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