Tiny/Mini/Micro PC experiences

mobilenvidia

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Here is a list of the known Lenovo, Dell and HP Tiny/Mini PCs, these are all the 1lt versions, there are even smaller and slightly larger versions but sticking with 1lt
If I've missed or made a mistake(s) on any by all means reply
Its very much a work in progress, the Tiny PC market is huge, useful for all sorts of stuff
I'll follow up with experiences of the Tiny PC's I've dealt with, feel free to add your own.

AMD versions
Lenovo Thinkcentre
M625q Lenovo Support for Drivers and BIOS
M625q - Specs
M715q Lenovo Support for Drivers and BIOS
M715q Gen 2 Lenovo Support for Drivers and BIOS
M715q - Specs - 2nd Gen
M75q Lenovo Support for Drivers and BIOS
M75q - Specs

HP
Elitedesk 705 G1 - Specs
Elitedesk 705 G2 - Specs
Elitedesk 705 G3 - Specs
Elitedesk 705 G4 35w - Specs
Elitedesk 705 G4 65w - Specs
Prodesk 405 G4 - Specs
Elitedesk 705 G5 - specs

Intel versions
Ivy Lake CPUs (3xxxT)
Lenovo Thinkcentre
M72e - Lenovo Support site for Drivers (no BIOS) etc
M72e - Specs
M92p - Lenovo Support site for Drivers and BIOS etc
M92p - Specs

Haswell CPUs (4xxxT)
Lenovo Thinkcentre
M53 - Specs
M73 - Specs
M83 - Specs
M93p - Specs

Dell Optiplex
3020 - Specs
9020 - Specs

HP
HP 260 G1 - Specs
Prodesk 400 G1 - Specs
Prodesk 600 G1 - Specs
Elitedesk 800 G1 - Specs

Sky Lake CPUs (6xxxT)
Lenovo Thinkcentre
M600 Tiny - Lenovo support site for Driver and BIOS etc
M600 Tiny - Specs
M700 Tiny, M800, M900, M900x Tiny - Lenovo Support site for Drivers and BIOS etc
M700 - Specs
M900 - Specs
M900x - Specs (Supports 65w CPU's)

Dell Optiplex
3040 - Specs
7040 - Specs

HP
HP 260 G2 - Specs
Prodesk 400 G2 - Specs
Prodesk 600 G2 - Specs
Elitedesk 800 G2 35w - Specs
Elitedesk 800 G2 65w - Specs

Kaby Lake CPU's (7xxxT)
Lenovo Thinkcentre
M910t, M910s, M910q, M910x, M710q, ThinkStation P320 Tiny Lenovo Support for Drivers and BIOS
M710q - Specs
M910q - Specs
M910x - Specs (Supports up to 65w TDP CPU's)
Lenovo Thinkstation
P320 Tiny Lenovo Support for Drivers and BIOS
P320 - Specs (Supports up to 65w TDP CPU's)

Dell Optiplex
3050 - Specs
5050 - Specs
7050 - Specs

HP
HP 260 G3 - Specs
Prodesk 400 G3 - Specs
Prodesk 600 G3 - Specs
Elitedesk 800 G3 35w - Specs
Elitedesk 800 G3 65w - Specs

Coffee Lake CPU's (both 8xxxT and 9xxxT)
Lenovo Thinkcentre
M720t, M720s, M720q, M920t, M920s, M920q, M920x, ThinkStation P330 Tiny Lenovo Support for Drivers and BIOS
M720q - Specs
M920q - Specs
M920x - Specs (Supports up to 65w TDP CPU's)
Lenovno Thinkstation
P330 Tiny Lenovo Support for Drivers and BIOS
P330 - Specs Page 1 P330 - Specs Page 2 (Supports up to 65w TDP CPU's)

Dell Optiplex 8xxxT
3060 - Specs
5060 - Specs
7060 - Specs
Dell Optiplex 9xxxT
3070 - Specs
5070 - Specs
7070 - Specs

HP 8xxxT
Prodesk 400 G4 - Specs
Prodesk 600 G4 - Specs
Elitedesk 800 G4 35w - Specs
Elitedesk 800 G4 65w - Specs
HP 9xxxT
Prodesk 400 G5 - Specs
Prodesk 600 G5 - Specs
Elitedesk 800 G5 - Specs

ASUS
PC PB60 - Specs

Apple
Mac Mini - Specs (8xxxB)

Goldmont Plus
ASUS PC PB40 - Specs (Supports HDMI 2.0 Natively ?)

Whiskey Lake CPU's (8xxxU)
Lenovo Thinkcentre
M630e Lenovo support for Drivers and BIOS
M630e - Specs

Comet Lake CPU's (10xxxT)
lenovo Thinkcentre
M70q/M80q/M90q Tiny Lenovo Support for Drivers and BIOS
M70q - Specs
M80q - Specs
M90q - specs (Supports up to 65w TDP CPU's)
Lenovo Thinkstation
P340 Tiny Lenovo Support for Drivers and BIOS
P340 - Specs (Supports up to 65w TDP CPU's)

Dell Optiplex
3080 - Specs
5080 - Specs
7080 - Specs

HP
HP 260 G4 - Specs
Prodesk 400 G6 - Specs
Prodesk 600 G6 - Specs
Elitedesk 800 G6 - Specs

Suitable Low Profile video cards for those Tiny's with PCIe slots
AMD Radeon RX 460
All below support NVDEC decoding HEVC (h265) 12bit
Quadro P400
Quadro P600
Quadro P620
Quadro P1000
GT 1030
Cooling them might be an issue if not using a Lenovo supplied card with the heatpipe as the fan may struggle with case lid being very close
Avoid the Quadro P500/P520 as these do not support En/Decoding at all

Network Cards
Lenovo Intel I350-T4 4-Port Ethernet Expansion Card

Here are what CPU's are best for Decoding Video
MPEG2 - All CPUs in any of the above systems
H264 (AVC), H265 (HEVC) 8bit and VP8 - Skylake onwards can do this via HW
H265 (HVEC) 10bit and VP9 - Kaby Lake onwards, currently the highest quality codec used right now
H265 (HVEC) 12bit and AV1 - Tiger Lake and beyond will do this
H266 - No Intel CPU yet

So currently I would recommend a Kaby Lake based System to cover all formats currently out
Then its a big CPU jump to the next supported Codec.
HDMI 2.0 (4k60 support) doesn't get supported till Tiger Lake, if you want 4k60 you need to use Display Port 1.2 and an active HDMI 2.0 adaptor
 
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mobilenvidia

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Thought I'd share some experiences with these Tiny great little machines, seeing as Patrick is spreading the love on Youtube
I've been toying with the thought of getting one for quite a while

At work I've been given the task of looking after logging the data of a strain gauge measuring loads on a Salmon raft floating in a Hydro canal.
I was sent a logger, had a 85tn loadcell shackle pin made with a strain gauge buried inside it, from this a 5core cable runs to a wireless strain gauge reader
This then sends the reading via 2.4ghz radio to a USB receiver
The receiver has Windows Software for logging the data sent, all programmable in intervals etc
But because the site in question is remote I needed to setup a solar powered logger
I was sent an ASUS Vivostick for the logging recording, a great device for plugging directly into your TV but an absolute abomination for running 24/7
This is where thoughts of replacing the Vivostick came in as I had to keep a constant eye on the remote link I setup to monitor the logging, and the Vivostick would happily crash, reboot at random times, stopping my logging, and worst of all the constant want to update to Win10 1809 but couldn't as not enough NAND storage to do so, it did my head in
If it were up to me, I would not be running this on Windows at all, no good for 24/7 stuff, but my hands were tied and of course I would probably not be writing this (btw, Logging SW doesn't work with Server 2kxx, which would have been much better)
I persevered for year with this, till the initial tests were over

Anyway late last year I cracked and bought a Lenovo Thinkcentre M92p, as i needed to setup another test run
A breath of fresh air worked as it should from the start and will happily run for months needing no attention

Another project also needing a loadpin to be read, I didn't even unpack the second Vivostick I was sent
Had a look around NZ's version of Ebay (Trademe) and found the M72e
This now also runs merrily at a complete different remote location doing its thing, I grab the data from both units once a week

At home I've been thinking about a HTPC machine for years, tried various setups but none stayed for very long
I needed something small unobtrusive and most importantly quiet, nothing worse than listing to favourite sounds and whirring in the back ground
Had thought about a M92/93, but came across a cheap M700 tiny so bought that

So the purpose of the post is to give my thoughts to the Lenovo line of Tiny PC's I've had dealings with
As you may have seen in my other 'Experiences' I like to tinker and I've been tinkering will be tinkering some more over the next wee while
I'll concentrate on Lenovo as I've gone down this road, I'm a Dell man at heart, but the equivalent Optiplex's are quite expensive
 
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mobilenvidia

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This is a work in progress and will be updated as I get time

The Devices in question in order of Purchasing

Lenovo M92p
i5-3470T
4GB DDR3
120GB SSD (can't remember brand but don't care)
Win10 Pro license

Lenovo M72e
i5-3470T
4GB DDR3
500GB HDD (yes spinning rust, but don't care)
Wifi from memory I think a Intel 7260 (but also don't care as not using it)
Win10 Pro License

The Mx2 range of Tiny PC's run the 2000 and 3000 series intel CPU's
Best suited to the 'T" line with lower TDP
By far the most used CPU in these PCs is the i5-3470T, a dual core 4 thread 2.9Ghz CPU

M72e vs M92p differences
M72e - H61 Chipset - M92p - Q77 Chipset
M72e - Realtek 8111E NIC - M92p - Intel 82579 NIC
M72e - All USB ports are USB 2.0, M92p 2x USB 3.0 front and rear + 1x USB 2.0 rear

In common
Supports officially a few Sandy Bridge CPUs and just the above Ivy Bridge (only 35w TDP)
1x SATA port via a 2.5inch drive bay/caddie
2x Display Ports
1x PCI Express Mini Card slot
Microphone + headphone jacks (front)

Looking at the above the M92p would be more desirable option as better equipped due to the Q77 chipset
But these Tiny PCs are useful only for very simple tasks as I'm doing above and maybe kids computer for homework
They instantly struggle doing anything intensive
 
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mobilenvidia

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I live remotely, TV comes via Satellite and comes in the from of 576i, upscaled to my 1080p 55" TV
It does that fine, don't watch much TV at any rate
The satellite receiver is a VU+ Duo2, highly tweaked with custom Firmware
It has a 10TB HDD, where I store all our music (ripped from CD's) and movies (ripped from DVD/Blurays)
Music all in FLAC high bit rate and movies in h264 1080p as the satellite receiver can only decode h264
Movies are coming with better compression (h265) and now with HDR and 10bit becoming common place

Played with various HTPC ideas over the years, but the PVR was just so convenient
After playing with the M92p and M72e I found a cheap M700, now sits on the PVR and we play all movies/music stored on the PVR's 10TB HDD
The M700 purchase came quick and I had no time to think about what I was about to get into
Here is what I brought:



Lenovo Thinkcentre M700 Tiny
B150 chipset
Pentium G4400T 2 core/2 thread @ 2.9Ghz, no HT or Turbo boost
4GB DDR4
120GB Samsung (pre EVO) SSD
That's about it for interchangeable specs

Also comes with
2x USB 3.0 at front (one is always on/Fast charge)
4x USB 3.0 at rear
2x Display ports
Intel i219 NIC
1x M.2 SATA port
1x PCI Express Mini Card slot
Microphone + headphone jacks (front)
The motherboard has a few more connectors for things like VGA out, serial + more I've not looked into

I have since added another 4GB DDR4 DIMM (so now Dual Channel) and a 500GB M2 SSD, which I had lying around

Once I got the machine and played around with it, I set it up for Media Playing, which it does with ease until...
In hind site the Skylake CPU's are great for everything up to h264/h265 normal decoding but 4k and it falls over

Media playing is handled by K-Lite Codec Package with Media Player Classic for the Visual and Foobar 2000 for Audio
Its all going out a Display Port to a Marantz NR1506 Amp HDMI in, then out to the LG 55" TV also via HDMI
Both apps I think are the best at Video and Audio respectively
While playing setting this up, I noticed that Kaby Lake CPUs allow h265 10bit via Hardware Decoding, where Skylake can only do it via Software
1080/60p 10bit h265 video the G4400T can cope with running on average 30% load
4k/60p10bit h265 the G4400T struggles, CPU at 90+% and stuttering galore.
A more capable CPU may decode it better as the G4400T is just a 2 core 2 thread CPU at 2.9Ghz

Here my thinking that the B150 can support Kaby Lake CPUs and a simple BIOS update would sort this out
Boy was I wrong.
It seems HP, Dell and Lenovo all limit a single PC model to a single generation of CPU
The BIOS basically stops support for a CPU that could be supported
All done in the name of upgrading to a new machine.
Some more googling I noticed that BIOS modding to allow other generations of CPU to be supported is a thriving thing to do at certain sites.

I tried this route but it seems manufacturers have also locked this out
I grabbed the original BIOS for the M700 then grabbed the Microcodes for the Kaby Lake CPU's inserted then into the BIOS removed the Engineering sample CPU Microcodes remade the BIOS and saved it
Flashed this to the M700 with the G4400T and all was well (was a bit anxious)
Remove the G4400T and insert my just received i5-7500T I got of Ebay for a good price
Fingers cross turned on the PC, and nothing zip zilch nada
Blank screen, but the CPU heatsink does get quite hot quickly
BIOS won't accept anything but Sky Lake CPU's
The only progress I made is that the BIOS for the Thinkstation P310 BIOS works on the M700
Don't know why but it does, as the P310 only comes in larger form factors and has the C236 XEON supported Chipset
This means that the internal BIOS OROMs are more updated versions, the PC runs just fine with unmodified BIOS, I can update the LAN and Sound as well

Next step is to go even deeper and see how I go with a flash programmer
Got one coming from China could be here next week or next month very hit and miss
Plan is to try to at very least download the entire BIOS, including areas the updater can't reach
I'll only do this if I don't have to remove the Flash BIOS chip, confident I could unsolder it but not so confident in putting it back
So the programmer coming has an alligator style clip that go over the Chip pins, I may need to supply a 3.3v supply to power the BIOS chip
Make new BIOS with Kaby Lake support, flash this back
That's the plan, time will tell

View attachment 15818
 
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mobilenvidia

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BIOS modding guides The place to read up on the how to's and where to's
A great place to get your hands dirty with BIOS modding

Files mentioned in above Guides in one place I'll try to keep them updated whilst I work on the Kaby Lake support on the M700

If coming across Motherboards here are ones to look out for
M710q and P320 tiny
Part number sb20n59692 - this has the PCIe slot
Part number sb20n59690 - does not and is the most common by far
Part number 01AJ902 - riser card to PCIe 16x slot
 
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mobilenvidia

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Work in progress in modding M700 BIOS to take Kaby Lake CPU's


Note here the M700 BIOS is on the left and the P310 is on the right

Video OROM and drivers are newer on the P310
I think from memory I also updated the Intel Network and Realtek UNDI drivers
The SATA OROM and drivers are best left for a special treatment, having only a single SATA and M2 slot not really much point in modding this

I'm keeping a heap of software and other things for doing all this over here
I'll try and keep it updated as I try things out
 
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mobilenvidia

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Thanks for the info.. bookmarked for future reference...
Cheers, getting out of hand this post, there are a lot more Lenovo Tiny's than first thought
I'll rearrange the posts a bit to be more intuitive with my actual experiences playing 2nd fiddle
That EPROM programmer can't be far away now, so that will make life interesting if I can get it to work without removing chip
 

mobilenvidia

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Alrighty, the EPROM programmer has arrived I've have had a quick play and it looks to work just nicely with just attaching the clip to the Chip legs
I now need to flash the M700 BIOS to the unit as currently running the P310 BIOS which has newer OPROMS but ME version error at boot up (m700 still boots)
Then I'll need to take the BIOS to win-raid.com to confer with Lost_N_BIOS, as adding Kaby Lake is not as easy as adding the Kaby Lake Microcodes to the BIOS
Did have a mission to get the BIOS EPROM chip version (very important step) as the programmer can't auto detect exact version, I needed to pick one from about 7 in a pull down menu
Not sure if they all would have read the BIOS but best to get the correct chip
Note I used ASProgrammer v2, as CH341A Programmer didn't work, well at each read the rom data was different
Below some pics to show hows its done, excuse low res, best I could attach20200930_183634_small.jpgIMG_2272_small.jpgBIOS_info.JPG
 
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mobilenvidia

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SUCCESS, running an i5-7500T on my M700 Tiny, there are some Caveats but full h265 Main 10 4k decoding via Quicksync, CPU running at my most demanding movie at 25% (vs 100% SW decoding and un watchable)
Took some huge risks and thought that the BIOS EPROM had died got very little sleep
For an insite into my bumbling about have a looksy here
 

986box

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Been looking at these tiny machines as possible replacement for laptop. What is the thermal limit for these 1L cases? Will it handle 65W TDP with some custom cooling?
 

mobilenvidia

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The M700 may struggle with 65w CPUs well quietly anyway
The i5 -7500T ran fine, I don't have anything to stress it
the M710x, M720x and P330 can all take 65w TDP CPU's they look to have a different heatsink/pipe than their 35w cousins

But big disaster at home, forest fire spread to our house which got destroyed along with everything we haveIMG_2305.JPG
So the M700 is toast (literally)
I'd dare say the rebuild will take over a year, so we'll be renting till then
But we're alive and OK, so can rebuild and try again
Tiny project for now on hold I'll look at it again in a bit once we have somewhere more stable to live
 
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amalurk

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The M700 may struggle with 65w CPUs well quietly anyway
The i5 -7500T ran fine, I don't have anything to stress it
the M710x, M720x and P330 can all take 65w TDP CPU's they look to have a different heatsink/pipe than their 35w cousins

But big disaster at home, forest fire spread to our house which got destroyed along with everything we haveView attachment 15998
So the M700 is toast (literally)
I'd dare say the rebuild will take over a year, so we'll be renting till then
But we're alive and OK, so can rebuild and try again
Tiny project for now on hold I'll look at it again in a bit once we have somewhere more stable to live
Bummer, sorry to hear that.
Beautiful spot for house, somewhere in rural Oregon?
 

manxam

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But big disaster at home, forest fire spread to our house which got destroyed along with everything we have
Really sorry to hear about your home. Glad you're OK!
Looking at the resultant "puddle" that doesn't look like a standard house design. Have any photos of it pre-fire?
Beautiful view btw!
 

BlueFox

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They're from New Zealand, so, home design is going to be a little different to what most are used to in the US.