Key Lessons Learned
On the key lessons learned, I think there are two big ones. First is clearly the NIC. If you want something small, but also with a low-profile PCIe slot, this is an inexpensive option. There are tons of these systems that will be decommissioned over the next few years and so after the “STH Effect” wears off prices should stay lower. This is a good value option if you simply want to add a NIC for more network ports.
Having additional network ports is handy. For example, one can use this system with virtualized pfSense and run Proxmox VE as the Debian-based Linux host. Having additional NICs means one can have a dedicated ingress and egress NIC. The onboard Realtek NIC can be used as a management interface port for Proxmox VE or another hypervisor. This is a very flexible solution.
Still, the challenge comes down to is it worthwhile. In terms of performance and power consumption, the AMD Ryzen embedded CPU is good, but it is nowhere near as low power as some of the other embedded options on the market. That means we can get fairly high maximum power consumption figures when running high loads.
If you are not using the low-profile PCIe card slot, then this becomes a more challenging recommendation. It is larger, over twice the volume. We got less networking, memory, and storage (also no Windows Pro license) for our money than we would have with a Project TinyMiniMicro node but that pricing varies.
Something we constantly struggle with on STH is timing when we do these reviews. As a thin client PC, the AMD Ryzen Embedded V1756B is a massively over-specd part. This is a processor capable of delivering a solid local desktop performance, not just as a remote desktop thin client box.
As a thin client, it is perhaps too much. As a future project TinyMiniMicro node alternative, things get more interesting. We get many similar expansion specs as we do with the more compact 1L nodes. The big exception is that low profile PCIe slot. If you want to have a NIC in a small node, this is probably a better option. The ability to build a still relatively compact system with two SSDs and a quad-port NIC, for example, all with a substantial CPU means that this is a fairly interesting edge computing box. It is certainly more so than the HP T620 Plus these days.
At this point, availability on the secondary market is still not great, but we are seeing them sell for sub-$300 often. In the future, as prices fall, these may end up being gems. If you need an additional PCIe slot and are OK with the AMD Ryzen V1756B, then this becomes a great option. If you do not need the PCIe slot, then it will come down to pricing at sub-$300, this is a great little system. In the future, hopefully, those prices fall.
For those lamenting at the fact that we have not done as many AMD Ryzen TinyMiniMicro reviews, hopefully, this helps hold you over. We have two HP EliteDesk 805’s inbound and are already testing a Lenovo unit. That Lenovo unit is going to have some really eye-opening results. Stay turned for more on that front on STH.