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Lenovo Thinkcentre/ThinkStation Tiny (Project TinyMiniMicro) Reference Thread

Danjo

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Aug 10, 2022
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Sounds a little like the problem at the top of this page, which didn't get a resolution. I would suggest the usual things, update firmwares etc, and then I would look at temperatures if you can and make sure you're not shorting something somewhere. The slot itself is only 8x, irrespective of the riser.

A 65W power supply may be the issue. It's not super efficient, so you're perhaps only getting 55W in reality; plus the processor is not really capped at 35W, it will use more if it can. So 5-10W on your card and 5-10W in storage, motherboard etc and it's possible the power is insufficient. Finally, might be worth resetting the BIOS to defaults and then setting it up again, you never know.
I've got an 135W adaptor on order that I can try tomorrow. I'm interested to get to the bottom of the problem as it seems like there are a few people who have odd compatibility issues.

Annoyingly aside from another almost identical LSI HBA I don't have any 8x adapters to try. Out of curiousity I tried an ancient ASUS 4x wifi adapter which worked okay.

I'm interested to know if its a limitation with cards with their own BIOS. I'd expect to see the LSI bios at some point if the card was booting correctly.

I suppose another solution would be to use a more simple 4 port sata card, and fashion a SATA external caddy, rather than SAS.
 

adman_c

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Feb 14, 2016
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I've got an 135W adaptor on order that I can try tomorrow. I'm interested to get to the bottom of the problem as it seems like there are a few people who have odd compatibility issues.

Annoyingly aside from another almost identical LSI HBA I don't have any 8x adapters to try. Out of curiousity I tried an ancient ASUS 4x wifi adapter which worked okay.

I'm interested to know if its a limitation with cards with their own BIOS. I'd expect to see the LSI bios at some point if the card was booting correctly.

I suppose another solution would be to use a more simple 4 port sata card, and fashion a SATA external caddy, rather than SAS.
When I was troubleshooting the problem I had with my NIC in the riser I plugged in a cheapo PCIE to NVME adapter and the Tiny wouldn't boot. Honestly I didn't troubleshoot whether I could get that to work bc I figured out the NIC issue. But maybe there's some kind of weird bios limitation on the types of cards that will work in the Tiny PCIE slot?
 

Danjo

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Aug 10, 2022
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When I was troubleshooting the problem I had with my NIC in the riser I plugged in a cheapo PCIE to NVME adapter and the Tiny wouldn't boot. Honestly I didn't troubleshoot whether I could get that to work bc I figured out the NIC issue. But maybe there's some kind of weird bios limitation on the types of cards that will work in the Tiny PCIE slot?
Thats an interesting theory that i had been mulling over. Maybe the bios is not treating it as a free and easy PCIE slot.

I've never had it just refuse to boot, it pretty much acts as if I haven't plugged anything in. A bare linux install, proxmox, windows, they all just act as if the slot is unpopulated when the LSI card is plugged in.

If the power adaptor doesnt work I'm wondering if i better option would just be to get a slightly larger pc (as I'm not space constrained), with a similar low power focus. Im not sure if a SFF pc similarly equiped with an 8400T and an NVME drive would have the same idle power draw.
 

poulpor

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Jul 1, 2022
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I use pci-e risers 01AJ940 and 01AJ929 with success, never tried 01AJ902 but I don't think the Mx20Q are bios limited regarding the pci-e card you put in. For example, there's an ADT-Link R23SG with a GTX 1080 ti in my first M720Q and a HP NC365T in the second. Plus, I'm currently testing a M.2 Wifi to pci-e adapter (ADT-Link R52SF, see picture) with success, the Digitus DS-30104-1 (will use it for its eSATA ports) is perfectly detected under proxmox.

But Lenovo did use hardware whitelists in the past. On my older M73 Tiny, there is a bios whitelist preventing you from installing unauthorized wifi cards, but there was an easy trick to bypass the whitelist ( you had to input INVALID in serial # and model # when updating the bios).

The ADT-Link R52SF adapter (will do a nice 3D printed enclosure extension, attached to the M720Q):
adt-link R52SF.png
The riser is 01AJ940 model.
 
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joeribl

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Jun 6, 2021
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Just for reference, if it serves anybody. I bought this Intel i210 adapter for the Mini PCIe slot of my M720q:

The adapter fits perfectly beneath the Sata disk, no hacking required. The RJ45 connector can be mounted in the spare DB9 hole. The only remark i have is that it doesnt come with any screws. So you will need 1 screw (M2.5?) to mount the card and 2 M3 screws to mount the connector.

It is recognized perfectly in vSphere 7.0u3.
 
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crashy

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Aug 11, 2022
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I am looking at older Tiny units on ebay for a really basic starter-level home server. I am hoping to use Windows 10 Pro that many of these came with. When they ship without a drive, does anyone know if the Windows installer will recognize a bios license or digital entitlement for a W10 Pro activation? Or do these enterprise devices sometimes work differently than the home consumer computers?
 

joeribl

Member
Jun 6, 2021
60
14
8
I am looking at older Tiny units on ebay for a really basic starter-level home server. I am hoping to use Windows 10 Pro that many of these came with. When they ship without a drive, does anyone know if the Windows installer will recognize a bios license or digital entitlement for a W10 Pro activation? Or do these enterprise devices sometimes work differently than the home consumer computers?
License is tied to BIOS, so should not be an issue.
 

Danjo

New Member
Aug 10, 2022
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I use pci-e risers 01AJ940 and 01AJ929 with success, never tried 01AJ902 but I don't think the Mx20Q are bios limited regarding the pci-e card you put in. For example, there's an ADT-Link R23SG with a GTX 1080 ti in my first M720Q and a HP NC365T in the second. Plus, I'm currently testing a M.2 Wifi to pci-e adapter (ADT-Link R52SF, see picture) with success, the Digitus DS-30104-1 (will use it for its eSATA ports) is perfectly detected under proxmox.

But Lenovo did use hardware whitelists in the past. On my older M73 Tiny, there is a bios whitelist preventing you from installing unauthorized wifi cards, but there was an easy trick to bypass the whitelist ( you had to input INVALID in serial # and model # when updating the bios).

The ADT-Link R52SF adapter (will do a nice 3D printed enclosure extension, attached to the M720Q):
View attachment 23896
The riser is 01AJ940 model.
The 135W adaptor didnt make a difference, but I will see when the 01AJ940 riser turns up.

At the moment I'm trialling a HP Elitedesk 800 G5 as a replacement. Its physically larger but with an equivlant CPU with turbo turned off the idle consumption seems comparable. I'd rather use the M720Q though...

If the 01AJ940 adapter works I'll work out the pinout differences between that and the 01AJ902. It might be useful to people in the future.
 

JavaMan07

New Member
Aug 11, 2022
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I just got a M600, 10G9001UUS. I've can run OPNsense in live-USB mode, everything works great. But I can't install it. The M.2 slot is M keyed, and my NVME SSD physically fits fine, but is not detected. Since the slot is M keyed, that should mean that 4 PCIE lanes are available. In the BIOS it has settings to enable and disable the SATA controller, the M.2 slot, and SATA 1. All of those are enabled. I tried disabling the M.2 SATA, but the NVME still did not show up.

Does anyone know if there's a trick to getting the M.2 slot to work with NVME? Or does this slot just not work in general on the 10G9?
 
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ms357

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Jul 9, 2022
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Should probably update the first post - Despite using 11th Gen CPUs the PCIe 8x slot in the P350 is *not* Gen 4 capable but only Gen 3. Checked BIOS and it only gives Gen1/Gen2/Gen3/Auto options for the slot mode.

It's a shame since I was going to put a Radeon RX 6400 in mine, but there's no point without Gen4 support as the benchmarks show a big performance hit in Gen3 systems, due to it using an x4 interface.
 
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ReturnedSword

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Jun 15, 2018
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Santa Monica, CA
Instead of using a “half slim” SSD, any thoughts on removing the drive case off of a modern 2.5” SATA SSD, let’s say a SK Hynix S31? The naked drive within is about the same size as a half slim drive, and easier to source than old half slim drives. Would there be any issue with overheating (I’ve seen some comments elsewhere about the 2.5” drive case acting as a heatsink for the drive within), or would the naked drive need to be properly electrically isolated (with kapton tape perhaps)?
 

adman_c

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Feb 14, 2016
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Chicago
Instead of using a “half slim” SSD, any thoughts on removing the drive case off of a modern 2.5” SATA SSD, let’s say a SK Hynix S31? The naked drive within is about the same size as a half slim drive, and easier to source than old half slim drives. Would there be any issue with overheating (I’ve seen some comments elsewhere about the 2.5” drive case acting as a heatsink for the drive within), or would the naked drive need to be properly electrically isolated (with kapton tape perhaps)?
I did exactly that. A “shucked” 2.5” SATA SSD is quite tiny and fits in the case along with a suitably small NIC. I insulated mine with electrical tape because it sticks more readily than kapton. On temps: the SATA SSDs I have removed from their case have zero heat-sinking at all. They were in a plastic case with little to no contact with any components on the drive and certainly no airflow. The one I currently have running contintually reports temps around 30C when queried via SMART.
 
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ReturnedSword

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Jun 15, 2018
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I did exactly that. A “shucked” 2.5” SATA SSD is quite tiny and fits in the case along with a suitably small NIC. I insulated mine with electrical tape because it sticks more readily than kapton. On temps: the SATA SSDs I have removed from their case have zero heat-sinking at all. They were in a plastic case with little to no contact with any components on the drive and certainly no airflow. The one I currently have running contintually reports temps around 30C when queried via SMART.
That’s great to hear! I had bought 12 x SK Hynix S31 drives a few years back for a project idea that I never got around to. I’ll give this a try after buying the SATA cable!
 

Helzy

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Oct 19, 2017
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I'd be tempted to isolate it electrically with small bits of non-conductive material rather than trying to shield it with electrical tape. Just thinking that the tape might affect thermals adversely if applied directly to components. Just a thought.
 

adman_c

Active Member
Feb 14, 2016
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I'd be tempted to isolate it electrically with small bits of non-conductive material rather than trying to shield it with electrical tape. Just thinking that the tape might affect thermals adversely if applied directly to components. Just a thought.
I figured thermals would be adversely impacted since I was basically wrapping the drive in a teeny little blanket. But to whatever extent the drive is accurately reporting its temps, they are fine (~30C). @ReturnedSword has the right idea if I can figure a place to mount it so that it doesn't come into contact with anything. As yet I have not, but I didn't exactly kill myself trying.
 

ReturnedSword

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Jun 15, 2018
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I had a quick poke around for thermal tape, however it seems most of it is actually thermal insulation tape. Then there’s silicone thermal pads, but those are mostly for heatsinks where the heatsink uses a retention mechanism (such as NVMe heatsinks). Will keep looking.
 

adman_c

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Feb 14, 2016
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FYI, our friend on reddit who 3d prints rear baffles/brackets can now print the Tiny6 baffle for the SuperMicro AOC-STGN-i2s and the Mellanox CX311A (I sent him the materials so he could test fit). @Parallax, not sure if that's first-post-worthy information or not.
 
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Parallax

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Nov 8, 2020
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FYI, our friend on reddit who 3d prints rear baffles/brackets can now print the Tiny6 baffle for the SuperMicro AOC-STGN-i2s and the Mellanox CX311A (I sent him the materials so he could test fit). @Parallax, not sure if that's first-post-worthy information or not.
Probably yes, I'll update. Thanks! :)
 

Parallax

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Nov 8, 2020
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Should probably update the first post - Despite using 11th Gen CPUs the PCIe 8x slot in the P350 is *not* Gen 4 capable but only Gen 3. Checked BIOS and it only gives Gen1/Gen2/Gen3/Auto options for the slot mode.

It's a shame since I was going to put a Radeon RX 6400 in mine, but there's no point without Gen4 support as the benchmarks show a big performance hit in Gen3 systems, due to it using an x4 interface.
Hmm, I went back to the spec sheet and indeed that's what it says :

"One PCIe slot via specific riser card:
PCIe 3.0 x16 (negotiable link width x8) and low profile for discrete graphics card,
PCIe 3.0 x4 and low profile for ethernet adapter and Thunderbolt™ adapter"

I don't know if the differentiation they give for the function of the slot depending on the riser (x16 for graphics card, x4 for other card types) is actually real or not, but might be of interest to people here struggling with getting cards recognised. I mean, I can't see how the riser model would make a difference since the slot should just negotiate, but you never know. The Thunderbolt card on the Mx20q needed the x4 card to work, so maybe there's something in this?