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Introduction to the HP t640 Thin client - your cheap little AMD NUC7 alternative

patrick80

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Jan 23, 2021
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Thank you for the extensive write-up about these machines WANg. I just ordered one of these off ebay. I recently got a few things running on a Raspberry Pi 3, and I'm concerned about the SD card failing and this machine seems to be the perfect upgrade with lots of excess capacity.

Does anyone have a recommendation for memory upgrades? I was just looking at Newegg and Amazon for DDR4-2400 SODIMMS, but there are a variety of CAS latency timings available. Is there anything I should seek out or avoid?
 

WANg

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Jun 10, 2018
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Thank you for the extensive write-up about these machines WANg. I just ordered one of these off ebay. I recently got a few things running on a Raspberry Pi 3, and I'm concerned about the SD card failing and this machine seems to be the perfect upgrade with lots of excess capacity.

Does anyone have a recommendation for memory upgrades? I was just looking at Newegg and Amazon for DDR4-2400 SODIMMS, but there are a variety of CAS latency timings available. Is there anything I should seek out or avoid?
Nothing specific - it’s a standard Raven ridge memory controller and should “just work” - I would say that in general, don’t go with anything smaller than whatever the machine comes with, and always buy the RAM in pairs to take advantage of dual channels. Anything over DDR4-2400 will simply be downclocked, but since 2666 laptop RAM is fairly cheap these days they would work just fine.

I ran a sister machine(t740) with a pair of 32GB DDR4-2666/CL18 (G.Skills Ripjaws), and it works just fine.
 

patrick80

New Member
Jan 23, 2021
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Nothing specific - it’s a standard Raven ridge memory controller and should “just work” - I would say that in general, don’t go with anything smaller than whatever the machine comes with, and always buy the RAM in pairs to take advantage of dual channels. Anything over DDR4-2400 will simply be downclocked, but since 2666 laptop RAM is fairly cheap these days they would work just fine.

I ran a sister machine(t740) with a pair of 32GB DDR4-2666/CL18 (G.Skills Ripjaws), and it works just fine.
Thank you. I'll see if I can find anything reasonably priced. I've got a larger SSD on the way, and the t640 should be in my hands before the end of the week. I'm looking forward to having something new to tinker with.

I also see that the onboard ethernet controller is Realtek. Do you know if that will function with a fresh Ubuntu installation or if I have to do some more work to get it to work?
 

patrick80

New Member
Jan 23, 2021
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Thank you. I'll see if I can find anything reasonably priced. I've got a larger SSD on the way, and the t640 should be in my hands before the end of the week. I'm looking forward to having something new to tinker with.

I also see that the onboard ethernet controller is Realtek. Do you know if that will function with a fresh Ubuntu installation or if I have to do some more work to get it to work?
To answer my own question, the Realtek ethernet works on a fresh install of Ubuntu server without additional configuration. I installed the OS first without having an ethernet cable plugged in and tried to configure the interface and DHCP client after the install, but after editing one config file without success, I gave up and reinstalled the OS with a network cable plugged in. This time the Ubuntu installer picked it up and automatically configured it for me.

Also, I saw earlier in the thread there was some speculation about NVMe drives working. I installed a 500gb NVMe drive and it works just fine. This is the one I used: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07YFF3JCN/
 

Hifihedgehog

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Feb 26, 2021
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I've been using one of these as an HTPC for a while now and, for the most part, it works great.

One thing I didn't realize when I bought it, though, is that it only has DisplayPort 1.2 ports, which don't support HDR. As I'm currently experimenting with 4K HDR playback, this is a bummer.

Does anyone know anything about the HDMI Option Port add-on that is supposedly available for these systems? I can't seem to dig up any info on it (like, for example, the HDMI version or part number so I can determine if adding a native HDMI output would get me 4K HDR support).
Are you certain DisplayPort 1.4 is not working? I know that officially AMD supports DisplayPort 1.4 for the DisplayPort outputs on this processor line. What happened with first generation Raven Ridge like the 2400F is motherboard were only officially tested up to HDMI 1.4 but they still worked fine with HDMI 2.0 since the processor drives the monitor. I believe in some cases the motherboard manufacturers limited the output artificially in firmware but Linux drivers were set to bypass this firmware flag.
 

Dave Corder

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Dec 21, 2015
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Are you certain DisplayPort 1.4 is not working? I know that officially AMD supports DisplayPort 1.4 for the DisplayPort outputs on this processor line. What happened with first generation Raven Ridge like the 2400F is motherboard were only officially tested up to HDMI 1.4 but they still worked fine with HDMI 2.0 since the processor drives the monitor. I believe in some cases the motherboard manufacturers limited the output artificially in firmware but Linux drivers were set to bypass this firmware flag.
The official specs for this model specifically state "DisplayPort 1.2": HP t640 Thin Client Specifications | HP® Customer Support

However, it makes no mention of the HDMI version for the HDMI option port.

I played with it for a while and even installed the AMD driver package instead of letting Windows do its thing with drivers, but no luck. But, I'm also not sure I have a DP 1.4 to HDMI adapter (might only be DP 1.2). I might give a different adapter a try if you're fairly confident of might actually work...
 
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Hifihedgehog

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Feb 26, 2021
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The official specs for this model specifically state "DisplayPort 1.2": HP t640 Thin Client Specifications | HP® Customer Support

However, it makes no mention of the HDMI version for the HDMI option port.

I played with it for a while and even installed the AMD driver package instead of letting Windows do its thing with drivers, but no luck. But, I'm also not sure I have a DP 1.4 to HDMI adapter (might only be DP 1.2). I might give a different adapter a try if you're fairly confident of might actually work...
I am not certain, so I would have to try this out first to give a definitive yes or no answer to this.

As a point of fact, Raven Ridge had a similar situation occur at launch which may also apply here which I personally had a hand in organizing a community effort to investigation. The Ryzen APUs then processor officially supported HDMI 2.0 but most motherboard makers for B350 and X370 only paid to be licensed up through HDMI 1.4. The end discovery was the motherboard made no difference since the processor was directly driving the signal. The motherboard makers had only paid for testing certification up through the older iteration but that in way limited support for HDMI 2.0z Only in the case of certain Linux distributions that explicitly read the BIOS tables to see what the official support level was was HDMI specification limited, which, in that case, was an artificial limitation since the hardware was more than up to the task. As memory serves me, those silly Linux limitations have since been lifted in the distribution driver packages.

Cutting to the chase, though, I am not sure if there is a global BIOS restriction in place here that would restrict DisplayPort 1.4 from occurring no matter what. The documentation from AMD clearly states the processor most definitely supports DisplayPort 1.4, but there is no telling how heavy-handed HP got in their design and if they are enforcing their advertised support level of DisplayPort aggressively or even at all.

The only way to truly find out is to test a DP 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 adapter that has HDR support and see if the HDR works or not. To that end, I am going to try this adapter out as soon as my unit comes in next week.
 
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Dave Corder

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Dec 21, 2015
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I am not certain, so I would have to try this out first to give a definitive yes or no answer to this.

As a point of fact, Raven Ridge had a similar situation occur at launch which may also apply here which I personally had a hand in organizing a community effort to investigation. The Ryzen APUs then processor officially supported HDMI 2.0 but most motherboard makers for B350 and X370 only paid to be licensed up through HDMI 1.4. The end discovery was the motherboard made no difference since the processor was directly driving the signal. The motherboard makers had only paid for testing certification up through the older iteration but that in way limited support for HDMI 2.0z Only in the case of certain Linux distributions that explicitly read the BIOS tables to see what the official support level was was HDMI specification limited, which, in that case, was an artificial limitation since the hardware was more than up to the task. As memory serves me, those silly Linux limitations have since been lifted in the distribution driver packages.

Cutting to the chase, though, I am not sure if there is a global BIOS restriction in place here that would restrict DisplayPort 1.4 from occurring no matter what. The documentation from AMD clearly states the processor most definitely supports DisplayPort 1.4, but there is no telling how heavy-handed HP got in their design and if they are enforcing their advertised support level of DisplayPort aggressively or even at all.

The only way to truly find out is to test a DP 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 adapter that has HDR support and see if the HDR works or not. To that end, I am going to try this adapter out as soon as my unit comes in next week.
Hmm, interesting. I do recall seeing that the APU supports DP 1.4, but I've seen a handful of systems based on it that only claim to support DP 1.2.

I checked my Amazon order history and if I'm using the adapter I think I'm using, it's only DP 1.2 in the first place. So maybe that was my issue all along (though I seem to recall I couldn't get 1080p 30Hz HDR to work, which in theory should have based on bandwidth requirements, but I may be mis-remembering). I've ordered a couple of different adapters to try out (one adapter and one direct cable)...they should be here tomorrow so maybe I'll get a chance to test tomorrow night after the kids go to bed. I'll be very curious to see what happens for you and me...
 
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Dave Corder

Active Member
Dec 21, 2015
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I am not certain, so I would have to try this out first to give a definitive yes or no answer to this.

As a point of fact, Raven Ridge had a similar situation occur at launch which may also apply here which I personally had a hand in organizing a community effort to investigation. The Ryzen APUs then processor officially supported HDMI 2.0 but most motherboard makers for B350 and X370 only paid to be licensed up through HDMI 1.4. The end discovery was the motherboard made no difference since the processor was directly driving the signal. The motherboard makers had only paid for testing certification up through the older iteration but that in way limited support for HDMI 2.0z Only in the case of certain Linux distributions that explicitly read the BIOS tables to see what the official support level was was HDMI specification limited, which, in that case, was an artificial limitation since the hardware was more than up to the task. As memory serves me, those silly Linux limitations have since been lifted in the distribution driver packages.

Cutting to the chase, though, I am not sure if there is a global BIOS restriction in place here that would restrict DisplayPort 1.4 from occurring no matter what. The documentation from AMD clearly states the processor most definitely supports DisplayPort 1.4, but there is no telling how heavy-handed HP got in their design and if they are enforcing their advertised support level of DisplayPort aggressively or even at all.

The only way to truly find out is to test a DP 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 adapter that has HDR support and see if the HDR works or not. To that end, I am going to try this adapter out as soon as my unit comes in next week.
Well I'll be damned, 4K HDR does seem to be working! I'm currently using this adapter: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B077JB28KM/ and I am able to enable HDR in WIndows and I'm currently watching some 4k HDR content from my Plex server via Plex for Kodi and Kodi 19 with HDR enabled (confirmed to be direct playing). My TV lacks the ability to tell me if it's receiving HDR content, but it definitely looks different than what I'm used to! Playback is a bit stuttery still...I have some tweaking to do, but oh man am I a happy camper right now!

Edit: actually I just finally figured out how to see what kind of signal my tv is receiving, and it is indeed getting an HDR10 signal from my T640. Woot!
 
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Hifihedgehog

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Feb 26, 2021
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Well I'll be ****, 4K HDR does seem to be working! I'm currently using this adapter: https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B077JB28KM/ and I am able to enable HDR in WIndows and I'm currently watching some 4k HDR content from my Plex server via Plex for Kodi and Kodi 19 with HDR enabled (confirmed to be direct playing). My TV lacks the ability to tell me if it's receiving HDR content, but it definitely looks different than what I'm used to! Playback is a bit stuttery still...I have some tweaking to do, but oh man am I a happy camper right now!

Edit: actually I just finally figured out how to see what kind of signal my tv is receiving, and it is indeed getting an HDR10 signal from my T640. Woot!
That's awesome and absolutely delightful news! I figured the DP certification may be a similar situation to the HDMI 2.0 certification fiasco with Ryzen 2000 APUs and the B350/X370 motherboards that I experienced first-hand in 2018. I'll be sure to pass this valuable bit of information along to some folks on Reddit who will be simply pleased as punch to hear this news. It's amazing to think what this little guy can do as a $100 HTPC.