EXPIRED fanless Intel® i3 Kaby Lake mini PC for $74.83

WANg

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Okay, so a couple of photos -

First - the box.

What's In The box.png

Then let's see what the device looks like out of the box:

Thin Client and PSU.png


What type of PSU is ir? Delta DPS-65VB. 12v, 5.5 A, 5.5x2.5 tip, center positive lead.

Delta PSU.png

Okay, so the first question is...how can we open it up? Pretty easy. Grab a long Philips J1 screwdriver and sink it into 2 screwholes on the bottom of the front side. The Torx T8 is used to hide an internal USB port within - Rather optional.

Screw Locations.png
(The blue screwdriver points to the location that you need to unscrew and then slowly but steadily shuck it open. It should look like so:

Opening Up Chassis.png


The entire top half under the plastic grille is a large metallic heat sink.

To open it up, 6 Philips J1 screws, and then lift upwards.

Unscrewed.png

Top Half As Heatsink.png
You should see the entire top as a large heat sink with contact patches for both the CPU (Core i3-7100U) and the cheap Apacer SSD. In this view front side is at the top.

Cheap Apacer SATA SSD.png

Stripped Down.png

Note that the SODIMM slot is closer to the front of the chassis.

Here's a size comparison with the HPt640...

Size Comparison versus t640.png
 

Fritz

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Anybody know what kind of drive this thing has? Did a search on the PN and came up with absolutely nothing.
 

WANg

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Thanks for sharing, but how to add in another nic?
For this model? USB2/3 only as there are no other M.2/PCIe slot - or at least, none that I can see from the topside. It looks like only the “W” models have WiFi and I am not sure if it’s on a card, or a soldered module. It might be that bunch of solder pads right next to the NVMe slot/EEPROM socket.
 
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WANg

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Anybody know what kind of drive this thing has? Did a search on the PN and came up with absolutely nothing.
The Apacer drive is M.2 SATA - it’ll boot SATA, NVMe and external USB, but SD7 cards (the Sandisk Mothims shipped with the HP t640/740s) are a no-go.
 
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WANg

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Spamming F7 ???
Yeah, keep hitting F7 on power-up, and to be honest, I didn’t even know it was F2/F5/F7 until later. I simply booted it up without the Apacer and it went directly to the EFI shell. I had to use EFI commands to change the boot order and whatnot. I am guessing someone typed exit on the shell and realized that there is an EFI application that goes to the boot menu/config menu along with the binded keys.

Anyways, the default Ubuntu based firmware (at least the version 3.2.5 that I have) looks broken - you can get into a config menu via Ctrl+Alt+S but spawning a terminal will prompt for a password…which fails for any input (which should be DMC or IEC).
 
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Fritz

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The Apache drive is M.2 SATA - it’ll boot SATA, NVMe and external USB, but SD7 cards (the Sandisk Mothims shipped with the HP t640/740s) are no-go.
So I can replace it with a NVMe drive?
 

WANg

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So...what are people's use cases for this? TMM nodes?
Just curious!
Probably for transcoding - Kaby Lake GT2 graphics should have encode/decode support for most modern codecs (like HEVC but not AV1), putting it on par with the Ryzen APU's VC1 feature-wise, and the encoder hardware driver support is better for both Windows and Linux (Ryzen is kinda “meh” on that). The other thing I can mess with is Intel Gvtg (GPU virtualization). it’s also compatible with ESXi 7 due to the Intel i217 NIC, so it could be a good low duty hypervisor if you feed it some RAM.

That being said, it’s not a powerful machine (roughly in the same Ballpark as the Celeron J4105/Pentium J5005 in the Dell Wyse 5070 or the RX427BB in the t730) - in many ways you are better off with an HP t640, which runs cooler (when not loaded on sustained basis), is faster, and has a firmware TPM embedded within (this one has no TPM so Win11 is not possible). Too bad the 4 series HP thin clients have Realtek NICs.

But of course this is a cheap little machine to mess around with, while we already killed off a recent supply of cheap t640s.
 
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Fritz

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The BIOS is pretty comprehensive for such a simple targeted box. Took awhile to slog thru it all.
 

WANg

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The BIOS is pretty comprehensive for such a simple targeted box. Took awhile to slog thru it all.
Yep - the machine BIOS even has support for VT-d, which is…remarkable. Although many of the settings don’t work and will crash your machine if invoked. The Thunderbolt port settings, for example…
Whatever you do, don't mess with the internal GPU settings.
 
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Fritz

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Yep - the machine BIOS even has support for VT-d, which is…remarkable. Although many of the settings don’t work and will crash your machine if invoked. The Thunderbolt port settings, for example…
Yup, I discovered this already. :p
 

WANg

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Okay, so, more photos - now...how do we remove it from the bottom case? Remove the 4 black J1 Philips screws on the bottom, then bend the plastic corners downwards (so to arch the box up at the middle)

How to take it out of bottom.png

You should get something like this - note that the starscream front USB/IR board was removed later.

Box taken out of chassis.png

Once that's done, the machine can be stripped down further. 4 screws hold the metallic side walls (whcih comes off in 2 L shaped pieces) and 4 hold the board to the bottom.

Stripped Down.png

One very curious artifact - it looks like the enclosure was originally designed for another board which requires heatsink contact pads - on this Kaby Lake machine it's used to contact parts that does not exist...

Useless Heat Sink.png

As the bottom of the board is rather bare. Just a single CR2032 battery within a holder...

Blank Bottom.png

On the board itself we can see that the EEPROM sits in a socket retained by a clip, and there are several connectors of interest...

Various Connectors and EEPROM location.png

Those 2 4 pins next to the RAM slots might be USB ports, while I am not sure what the one on the right next to the audio jack does....the solder pad is of some interest. M.2 LGA 1216 (which has 28 pins on the long, 20 on the short, and middle/corner pins functioning as the ground plane)?

Connectors on board.png

Next to the SODIMM slot a connector can be seen, but for what I am not certain. LCD?
 
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Fritz

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I've ordered an NVMe drive and a 16GB SODIMM. Gonna load the latest version of Linux Mint Cinnamon when they arrive. It should make a nice little HTPC to replace a mid tower monster currently in use. I was please to see it come with a VESA mounting plate and screws.
 

WANg

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I've ordered an NVMe drive and a 16GB SODIMM. Gonna load the latest version of Linux Mint Cinnamon when they arrive. It should make a nice little HTPC to replace a mid tower monster currently in use. I was please to see it come with a VESA mounting plate and screws.
Well, I tested it with Win10 Pro and 32GB of RAM (2x16GB SODIMMs) - the machine generally works fine…although I am not sure what is going on with the Intel Quicksync support in Win10 Pro as I can’t seem to get it working within handbrake (defaults to CPU instead of QSV) and it could be drivers or something else. In this regard the Vega3/8 VCN1 hardware in the first gen Ryzen embedded APUs (t5/6/740) performs better.

As for gaming possibilities…eh, it seems to perform okay…about 20% slower than the Vega 3 inside the Zen+ APUs.

In terms of power consumption it’a on par with the Gemini Lake Atom boxes, provided that you show discipline adding RAM.

of course, the question is… can we apply this knowledge against the older/EOLed IEC-4650s? I am sure @Patrick might find these little boxes interesting.
 
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zack$

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What....quicksync issues on Win10? Maybe I lucked out on getting one after all.
 

WANg

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What....quicksync issues on Win10? Maybe I lucked out on getting one after all.
Well, that can simply be a driver related issue - when I installed Win10 2H20 it was the 64 bit build on the default 32GB SSD, and left only about 2GB of free space - I ran parted/clonezilla to get the disk image transferred to one of my 64GB SSDs, but it's still not entirely tuned yet (the intel drivers are probably not yet installed). I also have to nail down the accepted formats for the Kaby Lake Intel QSV - my testing was done using the Jellyfish bitrate test video files - it was downscaling a 440mbps HEVC/H265 file in 2160p down to 1080p30 as part of the test, and who knows, maybe that exceeded the capabilities of the fixed pipe QSV hardware…which is not as flexible in some cases as the Ryzen VCN hardware.

Oh, interesting future source of these machines - looks like Metrolinx (the transportation authority/crown corporation responsible for the Greater Toronto Area) bought about 430 of those from CDW Canada in late 2019 - paying about 2250 CDN each for them (probably for all the major transit projects in the area like the Eglinton Crosstown). If they are being obsoleted these can be a blast to play with.
 
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Fritz

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I will say the build quality is pretty darn good and thanks to the enormous heatsink, it's pretty hefty too.