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Leo Computer Piranha Home Server “Hands-on”

Whilst Windows Home Server may very much be a product of the United States (supported by some of their friends over at Microsoft China), it has been Europe that has led the way developing and launching hardware systems for the platform. Within Europe, the UK and Germany are front and centre in releasing home server systems, with companies such as Tranquil PC, Fujitsu-Siemens and Medion having released, or about to release hardware to the marketplace.

Back in November 2007, Microsoft announced a series of new partnerships with OEMs, and tucked amongst them was an agreement with German OEM, LEO Computer, who were set to release their Piranha Home Server in Germany towards the end of 2007. I’m pleased to say that LEO agreed to ship one of their home server’s across Europe to the UK, so your good friends at We Got Served could take a look.

Model:Piranha Home ServerManufacturer:LEO Computer

A Little About LEO: LEO Computerhas been around for about 15 years, selling a range of business and consumer oriented PCs directly to the trade market in Germany, Austria and Holland. Their systems sell under the Delphin (Business) and Piranha (Consumer) brands, across a variety of hardware resellers in the three countries mentioned. They do have a history in selling servers to business under the Delphin brand, and, as you would imagine, this is their first home server to hit the market. Here’s how we got on with it.

What’s In the Box? Interestingly, the system we were sent from Germany was shipped in an Aopen G325 box, which is a dead giveaway of where the chassis has come from. The G325 is a multi-purpose chassis that Leo have used for their Piranha Home Server – whilst this means that you’re blessed with a variety of connectivity choices (see later), don’t be fooled that this is a dedicated server chassis, so matter how it may look in the photos.

The package I received was an extremely spartan affair – the system was well packaged and protected, and came with a German OEM edition of Windows Home Server, plus a copy of the G325’s driver CD, which is always extremely useful. However, that was it. No power cable, no ethernet cable, no instructions. Now, it may be that LEO’s partnership agreements mandate the reseller to provide these extras – let’s hope so, because if a beginner buys one if these machines packaged in this way, well, they may struggle to get up and running. So far, so basic.

First Looks: The Piranha Home Server is a pretty good looking system – the Aopen G325 chassis is not the smallest of units, but it’s square form factor suits its purpose well as a home server. The chassis itself is metallic, but the grab handles at the top are made of plastic  – whilst they’re very handy for moving the system around, they do feel quitye cheap each time you pick the unit up. The very good news is that the unit wasn’t the silver and red boy-racer design as shown on the box, and better still, does not have the badly sized Windows Home Server logo you see on Piranha’s press shots (see top of page).

On the front of the unit are 3 pull-down plastic flaps, which hide (from top to bottom) a DVD-RW drive, 15 in 1 card reader (for SD/ Compact Flash cards etc) and at the bottom. a microphone and headphone socket, two front USB ports and a blanked off firewire port. Whoever wrote the Windows Home Server logo requirements would be decidedly gloomy if they saw this unit, as a headless, refined home server specification this isn’t. Whilst on first looks,. the added connectivity seems like a bonus, this is all kit that you’re paying for in the list price, which you probably won’t ever use.

The front panel is finished by a silver DVD Eject button, a central power button and three cool blue edge lit lights which illuminates the front of the unit when powered on. Bizarrely though, there are no hard drive access lights. All in all, a great looking, but oddly configured chassis for a home server.

Full Review

Microsoft, WHS, Windows Home Server, Hardware, Desktop, Leo, Piranha, Piranha Home Server, Hands-on, Aopen G325

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