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Smallest in the World: ThinkStation P320 Tiny Review

By: Steven Bassiri | SFF PCs in Computer Systems | Posted: Oct 25, 2017 4:51 pm
TweakTown Rating: 92%Manufacturer: Lenovo

The Teardown

 

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Opening up the PC isn't that tough, a single screw at the back of the unit features a tiny handle to unscrew it without tools. You just remove the screw and slide the top cover outwards. Once you unscrew the top of the PC, you will see a huge blower fan as well as the CPU and attached GPU. The GPU actually sits flat thanks to a custom riser card.

 

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Flipping the unit over with the top panel removed, we can then slide the M.2 and SO-DIMM cover off to reveal upgrade options. M.2 installation won't require any tools, as the blue tabs can just be pulled up and then pressed back down to install drives. Lenovo added heat pads for the M.2 drives as well, and the M.2 slots support SATA or NVMe M.2 SSDs.

 

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The wireless AC adapter is the Intel Wireless-AC 8265 2x2 867Mbps card, a very popular one. We can also see a small header labeled SATA1, which we assume could be used for a 2.5" SSD. If we look at what's hidden behind the front vents, we find three tiny surprises. A built-in speaker (for error codes), an IR receiver, and a temperature probe to monitor incoming air temperature. The temperature probe is common in Lenovo's workstation products.

 

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Removing the Quadro P600 isn't actually that tough, but we don't recommend you do it. To remove the card, you need to unscrew the GPU's custom cooling apparatus from the CPU's cooling apparatus, unscrew the CPU's bracket from the chassis bracket, and then gently lift and pull the GPU out at an angle. Once the GPU is removed, and the blower fan is removed, we find the CPU, which is actually in a LGA1151 socket. You could perhaps even upgrade the CPU, but we don't recommend it as we don't know if the motherboard's power supply can support it, or whether Lenovo has locked CPU upgradability.

 

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The CPU VRM uses integrated power stages from ON Semiconductor. The three NCP81382 are full integrates all power stage components into a single package, each one capable of constant 35A output with 70A peak, which is a lot (but those inductors can't take that). The memory VRM uses two phases it seems; they use dual N-Channel FETs from ON Semiconductor.

 

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We also found many different internal headers that were unused. Some series labeled as COM ports, and others look like connectors we find in other SFFPCs and notebooks, meaning that the potential for different configurations of the P320 Tiny is very high.

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