Project TinyMiniMicro: Reviving Small Corporate Desktops

Marsh

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May 12, 2013
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After the machines goes off lease, it is fire sale.
One could buy the entire machine cheaper than just CPU and RAM.

I have a stack of HP G2 SFF machines in the garage , average price is $85-$95 shipped each.
It has I5-6500 and 4 or 8 gb ram, with or without HD.
I purchased these machines about 9 -12 months ago. At that time, I5-6500 sells for over $100 each.

You see the Ebay seller stripped the components , then sell it as barebone.
 

Cookie1990

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Nov 4, 2017
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I will watch this thread, I need a low energy hypervisor.
Right noiw I would buy a Ryzen box with an 4700 or smt.
 

Marsh

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I want something with 64gb of memory or more
I am familiar only with HP models, Dell and Levovo offer similar models.

HP 800 / 600 G2 , G3 SFF ( keyword is SFF ) , it offers 4 ram slots ( 4 x 16 get you 64 gb ).
Actually, sometimes the HP SFF is cheaper than the DM ( mini ) models.
Elitedesk SFF offer 2 pcie x16 , very quiet.
 

PigLover

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The HP SFF versions are nice, but they are also many times larger. In fact, 10x larger by total volume, though probably 3x larger by "nodes per unit of shelf space".

As an individual system the extra space might not be a large issue, and the extra expandability would be nice. But I think small is beautiful for the project @Patrick has in mind.
 
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Patrick

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Dell OptiPlex 7070 arrived with a mouse and keyboard as well. I have a trip coming up, but I am pretty sure this one will work with 2x 32GB. I may snag those after I get back.

Also, I may rename the project to Project TinyMiniMicro

Perhaps adding "Tiny" for Lenovo makes it more vendor inclusive.
 

Patrick

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Well now. Third one of the day arrived. Dell OptiPlex 7060.

It came with a completely unused and huge antenna accessory.

This is the 500GB Seagate Thin Hard Drive model with 8GB of memory and the Core i5-8500. Big differences with this one, which make the $325 unit interesting:
  • Robust WiFi solution installed. Not all have WiFi. Some WiFi means WiFi USB dongle.
  • The listing said non-T Core i5-8500. That is a huge TDP variance (65W v 35W) along with a ~600MHz clock speed delta.
  • It has the Core i5 vPro sticker!
  • It was listed as "no OS" but it has a Windows 10 sticker on it. My guess is that there is a OA license.
  • Hard drive instead of SSD
Looks like it is about time to get the series testing and such started.
 
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Patrick

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Something I noticed on the EliteDesk 800 G4 with the Core i5 today. This one has two M.2 2280 slots for SSDs along with a 2.5" drive bay and a M.2 2242 that is being used for WiFi.

What is interesting here is that the ProDesk 800 G4 Core i3 edition had a single M.2 2280 plus the M.2 2242.
 

PigLover

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Something I noticed on the EliteDesk 800 G4 with the Core i5 today. This one has two M.2 2280 slots for SSDs along with a 2.5" drive bay and a M.2 2242 that is being used for WiFi.

What is interesting here is that the ProDesk 800 G4 Core i3 edition had a single M.2 2280 plus the M.2 2242.
The Elitedesk 800 G4 does have two M.2 slots and a 2.5 in bay - but you'll find that you can't install the 2.5" bay if the 2nd M.2 slot is populated. In other words, you can't have 2x M.2 and a 2.5" SATA drive - its either 2 x M.2 or 1 x M.2 + SATA. Kind of a silly/wasteful design.
 
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PigLover

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Seems like you are further along than I am @PigLover.
Not really. I did pick up two Elitedesk G4s earlier this year. One of them is in a K8s cluster (that is otherwise made from HP290’s that I sorta regret buying) and the other one became my Covid WFH office desktop. Also have an Elitedesk 800 G2 with an i7-6700t that’s been plugging along running BlueIris for my security cameras for over a year.

I love these little boxes.
 

Flazabancy

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Dec 20, 2018
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Just wanted to say thanks for this thread. I'm looking for a SFF upgrade for my pfsense machine so I can push gigabit Openvpn which requires a fast single thread. wondering if an offlease sff machine would work or if I should wait for some mitx w/ ryzen 4000 solution and build myself.
 

newabc

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Qotom has such a form factor: link
It can support desktop cpu i7-7700(see the option) and a M.2 2280 and a 2.5 inch ssd. The barebone model is Q600G6.

But the only thing is they are selling barebones made by their factory, not 2nd hand machines by ebay sellers, so their prices are higher, basically at least $200 shipped for a barebone.

Also, their bois update is short based on the famous Q3xxG4 series' experience. Maybe now they have longer update time.
 

Patrick

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@newabc those end up being much more expensive.

i7-7700 16GB / 256GB is $425 + 37 shipping. That still does not have the Windows 10 Pro license. You get a lot of 1GbE ports but lose the USB/ USB-C and extra display outputs for the smaller form factors. That i7 is probably ~10% faster than the i5-8500T but as a 65W v. 35W TDP CPU. The power bricks for these are usually ~65W so they are a different class of power consumption.

These little machines are also awesome on a serviceability front. I have another Qotom model that I use for the 1GbE functionality. These are certainly better designed.
 

Quartermaster

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Jun 3, 2020
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It will be interesting to see the innards and compare the component layouts.

I may well be wrong, but I have a funny feeling these are all based off a reference design from one ODM.
 

WANg

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Not really. I did pick up two Elitedesk G4s earlier this year. One of them is in a K8s cluster (that is otherwise made from HP290’s that I sorta regret buying) and the other one became my Covid WFH office desktop. Also have an Elitedesk 800 G2 with an i7-6700t that’s been plugging along running BlueIris for my security cameras for over a year.

I love these little boxes.
Oh? What made you sorta-regret the 290 purchase?
 

WANg

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Jun 10, 2018
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It will be interesting to see the innards and compare the component layouts.

I may well be wrong, but I have a funny feeling these are all based off a reference design from one ODM.
Those 3 lines (Dell Optiplex Micro/HP EliteDesk Mini/Lenovo ThinkCentre Tiny) all have extensive owners manuals with teardown/components replacement diagrams. I don't think they are necessarily based on the same reference design.