Continuing our Project TinyMiniMicro series, we have a review of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M80q Tiny Gen 3. This is a 1L PC from Lenovo that is similar to the Lenovo ThinkCentre M80q Tiny 1L PC we reviewed some time ago, but with new specs. This generation has an Intel “Alder Lake” 12th Gen Core CPU and a few new features. Let us get to it.
Lenovo ThinkCentre M80q Tiny Gen 3 Project TinyMiniMicro Overview
As always with these reviews, we have a video to go along with this article. You can find that video here:
As always, we suggest watching this in its own browser, tab, or app for the best viewing experience. Also, thank you to our STH YouTube members for helping fund this purchase.
The unit we purchased has an Intel Core i5-12500T, 16GB of memory, and a 256GB PCIe Gen4 NVMe SSD. We paid just over $500 USD on eBay for this unit. These units are just transitioning from being only found as new, to also have some second-hand market availability with pricing around 60%-65% of the new prices.
Lenovo has a very familiar design in this generation, so the biggest updates are going to be the processors. We have already reviewed the HP Elite Mini 600 G9 which would be HP’s equivalent system. The Dell OptiPlex 7000 is the same generation but is a higher-tier model. With this generation, the gaps are much smaller than they used to be.
This unit was particularly interesting. When it arrived, the WiFi antenna was very loose. Also, the rear of the unit had large scratches. While we got a steep discount versus new, it was not in perfect condition. That condition was not helped by the poor packaging. That is always a risk of purchasing used. We showed off the packaging in the video linked above.
With that, let us get to the hardware, starting with our external hardware overview.
Lenovo ThinkCentre M80q Tiny Gen 3 External Hardware Overview
Looking at the front of the system, it is very similar to what we would have seen in the previous generation. There is one difference. We get an extra USB 3.2 Gen2 port with this generation. There are two USB 3.2 Gen2 10Gbps Type-A and one Type-C port. In addition, we have the power button and a combo headset jack.
Something that is a bit different between Lenovo and other units is that there are more vents. For example, here we get side vents whereas on the HP competition the sides are free from perforations.
The top is solid with an Intel vPro sticker. Higher-end 1L PCs, like the P360 Tiny usually have vents on the top of the system. The vPro sticker tells us that this unit has vPro enabled. If you are looking for vPro, especially on a used unit, look for a sticker like this in the photos.
On the bottom of the chassis we get our Windows license sticker. There are additional vents for the M.2 NVMe SSDs.
On the back of the system, we can see the rectangular Lenovo power input. Standard we also get a DisplayPort and a HDMI port. This still has 1GbE instead of newer 2.5GbE as standard. On the USB side, the two Type-A ports flanking the HDMI port are USB 3 5Gbps ports. The other two Type-A ports are USB 3.2 Gen2 10Gbps ports.
There are two punch-outs for optional slots. Our system came with two extra DisplayPorts for a total of four rear display outputs. These can also be blank, or have different features like serial, HDMI, USB, and one can also be configured as a RJ45 2.5GbE port.
Next, let us get inside the system.
Hey Patrick, do these support ECC RAM? I saw on Intel’s ARK that the i5 12500T has ECC support but I wasn’t sure if the motherboards in these supported it. It would be awesome if they did…
An SSD with less than 24 hours use and a worn case go together about as well as a worn brake pedal and an odometer that shows low mileage. Are you sure that was the original SSD the system came with?
Used systems offered for bid as salvage may have had their drives removed as a security policy. Recycling such a unit for resale would then require installing a new drive.
The only place Union memory modules are sold is in Lenovo desktops IIRC. So I’d be like STH and assume that’s right for PoH of the entire system.
Normally these systems are on 24×7 so I’d say that’s low. But nobody’s installing a new 256GB union SSD.
P360 Tiny please
> If you had an OS, like VMware ESXi, that does not natively support heterogeneous cores then it is a good CPU.
I’m not sure what is meant by that. Could you clarify? And yeah, I’m not that a fan of P+E cores, I don’t see that much improvement in thermals or battery life compared to what AMD is doing with regular cores.
@Renard ESXi does not support running on mixed cores, it will panic unless you specifically boot it with an experimental parameter or disable one or the other class of cores.