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Lenovo Thinkcentre/ThinkStation Tiny (Project TinyMiniMicro) Reference Thread

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Parallax

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Nov 8, 2020
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The ESXi free license is enough, you can passthrough anything without limits, the only drawback for me is the lack of easy backup solution, but I'm OK with cloning VMs instead.
Another option is xcp-ng, where iGPU passthrough seems to work out of the box (I've not tried yet) :
and eg Migrated a Plex Intel NUC to XCP-ng Xenserver with iGPU Passthrough - Jason Loong
 
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poulpor

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Jul 1, 2022
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Another option is xcp-ng, where iGPU passthrough seems to work out of the box (I've not tried yet) :
and eg Migrated a Plex Intel NUC to XCP-ng Xenserver with iGPU Passthrough - Jason Loong
Thank you for the discovery of this nice open-source (this is the way!) project, honestly, I'm totally new to virtualization and didn't know of it :(
I first tried proxmox VE because it's also an open-source project and was not very eager to switch to esxi, I did so without any joy after weeks of unstable igpu passthrough with proxmox... And I have to admit, it worked without hassle, just have to prevent esxi from claiming VGA driver at boot, or you'll have to reenable the passthrough each time you restart, followed this guide.
 
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bobbysteel

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Nov 20, 2022
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Has anyone found a third party half height thunderbolt card that works in a p350 with the riser? The 01AJ968 seems unavailable anywhere in the UK now.
 

Parallax

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Has anyone found a third party half height thunderbolt card that works in a p350 with the riser? The 01AJ968 seems unavailable anywhere in the UK now.
I'm afraid I just buy everything Lenovo from Taobao via Superbuy, seems the only way to reliably buy spare anythings at the moment. :confused:
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
442
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London, UK
Thank you for the discovery of this nice open-source (this is the way!) project, honestly, I'm totally new to virtualization and didn't know of it :(
I first tried proxmox VE because it's also an open-source project and was not very eager to switch to esxi, I did so without any joy after weeks of unstable igpu passthrough with proxmox... And I have to admit, it worked without hassle, just have to prevent esxi from claiming VGA driver at boot, or you'll have to reenable the passthrough each time you restart, followed this guide.
I've tried all three - Proxmox first, then ESXi, then xcp-ng.

Proxmox was fine but as a layer on top of Debian I found it a little heavy, and the distinction between "this is the hypervisor" and "this is the running OS" blurry, making it tempting to install all sorts of stuff (Samba etc) into what is supposed to be a fairly pristine hypervisor environment. I also found I got little pauses now and again in VMs which I couldn't fix.

ESXi I moved to because we have/had it at work and I thought I should learn. It's very good, but a super steep learning curve and massive overkill for a homelab, particularly if you run vSphere (2 cores and 12-14GB RAM, 24/7).

I moved to xcp-ng once I felt I was familiar enough with ESXi and I just wanted something simple that does the job and works. Xen Orchestra fits in a small VM and it's really a GUI to the API so it's more or less stateless. Everything you need is there, backups are really well designed and "just work" - it has quirks and some shortcomings but it does all the simple tasks I need and the team is very responsive in the forum.
 
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bobbysteel

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I bought four for ~£35 each including shipping, I had to search for both the part number and also the description (tiny6 PCIe riser I think) to find it. Superbuy has a search function too.
I meant the Thunderbolt not the riser only. Anyone get any other compatible models?
 

Parallax

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I meant the Thunderbolt not the riser only. Anyone get any other compatible models?
Not many people seem to have bought them so I don't see much feedback or info I'm afraid. The Lenovo Tiny motherboard has some specific, presumably proprietary, ports that are supposed to be connected by short wire connectors to the Thunderbolt board, but I don't know what these do or the consequences of them not existing (because of you using a generic board, say). As noted in the original post there were issues reported when using the x16 riser and you needed to use the x4 one specifically when using the (Lenovo) Thunderbolt card - I do not know which Tiny models this applies to or even if it is still a problem because I just don't see posts about it.

There, I've told you everything I don't know. ;) Sorry not to have more information.
 

poulpor

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Jul 1, 2022
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Parallax is absolutely right about the riser, you need the x4 version, Lenovo spare part 01AJ929.
I don't know what you plan to do with this thunderbolt port but if it's egpu and regarding the rarity of this card, I would suggest to look at other pci-e solutions like ADT-Link R23SG. It's not as clean and fancy as thunderbolt + manufactured egpu case but it works fine.
 

dinjo

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Nov 25, 2022
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I'm planning to get m90q gen3 tiny but it's only available with 1 GB ethernet how easy is it to get a compatible 2.5gb ethernet and how easy to install
 
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Parallax

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Nov 8, 2020
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I'm planning to get m90q gen3 tiny but it's only available with 1 GB ethernet how easy is it to get a compatible 2.5gb ethernet and how easy to install
There's a PCIe riser to buy (see the first post in this thread) and then you can plug pretty much any half height PCIe NIC card in there, including 2.5GbE, but also 4x 1GbE or 2x 10GbE, the first post shows the maximum dimensions of the card.

Or save some money and effort and you can use a 2.5GbE USB adapter, STH has reviewed a few lately.
 

dinjo

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Nov 25, 2022
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Thanks for the response the riser card seems difficult to find in India. How good are speeds when usb to ethernet is used via USB?
 

Parallax

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Nov 8, 2020
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Thanks for the response the riser card seems difficult to find in India. How good are speeds when usb to ethernet is used via USB?
The risers are easier to source via AliExpress or someone like Superbuy from China.

STH's reviews of the USB adaptors cover the main ones and assesses the speed, I don't have any personal experience to offer I'm afraid.
 

dinjo

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Nov 25, 2022
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Thanks again unfortunately aliexpress is banned.

I'll get m90q gen 3 hoping everything would be replaceable as I saw the nvme is poor quality. Luckily I'm getting it for $475 it comes with ms dos hoping it does not requires any different way to activate windows.
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
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London, UK
Thanks again unfortunately aliexpress is banned.

I'll get m90q gen 3 hoping everything would be replaceable as I saw the nvme is poor quality. Luckily I'm getting it for $475 it comes with ms dos hoping it does not requires any different way to activate windows.
That's very cheap! The USB option is probably the best then, performance should be fine and the price makes sense. The riser plus a PCIe card would probably be at least twice as much, even assuming you can find the riser in the first place.
 

dinjo

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Nov 25, 2022
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Another question on memory quoting from sth

'In terms of memory, there are two SODIMM slots. This system can handle 32GB DDR4 SODIMMs for up to 64GB total. We ordered this with only 16GB as that is what came with the system. One will see here that we received a single DDR4-3200 DIMM. Our advice with these units is to add a second DIMM and use these systems in dual channel memory '

Does this means I should order 2 slot of memory only then it would run in dual channel or I can order single 8gb ram and later add myself and it would run in dual channel?
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
442
223
43
London, UK
Another question on memory quoting from sth

'In terms of memory, there are two SODIMM slots. This system can handle 32GB DDR4 SODIMMs for up to 64GB total. We ordered this with only 16GB as that is what came with the system. One will see here that we received a single DDR4-3200 DIMM. Our advice with these units is to add a second DIMM and use these systems in dual channel memory '

Does this means I should order 2 slot of memory only then it would run in dual channel or I can order single 8gb ram and later add myself and it would run in dual channel?
The underlying platform hardware is the same, so you can buy with one memory stick and then add a second later. Adding the second will automatically enable dual channel mode.

There is in theory a worthwhile performance benefit in having two sticks and therefore having dual channel mode, but for most tasks these devices are so fast anyway that you won't particularly notice the difference overall.