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HP Microserver

From OCAU Wiki


General Info

On the 21st of September 2010, Stanza posted a thread in the storage & Backup section of OCAU's forums discussing the HP N36L MicroServer. Since then ownership of these servers has taken off wildly amongst OCAU members and world-wide.

The servers themselves are small, inexpensive (currently $225 - 250 is standard) and have plenty of functionality and expandability making them perfect for enthusiasts like those who frequent the OCAU forums.

People commonly use them as a NAS or a HTPC, with others looking at virtualisation and clustering.

Models and Specs


The current spec of the N36L is below. Previous versions differed in having a 160GB HDD and a 110watt PSU.


  • 1 x AMD Neo 1.3gHz

Processor cores available

  • 2

Memory, default:

  • 1GB

Memory, maximum

  • 8 GB

Memory slots

  • 2 DIMM slots

Memory type

  • PC3 DDR3 - ECC Unregistered or non ECC. Registered ECC *NOT* supported

Expansion slots

  • 1 half-height, half-length PCIe x16 Gen 2 1 half-height, half-length PCIe x1 Gen 2

Network controller

  • 1GbE NC107i 1 Port


  • Integrated VGA with standard DB15 (shared 128mb memory)

Drive description

  • (4) LFF SATA
  • Non-hot plug 3.5-inch SATA

Storage, Default:

  • 1 x Seagate 250Gb HDD in one of the "Cold swap" bays.


  • Integrated 4 port SATA RAID
  • 1 x External SATA Port
  • 1 x "Optical" SATA Port

Power supply type

  • 1 built-in power supply 160 watts

N40L ?

Rumoured to be available soon, with a 1.5gHz processor and 2gb ram, required significantly more watts to run.

Common Hardware recommendations

Remember that these have only 1 PCIE g2 16x slot and a g2 1x slot, so you are going to be limited to what you can do. I am trying to run mine as both a HTPC and a file server; just using the SATA ports available and utilising the 16x PCIE slot for a video card.
If you are looking for huge amounts of storage, I would suggest looking at a raid or sata controller for the PCIE 16x slot

Video Cards

If you want an Nvidia card or want to run *Nix, the GT210's are generally thought to be the best card for the box. Ensure you get a low profile card with low-profile bracket.

If you want an ATI card, or want to run Windows, the HD5450 are generally though to be appropriate. Again, ensure you get a low profile card with low-profile bracket. Myself and other users have reported that the HD6450 Low profile cards work as well.


These boxes come with Unregistered ECC memory as default. If you are looking to run a ZFS file system, it is suggested that you stick with this and allocate 1gb per TB of ZFS.
You can use a maximum of 8Gb of ram with these systems.

Known working ram from the OCAU users spreadsheet:

Kingston ECC KVR1333D3E9S/4GI
Kingston non-ECC KVR1333D3N9/4G
Kingston KVR1333D3N9K2/8G
Kingston non-ECC KVR1333D3N/2G
A-RAM non-ECC AR4GB1333D3V
G.Skill non-ECC F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT
Geil Enhance Corsa GEC38GB1600C9DC
Geil Non-ECC GS-F3-10600CL9D-8GBNT
Corsair CMV4GX3M2A1333C9
Crucial ECC CT2KIT51272BA1339

Hard Disks

The Hitachi Coolstar 3TB drive is supported and recognised by BIOS.


Optical Drives

RAID Controllers

SATA Cards

Drive bay expansions

Keyboards, Mice and misc

Members boxes

Interesting OCAU links

Interesting Outside Links

Acknowledgements - the thread that started it on OCAU - N36L owner's club - HP's page on them.

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