This morning a nice box from Lenovo arrived containing the new Lenovo IdeaCentre D400 Windows Home Server.
We posted the unboxing shots here and so I won’t repost them all now, but go and have a look at them if you haven’t seen them yet.
There are two different models of the D400, the 3013-1AU and the 3013-1BU. The only difference between the two is the 1AU comes with 1TB of storage and the 1BU comes with 2TB.
The rest of the specifications they both share:
PROCESSOR : Intel Atom 230 Processor (1.60GHz 533MHz 512KB)
MEMORY : 1GB capable of supporting up to 2GB
GRAPHICS : Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950
DRIVE BAYS : 4 SATA drive bays on the front
CHIPSET : Intel 945GC Express Chipset
FRONT PORTS : One USB 2.0 with a USB copy button for the Easy USB transfer function
REAR PORTS : Four USB 2.0, one eSATA, one Ethernet
POWER SUPPLY : 200 watts
DIMENSIONS : 200mm x 208.6mm x 212mm
COLOUR : Black bezel
WHATS IN THE BOX?
Apart from the D400 itself, there is a manual, an installation poster, a power cable, Ethernet cable and the usual 3 software DVDs.
It’s interesting to note that there is a mistake on the installation poster – it shows a screenshot from the Server Recovery DVD instead of the Client Installation DVD – but no real harm done.
INSTALLING AND CONFIGURING THE D400
Like most Windows Home Servers, it is just a simple case of connecting up the D400 and popping the Client Installation DVD into a computer on your network and then following the steps to install the software.
Here are the usual installation screenshots for those of you who might be interested:
When you first launch the Windows Home Server Console you will be asked for the password for the Hardware Health and Performance Monitor Service.
The first screen you will see is the Lenovo Home Server tab which gives you a single page view of the status of your Windows Home Server.
There are a couple of other Settings tabs specific to the D400:
Out of the box, the D400 comes preinstalled with Windows Home Server Power Pack 1, so as Power Pack 2 has been out for a while now, and Power Pack 3 should be here soonish you will want to update your Home Server first. This is just a case of going to Settings button and clicking Update and waiting while all the update download and install for you.
HARDWARE HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE MONITOR
You can use the Hardware Health and Performance Monitor settings page to set a refresh interval for monitoring data, configure performance threshold settings, specify email destinations to which alerts should be sent when temperature, voltage, and fan speed abnormality is detected or the pre-configured threshold is exceeded.
The IP Configuration settings page allows you to view the home server’s current IP configuration settings or change the IP configuration manually. This is a nice feature that saves you from having to use Remote Desktop to get access to these kind of changes.
The D400 also comes with two other pieces of software that need to be installed if you want to use them. These are the LightsOut client utility and the Lenovo Home Server Easy Access Utility.
Lights Out is an application that was developed by a fellow WHS MVP, Martin Rothschink that allows you to set the home server into suspend mode or wake the system at a chosen time with the aid of a calendar event.
The default Uptime screen displays a chart showing recorded uptimes in the home server, such as when a backup took place, which home computer was active, or when the home server woke up from
The Lenovo Home Server Easy Access utility is a piece of software you install on your client computers that enables you do use a one-click file copy from your computer directly to your Home Server.
The software that comes on the Client DVD doesn’t work with 64 bit Windows but you are pointed to the Lenovo website for an updated version.
So, 5 minutes later I have downloaded and installed a version of the software that works fine on my 64bit Windows machine.
You will see a new icon on your desktop called Lenovo Home Server EasyAccess.
When your first double-click on it you will be asked about connecting to the server.
In the Computer view on your computer, you will now see your home server listed under Network Locations.
If you double-click on this you are taken to a list of all your shared folders, so this saves you the effort of having to double-click on the Shared Folders icon or from the task tray.
Now if you highlight some files on your computer, right-click to bring up the context menu you can now click on Upload to HOMESERVER (or whatever you home server is called), and then select the folder to copy them straight to your home server.
This feature is great – and will save a lot of time if you do a lot of copying!
ONE-TOUCH USB BACKUP
The USB backup button on the front panel allows you to backup data from a USB storage device to the home server. Windows Home Server copies all files into the Publics shared folder first then classifies the files according to media type into their corresponding shared folders, namely Music, Videos, Photos. When Windows Home Server cannot determine file type, the file is automatically stored into the Others folder.
So all you have to do is plug in a USB hard drive and press the USB backup button on the front of the D400 to begin (it will now be glowing blue). If you have a lot of hard drives that are not external USB drives you should consider buying an adaptor, they can be very useful.
I did a little test and was very impressed with the results, and it was quite quick. This is much easier that plugging in a drive to your WHS, and then having to map drives and manually copy files over.
THOUGHTS AND CONCLUSION
So Lenovo have gone with the low powered Atom 230 Processor which is a single-core 64 bit processor. While this is not as powerful as the processor on the new HP MediaSmart EX49x series, it should certainly get the job done.
The D400 looks very similar to the Acer Aspire H340 in that is a black cube. It does have a semi transparent door which makes it look a little retro.
It is not the quietest home server on the market, so you might want to think carefully about where you place it. That being said, it certainly isn’t the loudest device I have ever had running either.
The Easy USB file transfer button on the front of the D400 is a nice touch – just plug in your USB drive and press the button and it will copy the contents to your Windows Home Server. Now this isn’t exactly a new feature, the Acer Aspire H340 does the same thing, but it is nice to see it being used again as it can really save time if you do a lot of data importing this way.
The Lenovo Home Server EasyAccess client software is great – it is very easy to install and use and it will really save a lot of time if you do a lot of uploading to your home server, which I am sure you will do, because that is one of the reasons for having a home server.
So do I like the D400? The answer is yes, I do. It doesn’t have all the media capabilities of the new EX49x series from HP, but if you are looking for a good, solid Windows Home Server with some great features, you really should take a look at the D400.
The D400 3013 1AU retails for $499 and the 3013 1BU retails for $599, No news yet on release dates or prices for anywhere other than the US so watch this space.