HP T740 Thin Client Review TinyMiniMicro with PCIe Slot

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HP T740 Web Cover
HP T740 Web Cover

Today we are looking at the HP T740 Thin Client but in a perhaps different light. This is a direct request from our readers, specifically WANg on our forums. The T740 is designed as a thin client, or an endpoint to connect a keyboard, mouse, and monitor and access a remote desktop. The STH community, for years, has been using these systems as small servers and we even did a 2018 piece on a predecessor the HP T620 Plus Thin Client we turned into a firewall VPN appliance. Now with a newer generation, we see a massive upgrade.

Project TinyMiniMicro Background

In Project TinyMiniMicro we are purchasing a large number of small form factor 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 35 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. As always, we have a video version of this article.

We recommend opening this video in a YouTube tab/ app for a better viewing experience.

For $278 (via a STH forum deal) we got a HP T740 thin client. The system has a AMD Ryzen V1756B, 8GB of RAM, and 16GB of storage. The specs were not overwhelming, but this was also a relatively inexpensive node.

HP T740 ThinPro OS
HP T740 ThinPro OS

Instead of Windows 10 Pro or Windows 11 Pro that we normally see on the Lenovo ThinkCentre/ ThinkStation Tiny, HP EliteDesk/ ProDesk Mini, or Dell OptiPlex Micro units, we get HP ThinPro. This is a barebones OS that is really designed for thin clients. Conceptually, the T740, even though it is much larger than the 1L PC segment, is designed to use some sort of Microsoft, Citrix, or VMware remote desktop solution. There is a Windows 10 IoT option as well, but we did not have that. What makes this interesting is that unlike older thin client PCs that used anemic processors this system has a fairly capable quad-core, eight-thread AMD Ryzen CPU.

HP T740 Thin Client Internal Overview
HP T740 Thin Client Internal Overview

While this is technically not a TinyMiniMicro node, as one can see it is much larger, it is also a unit that fills a gap not too different from those nodes so we are going to do this piece in the spirit of that series.

HP T740 External Hardware Overview

Let us get to the obvious first, and that is size. This is considerably larger than the ~1L TinyMiniMicro (Lenovo, HP, Dell) segment. At 50m x 210mm x 210mm it is closer to 2.2L in displacement. Still, it is relatively compact.

HP T740 Thin Client 14
HP T740 Thin Client 14

On the front of the system, we have a surprisingly robust I/O panel. There is a power button on one end and a combo headset jack on the other. In the middle, we get a USB 3.1 Gen1 5Gbps Type-A port (sorry about USB naming). Then there is a USB 3.1 Gen2 10Gbps Type-A port. Finally, we get a USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-C port.

HP T740 Thin Client Front IO
HP T740 Thin Client Front IO

Moving to the rear of the unit, we have a lock port, a power input port. We then have a Realtek RTL8111 NIC port. Along the bottom there are four DisplayPort outputs. Finally, we have two USB 3.1 Gen1 and two USB 2.0 Type-A ports.

HP T740 Thin Client Rear
HP T740 Thin Client Rear

In the event you are wondering what those blanking spots are, they are important for this review. Specifically, the middle and smaller of these is for optional wireless antenna mounting, serial console port mounting, and so forth. HP has a wide variety of options here, even including 100M and 1G fiber NICs.

HP T740 Thin Client Rear With 25GbE NIC No Cover
HP T740 Thin Client Rear With 25GbE NIC No Cover

The left side is more interesting. This is a standard low-profile slot. Here we have a NVIDIA Mellanox ConnectX-4 Lx dual 25GbE NIC standing in as the model. We would actually suggest lower-power cards, ideally sub 10W like the Intel i350-T2 and i350-T4 and even the Intel X710-T2L. We tried a 100GbE NIC and that ran into thermal challenges. Still, we are just using that NIC to show what adding a NIC looks like here. This is the view with the faceplate back on and the blank removed:

HP T740 Thin Client Rear With 25GbE NIC
HP T740 Thin Client Rear With 25GbE NIC

Something that may not be obvious is that the bottom of the chassis has a removable panel where one can find the stickers for regulatory and tracking. This also has mounting points for VESA or other mounting options.

HP T740 Thin Client VESA Mount
HP T740 Thin Client VESA Mount

Next, we are going to get to our internal overview.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this. Been looking for a thin client with PCIE capability (and up-to-date hardware) for robotics applications for a while. This fits the bill perfectly.

  2. My biggest gripe with the most of the NUCs or 1L units has been the lack of PCIe slots. This is a pretty nice little package, even at 2.2L. Nice review, absolutely love this series and its tangents.

  3. I wonder what the exact target market for these things was. I assume that HP had one in mind; but anywhere I’ve worked “people we stick on thin clients” and “people who need 4 monitors” were largely disjoint groups.

  4. HP’s t740 QuickSpecs PDF says it supports DASH OoB management. Anyone try this? (Maybe I missed it in review…)

    Any idea whether ECC RAM is supported? I think the V1756B is capable… but can’t tell whether the t740 is.

  5. > I wonder what the exact target market for these things was. I assume that HP had one in mind; but anywhere I’ve worked “people we stick on thin clients” and “people who need 4 monitors” were largely disjoint groups.

    In my head the target market are engineering, cad, design and such which use this as a “thin” client to access much more high performance set ups. Or maybe this thing as a daytrader or similiar information brokerage needer?

  6. Does anything other than Lenovo Tinys (an THIS) have PCI-e expansions? Specifically for additional ethernet NIC

  7. I have got this.

    32GB ram, 128GB + 1TB ssd, intel i350 4 port card, esxi test host, pfsense, unifi controller, windows 10 test machine.

    Excellent choice, i bought it before the prices has been increased.

    I tried with 4X10gbe card, the lan card required active cooling.

  8. I bought a T640 (fanless, unlike T740) to use as a silent desktop to use when all I’m doing is browsing or watching videos. But then I found that it has some bad coil whine, depending on what power brick I use.

    Speaking of DASH management, I tried it on my T640, and apparently it’s an implementation that lacks IP-KVM. According to some PDF, the Elite desktops have KVM, but the T640 does not.

    Even weirder, the serial over LAN didn’t seem to work, and attempting to put the Linux console on one of the Realtek DASH serial ports resulted in some bizarre hangs where the OS went comatose. It’s as if any attempt to write to the FIFO never returned!

    I don’t have one to check, but it wouldn’t surprise me if DASH on the T740 is broken just like on the T640.

  9. I tried this with a HP T730 and it worked well. The T740 is still a currently sold HP product and the prices are still high. The T730 is older and can still be found for under $150 on ebay.

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