The Good Reasonable price; tool-less case entry and drive upgrades; highly configurable; onsite service.
The Bad Lacks dual-processor support; lacks Xeon processor configurations.
The Bottom Line As long as you don't mind sorting through its hodgepodge of user guides, the ProLiant ML310 G2 will satisfy your need for a solid entry-level server.
HP ProLiant ML310
HP ProLiant ML310 G2
The HP ProLiant ML310 Generation 2 (G2) is a slightly souped-up version of HP's basic ProLiant ML110 series server. Though both are designed for small businesses, the ML310 includes more setup help and a higher price than its lower-end sibling, along with the same easy expandability and satisfying support. Unless you're a server whiz, we recommend saving yourself some setup headaches by shelling out a few more bucks for the ML310.
No matter how simple a manufacturer tries to make its server's setup process, these machines are inherently more complex--and therefore more difficult to configure--than a largely boot-and-go PC. That said, HP puts forth a generally good effort at simplifying the ProLiant ML310 G2's setup. The process begins with the company's SmartStart utility, which scans the system's hardware to ensure that all parts are in working order. The program then takes you through a series of questions that determine particular settings for the operating system, which in our case was Windows Server 2003. Your answers inform the operating system how you want to use the server--for example, whether you want the system to manage your office e-mail, Web access, FTP transfers, and more. Though SmartStart's questions were a bit easier to understand than those of the Windows Server OS, they'll still read like Greek to anyone without at least an intermediate understanding of computers and networking.
The final step in the ML310 G2's setup process involves installing HP's helpful System Insight Manager application. It provides mind-easing oversight features such as identification of all the PCs that should (and shouldn't) be on your network; advance warning of system failures; and time-saving deployment of systemwide upgrades from the server itself. The application's System Management Homepage conveniently aggregates these features in a well-organized Web-based interface. The main limitation with the ML310 is that it supports only a single processor and doesn't offer a Xeon processor configuration.
Get an HP Pavilion Wave desktop PC for $269.99
This striking system will raise your home decor, not ruin it. Plus: The lowest price ever on the Samsung Gear VR 2016.
This Borg Cube makes your computer irrelevant
You will be assimilated. Resistance is futile.
HP's desktops get a down-low makeover with new CPUs, webcams
HP’s new Pavilion All-in-One desktops are updated with new CPUs and pop-up webcams for home or school use.
Get an HP Pavilion Wave desktop PC for $299.99
Most PCs are decor-killers but this beauty is just the opposite. Plus: a fantastic game bundle and the Cheapskate's first-ever deal on a high-tech purse.
Alienware teases a VR-ready PC built into a backpack
This AMD-powered device joins the small but growing list of VR backpack prototypes.
Strap a VR rig to your back with HP's Omen concept
This prototype backpack puts a full PC on your back for untethered Oculus or Vive action.
What is a desktop? New designs will change home computing, says Intel
At its keynote at Computex 2014, Intel sees unconventional design as the future of the PC in your home.
Desktops aren't dead yet, says HP
When questioned about HP's new focus on tablet devices, company CEO Meg Whitman made sure to point to its extensive commercial desktop PC line-up.
HP adds Leap Motion gesture control to 11 PCs
HP has added Leap Motion's matchbox-sized motion sensor into 11 new desktop and all-in-one PCs, joining the original HP Envy 17 Leap Motion laptop.
Best all-in-one desktop computers: Top deals in the UK
Looking for the best all-in-one desktops on the market? Here we've gathered together our current favourites across a range of prices.
HP Envy Recline TouchSmart PCs, coming this month, can lie down on the job
HP's newest desktop all-in-ones are extra-flexible, but variations on a familiar theme.