In our HP EliteDesk 800 G4 Project TinyMiniMicro Guide we see what this system offers in the ~1L system category. This is one of the only units we have tested that allows one to install up to three SSDs internally making it flexible and more usable for many server applications. In this guide, we are going to discuss the system itself and its features. We are going to discuss key lessons learned but also something we found that can unexpectedly impact market pricing.
Project TinyMiniMicro HP EliteDesk 800 G4 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. You can also see the full video series using this YouTube playlist.
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.
For our $400, we received a node with an Intel Core i5-8500T CPU, an 8GB SODIMM for RAM, 802.11ac WiFi, and a 256GB NVMe SSD. We also received got an embedded Windows 10 Pro license which would have cost us around $140 alone.
To round out the configuration, we would, at a minimum add a $25 extra 8GB SODIMM to hit 16GB. We would also likely change out the SSD configuration as you will see in this review.
One thing that we wanted to note here is that like our other Project TinyMiniMicro nodes, we are looking at the 35W TDP CPU version. The 65W and higher TDP versions utilize a perforated top. As a result, stacking the units can create thermal issues. The 35W TDP units have front to rear airflow more akin to servers and high-end workstations which avoid this airflow issue. A good way to find 35W TDP machines is to look for a “T” in the CPU model name.
We are going to go into the hardware overview, then into the key specs. We are then going to talk a bit about performance and power consumption before getting to our lessons learned from these units and our final words.
HP ProDesk 800 G4 Hardware Overview
The chassis itself is a fairly standard design for a range of ProDesk and EliteDesk series systems that shared the look. It measures 177 x 175 x 34mm (6.97 x 6.89 x 1.35in) which puts it just over 1L in displacement. This is the same size as the HP ProDesk 400 G4 Mini that we looked at. As you will see in the hardware overview, we get a lot more for the $20 premium we paid.
In the front of the chassis, we get headset and headphone jacks as well as two USB 3.1 ports. From left to right there are 10Gbps USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C and Type-A ports followed by a USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-A port. This is a big connectivity upgrade over the ProDesk 400 G4 Mini. We also get headphone and headset jacks on the front of the system. We like this design better than the Lenovo ThinkCentre M920 Tiny since there is one more USB port on the front of the system.
On the rear of the unit, one gets two DisplayPort 1.2 headers as standard in the system. There is an optional slot that can be blank, VGA, DP, or HDMI. In our system, we have a VGA port. We also have four USB Type-A ports. The two left ports are USB 3.1 Gen2 10Gbps ports and the right ports are USB 3.1 Gen1 5Gbps ports. Next to the USB 3.1 Gen1 ports, we get a NIC powered by an Intel i219LM controller. This is a PCH 1GbE NIC that is used to provide vPro services along with AMT.
HP does an absolutely terrible job of labeling ports. As a result, this is how we are remembering which ports are 10Gbps versus 5Gbps ports. The center and left ports are 10Gbps while the right are 5Gbps. HP needs to make this more clear.
Opening the system is done via a single screw. HP’s design retains the screw on the chassis.
Inside the system, we see the CPU and memory on top and the expansion slots below. Like other HP units, the dual SODIMM slots are found under the system fan. Our unit came with 8GB but we would augment this with a second 8GB DIMM for 16GB total. Note these are mismatched and working fine.
The 2.5″ drive tray is present in our system but it does not have a drive installed. As a result, we did not get the screws to affix a drive in this slot. It also requires screws to remove the SATA drive assembly. Overall, this is a far cry from competitive tool-less designs as we saw on the Lenovo ThinkCentre M920q Tiny as an example. To access the NVMe SSDs and WiFi module, and install a 2.5″ SATA drive the Lenovo unit requires six fewer screws.
Under the 2.5″ drive assembly, we get perhaps the most exciting feature. This system has dual NVMe SSD slots. One can install two M.2 2280 (80mm) SSDs. We did not get to try this, but assuming one used the Sabrent Rocket Q 8TB we reviewed, one could get 16TB plus a SATA SSD installed internally (using Velcro mounting for the SATA SSD.) For those looking to turn these into servers, the SATA drive bay can be used for a boot drive while the two NVMe SSDs can be used for mirrored data drives. Our system came with a 256GB NVMe SSD from SK Hynix. This is a DRAM-less SSD so the performance is not great. It will be removed and replaced to make room for higher-performance drives for a mirrored SSD setup.
There is also a M.2 2230 slot that is usually reserved for WiFi. Our unit came with an Intel 3165NGW which is an 802.11ac 1×1 unit that has Bluetooth 4.2. We will be upgrading this to an Intel AX200 WiFi 6 card. Something to also note is that since this is not the higher-end solution, it does not support vPro over wireless. Intel vPro is a wired-only solution because of the 3165NGW.
Many of the HP systems look similar so we have a quick comparison we did for the ProDesk 400 G4 Mini review. Here we can see the ProDesk 400 G4 and 405 G4 Mini units that have similar features except that the ProDesk 405 G4 is based on the AMD Ryzen platform. Both the higher-end ProDesk 600 G4 and EliteDesk 800 G4 have three front USB ports with the addition of a Type-C port to both. That is another way HP differentiates the products.
We can see the common G4 design language by HP on the rear of these units as well.
There is one other item we wanted to point out. We saw a “DGPU” connector in this system. There are configurations with PCIe GPUs. Those configurations typically run at much higher power envelopes with perforated top lids. One also loses the use of the second M.2 slot in the dGPU configuration from what we understand.
Next, we are going to look at the key specs we have been able to pull from a number of different sources to get you some idea of what to expect in terms of configuration diversity. We are then going to get to performance and power consumption.