Why the Windows Experience Index? Well, it’s simple, it’s included in Windows 7, and I didn’t want to run an extensive test of the disk performance under different RAID options, not yet anyway. That would be something outside of scope for what I’m really doing with these devices.

First up, the HP MicroServer N36L, which has a dual core Athlon Neo at 1.3Ghz. As you can see the CPU score is quite low by modern standards, but when this is being used a basic server or NAS device, it shouldn’t really matter, the disk subsystem and network throughput are going to make a bigger difference. The N40L is also available with a 1.5GHz CPU, but I highly doubt it would do much to close the gap in CPU and RAM performance. Today it’s easy enough saturate Gigabit ethernet with a single HDD, so unless you drop in an additional NICs you aren’t going to hit any real throughput issues with this server. Note that this server, like the Acer AC100, has 8GB of RAM installed.

For server purposes the graphics scores are largely irrelevant, and the HDD score is capped due to testing against a single 7200RPM HDD.

Now on to the Acer – as expected, the WEI score for the CPU blows the HP out of the water, but this is not unexpected at all. I was surprised though that an almost entry level Xeon in many ways was able to score so well. Again, as a NAS, the CPU speed isn’t going to have that much of an impact, but for running our test VMs this is going to make a big difference, as is the ability to take it up to 16GB of RAM instead of maxed out at 8GB like the HP. As this server also has the ability to take an additional PCI-E card you can add a multiport NIC if you really want to push the throughput across the wire.

The Acer is going to be my primary server for the next few months, so it will certainly get put through it’s paces. My MicroServer has been doing 24/7 duty in various roles for a while now, so the reliabiliy of the unit is a known quantity, now it’s time to see how the Acer copes, but with bigger workloads than the HP was ever really capable of.