Project TinyMiniMicro: Reviving Small Corporate Desktops

Notice: Page may contain affiliate links for which we may earn a small commission through services like Amazon Affiliates or Skimlinks.

bigfellasdad

Member
Apr 10, 2018
74
39
18
67
I'm interested about these tiny PCs as well. But since I'm using Proxmox with ZFS (with 14 SSDs at the moment) and ECC, I have some concerns about moving to a system with less SSD slots, no ECC, no PCI-E for 10g and so on..
You are going to need enterprise grade then. I've got an unused ml150gen9 that would suit you.
 

Quartermaster

Right, now pay attention 007!
Jun 3, 2020
58
36
18
I'm looking at throwing a TinyMiniMicro style box in a location where performance isn't key, but size is restricted to a micro size box that will sit on a 1U shelf (needs to be self contained, on external HDDs, and will be with other devices). Idle/overall power needs to be as low as possible (so, looking for i3 or even Celeron class processing power).

The use case will be as a super dense storage node, however storage redundancy isn't important. I've looked at ARM based SBCs, but these are all too janky to be reliable.

I have 4x 2TB M.2 NVMe SSDs and an 8TB SATA SSD at my disposal.

The Optiplex 7080 Micro looks like I can squeeze 2x M.2 SSDs in it along with 1x 2.5" SATA SSD. It might even be possible to squeeze a third M.2 SSD in via the WiFi slot with an adapter.

Can anyone think of any better TMM model? Bonus points if you know of anything lower power (I'll be paying for electricity consumption, and the rate is very expensive).

[edit] Size clarification.
 
Last edited:

bigfellasdad

Member
Apr 10, 2018
74
39
18
67
Can anyone think of anything better? Bonus points if you know of anything lower power (I'll be paying for electricity consumption, and the rate is very expensive).
If it was me I'd be looking into a decent SFF machine with that amount of storage. You have more space and cooling and importantly pcie slots. With fast storage and only a 1gig nic is wasteful I think. Go for a gen8 or newer i3 or better if it was me, it will be low power but far more suited. I would imagine sub 30w under use is achievable and maybe 15w at idle If you can keep cstates and pcie power support
 
Last edited:

Quartermaster

Right, now pay attention 007!
Jun 3, 2020
58
36
18
If it was me I'd be looking into a decent SFF machine with that amount of storage. You have more space and cooling and importantly pcie slots. With fast storage and only a 1gig nic is wasteful I think. Go for a gen8 or newer i3 or better if it was me, it will be low power but far more suited. I would imagine sub 30w under use is achievable and maybe 15w at idle If you can keep cstates and pcie power support
Thanks, I've clarified my post that this needs to be a micro sized box. SSD speeds on a 1G up-link may be wasteful to you, but the density, power and reliability benefits are all bonuses for me :)
 

bigfellasdad

Member
Apr 10, 2018
74
39
18
67
Thanks, I've clarified my post that this needs to be a micro sized box. SSD speeds on a 1G up-link may be wasteful to you, but the density, power and reliability benefits are all bonuses for me
Ok, then you can get some tiny boxes with 2xNVME slots, you can get dual pcie NVME boards, you could shuck your 8tb SATA SSD. I think you would struggle to squeeze in the SSD and keeping it safe electronically. The mini PCIe slot is tiny, can you get an nvme that small or indeed, if you can get an adaptor, i doubt you would find room for another full sized NVMe? Id be worried about heat in the box though. Thinking, as you arent bothered about speed, more desiring storage capacity, is there a DAS enclosure of similar dimensions and ideally with a 10gb USB3 connection, that you could stack on the tiny pc? Another option, and I do this when i backup my homelab sometimes, is to connect my 2tb sandisk extreme nvme, you can get 4tb versions as well, they arent cheap though!
 

zer0sum

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2013
846
471
63
I'm looking at throwing a TinyMiniMicro style box in a location where performance isn't key, but size is restricted to a micro size box that will sit on a 1U shelf (needs to be self contained, on external HDDs, and will be with other devices). Idle/overall power needs to be as low as possible (so, looking for i3 or even Celeron class processing power).

The use case will be as a super dense storage node, however storage redundancy isn't important. I've looked at ARM based SBCs, but these are all too janky to be reliable.

I have 4x 2TB M.2 NVMe SSDs and an 8TB SATA SSD at my disposal.

The Optiplex 7080 Micro looks like I can squeeze 2x M.2 SSDs in it along with 1x 2.5" SATA SSD. It might even be possible to squeeze a third M.2 SSD in via the WiFi slot with an adapter.

Can anyone think of any better TMM model? Bonus points if you know of anything lower power (I'll be paying for electricity consumption, and the rate is very expensive).

[edit] Size clarification.
Tiny 4 x nvme NAS from Qnap might work? :)

 
  • Like
Reactions: bigfellasdad

Rttg

Member
May 21, 2020
71
47
18
Tiny 4 x nvme NAS from Qnap might work? :)

Interesting thing about that product is that the NVMe slots are PCIE x2, rather than the x1 slots in most (all?) other N5105 boxes off AliEx.
 

Quartermaster

Right, now pay attention 007!
Jun 3, 2020
58
36
18
Ok, then you can get some tiny boxes with 2xNVME slots, you can get dual pcie NVME boards, you could shuck your 8tb SATA SSD. I think you would struggle to squeeze in the SSD and keeping it safe electronically.
I don't think these boxes support bifurcation that is needed for most dual M.2 NVMe cards that don't have a multiplexing chip. Good idea about shucking the SSD to squeeze it in. Electronically, EMI might be an issue but some kapton tape should prevent short circuits.

The mini PCIe slot is tiny, can you get an nvme that small or indeed, if you can get an adaptor, i doubt you would find room for another full sized NVMe? Id be worried about heat in the box though.
It's possible, a little janky, but possible: https://www.reddit.com/r/homelab/comments/mcbi6x
Heat is of course an issue, but on a 1U shelf with chilled airflow, it should be fairly ok.

is there a DAS enclosure of similar dimensions and ideally with a 10gb USB3 connection, that you could stack on the tiny pc? Another option, and I do this when i backup my homelab sometimes, is to connect my 2tb sandisk extreme nvme, you can get 4tb versions as well, they arent cheap though!
Unfortunately, it has to be all self contained - Otherwise I'd do as any normal person and plug in a USB3 HDD :)

Tiny 4 x nvme NAS from Qnap might work? :)

Nice concept, but stupidly expensive for nice hardware and really shitty software.
 

Rttg

Member
May 21, 2020
71
47
18
Only other box worth considering might be the Lenovo M920x which can take 2 M.2 SSDs on the bottom of the board and a 2.5” SSD/HD on top (or swap out the top 2.5” drive for a PCIE card if you get the riser).
 

bigfellasdad

Member
Apr 10, 2018
74
39
18
67
If you find an os that could run off a pair of mirrored usb sticks, no swap and remote logging, you could use 3 nvme with the shucked sata ssd. Teany tiny nas :)
 

amalurk

Active Member
Dec 16, 2016
310
116
43
102
Tiny 4 x nvme NAS from Qnap might work? :)

It's a cool form factor with 2x 2.5g lan. Now where is the barebones Aliexpress clone with dual lan and 4xm.2 slots at $180/box
 

Quartermaster

Right, now pay attention 007!
Jun 3, 2020
58
36
18
Only other box worth considering might be the Lenovo M920x which can take 2 M.2 SSDs on the bottom of the board and a 2.5” SSD/HD on top (or swap out the top 2.5” drive for a PCIE card if you get the riser).
Thanks! This is a great option, it's a lot cheaper than the Dell 5080/5090. The PCIe should also be a lot more stable than something like the WiFi -> PCIe M.2 adapter. It looks like the generation before of that series (M910x) also supports 2x M.2 SSDs and is even cheaper (though, harder to find).
 

zer0sum

Well-Known Member
Mar 8, 2013
846
471
63
Only other box worth considering might be the Lenovo M920x which can take 2 M.2 SSDs on the bottom of the board and a 2.5” SSD/HD on top (or swap out the top 2.5” drive for a PCIE card if you get the riser).
Lenovo p330/340/350/360 and m90q as well :cool:
 
  • Like
Reactions: drvcrash

newabc

Active Member
Jan 20, 2019
464
243
43
Lenovo released a new IdeaCentre Mini model in December 2022 with a traditional internal Mac-mini-like power supply, not an external AC-DC power supply as the gaming laptops.

But this model is using Intel's gaming laptop CPUs, not the t-series CPUs for traditional tiny series.

Spec sheet:

The only new item link on BHPhotoVideo:
 

newabc

Active Member
Jan 20, 2019
464
243
43
Well, they have 2 lines off the IdeaCentre Mini line - the Alder Lake T-series based (01IAQ7) 90UB and the Raptor Lake H-series based (01IRH8) 90W2 - the former uses a regular power brick, while the latter uses an internal brick. I honestly don't see that much of a benefit to having an internal power brick rather than an external one.
I think Mini PC becomes one of the market trends in China.

Since Lenovo has tiny and nano form factors already. Now it added a form factor as the size and with the internal PSU of mac mini.

(This will save some space comparing to the external power brick on tiny form factor. But cuts the CPU performance, because of the heat ventilation when adding the internal PSU but lesser power efficiency than apple m1/m2.)

Probably it will add a form factor like mac studio.

Personal feeling on the nano form factor: it still needs external usb-c hub/docker when it is used as an office computer.
(wires and cables nightmare when using 2 monitors, usb connected printer and wired network.)
 
Last edited:

kayson

New Member
Apr 21, 2021
22
7
3
Do any of the optiplex micros have a PCIE slot? Or are the Lenovo tiny models the only ones? I want to add 10G networking, but the M2 to oculink to HP adapter route is much more expensive than a cheap NIC.
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
409
199
43
London, UK
Do any of the optiplex micros have a PCIE slot? Or are the Lenovo tiny models the only ones? I want to add 10G networking, but the M2 to oculink to HP adapter route is much more expensive than a cheap NIC.
I think only the Lenovo Tinys. You can check the reference thread for which models have it.