Idle power consumption on 120V power we saw 30-35W idle for the six-core unit. We generally assume these nodes will use 9-12W idle so this was a bit higher but makes sense given the GPU. Again, these are used units so it may vary a bit.
The power supply for this unit is a 135W Lenovo power adapter from the company’s notebook line. This is bigger than a typical 65W power adapter we saw with previous generations and also bigger than the 90W units we saw in our Lenovo ThinkCentre M920 and M920q Tiny Guide and Review but similar to what we saw with the ThinkStation P320 and ThinkCentre M920x, both with GPUs. This power is needed to drive the GPU and additional cooling. We did get our test unit to pull over 105W.
At idle, the noise is still relatively quiet. Under heavier loads, the fan spins up and the system is very audible. This is a function of having a CPU and GPU in a small package like this. There is little room to add elaborate cooling and larger quieter fans.
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.
Our key lesson learned for this one comes down to two facts. First, we ended up getting a Quadro GPU and a faster Core i7 CPU for around $200 more than we would have expected for a lower-end unit. In many cases, where one needs many inexpensive nodes, this would be an unwise upgrade. For the extra performance and capabilities, many of our readers may find it worthwhile to look at this versus a lower-end ThinkCentre machine.
In terms of capabilities, the additional display outputs ended up coming in handy. Instead of using this node as a cluster node, as we originally intended, we ended up using it to drive multiple display outputs in the STH YouTube studio. Perhaps that serves as a good lesson. We purchased a higher-end and more expensive unit, but that led to a new use case outside of what we intended.
We already reviewed the Lenovo ThinkStation P320 Tiny and had a piece on the Lenovo ThinkCentre M920x. Both of those units had GPUs as well. While the CPU was newer in the P330 Tiny, we would certainly look at the other two units as competitors and make a decision on pricing. A deal on the other two may make the P330 Tiny seem expensive, but the inverse is true as well.
Our Lenovo P330 Tiny carried a bigger premium when we compare the cost of the components to the cost of the system. Still, spending under $175 or so for the chassis, motherboard, Windows 10 Pro license, and power supply over the sum of the used costs of the CPU, GPU, RAM, and SSD seems reasonable. Our readers are going to have to weigh that for themselves.
Clearly, with the Core i7-8700T and the NVIDIA Quadro P620, along with the ability to support 64GB of memory and two M.2 NVMe SSDs, the Lenovo ThinkStation P330 Tiny is an excellent unit for those looking for a small system that can also provide a lot of expansion. At the same time, larger systems offer even more expandability so there is a balance here.
Earlier this week, we reviewed a massive server with 160 cores. You can see that in our Ampere Altra Wiwynn Mt. Jade Server Review. Although the Apple Mac Mini M1 is a step in the right direction, this Lenovo ThinkStation P330 Tiny is exactly the type of machine that Arm needs to bridge the gap between the Raspberry Pi and higher-end servers. The deployment flexibility (there are even dust filter options) plus all of the configuration capabilities make this a flexible little machine.
Overall, this is a great unit, albeit not perfect. For a segment of the TinyMiniMicro market, we think this is going to be a top choice while others will want to avoid. Perhaps that is the point of a system like the Lenovo ThinkStation P330 Tiny insofar as it caters to the upper end of the 1L system market.