that HP does. [HP]

Relatively cheap, but maintains most of HP's Home Server functionality

Doesn't have the newer EX updates

No internal-expandable storage, only USB

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