Summary: I bought this to replace an HP Home server that died. I wanted the versatility that an actual server allows that I couldn't get with a NAS. This fits the bill perfectly. If you have a home or small business network with Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8 Pro computers, this will give you all the benefits of having a full Windows domain for about the cost of a Server Standard license.
Pros: Smaller than your desktop computer. Very quiet - the only noises I hear are the drives I added spinning. The fan is almost silent even at full load. If you are willing to put the effort in to figuring it out, has all the benefits of Windows Server (RDS Gateway, IIS Server, Storage Spaces, etc). Plus, unlike a standard NAS, you can back it up to any cloud backup service.
Cons: I found this fairly difficult to setup. It actually has Windows Server 2012 Essentials - not Server 2012 and not Server 2012 R2. This might actually be an advantage to most home users but as someone who works with Server 2012 R2 standard on a daily basis I found the wizard confusing. That being said, everything is there and once you add a couple of drives this is far better than any NAS you can buy.
Summary: This is an EXCELLENT home server. I debated between buying all the individual parts and putting together on my own (like I do with all my PC's), but this little box packs everything you need in a price range that is fantastic.
Summary: This is a great unit for a home lab or small enterprise. It is well built and easy to upgrade. I would just recommend not trying to use that unit as both a virtual machines server and a NAS. I tried for weeks and it's really not easy to do (if even possible)!
Pros: Great build quality.
Cons: As long as you do not plan to use VT-D on the Sata controller, it's all going well.
Summary: You don't need to buy HP Smart Memory or HP Hard Drives. Mine is running fine with 16Gb Kingston's ECC (p/n KTH-PL316E/8G) and 4 Western Digital Red NAS hard drives.
Pros: Sleek design, compact and really quiet even when using AHCI (Thanks to the latest ROM). Comes with Intelligent Provisioning for easy configuration, deployment and maintenance and iLO4 Management Processor that can be accessed from a dedicated NIC port or by sharing the server's NIC#1.
Cons: The Embedded B120i controller is a half baked Smart Array controller.
Summary: If you're at a firm that just loves HP & wants to marry them then you'll get what you'd expect: a near-ProLiant packed into a tiny frame (15-20% premium just for that) which plays well with existing HP servers & infrastructure. For everyone else it's a confidence trick. The fanboys across the web touting the "innovative design" and "build quality" neglect to mention that any DIY equivalent -- especially with these low-end Intel chips -- is at least $100 cheaper and...
Pros: Small, stackable frame
Cons: Runs louder in non-HP AHCI or IDE mode (generic LSI driver)
Cons: Possibly fan if noise is an issue, when running in AHCI mode instead of using RAID the ILO cannot read the SMART temperatures of the drives and overcompensates by boosting fan speed to avoid damaging them.
Summary: Will sell or scrap and go back to older server. Too bad I didn't build it out while the return policy was in effect.
Pros: Small, Compact
Cons: NOISY....even fake RAID 0 is noisy. Tried all settings and configurations. Okay for empty room or lab. Not for home or small office. No new firmware updates in the last five months. Three fan speeds... high, higher and blaring high!