If you don’t need terabytes of backup space for your network, the newest member of HP’s MediaSmart family may be the right fit for you. With 640GB of storage, the LX195 makes sense if your home network consists of just two or three PCs. Like its higher-end siblings, the LX195 lets you perform Mac OS backups, though you’ll have to partition additional drive space for Time Machine. Storage capacity is the LX195’s big weakness, since there are no extra internal drive bays or eSATA ports for additional hard drives. To enable WHS’s file duplication feature or add additional storage space, you’ll have to attach external drives with USB.
The LX195’s strengths lie in its small size and low power usage. It’s no bigger than a desktop speaker, and can be hidden out of sight under your desk. Its Atom processor draws very little power (especially when idle), and we couldn’t even hear the server operate during backups.
Serving high-definition WMV files to our Xbox 360 worked without hiccups on a wired network, but don’t expect to transcode high-bitrate video with the meager 1.6GHz Atom CPU and 1GB of memory. However, serving content to multiple machines simultaneously is fast with the included Twonky streaming software—an HP-exclusive Add-in for now. File transfer speeds were a little faster than other entry-level home servers, but were noticeably slower than our custom-built WHS rig.
At the listed price of $400 ($300 on Newegg), the LX195 is a little pricey given its limited upgrade options. It’s a suitable solution if you use both PCs and Macs and don’t plan on greatly expanding your home network.