Project TinyMiniMicro: Reviving Small Corporate Desktops

Parallax

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Nov 8, 2020
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I'm curious if anyone has directly compared the TinyMiniMicro boxes to something like a NUC8i5 or NUC10i5?
Why would I buy something like the M920q, when the NUC's are priced the same or cheaper?
No-one here is trying to sell you one over the other. For my usecases, I prefer the Lenovo Tinys but that's not to say they're the right answer for you.

One small point is that I find the TMM machines a more tidy footprint, being lower and broader than the taller NUC and easier to stack. But that is minor.

A M920Q has all the drives and IO you mention, and will likewise support 64GB of RAM and has vPro if that is important to you (the M720Q doesn't). For me the killer feature on the Lenovo Mx20Q is the possibility to put in a half height PCIe card into the box. I've used that for a 4 port NIC for a firewall and it is a great solution, you can probably also squeeze certain graphics cards in there with some tinkering, or a 10Gbe NIC if you like your temperatures toasty, or a couple more m.2 drives on a card. I also mentioned above I replaced a Pentium Gold 5400 with an i9 9900T (8C/16T) which I don't think you could do as cost-efficiently in a NUC. For the CPU and a base M920Q together I paid about $550 in all.

There are also Ryzen-based Tinys, the M75-1Q and the M75-2Q (just released) which give you more options, I have a M75-1Q with a Ryzen 3400GE in it.

Finally, many of the Mx20Qs coming to market in the UK in the second half of the year were disposals from small businesses unfortunately sunk by C-19. The first three I bought came with ~2.5 years of NBD deskside support and similar warranty.

If you like the NUC, though, go for it.
 

BlueFox

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Oct 26, 2015
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While the NUC is great, it's in a different class due to TDP limits. Most contain 15W CPUs, while the M920q is socketed and can take much higher performance 8-core 35W CPUs (can go to 10 cores with 35W now).
 
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zer0sum

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Mar 8, 2013
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A M920Q has all the drives and IO you mention, and will likewise support 64GB of RAM and has vPro if that is important to you (the M720Q doesn't).
Good point on the vPro, that could be handy.
It's a real shame Intel stopped offering that after the NUC7 series :(

While the NUC is great, it's in a different class due to TDP limits. Most contain 15W CPUs, while the M920q is socketed and can take much higher performance 8-core 35W CPUs (can go to 10 cores with 35W now).
That is a good point. I'll have to do some research on cpu upgrade paths
 

Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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@zer0sum you wouldn’t pick up a TMM style machine if it’s not cheaper. NUC is great the thing is these machines have been often much cheaper and with often a 256gb NVMe SSD and some ram thrown in as well, often a windows 10 license.

If the NUC works out cheaper then I say go for it any day of week, had lots of NUC’s over the years and still do today, very happy with them myself was only ever the cost hurdle that was the issue.
 
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Evan

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Saw vPro mentioned and that’s a good point, it’s useful but then again if you just need a reboot a managed UPS or power socket can remote power off and on as a kind of solution.

Anyway intel does publish a list of all the borough NUC’s in one place for easy reference.

 

DOGMA

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Jan 3, 2021
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Saw vPro mentioned and that’s a good point, it’s useful but then again if you just need a reboot a managed UPS or power socket can remote power off and on as a kind of solution.

Anyway intel does publish a list of all the borough NUC’s in one place for easy reference.

Actually, we done it 5 years ago.
I work for True Networks Co., Ltd. in South Korea.
We made NUCserver since 2015 (www.NUCserver.com)
It is rack mountable NUC + custom rack solution + remote power management base on network control PDU.
Each PDU can remotely power off/on/recycle for 8 of NUC units.
Most of case, each NUC never consume more than 40w so we using 350w SMPS for each group of 8 NUCs.
When we start project, I realize vPro is matter. so we use NUC5i5MYHE model which is only vPro support model of NUC at that time.
We developed custom management software using vPro API and our own PDU control API + iSCSI remote boot management solutions for diskless remote boot and assign user to each NUC.
NUCserver 커스텀 로고.jpgnucrack.jpg
DSC_5801.JPG수정됨_DSC_5815.jpg수정됨_DSC_5806.jpg수정됨_20160411_124530.jpg수정됨_20160411_124622.jpgFront_side_of_NUCserver_Lite_installed_short_depth_rack_-cover_open_2.jpg
 

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DOGMA

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Jan 3, 2021
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Recently, I got Tiger Lake based NUC11pro and testing a lot.
Graphic performance is much better than older model especially video encoding based on Intel Quicksync technology.
It have 2 of thunderbolt4 port. I plan to develop eGPU board based on Thunderbolt4 for much higher graphic intensive remote work.
and it also support 8k@60hz, HDR, dual display port via thunderbolt4 USB type C.
As you guys heard, 11gen Tiger Lake NUC will support vPro at 1Q this year.
So, I think it is perfect remote desktop server for home and more.
nuc8,JPG.JPGKakaoTalk_20210103_170635982.pngKakaoTalk_20210103_170317736.jpgspec.PNG3dmark.PNGvrmark.PNGpcmark10-online.PNG
 

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Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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@DOGMA thanks for joining and showing us all.
Very cool. Looks much like the Mac mini hosting options.
Very happy to hear vPro tiger lake.
 

cageek

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Jun 22, 2018
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I really want to consolidate the 6 individual power bricks into a single PSU supplying DC power. I wonder if anyone here has any experience or thoughts.
I thought I'd reply to this since no one has offered any ideas. Keep in mind this is completely untested.

You can get an HP 230W 19.5V 11.8A AC->DC power adapter (brick format) on ebay (about $20). These were made for larger laptops and I think they're compatible with the HP elitebook power adapters. They use the same 7.4x5.0mm adapter. A "no solder" setup would be:

Power brick -> 7.4x5.0 to 5.5x2.1 adapter -> one to three DC Power Splitter (commonly used for CCTV) -> three 5.5x2.1 to 7.4x5.0 adapters

All adapters seem to exist (two different genders). Hopefully the power drop across the splitter is not too extreme. There could be other problems too of course.

Another alternative is to actually take the Power Brick out of the case and add a couple of 7.4x5.0 cables. I saw these on aliexpress - replacement cables for HP laptop power supply. You could mount a couple of bricks in the same case and create a single power supply.

Dell sold a 330W 19.5V 16.9A adapter with a 7.4x5.0mm plug. These seem less common and more expensive. It supplys enough watts for 5 x 65W computers. The HP/Dell power connectors are actually 3 pin - same 19.5V DC and polarity with a 7.4x5.0mm connector and a small internal pin for ID signalling. I've read that only Dell checks the ID and tells you that the your PS is not genuine, but runs. I don't think HP does this.

Best of luck!
 
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zer0sum

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Mar 8, 2013
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I decided I like the idea of vPro and couldn't find a bare NUC8 for less than $450 or so that has it.

So...I managed to find a M920q with an 8600t, 8gb ram and 256g ssd for under $300.
I will switch the ram to 32gb, and I bought the 01AJ940 PCIe riser to try and get a single port Mellanox ConnectX-3 card working.

Total cost so far is:

M920q - $286
32gb ram ( CT2K16G4SFRA266 ) - $114
PCIe riser ( 01AJ940 ) - $22.95
Mellanox CX3 ( MCX353A-QCA ) - $20

TOTAL - $442.95

Hopefully the MCX353 doesn't heat it up too much :)
 

DOGMA

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Jan 3, 2021
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It is very cost effective setup.
I also install dual 40G Mellanox ConnectX3 on ZOTAK AMP Box mini and it only work total 20G~25G total. but is is good enough for me,
KakaoTalk_20210108_132553081.jpg

and also bought Lazer Core X eGPU case for RTX3090
RTX3090 is on the way to me.
KakaoTalk_20210108_132915862.jpg
I will post about benchmark test later.
KakaoTalk_20210108_133037690.jpg

I decided I like the idea of vPro and couldn't find a bare NUC8 for less than $450 or so that has it.

So...I managed to find a M920q with an 8600t, 8gb ram and 256g ssd for under $300.
I will switch the ram to 32gb, and I bought the 01AJ940 PCIe riser to try and get a single port Mellanox ConnectX-3 card working.

Total cost so far is:

M920q - $286
32gb ram ( CT2K16G4SFRA266 ) - $114
PCIe riser ( 01AJ940 ) - $22.95
Mellanox CX3 ( MCX353A-QCA ) - $20

TOTAL - $442.95

Hopefully the MCX353 doesn't heat it up too much :)
 

WANg

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2018
967
568
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I decided I like the idea of vPro and couldn't find a bare NUC8 for less than $450 or so that has it.

So...I managed to find a M920q with an 8600t, 8gb ram and 256g ssd for under $300.
I will switch the ram to 32gb, and I bought the 01AJ940 PCIe riser to try and get a single port Mellanox ConnectX-3 card working.

Total cost so far is:

M920q - $286
32gb ram ( CT2K16G4SFRA266 ) - $114
PCIe riser ( 01AJ940 ) - $22.95
Mellanox CX3 ( MCX353A-QCA ) - $20

TOTAL - $442.95

Hopefully the MCX353 doesn't heat it up too much :)
it’s probably not that bad - I ran Solarflare and Mellanox CX3-VPI cards on tighter hardware, although the concern would be adequate airflow.

I would grab a infrared/laser thermometer (commonly available on Amazon for less than 30) to take surface readings, keep an eye on lm-sensors for a few minutes with the machine on full blast (stress -c 20 or something like that) and maybe keep one of these nearby....as long as nothing goes above 75C after 10 minutes of worst case usage, it’s probably okay.

40B2457A-2C71-42C4-AC19-7BC1F11C467B.jpeg
 

WANg

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Jun 10, 2018
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Intel i210-AT, i211-AT and Realtek RTL8111F-CG
But only i210-AT available for purchase at the moment.
Eh, Taobao is “fun” when it comes to US sales - running a single search requires you to register (but why?)...which asks you for a telephone number before anything else, and I need to pick up a burner number before doing something like that. If you are not on the right e-store (global versus China versus US) it could block your ability to buy (something about exporting telecom equipment out of mainland China...?).

The vendor also mentioned something about giving you a free metal file so you can trim 2mm from the chassis to fit the card...
 

Aluminat

New Member
Jul 5, 2019
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running a single search requires you to register (but why?)
While I'm not from China but I guess they're trying to collect customer data as much as possible. I registered on 1688, Ali (another China's e-market) they asked same.
If you are not on the right e-store (global versus China versus US) it could block your ability to buy (something about exporting telecom equipment out of mainland China...?)
This safe to assume correct. Many things required paid via AliPay and have validated account with gorverment ID.
 

zer0sum

Active Member
Mar 8, 2013
454
164
43
I decided I like the idea of vPro and couldn't find a bare NUC8 for less than $450 or so that has it.

So...I managed to find a M920q with an 8600t, 8gb ram and 256g ssd for under $300.
I will switch the ram to 32gb, and I bought the 01AJ940 PCIe riser to try and get a single port Mellanox ConnectX-3 card working.

Total cost so far is:

M920q - $286
32gb ram ( CT2K16G4SFRA266 ) - $114
PCIe riser ( 01AJ940 ) - $22.95
Mellanox CX3 ( MCX353A-QCA ) - $20

TOTAL - $442.95

Hopefully the MCX353 doesn't heat it up too much :)
Well that sucks...the one I found for under $300 arrived and it was D.O.A :(

Does anyone on here have an M920q for sale by any chance?
 
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