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Upgrading the HP EX485/487 MediaSmart Server Processor, Removing the Smoke and Mirrors (Page 4 of 5)

The Hardware Upgrade Process:

The Disassembly/Reassembly process:

Access to the processor is accomplished by the removal of the motherboard from the case assembly.  This is an easy process and outlined here.

One note: When attempting to remove the top plate it is necessary to depress the retainer clip before attempting to slide the top plate forward. Failure to do so will result in the clip being damaged. Look inside the top drive bay at the roof of the MediaSmart Server.  In the center, just a few inches back from the front, you will see a slot. Just to the rear of the slot is a clip that, when pushed up, will allow for the easy removal of the top plate. 

Operating on the motherboard:

Always make sure you observe electrostatic procedures when you handle any sensitive electronic components, especially in dry climates with low humidity.  Even the smallest static discharge can destroy or permanently damage a CPU or motherboard. 

Once the CPU heat sink has been removed you will need to remove the thermal paste.  Rubbing alcohol can be used for this. Remove the old processor by unlatching the retention clip and lifting upward, and clean off any residual thermal paste. 

Install the new processor making sure to observe the orientation. 

Use a 1/8 inch bead of Artic Silver 5 down the center of the new CPU, starting top to bottom leaving about 1/8 inch from the edge (as indicated in Figure 4):

This is the recommended location and quanity per the Artic Silver website. Adding more than this is a waste of paste and makes a mess. 

Carefully line up the heat sync and place it on the new processor.  Gently rock the heat sync to allow the paste to distribute over the top of the processor.

Complete the re-assembly procedure.  While doing so, there is a cable assembly that runs across the fan in the front of the MediaSmart Server. Using the slack in the cable, pull it down and out of the way of the fan. Then, using a cable tie, secure the cable out of the way of the fan.  This will help provide a clear path for the air which will aid in cooling.

Re-install the hard drives, and then reconnect the network and power cables. Have your PC with the Home Server Connector booted and online. 

Next, power up the MediaSmart Server and observe the health indicators.  If all is well the system should be fully booted and accessible via the Home Server Connector.  If all appears normal but you cannot access the system, perform a MediaSmart Server power down/reboot.  

If at this point you still do not have access you can connect your KVM switch, which should allow you to see the status of the system.  On a normal boot the console will present a login screen.  If you see this screen you (more than likely) have a networking/connectivity issue and not a CPU related problem.

Depending on the problem and health indicators, trace back your installation procedures.  If you don't have a KVM adapter your worst-case scenario would require you to re-install your original processor to do additional troubleshooting and BIOS verification. 

Speed stepping settings:

There is much controversy about whether speed stepping should be enabled or disabled.  This discussion should help your make your choice. 

First, what is speed stepping (or dynamic frequency scaling, as it is otherwise known)?  It is the ability of the processor to up-shift or down-shift the clock speed of the processor based on load conditions.  The advantages to speed stepping are less heat and power draw, while the disadvantages are CPU overhead required for speed management, time lag, and low optimization.

Microsoft suggests speed stepping should be disabled if problems are occurring with video processing.  During testing I found that disabling speed stepping provided a noticeable performance difference with negligible heat or power increases. I was never able to achieve maximum core clock rates with speed stepping enabled... no mater how much I loaded the CPU. Based on the Microsoft recommendation and tests I have it disabled in my server.

If you would like to disable speed stepping, access the BIOS using the KVM adapter and set speed stepping to "disabled."  This can also be accomplished using the earlier procedure to change the PECI setting and flashing the BIOS with the change.  Use the instructions listed above, but substitute "Speed stepping disabled" for PECI 00 00. Complete the process and flash the change.

>> Next page: Wrapping up, Tests, Considerations, and Conclusion >>

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