Idle power consumption on 120V power we saw 12-15W idle for the quad-core unit. We generally assume these nodes will use 9-12W idle so this was a bit higher. Again, these are used units so it may vary a bit.
The power supplies are 90W Lenovo power adapters from the company’s notebook line. This is bigger than a typical 65W power adapter we saw with previous generations but is similar to what we saw in our Dell OptiPlex 7070 Micro Guide and Review.
At idle, the noise is not significant. Under heavier loads, the fan spins up and the system is audible. An advantage is that one can move this system to avoid direct noise by mounting it on the back of a TV or monitor, under a desk, or elsewhere. These are designed to be quiet so many of them can fill rooms of small cubicles or co-working desk space so these need to be designed to be relatively quiet for most daily use. If you have a set of server applications that use little CPU but a lot of memory, then that type of workload will keep this system quiet. If you are using the system for number crunching, it will get loud.
Next, we are going to discuss key lessons learned before getting to our final thoughts.
Key Lesson Learned for TMM
In this series, we wanted to also focus on some key lessons learned. Since we have already tested well over a dozen different models, we are taking away key pieces of advice from each that we wanted to share.
Overall, this unit was great which made picking a key lesson learned difficult. This was one of the more expensive units for Project TinyMiniMicro, but we feel like we got a decent value on a current-generation system at under $500. There was very little that would stop us from recommending and using this system.
In an attempt to manufacture a lesson learned, we took the 65W PSU from another system and tried it in the M920q Tiny.
Using a 65W adapter with this unit and saw performance throttle, so our sense is to use 90W. Also, the USB devices with USB 3.1 Gen1/Gen2 can take enough power where a larger power supply is needed. If we were maximizing USB ports and perhaps had USB / Thunderbolt options in the system, we would likely suggest getting a 135W PSU to be safe.
Given the relative ease of getting larger PSUs if you find yourself close, you may want to simply upgrade. Luckily, this is very inexpensive to do.
Overall, this was a great system. Having now shown generations of Project TinyMiniMicro Lenovo nodes as well as the Lenovo ThinkCentre M720q, we can easily spot differences. Like other vendors, Lenovo has some feature/ serviceability differentiations between the M920/ M920q Tiny and its lower-end units. Some of the differentiation seems like they would combine for massive usability upgrade and likely have a $1-10 BOM hit, so it makes us wonder how much of this differentiation is really needed. That is not just Lenovo’s doing as we see it with Dell and HP as well.
Looking to the 10th Gen Intel Core Series which is the update to these systems, we find that the Core i5-10500T/ Core i5-10600T offer higher clock speeds, but more importantly Hyper-Threading. In many ways while the jumps between the Core i5-6500T to i5-7500T and between the Core i5-8500T and i5-9500T were not large, Hyper-Threading will add a lot of performance on newer models. When we think about purchasing older models for Project TinyMiniMicro, we think of these major core/ thread count breakpoints as significant differentiators we are willing to pay a premium for. The Lenovo M920 Tiny or M920q Tiny may be the best of an era, but the market is shifting rapidly with new generations.