HP t730 Thin Client as an HP Microserver Gen7 Upgrade

arglebargle

H̸̖̅ȩ̸̐l̷̦͋l̴̰̈ỏ̶̱ ̸̢͋W̵͖̌ò̴͚r̴͇̀l̵̼͗d̷͕̈
Jul 15, 2018
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I don't remember the power button being capacitive, just light-touch and easy to press accidentally. It sounds like the switch in yours is either sticking on something or going bad if it's triggering when you're handling the machine. I'd try pressing it hard once (not so hard that you break it, just enough to free it or clear whatever's causing it to stick) and then contact the seller if that doesn't get it working normally. You could also try electronic contact cleaner on the switch but the seller might get cranky about a return if you do that so caveat emptor.
 

cspr

New Member
May 23, 2020
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I got my t730 yesterday!
And I added a quad-nic on it as well.

Initially I tried to install ESXi 7.0, which failed.
The installation went fine from a USB disk, but then after restarting, it wouldn't boot. No OS was recognized on the disk.
After trying several things with legacy or UEFI, still nothing worked.
I've tried installing PVE, which worked, so it was not a bad disk or something.

Then, the day after, I tried to install ESXi 6.7, which worked... Almost!
I had to patch the ISO with te latest updates for it to work, but finally I got a working ESXi 6.7 on it.

Now I'm working on getting OPNsense migrated from a SBC (with 1 NIC, which was just a wireguard tunnel) to the t730.
Started out with the installer not finding a disk, even though it was added. This was solved by changing the SCSI controller from VMware paravirtual to LSI Logic SAS.

Eventually this will be replacing the ISP-provided modem, so let's hope there won't be too many more issues that I run into. :p
 

WANg

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2018
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I got my t730 yesterday!
And I added a quad-nic on it as well.

Initially I tried to install ESXi 7.0, which failed.
The installation went fine from a USB disk, but then after restarting, it wouldn't boot. No OS was recognized on the disk.
After trying several things with legacy or UEFI, still nothing worked.
I've tried installing PVE, which worked, so it was not a bad disk or something.

Then, the day after, I tried to install ESXi 6.7, which worked... Almost!
I had to patch the ISO with te latest updates for it to work, but finally I got a working ESXi 6.7 on it.

Now I'm working on getting OPNsense migrated from a SBC (with 1 NIC, which was just a wireguard tunnel) to the t730.
Started out with the installer not finding a disk, even though it was added. This was solved by changing the SCSI controller from VMware paravirtual to LSI Logic SAS.

Eventually this will be replacing the ISP-provided modem, so let's hope there won't be too many more issues that I run into. :p
ESXi 7 will not work on this machine - there’s no native drivers for the Hudson southbridge SATA controller, the realtek embedded NIC nor the Broadcom Tigon Fiber NIC.
 

cspr

New Member
May 23, 2020
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Makes sense that it won't work then.
Odd that it works during install then though.

I've had some weird network issues already though, so I've disabled the realtek NIC already again and will only use the addon card.
I don't have a fibre NIC, nor am I planning on getting one, so that's not an issue.

So far I'm happy with the device. :)

Edit: actually might look like the quad-nic is the issue...
It's a HP branded one with 82571EB as far as I can see.. Time to find a different one to try...

Edit2: yep, same mistake as others have made, the NC364T...

Edit3: Have been running ESXi 6.7 on it for a while now with a different quad-nic and it works perfectly fine.
Currently running OPNsense, PiHole and a unifi controller on it without any issues. :D
 
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z16nb

New Member
Aug 25, 2020
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Since this seems to be the place for t730 info I thought I would post a question about an issue I'm having with a t730 I just got. Everything works however if the machine is ever powered off the internal m.2 ssd is wiped. It did come with the original bios so I flashed that and it still does the same thing. Tried pfsense, opensense, win10, win7 no matter what, you can restart all you want but if you do a graceful shutdown or pull the power you get no boot device found when powering back up. Also tried to remove and reseat the ssd, reset the bios a few times as well.

The ssd is a 64GB sandisk, I did get win10 installed and also installed sandisks ssd utility to check for a firmware update on the drive but it didn't find anything. Also tried the build in utilities to check the HDD and they all pass. I do have a new m.2 sata drive coming tomorrow which I hope solves the issue but was wondering if anyone had heard of such a thing because I've never seen it. I even let gparted run a recovery scan and it never completed.
 

WANg

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2018
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Since this seems to be the place for t730 info I thought I would post a question about an issue I'm having with a t730 I just got. Everything works however if the machine is ever powered off the internal m.2 ssd is wiped. It did come with the original bios so I flashed that and it still does the same thing. Tried pfsense, opensense, win10, win7 no matter what, you can restart all you want but if you do a graceful shutdown or pull the power you get no boot device found when powering back up. Also tried to remove and reseat the ssd, reset the bios a few times as well.

The ssd is a 64GB sandisk, I did get win10 installed and also installed sandisks ssd utility to check for a firmware update on the drive but it didn't find anything. Also tried the build in utilities to check the HDD and they all pass. I do have a new m.2 sata drive coming tomorrow which I hope solves the issue but was wondering if anyone had heard of such a thing because I've never seen it. I even let gparted run a recovery scan and it never completed.
Check the BIOS settings - reset it to default?
Could it be some weird option ROM enablement? I don't think the HP BIOS in the t730 comes with a secure erase facility that wipes on power cycle, although I would not be surprised if it turned out to be the eMMC SSD that came with the machine...
 

z16nb

New Member
Aug 25, 2020
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Check the BIOS settings - reset it to default?
Could it be some weird option ROM enablement? I don't think the HP BIOS in the t730 comes with a secure erase facility that wipes on power cycle, although I would not be surprised if it turned out to be the eMMC SSD that came with the machine...
Looks like it was the ssd after all, even if no application said there was any kind of error. Once replaced everything worked just fine.

Thank you for your help!
 

Geran

Active Member
Oct 25, 2016
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Optanes are NVMe only, right? The M.2 slot is SATA only AFAIK, and using the PCIe x8 slot for an Optane just seems...pointless.
Yeah, I'm not going to use it in the PCIe slot as I have a NIC card for it already.
Yes correct, no NVMe support on M.2 slot of the T730.
Time to find a SATA m.2 now so I can set it up this weekend.
 

ilporcupine

New Member
Oct 12, 2020
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I don't remember the power button being capacitive, just light-touch and easy to press accidentally. It sounds like the switch in yours is either sticking on something or going bad if it's triggering when you're handling the machine. I'd try pressing it hard once (not so hard that you break it, just enough to free it or clear whatever's causing it to stick) and then contact the seller if that doesn't get it working normally. You could also try electronic contact cleaner on the switch but the seller might get cranky about a return if you do that so caveat emptor.
Mine doesn't power randomly, and button needs to be pressed, but it does power up when first plugged in, without button press. Maybe the issue he noticed...?
 

zuzuboy981

New Member
Aug 7, 2020
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Anyone using this as a dedicated pfsense box, can you measure the idle power consumption? Mine idles between 20-22W which is similar to my Optiplex 3020 w/ i5-4570T. I'm using the same quad i340 NIC on both.

Also, for some reason I'm unable to boot after installing ESXi 6.7 U3/7b2 on USB.

Edit3: Have been running ESXi 6.7 on it for a while now with a different quad-nic and it works perfectly fine.
Currently running OPNsense, PiHole and a unifi controller on it without any issues. :D
Would it possible for you to measure power consumption on ESXi with your entire setup?
 
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kgoosie

New Member
Nov 18, 2020
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After reading through this, has anyone experienced weird power issues with their T730? Mine, with just a little movement will actually send a shutdown signal to pfSense. At times it will not power up either.
 

WANg

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2018
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After reading through this, has anyone experienced weird power issues with their T730? Mine, with just a little movement will actually send a shutdown signal to pfSense. At times it will not power up either.
Sounds like a bad/borderline power supply? Pick up a spare on ebay (the real HP ones are about 20 USD, like this listing here...as long as its 19v, 90w+ and comes with a 7.4mm center barrel plug it'll work just fine - even the ones for the Dell Latitude 7400 series will do). You can also take it apart and reseat the motherboard - if the board is loose it might trigger the power button with vibration or something..
 

kgoosie

New Member
Nov 18, 2020
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Sounds like a bad/borderline power supply? Pick up a spare on ebay (the real HP ones are about 20 USD, like this listing here...as long as its 19v, 90w+ and comes with a 7.4mm center barrel plug it'll work just fine - even the ones for the Dell Latitude 7400 series will do). You can also take it apart and reseat the motherboard - if the board is loose it might trigger the power button with vibration or something..
The power supply I have is brand new. Not saying that isn't/wasn't the issue. I turned it on last night it surprisingly it was up for 15+ hours. So, I decided to look into it a little more, mainly the power button. Early indications, within this thread, it was thought to be a capacitive button due to the lightest touch turning it on/off. I even read in another post, I will try to link it below, that the motherboard was loose. So, yesterday I loosened the screws and pulled it towards the rear of the case and tightened the screws. No power button issues. I was able to hold the power button and shut the system down and restart it normally with no weird issues. I still didn't feel comfortable with the power button issue, especially if I were to use it as a pfSense box. So, I disassembled the machine, removing the motherboard to gain access to the power button. The power button on the motherboard does have an audible and tactile feel to it, but not the one on the case. With the motherboard removed I decided to grab my Dremel and shave down the post that would activate the power button, just a little bit. I can say that after assembly and testing the physical movement of the machine that it doesn't do any weird shut downs so far. I can actually move it around freely with no issues. Prior to this even plugging in a display port cable would cause it to turn on/off.

 

WANg

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2018
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The power supply I have is brand new. Not saying that isn't/wasn't the issue. I turned it on last night it surprisingly it was up for 15+ hours. So, I decided to look into it a little more, mainly the power button. Early indications, within this thread, it was thought to be a capacitive button due to the lightest touch turning it on/off. I even read in another post, I will try to link it below, that the motherboard was loose. So, yesterday I loosened the screws and pulled it towards the rear of the case and tightened the screws. No power button issues. I was able to hold the power button and shut the system down and restart it normally with no weird issues. I still didn't feel comfortable with the power button issue, especially if I were to use it as a pfSense box. So, I disassembled the machine, removing the motherboard to gain access to the power button. The power button on the motherboard does have an audible and tactile feel to it, but not the one on the case. With the motherboard removed I decided to grab my Dremel and shave down the post that would activate the power button, just a little bit. I can say that after assembly and testing the physical movement of the machine that it doesn't do any weird shut downs so far. I can actually move it around freely with no issues. Prior to this even plugging in a display port cable would cause it to turn on/off.

Eh, no, it was not a capacitive button - I wrote the response refuting the capacitive button theory on the other thread back in May 2020 and pointed out the fact that it was a microswitch, and like that thread said, it was likely a chassis fitment issue or a wobbly power supply.
 

WANg

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2018
1,240
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Just a quick update - the HP Microserver Gen 7/N40L was upgraded from FreeNAS 11.1 U7 to TrueNAS Core 12.0 over the weekend.
The following were done:

a) The FreeNAS config was exported
b) A new Silicon Power 256GB SATA SSD was purchased during Black Friday, and using some pretty standard tricks via a TrueNAS core installer ISO, a SATA->USB2 adapter, VMWare Player running on a Windows 10 laptop, TrueNAS core was installed
c) The t730 running VMWare ESXi 6.5U3 and the N40L were gracefully shut down and deracked for general cleaning/servicing
d) The N40L was opened up for dusting, and the top optical bay was opened up where previously installed SATA power and data cables were used to connect the 256GB SSD containing the TrueNAS Core install (in addition to the 4 4TB HDDs on the chassis, this will be drive 5)
e) The 16GB Toshiba USB3 drive (running on an internal USB2 port) previously used to house FreeNAS 11.1 was removed
f) Keyboard, monitor and networking was temporary connected on my workbench - during the next boot up the machine HDD configuration was changed so the 256GB SSD will be set to drive 1, and the machine is also set to boot from there.
g) TrueNAS booted up as a new install, see the existing zpool and migrated things over. Since it booted up as a “new” machine is connected to the network as DHCP. Logged into the UI using the DHCP address, and restored the configuration. The config load prompted a reboot
h) The machine took the config bundle and ran some migrations from FreeNAS to TrueNAS core equivalents, then triggered a reboot
i) After the reboot the 40GbE Mellanox ConnectX3 VPI seemingly disappeared from the network interfaces. Turned out that it was booted onto IB (Infiniband) mode. A sysctl tunable to set it back to eth mode took care of that.
After the machine demonstrated no issuers with the new OS and file sharing services ran as before, the machine(s) were returned to the rack. Then the VMWare VMs restarted without issues.

Things to note -

- The Silicon Power SSD is only connected to the machine via SATA150/original SATA speeds. As a DRAM-less cheap SSD this is not that important. It’s at least much faster than the 16GB USB thumb drive that ran FreeNAS 11. In fact, the USB2 internal port has been a hindrance to me installing any version of FreeNAS above 11.1U7. This does help significantly with future proofing the machine (for now).

- The N40L is still having issues with 16GB of RAM - sometimes it boots on 8, and sometimes on 16.

- iSCSI connectivity with VMWare didn’t work immediately as anticipated. The plan is to migrate out of iSCSI into NFSv4 later on, and getting rid of VMWare ESXi 6.5U3 in favor of Proxmox. The t740 hypervisor is almost ready to take over from the t730. The challenge here is to figure out how to migrate the VMs from ESXi to Proxmox gracefully. A few of the VMs will probably not be migrated over.

In the mid-future the 4 drive zpool will likely need to be redone from raidz1 to raidz2 or raidz10, and much less space will be delegated to the iSCSI extents/NFSv4 data store. I am also hoping that the upcoming Gen11 Microserver is less weak-sauce when it comes to internal layouts - I love this N40L but it is seriously getting long in the tooth. I mean, sheesh, HPe, will it kill you to include either a pair of M.2 slots, SD card slots or internal bootable USB3 ports?
 
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HTS1

New Member
Dec 26, 2019
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Question for everyone using the T730 with ESXi 6.7 U2/U3 (due to the realtek nic/etc) ... has anyone had issues running Windows 2016 or 2019 vm on the T730? For some odd reason, every single one of my installs has bombed out in some way. Initially it was during the install process ... I downloaded and uploaded the ISO multiple times to get that error to go away (may have also been due to me removing usb controller from the vm).

One thing to relate is that I am running it off a external USB hdd. Pfsense vm runs fine. My lubuntu vm on the external hdd runs fine.

But, now that it's installed, logging into the Windows OS, it always gets a black screen ... i can send ctrl alt del to bring up taskmanager and try to run something but that never opens up okay either (just the black screen). I've tried fiddling with the default video settings. It does this both with 2016 and 2019 install. It's super odd behavior.