Project TinyMiniMicro: Reviving Small Corporate Desktops

unmesh

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Apr 17, 2017
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A friend was thinking of replacing his old mini tower running Windows 10 with a TMM after seeing the form factor at my place and being able to run Windows 11 would be a plus. He is by no means a power user.

What is the oldest generation of TMM that will run Windows 11? Picking a supported CPU is straightforward (Coffee Lake or later) as is a certain amount of DRAM and storage but the other requirements of Windows 11 such as Secure Boot and TPM 2.0 are not always listed in the hardware specs. Can they be assumed to exist if the CPU is Coffee Lake or later?

Thanks
 

WANg

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Jun 10, 2018
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A friend was thinking of replacing his old mini tower running Windows 10 with a TMM after seeing the form factor at my place and being able to run Windows 11 would be a plus. He is by no means a power user.

What is the oldest generation of TMM that will run Windows 11? Picking a supported CPU is straightforward (Coffee Lake or later) as is a certain amount of DRAM and storage but the other requirements of Windows 11 such as Secure Boot and TPM 2.0 are not always listed in the hardware specs. Can they be assumed to exist if the CPU is Coffee Lake or later?

Thanks
Generally speaking, if it’s a TMM/Corporate NUC, chances are good that it’ll come with a TPM. As for secureboot and from my experience, machines after Broadwell shipped in the US with TPM and Windows will likely have UEFI on, legacy boot off, and secureboot turned on. Your reseller might wipe the SSD and turn off secureboot for various reasons, so you might have to verify yourself, and if my experience with the7x70/7x80 series Latitudes taught me, make sure that the battery (RTC or otherwise) is holding a charge, or else the system will undervolt and the TPM will turn itself off.
 

unmesh

Active Member
Apr 17, 2017
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Generally speaking, if it’s a TMM/Corporate NUC, chances are good that it’ll come with a TPM. As for secureboot and from my experience, machines after Broadwell shipped in the US with TPM and Windows will likely have UEFI on, legacy boot off, and secureboot turned on. Your reseller might wipe the SSD and turn off secureboot for various reasons, so you might have to verify yourself, and if my experience with the7x70/7x80 series Latitudes taught me, make sure that the battery (RTC or otherwise) is holding a charge, or else the system will undervolt and the TPM will turn itself off.
I will let him know. Worst case, I will take it off his hands and run another Proxmox node!

And good to know about the RTC issue.

Thanks
 

siwyboy

New Member
Jan 17, 2022
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Poland
Hi,

I have a question regarding the Intel integrated graphics and the performance of those GPUs on 4K monitors.

I have two DELL 1L computers with 6th and 7th gen Intel CPUs. I installed Win10 Pro and connected one 4K display through DisplayPort.
One is the i5-6500T (HD 530 GPU) and the second is i5-7500 (HD 630 GPU). The desktop and Office apps performance are just horrible! The Outlook client app can barely render the window. Everything works very slow, and the websites rendering is something that is not acceptable for daily usage.

Both systems have 16GB of RAM and M2 SSDs (WD Red), so in my opinion it's a problem related to the integrated GPU.
To test my theory, I connected two 1080p monitors. In both cases the daily usage performance are just more than enough and it's nice to work with them.

Do you have experience with newer CPUs? Is there a version of those CPUs that can handle one 4K monitor?

Thanks!
 

TXAG26

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Aug 2, 2016
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I assume you’ve tried updating the graphic drivers? Usually those graphics are more than enough for 2D display purposes.
 

EngChiSTH

Member
Jun 27, 2018
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Hi,

I have a question regarding the Intel integrated graphics and the performance of those GPUs on 4K monitors.

I have two DELL 1L computers with 6th and 7th gen Intel CPUs. I installed Win10 Pro and connected one 4K display through DisplayPort.
One is the i5-6500T (HD 530 GPU) and the second is i5-7500 (HD 630 GPU). The desktop and Office apps performance are just horrible! The Outlook client app can barely render the window. Everything works very slow, and the websites rendering is something that is not acceptable for daily usage.

Both systems have 16GB of RAM and M2 SSDs (WD Red), so in my opinion it's a problem related to the integrated GPU.
To test my theory, I connected two 1080p monitors. In both cases the daily usage performance are just more than enough and it's nice to work with them.

Do you have experience with newer CPUs? Is there a version of those CPUs that can handle one 4K monitor?

Thanks!

what is the version of the DisplayPort on the PCs in question? What resolutions does that displayport version support?
i.e. at earlier version of the hardware chip, you would not be able to do 4K at resolutions over 30 fps.

in theory HD 530 GPU should support 4K@60 if connected over DisplayPort 1.2 . Whether your motherboard is set with that port , is unknown since you did not post which motherboard/hardware detail is this.
 

siwyboy

New Member
Jan 17, 2022
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Poland
what is the version of the DisplayPort on the PCs in question? What resolutions does that displayport version support?
i.e. at earlier version of the hardware chip, you would not be able to do 4K at resolutions over 30 fps.

in theory HD 530 GPU should support 4K@60 if connected over DisplayPort 1.2 . Whether your motherboard is set with that port , is unknown since you did not post which motherboard/hardware detail is this.
Sorry for the lack of details!

I took one of those units from the office to test it at home. The unit is:
Dell OptiPlex 7040M
Intel i5-6500T
Intel HD 530 (8GB of shared memory)
Intel Q170 Chipset
16GB RAM
I can't find any information which exact DP standard it supports :/

At home I have two AOC U3277FWQ monitors. They are connected to my PC with DP 1.2 cables and work in 4K 60p.

I disconnected the DP cable from my PC and connected to the Dell unit, updated OS to newest Win 10 Pro, updated display drivers to newest version (27.20.100.9664).
The monitor automatically switched to 3840x2160 60Hz
I started a bunch of Office apps, a Citrix desktop, SQL Server Management Studio and couple of MS Edge windows. CPU rarely goes above 30% and the GPU is around 15-20% (based on the Windows task manager).

You know, it's not like the unit is slow, everything opens really fast. Citrix desktop also works smoothly. My main issue is related to those specific screen lags. When you move windows or move a mouse cursor, it all looks like the GPU was not able to render the resolution (not really sure how else can I explain it).

I'm wondering if this is something that also occurs on those new systems (9th or 10th gen). Is it possible to work comfortably on 4K 60Hz screen?
Do you have experience in using them as standard desktop machines?
 
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teafarer

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Jan 23, 2020
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I think the HD 530 and similar Intel iGPUs really struggle with 4k 60hz. While technically "supported" by the video outputs, I think the GPUs are pretty weak in terms of pushing that many pixels at once, even in 2D situations like Windows UI. Judging from some online searches, it seems this experience is pretty common.

On a non-tiny desktop I had (i5-6600, HD 530) the performance in Windows wasn't great either in terms of UI- especially with multiple things open or dragging window contents around (screen tearing/choppiness/moving a window lagged behind the cursor a bit). At first I thought a driver issue, but going to 1080p made the issue disappear, as well as putting in a dedicated nVidia GPU and using that instead for 4k 60hz displays.

So, I could be wrong- and maybe others here have experience that says otherwise- but I'm inclined to think that HD5xx era iGPUs from Intel may just be a bad choice for 4k 60hz output in general (depending on the use case / how much you care about the lag)
 
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siwyboy

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Jan 17, 2022
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I think the HD 530 and similar Intel iGPUs really struggle with 4k 60hz. While technically "supported" by the video outputs, I think the GPUs are pretty weak in terms of pushing that many pixels at once, even in 2D situations like Windows UI. Judging from some online searches, it seems this experience is pretty common.

On a non-tiny desktop I had (i5-6600, HD 530) the performance in Windows wasn't great either in terms of UI- especially with multiple things open or dragging window contents around (screen tearing/choppiness/moving a window lagged behind the cursor a bit). At first I thought a driver issue, but going to 1080p made the issue disappear, as well as putting in a dedicated nVidia GPU and using that instead for 4k 60hz displays.

So, I could be wrong- and maybe others here have experience that says otherwise- but I'm inclined to think that HD5xx era iGPUs from Intel may just be a bad choice for 4k 60hz output in general (depending on the use case / how much you care about the lag)
Thanks for your input :) This is exactly what I encountered.

Right now we are also struggling with choosing new tiny/mini desktops. We would like to replace all monitors with 4K displays, but we are afraid that even the 10th or 11th gen of i5/i7 will show the same behavior.

Maybe there is someone who has experience with those 10/11 gen CPUs in 1L chassis combined with 4K monitors?
 
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tinfoil3d

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May 11, 2020
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Maybe there's also a way to lower the refresh rate from 60 to 30 or below in windows? In linux, for some really ancient GPUs i'm able to set high resolutions like 1440p with sub-30hz refresh rate. While mouse cursor really "teleports" in these situations it's otherwise usable for desktop work.
 

DarkNova

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Mar 23, 2012
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Another data point, my laptop is i7-6700HQ with HD 530 and I don't notice any issue with 4k @ 60hz. Only 2d desktop stuff, though, but it's fast dragging windows around. Connected via Thunderbolt to a docking station then Display Port then to a HDMI 2.0 adapter. Mostly using Linux, but have used Windows with it some.
 

teafarer

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Jan 23, 2020
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Another data point, my laptop is i7-6700HQ with HD 530 and I don't notice any issue with 4k @ 60hz. Only 2d desktop stuff, though, but it's fast dragging windows around. Connected via Thunderbolt to a docking station then Display Port then to a HDMI 2.0 adapter. Mostly using Linux, but have used Windows with it some.
Wow, that's interesting. Maybe my impression is wrong and I somehow just experienced the same problem as siwyboy... interesting that the experience seems very different case-by-case (since many posts online discuss having the same problem...). I wonder if there's some other factor at play. Just now I did a google search, and sure enough, found an entire thread of people with no problems at 4k on HD 530, and then another thread where everyone was saying they had the problem. The plot thickens! :eek:

I would expect 10th/11th gen is probably much improved in comparison, but I do not have experience/evidence to confirm that assumption.

Maybe worth trying making sure that the Intel GPU is set to maximum performance / power in it's settings. Also play around with Windows scaling- apparently different scaling percentages can possibly affect performance. Maybe disable transparency in Windows settings too.
 
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siwyboy

New Member
Jan 17, 2022
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Wow, that's interesting. Maybe my impression is wrong and I somehow just experienced the same problem as siwyboy... interesting that the experience seems very different case-by-case (since many posts online discuss having the same problem...). I wonder if there's some other factor at play. Just now I did a google search, and sure enough, found an entire thread of people with no problems at 4k on HD 530, and then another thread where everyone was saying they had the problem. The plot thickens! :eek:

I would expect 10th/11th gen is probably much improved in comparison, but I do not have experience/evidence to confirm that assumption.

Maybe worth trying making sure that the Intel GPU is set to maximum performance / power in it's settings. Also play around with Windows scaling- apparently different scaling percentages can possibly affect performance. Maybe disable transparency in Windows settings too.
At the office all of the units are gen 5 and 6. I tested couple of them on Win10 Pro and saw exactly the same behavior. I also played with the performance and set everything to max. I was also looking into the scaling option in Win10 and there was a small performance difference between 150% and 100%. When I switched to 150% the windows moving was a bit smoother, but overall performerce did not change.

I took a look at the raw data for i5-6500T and i7-6700HQ but there is just a small difference in the frequency and four more cores in the second one.

Unfortunately I have no possibility to test newer generations, because our management don't want to buy "test" units :/ I thought I find someone who has experience with those 1L workstations.

@teafarer did you try it with linux or windows though?
Unfortunately I have no possibly to install Linux on any of those machines :(