Today we have our HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Project TinyMiniMicro CE review. The CE stands for “circular economy” since this is an older platform that we received second hand. Still, this was the first real foray into DDR4 for these ~1L platforms. In this piece, we are going to see what we got for around $205, and whether it was a good value at a price only about 50% more than a similarly equipped Raspberry Pi.
Project TinyMiniMicro HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Video
As part of this project, we are releasing videos with some additional looks at the systems and some more candid thoughts. Here is the video for this:
This article will have a bit more since there are some facts and concepts easier to convey using text rather than video.
Project TinyMiniMicro Background
In Project TinyMiniMicro we are purchasing a large number of these devices from different sources. While a standard STH review is of a new product, these TMM nodes occasionally have specs that differ from what one would expect. In all of these pieces, we are going to talk about what makes the nodes unique. We are now well over 20 different nodes to increase diversity. We are testing these on a more circular economy/ extended lifecycle basis to see how they can be deployed after their initial use as corporate desktops.
This is actually one of the least exciting units we purchased until you see the price. We paid $205 for these systems which is significantly less than some of the other systems we have purchased. With a relatively low power Intel Core i5-6500T 4C/4C processor, 8GB of memory, a Samsung 250GB SSD, it is a fairly basic configuration. At the same time, for anyone that simply needs a witness node or wants to build a compact an inexpensive cluster, $205 is very reasonable for a complete system. The system did not have WiFi but it did have a Windows 7 Pro license key that could be upgraded to Windows 10. We also installed our usual Proxmox VE and Ubuntu OSes on this system without issue and it works well as a server.
HP EliteDesk 800 G2 Mini Hardware Overview
The chassis itself is a fairly standard design for the earlier HP Minis. It measures 175 x 177 x 34mm (6.9 x 7 x 1.3in) which puts it just over 1L in displacement and starts at 2.9lbs of weight. The front of the system has a headphone and microphone jack for audio, USB Type-C, and two USB 3.0 Type-A ports for basic connectivity.
The rear of our unit has both DisplayPort and VGA outputs. There is additionally a legacy serial console port which is great if you need a console port for your lab. This is being accomplished via a configurable spot in the chassis so you will likely find different configurations offered. There are four USB 3.0 ports and a RJ45 1GbE port that is powered by the Intel i219LM NIC. That NIC is well supported in Linux and Windows. It is not supported out of the box by solutions with weak hardware support such as VMware ESXi. There are ways to get the driver to make this work in older ESXi versions.
The system cover comes off by simply unscrewing the single thumbscrew. Inside we can see a familiar layout. The CPU and memory are on top. On the bottom we can see a 2.5″ bay. One thing to look out for here is that many of these systems utilized 2.5″ hard drives. We received a 2.5″ Samsung SSD in ours, however, these are sometimes swapped as they are refurbished.
For memory support we have DDR4-2133 memory support on these systems. Ours came with 2x 4GB DDR4 SODIMMs to make 8GB. One can upgrade the RAM capacity and ours worked with 2x 16GB for 32GB of memory. Having two 4GB DIMMs means that one must replace rather than add. We would have preferred 1x 8GB for 8GB of memory since that would allow us to add another 8GB SODIMM for 16GB total. For us, 16GB would be the sweet spot for these machines given the Core i5-6500T CPU.
Something fun on here, we can see SODIMM1 socket which aligns to Channel B and SODIMM3 which aligns to Channel A. This is a dual-channel memory capable system, but the naming conventions are somewhat humorous since there is no DIMM2 slot and Channel A aligns to DIMM3.
With the 2.5″ drive assembly removed, we can see the motherboard. There are two M.2 slots. One is a M.2 WLAN module slot, the other is a M.2 2280 (80mm) SSD slot. In later generations, we have support for different sizes of SSDs, but in this generation, your M.2 drive needs to be 2280.
Our unit did not come with a WiFi module. It was common in this generation for these PCs to not have built-in WiFi. Some will try to add WiFi by using cheap USB dongles so that is something to look out for. There were three Intel-based WLAN modules and one HP module. The Intel models are 802.11ac with Bluetooth 4.x support. The HP unit is an 802.11a/b/g/n solution with Bluetooth 4.0.
We have more details on the spec page which will be next along with a look at performance.