Souping Up a Lenovo M93P Tiny for 4K
#1
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I recently had the chance to pick up a Lenovo M93P Tiny for $135 CAD the other week and looking for something to tinker with, as well as to set up a Steam/Kodi machine that I can toss in baggage and use in a hotel room or the like was something I wanted.  This machine will also spend most of it's life in the office breakroom at my work, giving us something to do during lunch on the TV.  This thread will be about me souping it up. Smile

The stock system:
Intel i7 4570T (2c4t, Haswell)
4GB DDR3 1600mhz
500GB WD Blue 2.5" HDD
Intel Wireless N 2.4ghz Wifi card
65w power brick
Windows 10 Pro (This is a nice bonus, it's fully authentic and in the SLIC)

Pretty unremarkable, right? It should do 1080p Kodi workloads no problem.  Yeah, let's get STUPID on this thing.  One main advantage is that this does not use a mobile socket, while it's only made for 35 TDP chips, it has a standard LGA 1150 socket and I can technically put any chip in there and only the current limit (PSU) and thermal limit are the challenge.

The first thing is the easy, as this will also do light indie/Steam gaming, upped the RAM.  It's running 4x4GB of 1600mhz right now and by November I'll be doing a second round of upgrades and put it to 2x8GB because why not?  I'm also upgrading the storage with a 480GB Kingston A400 SSD on the way, because, well, it has mountings for ONE SATA drive so why not go all out?  I'd go larger but really, 500GB will be 'big enough' as it's not like this machine will be running 70GB of GTA5.

But let's talk CPU.  I have some fat, mATX Kodi machines that manage to do UHD Remuxes purely in software, but these machines run a 3770K and 4590 respectively, that's a lot more horse power than a 4570T.  I did some experimenting and thought about TDP restricting a much more powerful quad core processor and keeping it to 45-50w TDP, hopefully enough to let it do 4K within limit.  But then it hit me, I could do more, I could even ugprade the IGP.  Last November Linus Tech Tips did a video on Haswell LAPTOP chips being e-recycled in China and repackaged in hacked up 1150 sockets and running in a vanilla desktop board.



I also found a Hackintosh thread from Tonymac where a user in China reported using such a CPU in an M93P Tiny and it working no problem.  So I ran off to eBay and for about $175 CAD ($129 USD) I ordered an i7 4750HQ, this includes the Iris Pro 5200 graphics which is TWICE as fast as the HD 4800 IGP on most other Haswells, and the 128mb eDRAM package that offers the chip a significant improvement in perfomance per clock without the hit to TDP.  It's a 47w chip, all benchmarks put it above a 4590 which I can compare it to.  So this should double my graphics performance for light weight gaming but also enable 4K 24hz in software.  It'll also be stupid and fun.  This should likely mandate an upgrade to a 90w brick but it uses a standard Lenovo brick type so locating one is a piece of cake.

A later upgrade, likely for November, is since my unit shipped with the Optical Expansion Box, which uses standard laptop slim drives and included a CD/DVD drive, will be to add an LG BD/BDXL/UHD drive.  Giving it the ability to playback any physical media.  (You know, once Kodi has BD decryption going...)

Also some other accessories like a FLIRC and Xbox 360 wireless dongle.  The FLIRC will be interesting as ONE of the USB ports can wake the machine up with the keyboard press of Alt+P, so I'm hoping I can map that to work and get the FLIRC to power it on.

One final note and it's a challenge is that Lenovo has a wifi white list.  It'll REFUSE TO POST with an unapproved wifi card installed.  So while I want to add AC wifi, I'm going to need to do some work in figuring out what card will work or what hacks will bypass that check. :/
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#2
And the first and easiest upgrade is in, the Kingston A400 480GB.  Pretty much just ensures that Windows 10 fires up fast enough, Kodi thumbnail access is very fast, and benefits Games so that their's minimal IO bottleneck.

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#3
Guess what arrived from China today. Smile

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The good news is, it basically dropped in and 'just worked'. The downside is, I think the Lenovo BIOS has some wattage limits baked in that I can't alter. In most loads it runs at 47w, but it won't do it's 58w 'Short Turbo' speed, it's also running slightly below it's max turbos, I was able to hit 3.0ghz sustained with some undervolting, 2.8ghz without undervolting. It also seems to run SLOWER under some loads, where I can get 3.0ghz in Cinebench R15, it runs at 2.45 and a lower TDP while running R20. AVX2 power consumption thing maybe? So yes, in the restrictive Lenovo box, it's an amazing upgrade but it's not running as optimally as it would on a desktop board with user configurable settings.

However this isn't all bad, in this state it runs between 80-95'C so I really don't need it going any faster. Not only that but it can now decode 24fps 4K HEVC UHDBD Remux's in software and that was goal #1, make it decode 4K via brute force.

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Another bonus is that as a light and retro gaming machine, I have managed to nearly double it's graphics performance with the Iris Pro 5200 graphics. Here are some before and after benchmark scores:

M93P 'Vanilla' Tiny (i5 4570T, 8GB 1600mhz, A400)

CineBench R15: 298
CineBenhch R20: 655
3D Mark Sky Diver: 3025 (Graphics: 2852, Physics: 4672, Combined: 2813)
3D Mark Cloud Gate: 5 717 (Graphics: 7207, Physics 3318)
3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme: 36 999 (Graphics: 36 535, Physics: 38 725)

M93P 'Super' Tiny (i7 4750HQ, 8GB 1600mhz, A400)

CineBench R15: 582
CineBenhch R20: 1105
3D Mark Sky Diver: 5182 (Graphics: 4935, Physics: 7865, Combined: 4570)
3D Mark Cloud Gate: 9551 (Graphics: 11 976, Physics 5591)
3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme: 49 982 (Graphics: 55 203, Physics: 37 552)
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#4
Love the tiny form factor!  Ahh the days when I used to have the patience for modding hardware.  Bummer that Lenovo limits what hardware you can install - on the plus side there are plenty of tiny USB 5 GHz Wifi adapters available.  The one I bought for my Dell has a 3" detachable antenna so probably not going to be suitable for your portable needs.  It suits my needs however because I get a strong signal all the way on the other side of the house and through a wall.
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#5
(2019-08-24, 14:22)ClippyBeer Wrote: Love the tiny form factor!  Ahh the days when I used to have the patience for modding hardware.  Bummer that Lenovo limits what hardware you can install - on the plus side there are plenty of tiny USB 5 GHz Wifi adapters available.  The one I bought for my Dell has a 3" detachable antenna so probably not going to be suitable for your portable needs.  It suits my needs however because I get a strong signal all the way on the other side of the house and through a wall.

The good news there is that I don't have to use USB, I just have to get a white listed Lenovo 5ghz AC adapter and plenty exist.  Thankfully there's lots of Lenovo laptops and other machines from this era which have have been gutted for parts that are not on the used market. Smile  It'll be about $20 to get that part.
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#6
Looking good! I had the same issue with whitelisted modules when upgrading the card in my Toshiba laptop and I was able to get around it by taping up some connector pads on the card. I don't have the site where I found the info on hand, but googling it should give you some info.
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#7
(2019-08-20, 05:04)DJ_Izumi Wrote: 3D Mark Sky Diver: 5182 (Graphics: 4935, Physics: 7865, Combined: 4570)
3D Mark Cloud Gate: 9551 (Graphics: 11 976, Physics 5591)
3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme: 49 982 (Graphics: 55 203, Physics: 37 552)

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And I'm back with some new parts. The biggest swapping the off brand CL11 2x4GB 1600mhz kit for a 2x8GB G.Skill CL9 1600mhz kit. Those tighter timings have given it a non-trivial boost in GPU performance. This is likely as fast as the IGP will get on this system as RAM overclocking is not possible on the Lenovo. This was another CAD$111.28. This 'MiniPC' has not been cheap and it won't even do HEVC in hardware, ha ha. Tongue My brother has made a similar machine but he went with a Dell Micro with a Celeron Sky Lake CPU that can decode HEVC at bitrates and frame rates far higher than this thing can in software. But it's been FUN Frankensteining this thing.

Note these improved benchmarks, all the improvements are on the GPU side:

3D Mark Sky Diver: 5797 (Graphics: 5555, Physics: 7957, Combined: 5369)
3D Mark Cloud Gate: 10 259 (Graphics: 13 264, Physics 5722)
3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme: 59 579 (Graphics: 72 015, Physics: 37 136)

I also added the FLIRC which I'm kinda so so on honestly. Not sure I'd buy another one.

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The biggest issue I have with the FLIRC is that there's a delay between IR signals, so if you want to do multiple buttons in sequence, you'll heve to wait a moment or it'll repeat the next button press. This is in contrast to my MCE receivers where I can button smash all the buttons I want and it's snappy to act on the input. On the plus side the FLIRC is tiny and for a PC suitable for rapid deployment for media pkayback when traveling, the less wired dongles the better.

I do have an 802.11AC NIC coming in to replace the 2.4ghz 802.11N NIC, but yeah, this thing is almost as tricked out as it can be.  The final upgrade is likely going to be a BDXL drive but I'm in no hurry to get that as Kodi's own support of decryption BDMV discs has not moved at a particularly fast pace.
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#8
With the final addition of a BD/BDXL/UHD drive it is now complete.  ...But apparently it's 9.5mm drive in a 12.7mm mount so there's a gap.  I'll have to find a black spacer or something cause this is 100% the model of drive I want to use.

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The Final Specs:
i7 4750HQ 2.0ghz 4C8T (3.2ghz Turbo) ( CAD$177.76 )
8GBx2 CL9 DDR3 (CAD$118.28)
500GB Kingston A400 SSD (CAD$76.02)
Intel 5ghz Wireless AC Networking (CAD$24.32)
FLIRC. (CAD$33.89)
Slim LG Bu40N SATA BDRE/BDXL/UHD Drive (CAD$99.31)
90w Lenovo Power Brick (CAD$31.48)
Add the $135 for the Tiny to start with and out total is CAD$696.06

So, uhh, yeah... the $700 Kodi machine?  Oops? :3
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#9
The 12.7mm/9.5mm thing REALLY bothered me so I spent another CAD$36 getting a newer ODD enclosure for newer Lenovo Tiny's that uses a 9.5mm bay. :o

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#10
A CAD$736 Lenovo mini PC, hooked up to a CAD$45 adapter, hooked up to a CAD$15 Sony Trinitron TV, to play a CAD$60 BluRay of a 33 year old anime. I'm living my best life here.

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#11
hi there

I have one of these brought it stock... here are the specs. I find if i have multiple tabs open in a browser, outlook open and another program it tends to freeze. So im looking at best chaapest upgrade thats not hard to do. Thx in advance

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/P0F34...xGcCLT6QmY

Summary
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
CPU
Intel Core i7 4765T @ 2.00GHz: 
50 °C
Haswell 22nm Technology
RAM
4.00GB Single-Channel DDR3 @ 798MHz (11-11-11-28)
Motherboard
LENOVO SHARKBAY (SOCKET 0): 
49 °C
Graphics
LT2252p Wide ([email protected])
Intel HD Graphics 4600 (Lenovo)
Storage
1863GB Seagate ST2000LM003 HN-M201RAD (SATA ): 
44 °C
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#12
(2020-04-11, 08:26)mgfe Wrote: hi there

I have one of these brought it stock... here are the specs. I find if i have multiple tabs open in a browser, outlook open and another program it tends to freeze. So im looking at best chaapest upgrade thats not hard to do. Thx in advance

http://speccy.piriform.com/results/P0F34...xGcCLT6QmY

Summary
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
CPU
Intel Core i7 4765T @ 2.00GHz: 
50 °C
Haswell 22nm Technology
RAM
4.00GB Single-Channel DDR3 @ 798MHz (11-11-11-28)
Motherboard
LENOVO SHARKBAY (SOCKET 0): 
49 °C
Graphics
LT2252p Wide ([email protected])
Intel HD Graphics 4600 (Lenovo)
Storage
1863GB Seagate ST2000LM003 HN-M201RAD (SATA ): 
44 °C
Well, Windows 10 on 4GB of RAM and a mechanical HDD is never that great.  Adding another 4GB stick and a value oriented SSD would be my go to suggestions.
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#13
Love the form factor - complete with Blu Ray too!

*nips onto Amazon/eBay for the same form factor!* Big Grin
Server: Windows Server 2016 Standard Hyper-V with Ubuntu Server VM, NFS shares and MySQL
Kodi: 2 Raspberry Pi 3 running Libreelec
My Setup thread | Setup Ubuntu / TVH / Schedules Direct
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#14
Wink 
(2019-08-24, 17:01)DJ_Izumi Wrote:
(2019-08-24, 14:22)ClippyBeer Wrote: Love the tiny form factor!  Ahh the days when I used to have the patience for modding hardware.  Bummer that Lenovo limits what hardware you can install - on the plus side there are plenty of tiny USB 5 GHz Wifi adapters available.  The one I bought for my Dell has a 3" detachable antenna so probably not going to be suitable for your portable needs.  It suits my needs however because I get a strong signal all the way on the other side of the house and through a wall.

The good news there is that I don't have to use USB, I just have to get a white listed Lenovo 5ghz AC adapter and plenty exist.  Thankfully there's lots of Lenovo laptops and other machines from this era which have have been gutted for parts that are not on the used market. Smile  It'll be about $20 to get that part.  
I just tested a WIFI 6 AX card with a NGFF to PCIE adapter and it works. The simple trick is when you update to the lastest BIOS, for the serial number and model number, type INVALID and that basically allows you to use ANY card. There is an error of 2 beeps when booting up but it doesn't bother me much. Great little nifty trick i read and was totally surprised it works. The NGFF to PCIE adapter also surprisingly works wonders. Hope that helps. Blush
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#15
(2020-05-24, 19:33)maxsterling2 Wrote: I just tested a WIFI 6 AX card with a NGFF to PCIE adapter and it works. The simple trick is when you update to the lastest BIOS, for the serial number and model number, type INVALID and that basically allows you to use ANY card. There is an error of 2 beeps when booting up but it doesn't bother me much. Great little nifty trick i read and was totally surprised it works. The NGFF to PCIE adapter also surprisingly works wonders. Hope that helps. Blush

 Oh that's interesting. I was googling and found suggestions on BIOS mods and such for other Lenovo models but not that trick. Though I have a Lenovo adapter in there right now so that's moot. Interesting to now but I doubt I'll personally use it. But always good to document it, often I find the useful answers online come from me Googling and someone else posting the solution on a forum.
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