HP & Microsoft say that the 512MB of RAM delivered with HP server is enough to deliver 5 media streams at one time. It’s been streaming and copying files fine for me, although there’s rarely even 2 active connections and never more so I can’t say if the 5 streams is reasonable. But when I remote into the WHS and check memory usage I see it’s using 603MB, so it’s already swapping to disk. The only Add-ins I currently use are Jungle Disk and the Windows Home Server Toolkit. Neither add-in was actually doing anything and I wasn’t running the console at the time I checked the memory.
With memory prices relatively low I decided the main cost was my time so I went ahead and ordered a Patriot 2GB memory module. There’s only one memory slot and 2GB is the max the server can handle according to what I can find in various forums. HP’s official word is that 512MB is the only amount of memory supported and the upgrade probably voids the warranty. [Update: HP now says the memory upgrade doesn’t void the warranty – but it is still not supported and they don’t provide any guidance]
Donavon West’s Home Server Hacks site has excellent procedures for upgrading the HP Media Smart Server RAM. It took me about half an hour to upgrade the RAM following the procedure. Just take heed of his warning and use a #00 Phillips head screwdriver. Despite the tight fit, disassembling and reassembling the server wasn’t a problem.
Much to my surprise I did notice a performance improvement right away. The Windows Home Server console connections occurred faster and it’s response was snappier. Large files copied faster from my iMac to a server share.
I save my iTunes library on the server and I also saw an improvement in the performance of iTunes when it’s syncing to my iPod and downloading podcasts and videos. (With iTunes on the list of software having potential data corruption errors this may not be such a great idea.)
Naturally there’s plenty of free memory now and I can stock up on add-ins without cramping the memory even more.