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Lenovo Thinkcentre/ThinkStation Tiny (Project TinyMiniMicro) Reference Thread

zer0sum

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2013
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Hello fellow Tiny aficienados - just to let the UK-based amongst you know about a good deal on new M90q Gen 2s at CCL, £717 vs £884 at Lenovo.

Posted here : https://forums.servethehome.com/ind...2-i5-11500t-16gb-ram-256gb-nvme-717-49.36142/
Looks like a solid deal :)

They're also under £600 direct from Lenovo if you could work out cheap shipping from the US
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
273
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London, UK
Looks like a solid deal :)

They're also under £600 direct from Lenovo if you could work out cheap shipping from the US
I wish. I would get hit with 20% import duty and then shipping would be about £70-90, so I think this still works out cheaper and it has the advantage that the warranty would work.

For now I think I will just wait for them to turn up on eBay second hand. The M70qs turn up often, but there are basically no used M90qs and I don't know why.
 

zer0sum

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2013
720
387
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I wish. I would get hit with 20% import duty and then shipping would be about £70-90, so I think this still works out cheaper and it has the advantage that the warranty would work.

For now I think I will just wait for them to turn up on eBay second hand. The M70qs turn up often, but there are basically no used M90qs and I don't know why.
Surely I can send my good friend @Parallax a gift :p
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
273
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London, UK
Surely I can send my good friend @Parallax a gift :p
I did think of that, and I do have (other) friends in the US who could help too, but ... no rush, I'll wait until the Gen 3 comes out and buy even cheaper then. ;)

You did get me looking, though, and if you want even cheaper I see Lenovo Singapore will save about another 15% over US pricing.
 

jffrey

New Member
Apr 14, 2022
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hola amigos, im new in this forum and just wanted to ask a few things:

is there no bigger case to buy for the lenovo tiny mainboards? i found nothing =(

i'm planing to upgrade my 720q with an i3 8100t to an i7 8700 with a 135 watt power sup. and an aftermarket cooler to start my first steps with servers =)

if there is no bigger case i would design one.

thanks
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
273
116
43
London, UK
hola amigos, im new in this forum and just wanted to ask a few things:

is there no bigger case to buy for the lenovo tiny mainboards? i found nothing =(

i'm planing to upgrade my 720q with an i3 8100t to an i7 8700 with a 135 watt power sup. and an aftermarket cooler to start my first steps with servers =)

if there is no bigger case i would design one.
No larger case I'm aware of. I run Tinys with both an 9700T and a 9900T with 135W supplies and the built in fan is fine unless you're hammering the CPU, and then it's noise rather than heat which is a problem. The fan and shroud does not look particularly easy to customise and you'll need to think where to vent since there's no grille in the stock top cover.

Note there's a link in the first post to a forum discussion that says putting on a 135W power supply seems to give more performance than the stock supplies. I've not done any measurement myself and it may or may not give you performance equivalent to a 65W TDP part, but bear that in mind.

For my workloads more cores is much more relevant than pure speed per thread, but you will need to make your own assessment.

Finally, I do not know if the BIOS natively accepts 65W TDP parts in the Mx20q series, so please report back if you find out.
 

djpbessems

New Member
Apr 13, 2022
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Hello all,

I just received my first P340 Tiny (i5-10600, 64GB RAM) and another one is on the way. I plan to have both running with a i350-T4 PCI card, 2 NVMe disks (possibly 3 if I can make the A/E keyed M.2 slot work for a smaller boot disk - vSphere's deprecation of USB boot disks really bites).

Three questions for you experienced people:

- Is it safe to use the Dual Slim Tip Adapter (Lenovo Dual Slim-tip Adapter) with a 230W powerbrick with these configurations? Or are there aftermarket PSU's that have multiple output?

- Is vSAN a good option for shared storage when you'll only be able to have 1 cache and 1 capacity disk per node, or are there better options?

- I've seen a few people with 3D-printed vertical stands for the TMM nodes; has anyone come across STL files that are suitable for 2 or more P340's?
 
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jffrey

New Member
Apr 14, 2022
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0
1
No larger case I'm aware of. I run Tinys with both an 9700T and a 9900T with 135W supplies and the built in fan is fine unless you're hammering the CPU, and then it's noise rather than heat which is a problem. The fan and shroud does not look particularly easy to customise and you'll need to think where to vent since there's no grille in the stock top cover.

Note there's a link in the first post to a forum discussion that says putting on a 135W power supply seems to give more performance than the stock supplies. I've not done any measurement myself and it may or may not give you performance equivalent to a 65W TDP part, but bear that in mind.

For my workloads more cores is much more relevant than pure speed per thread, but you will need to make your own assessment.

Finally, I do not know if the BIOS natively accepts 65W TDP parts in the Mx20q series, so please report back if you find out.
okay, thanks for your fast help =)

as i am on vacation 1 week i would give it a try to design a case in fusion 360 since the tinys are the same formfaktor.

It would be nice if you could tell me which aftermarket cooler fits on the mainboard and what other features would be needed, since i read a lot about some kind of raisers needed for the pci-slot, which to be honest i dont find any shop selling them atm.

i hope that i will get tomorrow the cpu i switched to the 135W sup already and will do another cb-bench just to see if it also maybe helps my current little i3 8100 ^^

thanks and wish you all happy easter =)
 
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Wasmachineman_NL

Dell Precisions FTW!
Aug 7, 2019
1,399
457
83
Are ThinkCentres usually this picky with CPUs? I have a E73 SFF here that my parents use and I bought a 4790S to put in it, but it won't boot.

Dead CPU?
 

Markess

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2018
987
648
93
Are ThinkCentres usually this picky with CPUs? I have a E73 SFF here that my parents use and I bought a 4790S to put in it, but it won't boot.

Dead CPU?
Incompatible CPU?

According to Lenovo's spec sheet, those had H81 chipset and "first generation" Haswell CPUs. You have a "Haswell Refresh" CPU. AFAIK, H81 always needed a BIOS/UEFI update to run Haswell Refresh, regardless of the manufacturer. You may want to check if Lenovo ever issued a BIOS/UEFI update to support Haswell Refresh CPUs. But unless they ever shipped those with the newer "refresh" CPUs, that's probably doubtful?
 

Wasmachineman_NL

Dell Precisions FTW!
Aug 7, 2019
1,399
457
83
Incompatible CPU?

According to Lenovo's spec sheet, those had H81 chipset and "first generation" Haswell CPUs. You have a "Haswell Refresh" CPU. AFAIK, H81 always needed a BIOS/UEFI update to run Haswell Refresh, regardless of the manufacturer. You may want to check if Lenovo ever issued a BIOS/UEFI update to support Haswell Refresh CPUs. But unless they ever shipped those with the newer "refresh" CPUs, that's probably doubtful?
Already updated the BIOS ages ago to one from 2020.
 

Markess

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2018
987
648
93
Already updated the BIOS ages ago to one from 2020.
You may be out of luck then. Looks like it originally shipped with 4770S as the only i7 option? So, if they didn't switch to Refesh CPUs later, they may not have bothered adding support to the BIOS.
 

cromo

Member
Jun 6, 2019
44
9
8
I installed my AOC-SGP-i4 (i350) today in p340 and it causes NVMe drive to disappear from the system. Cannot find any information on that. Anyone with similar experience or any idea what could be causing this? The card is functional, pulled from my other system I am upgrading from.

EDIT: after a while it seems to boot despite not showing NVMe drive online, and the i350 NICs are also invisible. I’m baffled.
 
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hk92doom

Member
Jun 4, 2020
45
42
18
I installed my AOC-SGP-i4 (i350) today in p340 and it causes NVMe drive to disappear from the system. Cannot find any information on that. Anyone with similar experience or any idea what could be causing this? The card is functional, pulled from my other system I am upgrading from.

EDIT: after a while it seems to boot despite not showing NVMe drive online, and the i350 NICs are also invisible. I’m baffled.
I had a somewhat similar experience on a Wyse 5070 Extended computer. After inserting the Mellanox card, my M.2 SSD disappeared.

Could this be an SMBus related problem?
 

cromo

Member
Jun 6, 2019
44
9
8
Could this be an SMBus related problem?
Thanks. I just tried covering those pins, but that didn't help. For the record, firmware is up to date, settings reset to default, NIC confirmed to be still functioning fine in the old system.
 
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Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
273
116
43
London, UK
(possibly 3 if I can make the A/E keyed M.2 slot work for a smaller boot disk - vSphere's deprecation of USB boot disks really bites).
It's a tiny bit wasteful in terms of drive space, but you can just use the first drive. ESXi will partition a chunk of it as a boot drive and the rest will be made into a data store. I'm not sure what the size it allocates to the boot partition, it's much more than is needed, but on a 2TB NVMe I think I had 1.6TB left to use as data store.

On the other hand if you do manage to find a A/E keyed drive please do let me know!
- Is it safe to use the Dual Slim Tip Adapter (Lenovo Dual Slim-tip Adapter) with a 230W powerbrick with these configurations? Or are there aftermarket PSU's that have multiple output?
Can't answer the second half - not seen one - but on the first the splitter is actually mentioned in the original post. You will get a 135W feed and a 65W (plus a bit of headroom, probably).
- Is vSAN a good option for shared storage when you'll only be able to have 1 cache and 1 capacity disk per node, or are there better options?
I've considered this in some depth, because there are functionality benefits to using vSphere with vSAN plus there is learning to gain and that's part of the point of a home lab; but it is quite complicated and quite heavy, and really benefits from you having more NICs and/or 10GbE which are hard to achieve in TMM nodes - so I for now I come down on the side of "no." I may change my mind in the future!

The best answer will depend on how you intend to use your environment, but I use NFS (from a HPE Microserver 10+) for general storage and then Longhorn for k8s, using local SSDs in three of my nodes.
- I've seen a few people with 3D-printed vertical stands for the TMM nodes; has anyone come across STL files that are suitable for 2 or more P340's?
No because I don't have a 3d printer and thus have not researched it, but the Lenovo vertical stand is super cheap and works well, the main minus being you can't clump your nodes as closely together.
 

jffrey

New Member
Apr 14, 2022
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0
1
So just FYI:
720q upgraded with a i7 8700 incl a 135 Watt power supply, i just tested the powerdraw with the new i7 ( im lazy to swap again the cpu )

i3 8100t -all drivers/bios up 2 date:

CB 23.2: Multi-Core ------------> 3142 pts
Single --------------------> 816 pts

Thermals: max 78C

i7 8700 -all drivers up 2 date (latest bios from stock build):

CB 23.2: Multi-Core -------------> 7348 pts
Single -------------------> 1176 pts

Thermals: hitting 101C! > thermal throtteling after that

powerdraw (135W): IDLE: ~14 Watt
100% Load: ~ 108 Watt

So i am really happy, since i got the cpu for 80 Bucks , the only thing i would like to upgrade is the cooling system, i think i could get more out of it if i get the cpu cooler =)

But for my first homeserver project i will stick with this setting and maybe just mod the bios.

Happy Easter
 
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djpbessems

New Member
Apr 13, 2022
5
0
1
It's a tiny bit wasteful in terms of drive space, but you can just use the first drive. ESXi will partition a chunk of it as a boot drive and the rest will be made into a data store. I'm not sure what the size it allocates to the boot partition, it's much more than is needed, but on a 2TB NVMe I think I had 1.6TB left to use as data store.

On the other hand if you do manage to find a A/E keyed drive please do let me know!
Yeah, currently I have the boot drive with a VMFS datastore, but that's not compatible with vSAN (it requires two dedicated drives)

Can't answer the second half - not seen one - but on the first the splitter is actually mentioned in the original post. You will get a 135W feed and a 65W (plus a bit of headroom, probably).
I guess I'll have to look for a device to measure power draw first; I'm just afraid that 65W won't be enough.

I've considered this in some depth, because there are functionality benefits to using vSphere with vSAN plus there is learning to gain and that's part of the point of a home lab; but it is quite complicated and quite heavy, and really benefits from you having more NICs and/or 10GbE which are hard to achieve in TMM nodes - so I for now I come down on the side of "no." I may change my mind in the future!

The best answer will depend on how you intend to use your environment, but I use NFS (from a HPE Microserver 10+) for general storage and then Longhorn for k8s, using local SSDs in three of my nodes.
I am going for a TrueNAS shared storage solution anyway, but I guess it comes down to "Do I want all of my VM boot disks on shared storage or not?"

No because I don't have a 3d printer and thus have not researched it, but the Lenovo vertical stand is super cheap and works well, the main minus being you can't clump your nodes as closely together.
I don't have a 3D printer either, but there's wonderful websites where you can upload STL files and have it printed by people near you for very low prices :)