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Lenovo Thinkcentre/ThinkStation Tiny (Project TinyMiniMicro) Reference Thread

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Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
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Thanks! In your testing did you ever find or were able to run 4x drives (w\out 10gig) by chance?
No, but I guess you could put something in the A/E key m.2 slot, that should work fine?

The other option, if you're not wedded to attaching the chassis base, is to use one of the m.2 slots for a 4-5x SATA port card and run a bunch of drives from underneath. I saw someone on Reddit who did that and then put 3.5" drives on shelves below, powered separately obviously.
 

bobbysteel

Member
Nov 20, 2022
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I'm pulling my hair out here.- has anyone gotten a Thunderbolt card working in a P350 Tiny? I've got the right riser (...876) and a 5C50W00926 Thunderbolt card. The wiring fits well but I'm thinking this card may be incompatible with this Tiny version. Lenovo's site shows the FRU for the P350 as 5C51H31592 by Bitwise but that seems unavailable anywhere.
 

Parallax

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Nov 8, 2020
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London, UK
I'm pulling my hair out here.- has anyone gotten a Thunderbolt card working in a P350 Tiny? I've got the right riser (...876) and a 5C50W00926 Thunderbolt card. The wiring fits well but I'm thinking this card may be incompatible with this Tiny version. Lenovo's site shows the FRU for the P350 as 5C51H31592 by Bitwise but that seems unavailable anywhere.
Can't advise because I've not tried, I'm afraid. The P350 service manual is usually a good source of part numbers if you don't feel like wading through Lenovo's spares list - maybe check there.

Next step would be to post in the Lenovo forums, I find the product team is responsive there even if they don't always know the answer - at least they tell you and then try to test things out in their labs. I was quite impressed.
 

unmesh

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Apr 17, 2017
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Thanks for the insights, @Parallax and @Rttg

Will look at USFF/SFFs next. I'm a little worried about their ability to cool a 3.5" HDD but will look for something with reasonable airflow over the drive cage.
 

ivanlevente

New Member
Dec 9, 2022
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Owner of a M720q model.
Came with a Pentium Gold processor that I swapped out with an i5-8500T.
Not a big fan of SATA drives myself, especially when we have a spare PCIe slot available.
So, I got rid of the internal SATA drive, went and purchased one of those PCIe riser cards mentioned here (01AJ940), and added an M.2 to PCIe adapter from Axagon, that came included with a slick heatsink and both lower/upper thermal pads.

Speed is max 3k read / 3k write as this is a PCIe 3.0 adapter.
SSD thermals are great as well (40C idle, max 53C on full load), no extra cooling necessary, so I'm happy with this mod.

I'm running the system disk on this bad boy, so yes it's perfectly bootable and works like a charm.
The other, integrated M.2 slot from the bottom is also in use and serves as expansion.

I'm quite impressed with the versatility of this TinyPC.
Good job, Lenovo!
 

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bobbysteel

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Nov 20, 2022
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@Parallax for the initial post it's worth noting each series seems to have its own Thunderbolt card.
P340 changes to 5C50W00872
P350 uses only 5C51D95673 or 5C51H31592 (it's yet unclear what the difference is but Im guessing one comes with the cables and one naked)
P360 uses 5C51H31593 - unclear if any compatibility between the P350 FRU.

Both P350 and P360 have some kind of external loopback cable too from one displayport to another in addition to the two internal cables to the motherboard.

The 5C50W00872 is not compatible with a P350 or P360. Though interestingly the P350 and P360 say the x16 riser is compatible with the new Thunderbolt card despite it being still a x4 PCIe card.
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
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London, UK
@Parallax for the initial post it's worth noting each series seems to have its own Thunderbolt card.
P340 changes to 5C50W00872
P350 uses only 5C51D95673 or 5C51H31592 (it's yet unclear what the difference is but Im guessing one comes with the cables and one naked)
P360 uses 5C51H31593 - unclear if any compatibility between the P350 FRU.

Both P350 and P360 have some kind of external loopback cable too from one displayport to another in addition to the two internal cables to the motherboard.

The 5C50W00872 is not compatible with a P350 or P360. Though interestingly the P350 and P360 say the x16 riser is compatible with the new Thunderbolt card despite it being still a x4 PCIe card.
Thanks, that's all good info and a pain point for many recently. I'll add the info shortly.
 

jeutheidit

New Member
Nov 27, 2022
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Did anybody else ever confirm that the pcie x8 slot in the m90q models are linked to the PCH rather than the CPU? I cannot find the block diagram (if anyone has one please let me know). Doesn't make sense to me since there are 16 lanes available to the cpu.
 
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jeutheidit

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Nov 27, 2022
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I have discovered that the M90Q x8 PCIE connector is also wired to the PCH...
How did you end up finding this out? I cant seem to find the block diagram for the M90q. Just bought a few of these for a low powered proxmox/ceph cluster and would be really disappointed that this is the case.
 

rub1k

New Member
Dec 13, 2022
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Sort of a dumb question (sorry) but, for running a bare-metal OPNsense firewall, is there much difference between a M720q and a M920q (with a PCIe 2 or 4-port card)?

I guess B360 vs. Q370 chipsets and the latter having vPro (which I don't really care about I guess?) but is there any practical/significant difference for what I'm trying to do?

Looking at buying one of these little guys from eBay so wanted to make sure both will be good enough/plenty for my needs.
 

poulpor

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Jul 1, 2022
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Sort of a dumb question (sorry) but, for running a bare-metal OPNsense firewall, is there much difference between a M720q and a M920q (with a PCIe 2 or 4-port card)?

I guess B360 vs. Q370 chipsets and the latter having vPro (which I don't really care about I guess?) but is there any practical/significant difference for what I'm trying to do?

Looking at buying one of these little guys from eBay so wanted to make sure both will be good enough/plenty for my needs.
There is no difference between those two, the P330, on the other hand, has a second NVMe slot, but it is more difficult to find in used condition.
To be more precise, the difference is some Bios settings present on the M920Q are not on the M720Q, but it's an artificial limitation. The only one I can think of concerns the Lenovo thunderbolt card, when you plug it in the M920Q, a thunderbolt Bios menu will appear. It won't on the M720Q, even if the thunderbolt card can work 100% on it too, it's an artificial Bios limitation, because Lenovo had to create an entry to top level range (M720Q<M920Q<P330). You can still enable this thunderbolt card on M720Q by modifying bios values with grub, because those 3 tinies share the same bios, the thunderbolt menu is present but hidden when the bios checks it's installed on a M720Q instead of M920Q or P330... Which is not a normal behavior when you check the m720Q manual and read that the thunderbolt card is mentioned and detailed... So perhaps a last minute choice by Lenovo.

Honestly, it's the only downside I can think of, but I suppose you won't use this thunderbolt card so, for you, there won't be any difference.

EDIT: may I ask why you chose baremetal instead of virtualized? I know tiny's are not too power hungry but you could run so much more services on it!
 
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rub1k

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Dec 13, 2022
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Thank you very much @poulpor for that feedback; much appreciated.

I won't be using a thunderbolt card so that part should be fine. I do recall reading something about that earlier in this thread and it's good to know.

As for why bare-metal vs. virtualized, it's definitely a great question. I've actually got another TMM that I was able to snag recently in a good deal (an EliteDesk 800 G5) that I plan to mess around with Proxmox on and have fun with a few containers. Also, it seemed like too much potential for headaches adding in the extra virtualization layer to the M720q/M920q soon-to-be router box for my boomer brain (hah) so it sounded much nicer to just have a dedicated little router guy instead.
 
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TinyLenovo

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Feb 1, 2023
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Ideas on how to get an external SAS connection via the PCI slot on Lenovo tiny?

I want to build a mini nas from an m920x, using an HBA card in the PCI slot; TrueNas on Proxmox. I can't find any posts of anyone doing something similar from a hardware perspective. Mostly, I want to put a few HDs in an enclosure, with the option to add more later, and put both the enclosure and the machine in my network rack.

Option 1: Leaning towards something like this IT mode HBA, but would have to cut a slot in the back to pass through the SAS cable.
Option 2: Other recommendations?

Question: Aside from your own concepts of what a NAS should or shouldn't be, are there technical reasons why I shouldn't do this? Problems with HBAs and these minis, or other ways I could get an external SAS connection? Suggestions on HBA cards? Most seem like they'd be too big to fit.

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I love these Lenovo Tinys! Already put an i350 in an M720q which is now my pfSense router. For anyone interested, you can do the same for ~$200. i3-8300T m720q on Amazon for $139, then add a riser and NIC from ebay.
 
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Marsh

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are there technical reasons why I shouldn't do this?
One needs to solve HBA cooling issue , also limited by size of tiny.
It will need some form of active cooling to cool the SAS HBA card.

May be a simple sata card would worked without active cooling.