Tiny/Mini/Micro PC experiences

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
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London, UK
I live in the City of London, which has basically only a village worth of people who are actually resident here (~8,500) and broadband to match - no Virgin, no FTTH, and I'm on an exchange only line so no FTTC either. ADSL is the only fixed service I can get, with 6Mbps (!!) being the average speed.

When wireless options came I leapt on it, so now I have an unlimited 5G service with download speeds of 600-800Mbps and peaks over 900Mbps - not bad. I don't share my Plex library (and I'm CGNATed anyway) so I just get very fast downloads when I need them for £20/month.

For the boot disk on the HPE I use the PCIe slot with an m.2 NVME drive for booting. When there is a performant PCIe card with 10Gbe combined with an m.2 slot I might switch to that, for the moment I just bond the 4x 1Gbe ports, which easily meets my needs.
 

tinfoil3d

QSFP28
May 11, 2020
551
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Japan
City of London, which has basically only a village worth of people who are actually resident here
With great power comes great responsibility, as they say. :cool: No kidding, is this for real? In my village in japan i only commited to purchase a land due to the fact the city promised to pull a fiber to that street. City owns the cable, and kinda has ownership of an ISP/cable tv company who's the user of the cable now. There was only dialup and few hundred meters away no cell cover at all, not a single carrier. I do happen to have a gig upstream now and its mostly gig as promised. They do regularly trip over power cables putting their main router down for a couple of minutes but mostly great.
 

Parallax

Active Member
Nov 8, 2020
226
88
28
London, UK
With great power comes great responsibility, as they say. :cool: No kidding, is this for real? In my village in japan i only commited to purchase a land due to the fact the city promised to pull a fiber to that street.
Yes, in normal circumstances 350-400,000 people a day commute into the City of London, but very few people actually live here. So while there's a huge amount of fibre laid everywhere, it's all for enterprise use and priced accordingly. It's just not economically viable to offer residential services in the City, it seems.

When 5G started to be rolled out though it was just before Covid, so I've had almost two years of 5G with basically no contention. I'm sure it won't be as good when workers come back permanently, but even in normal times the City is pretty quiet in the evenings and at weekends. So it should be ok.
 
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ReturnedSword

Active Member
Jun 15, 2018
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Santa Monica, CA
So it seems ISP choice is still terrible in the UK as ever.

The biggest holdback for me for switching to fiber is my current home has FTTN, which is just the inane way AT&T architectured it vs the FTTH I had on Verizon at my old/other home. I’m not sure I’m willing to go double NAT and nested router, since I’m so used to having my own rolled router for close to 20 years now.

On the TMM topic, I had a thought of building a (flash) Proxmox/Ceph cluster instead. Any good experience stories with this? My only worry is such a cluster would be constrained by the networking, which would max out at 2.5 GbE due to limitations of TMM.
 

tinfoil3d

QSFP28
May 11, 2020
551
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Japan
Oh. I did get p340 with quadro too, quadro went to spare parts storage, replaced with a low-profile dual port mlx3 312a i think, also, single port qsfp+ mlx3 would fit there but require extra fan. sfp+ one runs at 80 i believe... last time i checked with mlx drivers it was around 80+ i think, that's without cooler but it's basically sitting right next to an air fitering unit so "natural" airflow through the chassis keeps it in okay zone. qsfp+ you're probably looking at higher temps. But these mlx3 cards are like the best or maybe even the only 10g+ nics that will fit inside lenovo 1lpcs.
I have some notes on my p340 tiny here but didn't update it since then: https://forums.servethehome.com/index.php?threads/p340-tiny-guide.33278/
 

ReturnedSword

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Jun 15, 2018
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Wow that is pretty hot then. I don’t recall any obvious place to put even a 40mm x 40mm fan the last time I had my P330 opened up. I suppose I can ghetto fan mod it placing a fan externally where the GPU intake is on the side panel. That would start getting a bit hacky, which is a bit more than I bargained for. I was hoping this TMM experience would be a bit more “standardized” so I can have a stacked cluster or something like that. Who knows? I’m already researching random adapters ha ha.
 

snowylake

New Member
Dec 4, 2021
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Is anyone running a P3x0 with Quadro in the PCIe slot AND also a SATA drive? The SATA drive wouldn’t have a mounting bracket, but just thinking of a way to hold the boot drive while leaving the NVMe slots free. Definitely wouldn’t be able to use a full 2.5” drive but any luck with SATA to M.2 Type B converters?
I have a Nvidia "Quadro" T600 in P350 and there is barely 2cm left. Given the SATA cable's orientation, and the location of the Quadro's fan, I don't see how you can fit a M.2 card in the space left.

For NIC wise 2.5G is probably the limit without using the PCIe slot.
3.5Gbps if you consider using 5Gbps USB dongles.
In the future we might see proper 5Gbps USB dongles or perhaps 7Gbps over 10Gbps USB dongles.

Heat wise my T600 hit 83 degrees under load, so I assume the unit can take it, although I am not sure about long term effects.
 
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drcrow

New Member
Jan 1, 2022
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@snowylake On your p350 tiny, were you able to get any USB passthrough working?

I just placed an order for him p350, got it for $905. I was hoping to pass through the USB controller on the system to a VM to get a coral tpu working.

The coral tpu is notoriously bad at getting pass through to a VM. Some people have mentioned passing through the whole USB controller/hub. I was hoping to see esxi give the option of that.
 

snowylake

New Member
Dec 4, 2021
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I would not be hopeful about passing through a USB controller; only a single USB controller is listed on the device list, and unsurprisingly no pass through option is available for it. I had a skylake box that exhibit this behavior so it might have been since then.

USB devices, on the other hand, appears to work with pass through. I was able to get a keyboard, mouse & bluetooth pass through to a VM.
 

drcrow

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Jan 1, 2022
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Thanks for the information. I am not too worried about passing through individual USB devices. Planning on passthrough my zwave and ZigBee devices, it's mostly about getting the coral tpu to work.

Esxi does not recognize the USB device and has some generic USB name. Or at least thats what other users have reported. Passing through the generic USB device, aka the coral, causes the VM not to see it and this the coral can not be utilized.

Another option is to use the m.2 a+e slot for wifi, and swap it out for the a+e keyed coral. Do you know if Lenovo has a allow/white list for PCI devices?

Even going that route seems not to work as Esxi fails to initialize/wake the coral for PCI passthrough.

Some users have reported doing PCI passthrough works with the right flags in Proxmox. I prefer to have esxi, as the rest of my lab runs it.

Not sure if there any other options to get the coral to work correctly in the p350 tiny.
 

ReturnedSword

Active Member
Jun 15, 2018
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Santa Monica, CA
I have a Nvidia "Quadro" T600 in P350 and there is barely 2cm left. Given the SATA cable's orientation, and the location of the Quadro's fan, I don't see how you can fit a M.2 card in the space left.

For NIC wise 2.5G is probably the limit without using the PCIe slot.
3.5Gbps if you consider using 5Gbps USB dongles.
In the future we might see proper 5Gbps USB dongles or perhaps 7Gbps over 10Gbps USB dongles.

Heat wise my T600 hit 83 degrees under load, so I assume the unit can take it, although I am not sure about long term effects.
This is very useful info, thanks!

Upon a closer look it does look like the Lenovo SATA cable is indeed short. I’m willing to play with an adapter or two, but it seems like utilizing the SATA port may go into fanciful thinking territory if there’s a PCIe card occupying the expansion bay.

I gave this some thought and 2.5 GbE is probably enough for Plex, at least for now. The eventual goal is to throw my media library up into the cloud, and local 2 TB NVMe should be more than sufficient to store “local” files.
 

snowylake

New Member
Dec 4, 2021
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I am not too worried about passing through individual USB devices. Planning on passthrough my zwave and ZigBee devices, it's mostly about getting the coral tpu to work.

Esxi does not recognize the USB device and has some generic USB name. Or at least thats what other users have reported. Passing through the generic USB device, aka the coral, causes the VM not to see it and this the coral can not be utilized.

Another option is to use the m.2 a+e slot for wifi, and swap it out for the a+e keyed coral. Do you know if Lenovo has a allow/white list for PCI devices?

Even going that route seems not to work as Esxi fails to initialize/wake the coral for PCI passthrough.

Some users have reported doing PCI passthrough works with the right flags in Proxmox. I prefer to have esxi, as the rest of my lab runs it.

Not sure if there any other options to get the coral to work correctly in the p350 tiny.
The bluetooth was also passed thru as a generic device, so that alone may not meant much.
I wasn't aware of any whitelist for the P350 tiny, I guess the only sure way to find out is to try it.
 

snowylake

New Member
Dec 4, 2021
14
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3
This is very useful info, thanks!

Upon a closer look it does look like the Lenovo SATA cable is indeed short. I’m willing to play with an adapter or two, but it seems like utilizing the SATA port may go into fanciful thinking territory if there’s a PCIe card occupying the expansion bay.

I gave this some thought and 2.5 GbE is probably enough for Plex, at least for now. The eventual goal is to throw my media library up into the cloud, and local 2 TB NVMe should be more than sufficient to store “local” files.
I don't use plex, but if it is media files, what would you be losing with attaching a USB drive ?
If 2.5GbE is enough for the media stream, a SATA SSD on USB 3 should be able to keep up.
 

Keystroke13

New Member
Jan 3, 2022
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1
I'm curious to know if anyone had success with adding a third drive to the Lenovo M900 Tiny using a M.2 to M.2 A/E Key WiFi adapter like the Sintech adapter?

VMware deprecated USB boot devices in 7.0u3. I want to move away from USB boot add an additional drive to my Lenovo M900 Tiny vSAN cluster to support NVMe/SATA boot. Following this original Reddit post I'm experiencing mixed results with either the adapter, the device, or platform limitations. In fairness to both the device and the original poster, the M900 specifications list "Some: M.2 SSD, PCIe or SATA interface " not both and I haven't purchased a Samsung PM991 drive that was documented as working.

To date, I've tested whatever spare NVMe drives I can find at home and/or work. I also experience inconsistencies with how the M900 will display the drive in the BIOS all depending on how I access it. Using Enter > F1 > System Summary vs. F12 > Enter Setup > System Summary.

Thoughts?

Troubleshooting Steps:
  • All known working drives.
  • Checked BIOS settings, did I miss something?
  • Enabled/Disabled PCIe advanced power mode.
  • Validated port works by reinstalling WiFi card.
  • Used a different M900 Tiny, same result.
  • Used a different Sintech adapter, same result.
  • Drive used on adapter does become warm, it's getting power.
  • NVMe drives are PCIe Gen 3.0 x 4 or x 2 lanes, same as the PM991.
Drive Layout
  • M.2 NVMe - Samsung 970 Evo Plus 2280
  • SATA SSD - Samsung 860 Evo
  • M.2 A/E - Still Searching
Testing Results

BrandModelNVMeCapacityForm FactorInterfaceArchitectureSEDSeq. ReadSeq. WriteWorked (Lenovo)Control (Dell Laptop 7490)M900 Notes...
Samsung 970 EVO PlusMZ-V7S500B/AMY500GBM.2 2280PCIe Gen3 x4 v1.3V-NANDN3500 MB/s3200 MB/sN
Samsung PM991MZ9LQ128HBHQ-000D1Y128GBM.2 2230PCIe Gen3 x4??2000 MB/s1000 MB/s??* Works for Reddit user.
ToshibaTHNSF5256GPUKY256GBM.2 2280-?Y??NN
KioxiaKBG40ZNS512GY512GBM.2 2230PCIe Gen3 x4?N2,200 MB/S1,400 MB/SNN* Pulled from Dell laptop.
* Rebranded Toshiba?
XPG SX8200ASX8200PNP-256GT-CY256GBM.2 2280PCIe Gen3 x43D NANDN3500 MB/s3000 MB/sN?* Rebranded ADATA?
Western DigitalSDBPNTY-256G or SN730Y256GBM.2 2280PCIe Gen3 x4 v1.33D NANDN3150 MB/s2100 MB/sY/NY* Recognized in BIOS, but only when drive was formatted.
* Recognized with Linux/Parted Magic.
* Rebranded Sandisk?
Western DigitalSDAPTUW-512GY512GBM.2 2230PCIe Gen3 x2?N1,700 MB/s1,400 MB/SNY/N* Pulled from Dell laptop.
* Recognized only with the adapter and no onboard NVMe/SATA using laptop control unit.
 
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teafarer

New Member
Jan 23, 2020
16
8
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VA
I'm curious if anyone has had any luck with the USFF Dell/Lenovo/HP machines in converting them to fanless or replacing existing fan with a low-noise one? My HP mini, even at idle, has a noticeable fan noise in my quiet home. Plus, modding/moving to a fanless case could be a fun exercise too. Are these all too proprietary for that? I know third-party companies make fanless NUC cases, but I'd like to cover the couple of t/m/m PCs I already have. I suppose if all else fails, I could cut a huge hole in the top and slap a big heatsink on the CPU, lol

Also, I suppose I could reapply thermal paste to see if they idle lower
 

mobilenvidia

Moderator
Sep 25, 2011
1,931
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New Zealand
Added Lenovo CPU support matrix (to first post) and also updated M70q/90q Gen2 a while back
Matrix also could apply to HP and Dell substituting respective desktops
 

WANg

Well-Known Member
Jun 10, 2018
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New York, NY
Some other potential TMM machines:

HP Elite Slice (G2)

Meeting room PC with optional external expansion modules.
Includes Sky Lake (6xxxT) and Kaby Lake (7xxxT) generation CPUs, not sure about others.
HP Elite Slice Specifications | HP® Customer Support
https://www.hp.com/us-en/shop/mdp/desktops/hp-elite-slice

Acer Veriton N Series

Optional external expansion modules, including an external facing PCIe slot.
Multiple generations of Intel CPUs. Nx640G seem to be Sky Lake (6xxxT), Nx660G seem to be Coffee Lake (8xxxT) etc.
Model numbers: N4620G, N4630G, N4640G, N4660G, N4670G, N4670GT, N4680GT, N6630G, N6640G, N6660G, N6670G, N6670G, N6680G
Veriton N
Product Support | Acer United States - Service Manual (re-assembly guide) has pictures
Both are not really -

For the Slice G2, the expansion port is proprietary. My guess is that it's either USB-C or PCIex2 if you are lucky, but not quite worth the headache.

For the Acer, any of the octagonal Nxx20G series does not have any PCIe expansion, the Nxx30G uses something non-standard (and it doesn't look like it's all that wide), the Nxx40G looks wider but also non-standard, the Nxx60/70/80 machines are also around the same.

The bigger issue here is that Acer seem to differentiate the machines during retail of either 1L (default), 2L (with the sidecar module that contains a PCIe riser or a video card) or 3L (2L but with an optical drive underneath), and you can't easily get parts later to upgrade a 1L to a 2L, 2L to a 3L.

If you want the PCIe slot, you'll need a 2L or 3L to begin, and it's not easy to map which machines are which. Acer tech support is, in a single word, "clueless". There is a semi-complete SKU list for the N4640G series on snlookup.com, but there's no guarantee that it's 100% accurate - my guess is that the 135W 2L/3L models are the ones that you want to gun for, but those things are not that common (or cheap) on evilBay versus the m720qs or the HP t730/740s...so why even bother with them?