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Lenovo Thinkcentre/ThinkStation Tiny (Project TinyMiniMicro) Reference Thread

poulpor

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Jul 1, 2022
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Thanks very much for this. Would you be ok if I added this to the original post (with attribution to you, of course)?
Sure, but no need for attribution, I just followed the Dortania's guide part regarding CFG_Lock turn off, when I "hackintoshed" my M720Q. Thanks to this guide, I understood it was possible to modify other hidden Bios features, we're lucky Lenovo didn't lock it! On the Lenovo thread, brandon099 did a good job at explaining the process to enable thunderbolt card support on M720Q after I explained him the basics by private messages, so I suppose attribution should go to him and dortania who provided easy guides.

Some examples, my M720Q bios version is M1UKT62A M1UKT67A, so regarding this version and after creating a grub USB boot disk like brandon099 explained (or an OpenCore one, for hackintosh):

-enable Thunderbolt 3 card to function on M720Q (spare part 01AJ968 ):
setup_var_cv Setup 0x521 0x01 0x01

-Turn Off CFG-Lock (mostly for hackintosh I suppose):
setup_var_cv Setup 0x721 0x01 0x00

-Allow CPU undervolting and PL1 PL2 settings with tools like throttlestop, Voltageshift (for hackintosh), intel-undervolt (linux,didn't try this yet but will do). I Was very motivated by this one because I've installed an ES i9 9900 in my M720Q, so, the cooler the better (even replaced the default aluminium heatsink by the copper one which equips M920x/P330, spare part 01MN631)...
setup_var_cv Setup 0x7BD 0x01 0x00

I recently bought another used M720Q with i3 9100T cpu for 120€. Will add an I340-T4 nic for a start and try to install and understand proxmox... Then install openwrt and some docker oriented VM on it.

EDIT: added a voltageshift screenshot for example of my ES i9-9900 undervolting.
voltageshift.png

EDIT 2:
forgot about it, regarding my DIY egpu, I suppose it won't be very interesting for a server but, who knows, you'll need:
- Lenovo riser (took the 01AJ929, because ADT-Link R23SG is pci-e x4).
- ADT-Link R23SG (random aliexpress link, but this one has nice describing pics, prefer the 50cm long cable one)
- ADT-Link R22SF extender (random aliexpress link, optional but with some tweaking, it will do a nice pci-e x4 female port at the rear of your Tiny, for easier cable management. I took the 10cm cable option, it's a bit long but OK, this way you can even keep the 2.5" SSD if you remove its caddy).
- a psu, preferably Small Form Factor if you plan to put all this stuff in a case, or a cheap Dell DA-2 adapter if your gpu needs less than 200W.
- a case + some fans (optional, it can be 3D printed, really cheap but effective, or scavenged from a dead UPS like mine).

Pros:
- cheaper than thunderbolt solution (Razer/Mantiz/etc thunderbolt egpu cases and Lenovo thunderbolt 3 card 01AJ968 are expensive)
- will work with linux, hackintosh, windows and others, it's just a pci-e port, no thunderbolt firmware/drivers hassles.
- you own a tiny beast, able to run any games or 3D softwares flawlessly.

Cons:
- will require some DIY work.
- only pci-e x4 speed so expect lesser performances (I would say 15%) compared to x16, but it's still very good (some benchmarks from my good old 1080ti).
 
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djpbessems

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Apr 13, 2022
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I've bought my parts from lenovopartsales.com (prices are reasonable, but buy in larger quantities though because shipping is a high flat fee); they are Lenovo's official reseller based in EU (Netherlands).

Even though you have to provide a VAT registration number during account registration, it is not used for shipments.
(so I just provided Lenovo's own VAT registration number)
 

cromo

Member
Jun 6, 2019
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I've bought my parts from lenovopartsales.com (prices are reasonable, but buy in larger quantities though because shipping is a high flat fee);
Thanks! I just checked and a complete set of all 3 components comes up to €46,31, which is already more what I'd pay on eBay, and that doesn't even include shipping :| I guess I'll have to stomach the expense.
 

Sealside

Member
May 10, 2019
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Stockholm/Sweden
I have ordered a M920Q with the i5 9500T. Going to run Opnsense bare metal with a Mellanox X3 Pro 10G
Upgrading from a Qotom i5 (Which has been absolutely great since I got it back in 2017)
 
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zer0sum

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2013
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I have ordered a M920Q with the i5 9500T. Going to run Opnsense bare metal with a Mellanox X3 Pro 10G
Upgrading from a Qotom i5 (Which has been absolutely great since I got it back in 2017)
You're going to love it!! :D

I have one with an 8500T and run Proxmox, and various firewalls including OPNsense and it easily handles layer 4 firewall/nat at 2+ Gbps :)
 
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adman_c

Active Member
Feb 14, 2016
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You're going to love it!! :D

I have one with an 8500T and run Proxmox, and various firewalls including OPNsense and it easily handles layer 4 firewall/nat at 2+ Gbps :)
And an i3-8100T will handle L3 routing in a virtualized pfsense install (with NIC passed through) at ~7-7.5 Gbps. About 30% slower if you virtualize the NICs. These things make awesome little 10G firewall/routers.
 
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gamerlamer

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Aug 31, 2019
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Do you have any pics of this?
Here it is. If you plan on using a file to remove the material, please cover all the ports and components inside the unit to prevent metal shavings from entering. Take an additional step and blow the unit out with compressed air afterwards. I have done this to (2) of my units and its works great.

Again, this is to accommodate the m720q/p330 brackets in the m90q/p340 which can be purchased from kz476 over on Reddit. Hope this helps :).
 

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GenDufour

New Member
Jul 9, 2022
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The M70/80/90q (both generations) need the Community Networking Driver Fling to be installed - same as the later Intel NUCs - in order for the onboard NIC to function.
Interestingly the Intel I219-LM and I219-V drivers are supposedly native in ESXi 7U3d, yet the NIC doesn't get recognized during installation...

I got 11MQ002MMZ's on a good deal and with the newest ESXi installation media, it errors at "No Network Adapters" so I assume something is amiss in the ESXi ISO. I've tried creating the custom ISO as shown in the link(Thank you very much for that! It's great to have it!) to no avail
(Error opening file object for VIB 'VMW_bootbank_vmkusb-nic-fling_1.10-1vmw.703.0.50.55634242': Expected value '[]' for attribute 'swplatforms', but found value '[<vmware.esximage.Vib.SoftwarePlatform object at 0x000002178E285488>]).

Has anyone of you been successful in creating a custom ISO with the newest ESXi & NIC Fling?
 

zer0sum

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2013
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Here it is. If you plan on using a file to remove the material, please cover all the ports and components inside the unit to prevent metal shavings from entering. Take an additional step and blow the unit out with compressed air afterwards. I have done this to (2) of my units and its works great.

Again, this is to accommodate the m720q/p330 brackets in the m90q/p340 which can be purchased from kz476 over on Reddit. Hope this helps :).
Wait...you filed down a $600+ m90q made out of metal, instead of a $5 plastic 3d printed bracket?

Wild choice!! :cool:
 

adman_c

Active Member
Feb 14, 2016
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Wait...you filed down a $600+ m90q made out of metal, instead of a $5 plastic 3d printed bracket?

Wild choice!! :cool:
While I appreciate the ingenuity, that’s not the choice that I would (will) make. I’m going to try and work with kz476 to get some tiny6 brackets printed.
 

gamerlamer

New Member
Aug 31, 2019
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Wait...you filed down a $600+ m90q made out of metal, instead of a $5 plastic 3d printed bracket?

Wild choice!! :cool:
Agreed. It was more of a convenience for me (backwards compatibility and switching between multiple cards etc). You can do the same to the bracket instead. Same end result.
 
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Helzy

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Oct 19, 2017
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Can you secure the bracket with a screw? Looks like there is a gap there maybe just me
 

mark118

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Jun 7, 2022
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I am having trouble changing the boot image logo, I copied the logo.jpg to the usb stick and I get into the shell, but when I do compress.efi logo.jpg I get "open source file failed: no such file or directory. I know I am probably doing something stupid any help would be appreciated!
 

ms357

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Jul 9, 2022
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Any idea where I can find a P350 Tiny PCIe x16 riser (part #5C50W00877) for sensible money? The only place that seems to have them in stock is Aliexpress, and they're gouging the heck out of the price over there


The riser for the older P330 tinys seems relatively plentiful on eBay, but I've compared these to photos of the newer one and the older riser has fewer pins on the motherboard connector so it's unlikely to be compatible.

I refuse to pay £60 / $70 for a basic PCB that probably cost $2 to make.
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
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London, UK
Interestingly the Intel I219-LM and I219-V drivers are supposedly native in ESXi 7U3d, yet the NIC doesn't get recognized during installation...

I got 11MQ002MMZ's on a good deal and with the newest ESXi installation media, it errors at "No Network Adapters" so I assume something is amiss in the ESXi ISO. I've tried creating the custom ISO as shown in the link(Thank you very much for that! It's great to have it!) to no avail
(Error opening file object for VIB 'VMW_bootbank_vmkusb-nic-fling_1.10-1vmw.703.0.50.55634242': Expected value '[]' for attribute 'swplatforms', but found value '[<vmware.esximage.Vib.SoftwarePlatform object at 0x000002178E285488>]).

Has anyone of you been successful in creating a custom ISO with the newest ESXi & NIC Fling?
Yes. When following the guide, you have to update the file references to the latest Fling and ESXi versions I'm afraid. Also, if you're using Powershell, use version 5.

I've tried to avoid having to maintain a guide on how to update a custom ESXi image, but the ones I linked to are getting a bit old unfortunately.
 

GenDufour

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Jul 9, 2022
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Yes. When following the guide, you have to update the file references to the latest Fling and ESXi versions I'm afraid. Also, if you're using Powershell, use version 5.
Interesting. I've updated the file references to both latest version and I had the same issues as the commenters on the guides site. There are two bugs filed for the Fling that show the same errors that we had (Bug 1, Bug 2). Just want to document this if somebody else runs into these problems and reads through the thread. :D

However, I did get it to work with another guide by the same author. I'll post the link later if I remember. It's not much different, but in the end it worked for me

Thank you for creating this gold-mine of a thread!
 
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Parallax

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Nov 8, 2020
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Interesting. I've updated the file references to both latest version and I had the same issues as the commenters on the guides site. There are two bugs filed for the Fling that show the same errors that we had (Bug 1, Bug 2). Just want to document this if somebody else runs into these problems and reads through the thread. :D

However, I did get it to work with another guide by the same author. I'll post the link later if I remember. It's not much different, but in the end it worked for me
Those relate to the USB Fling, but you're right it's probably the same root cause.

All the recent NUCs need the network Fling too so I'm pretty sure it'll get fixed sooner rather than later. ESXi works natively up to the Mx20q series but you do need the Fling after that.

I set up my custom ISO through the vSphere Lifecycle Manager, but this creates another annoying problem I haven't yet looked into solving - since my existing installs were done on a different base image it wants me to reinstall them with the new image. Why can't it just patch the existing install?
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
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London, UK
Any idea where I can find a P350 Tiny PCIe x16 riser (part #5C50W00877) for sensible money? The only place that seems to have them in stock is Aliexpress, and they're gouging the heck out of the price over there
<snip>
I refuse to pay £60 / $70 for a basic PCB that probably cost $2 to make.
Yeah, it's a problem. I'm hoping this is a temporary issue relating to component shortages and it'll resolve itself during the northern summer.

If you think that's bad, the standard chassis screw (at the back, which you take out to access the internals) is a £25 spare part, which is why I added its size to the original post. It's a good move to replace it with a thumbscrew anyway.