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Lenovo Thinkcentre/ThinkStation Tiny (Project TinyMiniMicro) Reference Thread

Parallax

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Nov 8, 2020
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Make sure the laptop SATA connector has the same number of pins. Several of the ones I looked at appeared to have a different number. My naked SSD is currently wrapped in electrical tape to prevent shorts and is wedged against the back of my NIC. Since these drives live their life in an enclosed plastic space I figured the electrical tape wouldn't make it cook but it's a good reminder that I should check the SMART data for temps just to verify.
I'm trying a Lenovo laptop one (which seems identical to the HP and Dell ones, but whatever) but thanks for the tip. It's just that £4.17 delivered is way more attractive and ecological than £26 delivered and I have to throw away the caddy.
 

adman_c

Active Member
Feb 14, 2016
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I'm trying a Lenovo laptop one (which seems identical to the HP and Dell ones, but whatever) but thanks for the tip. It's just that £4.17 delivered is way more attractive and ecological than £26 delivered and I have to throw away the caddy.
Let us know how it goes! Those prices are tough--at least here I can grab the cable/caddy for $15. But you're definitely right about the e-waste component, seeing as how that caddy will never find use in a P350.

As I expected, the SATA drive is perfectly happy, running at 33C, even though it's wrapped in tape and stuffed inside a 1L chassis with minimal airflow. Also, for applications that require only a single SFP+ port, the Mellanox CX311a is really great. Tiny and it produces less heat than the SuperMicro AOC-STGN-i2S.
 

rafale77

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Sep 28, 2020
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Well, this has been a bit of a journey :

VersionInventoryOS / HypervisorUsecase
Pre home lab ("the wilderness years")HP Microserver iterations, N36L/N40L/N54L/Gen8Xpenology / NoHome file sharing
1.0HP Microserver Gen10+Open Media Vault / KVMHome file sharing, media "acquisition" via container, LXCs
2.0HP Micro Gen10+, M720q (router)Open Media Vault / ProxmoxHome media, better network protection, Docker
3.0 ("the Covid edition")HP Micro Gen10+, 2x M720q, 4x M920qOpen Media Vault / ProxmoxHome media, network modelling, firewalling, monitoring, learn k8s, Rancher
4.0 ("I'm too ESXi")HP Micro Gen10+, 2x M720q, 4x M920qProxmox (HP Micro) / ESXiHome media, learn ESXi/NSX-T, visibility/monitoring, k8s, Harvester, Elastiflow
4.5 ("the winds of change")HP Micro Gen10+, 2x M720q, 4x 2x M920q, 2x M70q, Firewalla PurpleOpen Media Vault (HP Micro) / ESXiHome media, Home Assistant, simplification and consolidation, proxying and authentication, Git and GitOps
5.0 ("the next generation")HP Micro Gen10+, 2x P350, 2x M70q, Firewalla PurpleOpen Media Vault (HP Micro) / ESXiHome media, Home Assistant, various work-related experiments to do with zero trust
5.1 (coming this weekend)HP Micro Gen10+, 2x 4x P350, 2x M70q, Firewalla PurpleESXiA major tidy up and redesign of workloads
I see, so you caugh the upgraditis variant of COVID... :p
 

adman_c

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Feb 14, 2016
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mark118

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Jun 7, 2022
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some notes from having installed 3x p350 Tinys for business and having 1 for pleasure

amt/me/vpro through meshcommander is really cool, only just getting into business/enterprise hardware this is mind blowing that I can get into bios or attach a virtual iso and boot with out having to use a separate mouse/keyboard/screen. When you change the bios ME password in bios the first time you have to use a fairly complex password or you will get a non descript error. ctrl -p on start-up to access the ME settings page

the tiny ii psu cage for the sandwich/vesa mount doesn't seem to be big enough for the 170w psu of the p350tiny unless I am being an idiot

be careful with the vesa mount ii also as on the cheap dell screen I tried to use this on the bottom two vesa screw holes were kind of curved and too recessed in for the length of screw the mount provides, luckily enough the top 2 were just long enough to catch but it was close. The screws are weird with a kind of lip/ledge for the mount bracket to slide onto, no idea if you can get longer ones.

The os recovery media from lenovo is good as it puts you on the latest windows 10 pro 21H2 right away. you have to enter your serial number and use the annoying lenovo usb creator but could be faster than sitting through 2 years of windows updates. I know most people here are dumping windows right away but just in case it helps anyone!
 
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Parallax

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Nov 8, 2020
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London, UK
I see, so you caugh the upgraditis variant of COVID... :p
Well, sorta. What happened is that because of Covid we could no longer get people in to our lab facilities (they're in NJ), so I could no longer evaluate new designs and vendor solutions. After about 3 months of Covid I was really struggling to get much done - my job is to define overall technical strategy for security and network at a bank - without anywhere to test things out. So I decided to deploy a lab at home and do my own testing.

I've reached a point in my career where I'm really not hands on servers and routers and I was never a developer, so it was a really, really steep learning curve for me to go from dabbling in containers to deploying things like ContainerLabs to experiment with network designs, where I also had to learn the CLI of the routers as I went, deploying hypervisors, distributed storage, monitoring, and so on. After two and a half years of a lot of difficulty I still have lots to learn - but it's been very beneficial to my job being able to prototype ideas at home before proposing them at work.

In the latest round I've downsized the lab to four Tinys plus the HP (for storage) as more CPU power has become available and power has got more expensive, but my last lab setup lasted over two years and the Gen10+ is staying. While selling the (second hand) lab kit recently I've got 70-80% of what I paid for it back, which is very good value retention for second hand computer equipment over a couple of years - thanks Covid for the supply chain issues! ;)

Effectively the Gen10+ and one Tiny run 24/7 to provide home services and central control/monitoring, vSphere etc with the other Tinys powered down. They (will) spin up somewhat automatically through vSphere as required, since I need three for a full HA k8s lab setup.
 

Helzy

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Oct 19, 2017
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The os recovery media from lenovo is good as it puts you on the latest windows 10 pro 21H2 right away. you have to enter your serial number and use the annoying lenovo usb creator but could be faster than sitting through 2 years of windows updates. I know most people here are dumping windows right away but just in case it helps anyone!
Do you have to contact Lenovo support? I don't see a Lenovo specific media creation tool for d/l but I might be a bozo too lol
 

adman_c

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Feb 14, 2016
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No you can do it all on the site, where you download bios and drivers, click "drivers & software" then click "order recovery media"

This is cool, but you can also just download the 21H2 ISO directly from Microsoft. Since the Windows Pro key is tied to the machine/BIOS, you don't even have to enter a key--it just installs and activates automatically.
 

rafale77

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Sep 28, 2020
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I have not. Do you have links/how tos you can share?
Forgot to reply to this. A lot depends on what OS you run on it. It's fairly easy using a tool like throttlestop. I wrote a simple guide on another forum for MacOS. It's potentially trickier if done other OS. I considered trying to do it at the MSR register/BIOS level so it can be OS agnostic but... Have not gotten to it and I don't know if it is even feasible.
 

adman_c

Active Member
Feb 14, 2016
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Chicago
Forgot to reply to this. A lot depends on what OS you run on it. It's fairly easy using a tool like throttlestop. I wrote a simple guide on another forum for MacOS. It's potentially trickier if done other OS. I considered trying to do it at the MSR register/BIOS level so it can be OS agnostic but... Have not gotten to it and I don't know if it is even feasible.
Linux would be the primary os for these boxes for me.
 

Helzy

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Oct 19, 2017
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No you can do it all on the site, where you download bios and drivers, click "drivers & software" then click "order recovery media"

Doesn't work for me, tried downloading with a serial number in warranty for another 800 days on my Lenovo account. All I can get is the Lenovo Media Creation Tool, no .ISO or other image file.
 

mark118

New Member
Jun 7, 2022
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Doesn't work for me, tried downloading with a serial number in warranty for another 800 days on my Lenovo account. All I can get is the Lenovo Media Creation Tool, no .ISO or other image file.
You should receive an email saying you have made an order, when you open the recovery tool you login to your account and can download and create the key
 

rafale77

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Sep 28, 2020
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I know you modded the BIOS on yours, do you know whether a BIOS mod is necessary for these voltage changes to work?
I did not modify my BIOS. I technically changed a couple of bits in the UEFI MSR registers. It's rather an area of NVRAM which stores BIOS settings.
For these changes to work, I did have to disable the OC lock. I described the process here.
 
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Helzy

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I did not modify my BIOS. I technically changed a couple of bits in the UEFI MSR registers. It's rather an area of NVRAM which stores BIOS settings.
For these changes to work, I did have to disable the OC lock. I described the process here.
Going tangential, as while reading your process thread at the link, I noticed you have fit a Radeon Pro WX4100 in your P340 Tiny. Thoughts on the video card and more pics? How did you secure the card? Like seeing different options like that. I have a P340 begging for a dGPU lol.
 

rafale77

Member
Sep 28, 2020
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Going tangential, as while reading your process thread at the link, I noticed you have fit a Radeon Pro WX4100 in your P340 Tiny. Thoughts on the video card and more pics? How did you secure the card? Like seeing different options like that. I have a P340 begging for a dGPU lol.
Indeed, It is the most recent MacOS compatible card which could fit in the machine. And it is a super tight fit….
The card runs great but had it not been for the purpose of running MacOS, I would have used an nVidia T1000.
The fit is so tight that there is no extra securing needed. The locking mechanism of the PCIE slot along with the side screw which secures the adapter bracket is enough. The rear baffle is left open as the baffle bracket for the nVidia cards don’t match the AMD one. The front of the unit interferes with the WIFI antenna bracket… only very slightly, so I took it out altogether and am using third party antennae which I have installed in the front bezel outside of the metal frame.Obviously those antennae have a longer cable.
 
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Helzy

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Ahh very good, I wondered, it looked to be about 2cm too long, figured the ports must have to stick out the back or be right along the edge.

Edit that doesn't make sense at all, pretty standard depth, this the wifi shift. Got it.
 
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