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The Saga Of The Lenovo M93P Tiny for 4K and light gaming

AshleyAshes

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Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
14
First, short story on how I came across this. A relative purchased both this and an M92P Tiny from @The Great Gazoo and had them shipped to me with the intention of splitting the order. ...Then changed their mind once they got here. So I paid for both and traded the M92P for a 1500va UPS with a friend. The M93P Tiny has far more promise after all.



"But what can you do with a little all in one Mini PC?"

Let's more than double it's CPU performance, double it's GPU performance and do some other things like giving it 4K media and disc support. >:3

The stock system:
Intel i7 4570T (2c4t, Haswell)
4GB DDR3 1600mhz
500GB WD Blue 2.5" HDD
Intel Wireless N 2.4ghz Wifi card
65w power brick
Windows 10 Pro (This is a nice bonus, it's fully authentic and in the SLIC)

Pretty unremarkable, right? It should do 1080p Kodi workloads and light/indie Steam Gaming no problem. Yeah, let's get STUPID on this thing. One main advantage is that this does not use a mobile socket, while it's only made for 35 TDP chips, it has a standard LGA 1150 socket and I can technically put any chip in there and only the current limit (PSU) and thermal limit are the challenge.

The first thing is the easy, as this will also do light indie/Steam gaming, upped the RAM. It's running 4x4GB of 1600mhz right now and by November I'll be doing a second round of upgrades and put it to 2x8GB because why not? I'm also upgrading the storage with a 480GB Kingston A400 SSD on the way, because, well, it has mountings for ONE SATA drive so why not go all out? I'd go larger but really, 500GB will be 'big enough' as it's not like this machine will be running 70GB of GTA5.

But let's talk CPU. I have some fat, mATX Kodi machines that manage to do UHD Remuxes purely in software, but these machines run a 3770K and 4590 respectively, that's a lot more horse power than a 4570T. I did some experimenting and thought about TDP restricting a much more powerful quad core processor and keeping it to 45-50w TDP, hopefully enough to let it do 4K within limit. But then it hit me, I could do more, I could even ugprade the IGP. Last November Linus Tech Tips did a video on Haswell LAPTOP chips being e-recycled in China and repackaged in hacked up 1150 sockets and running in a vanilla desktop board.


I also found a Hackintosh thread from Tonymac where a user in China reported using such a CPU in an M93P Tiny and it working no problem. So I ran off to eBay and for about $175 CAD ($129 USD) I ordered an i7 4750HQ, this includes the Iris Pro 5200 graphics which is TWICE as fast as the HD 4800 IGP on most other Haswells, and the 128mb eDRAM package that offers the chip a significant improvement in perfomance per clock without the hit to TDP. It's a 47w chip, all benchmarks put it above a 4590 which I can compare it to. So this should double my graphics performance for light weight gaming but also enable 4K 24hz in software. It'll also be stupid and fun. This should likely mandate an upgrade to a 90w brick but it uses a standard Lenovo brick type so locating one is a piece of cake.

A later upgrade, likely for November, is since my unit shipped with the Optical Expansion Box, which uses standard laptop slim drives and included a CD/DVD drive, will be to add an LG BD/BDXL/UHD drive. Giving it the ability to playback any physical media. (You know, once Kodi has BD decryption going...)

Also some other accessories like a FLIRC and Xbox 360 wireless dongle. The FLIRC will be interesting as ONE of the USB ports can wake the machine up with the keyboard press of Alt+P, so I'm hoping I can map that to work and get the FLIRC to power it on.

One final note and it's a challenge is that Lenovo has a wifi white list. It'll REFUSE TO POST with an unapproved wifi card installed. So while I want to add AC wifi, I'm going to need to do some work in figuring out what card will work or what hacks will bypass that check. :/

First up after is the HDD which arrives tonight. The i7 4750HQ is already somewhere between me and China as well as a 90w power brick to drive it.
 
Last edited:

Bond007

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Keep us posted how your experiment turns out. I watched the video on the random China CPUs. Curious how it will work out.
 

AshleyAshes

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Jul 31, 2011
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14
Edit: Oops, I accidentally hid half my OP by messing up a Media tag. :D

Keep us posted how your experiment turns out. I watched the video on the random China CPUs. Curious how it will work out.
Yeah, I know their support can be iffy, apparently all Gigabyte boards refuse to run them even, if I hadn't seen someone on a forum say they got an i7 4720HQ working in an M93P Tiny specifically I dunno if I'd have risked the $177 CAD on it. :/ However the i7 4750HQ is Iris Pro graphics and Crystal Well, I dunno if that'll add additional compatibility problems. :/ That all said, it's eBay, if it won't post, I'll hopefully get a refund.
 
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AshleyAshes

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Jul 31, 2011
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The first upgrade is fast to arrive and an easy one since Amazon moves a lot faster than Chinese eWaste sellers. The Kingston A400 480GB drive is here and plugged in, ensuring that while the system is resource constrained, it won't have issues with storage access. Maybe overkill but it it was only $76.02 CAD and 480GB is a LOT of storage for a machine that is mostly restricted to indie titles, retro games, and 3D games no newer than the PS3/360 era.

And let's keep a running tab on parts as they fall in;

Lenovo M93P Tiny: $135
Kingston 480GB A400 SSD: $76.02

Total: $211.02

This is sadly probably all there is for updates till the i7 4750HQ arrives from China. :)
 

AshleyAshes

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Jul 31, 2011
Messages
14
Guess what arrived from China today. :)



The good news is, it basically dropped in and 'just worked'. The downside is, I think the Lenovo BIOS has some wattage limits baked in that I can't alter. In most loads it runs at 47w, but it won't do it's 58w 'Short Turbo' speed, it's also running slightly below it's max turbos, I was able to hit 3.0ghz sustained with some undervolting, 2.8ghz without undervolting. It also seems to run SLOWER under some loads, where I can get 3.0ghz in Cinebench R15, it runs at 2.45 and a lower TDP while running R20. AVX2 power consumption thing maybe? So yes, in the restrictive Lenovo box, it's an amazing upgrade but it's not running as optimally as it would on a desktop board with user configurable settings.

However this isn't all bad, in this state it runs between 80-95'C so I really don't need it going any faster. Not only that but it can now decode 24fps 4K HEVC UHDBD Remux's in software and that was goal #1, make it decode 4K via brute force.



Another bonus is that as a light and retro gaming machine, I have managed to nearly double it's graphics performance with the Iris Pro 5200 graphics. Here are some before and after benchmark scores:

M93P 'Vanilla' Tiny (i5 4570T, 8GB 1600mhz, A400)

CineBench R15: 298
CineBenhch R20: 655
3D Mark Sky Diver: 3025 (Graphics: 2852, Physics: 4672, Combined: 2813)
3D Mark Cloud Gate: 5 717 (Graphics: 7207, Physics 3318)
3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme: 36 999 (Graphics: 36 535, Physics: 38 725)

M93P 'Super' Tiny (i7 4750HQ, 8GB 1600mhz, A400)

CineBench R15: 582
CineBenhch R20: 1105
3D Mark Sky Diver: 5182 (Graphics: 4935, Physics: 7865, Combined: 4570)
3D Mark Cloud Gate: 9551 (Graphics: 11 976, Physics 5591)
3D Mark Ice Storm Extreme: 49 982 (Graphics: 55 203, Physics: 37 552)


Lenovo M93P Tiny: $135
Kingston 480GB A400 SSD: $76.02
i7 4750HQ: $177.76
90w Lenovo Power Brick: $31.48

Total: $420.26
 

AshleyAshes

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Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
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Thanks, it's pretty interesting to play around with a CPU like this. When I first saw LTT's video on it almost a year ago my thoughts were 'That is stupid and expensive, a normal 1150 CPU would be cheaper and 'just work'. But this Lenovo is a rare case where it makes sense, since I'm rather limited by TDP and this was also the only option to improve the graphics performance.

Still other things to get mind you, it has a missmatched pair of CL11 memory, but CL9 should perform about 5% better, so my goal is a 16GB kit of 1600mhz CL9 to optimise the IGP a bit more, but that's not the highest priority.
 

AshleyAshes

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Joined
Jul 31, 2011
Messages
14
This weekend I'll be doing some serious undervolting to see what more I can get out of the 4750HQ in this limited platform. Between what I assume a system with a hard current draw limit in the firmware and a cooling solution only built around 35w, this will be more about making it do more work in the power budget it's limited to. It'll float around 46w and stock that gets me to 2.8ghz, undervolted by 0.1v I can get to 3.0ghz. I hope to take a very careful and well tested approach with XTU and see if I can get the draw efficent enough to do 3.2ghz, which is this CPU's all core sustained turbo anyway. I know that the short 58w turbo is impossible but the sustained turbo will be enough IMO.
 

AshleyAshes

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Jul 31, 2011
Messages
14
So undervolting had some real improvements, the biggest issue is that with a TDP of 47w and a relatively powerful GPU by Intel standards, you see some real challenges in gaming benchmarks. It's one thing to hit max turbo on a CPU only benchmark, while the GPU is between 0w-1w, start running 3D mark and the Iris Pro 5200 can eat up 30-35w, leaving the CPU downclocking as the two compete for a 47w budget.

Undervolting the CPU, the cache, and the GPU as best as I could for stability thus had a benchmark improvement by allowing more perfromance within the same TDP budget.

Stock 47w:
3D Mark Sky Diver: 5182 (Graphics: 4935, Physics: 7865, Combined: 4570)

Stock 47w (Undervolted):
3D Mark Sky Diver: 5846 (Graphics: 5594, Physics: 8211, Combined: 5350)

That's in a 6-10% or so improvement, which is not meaningless on a machine like this.

On a side note, I was wondering if I had wasted the money on the 90w brick as the machine seemed to refuse to let the CPU even go to 58w for it's 28second stock setting. I ran some benchmarks and my Kill A Watt didn't measure over 60w. $30 wasted I started to wonder. Then I added a transfer of 74GB over the LAN, saving to the installed system SSD and I put a DVD in the system and got that spinning.

IMG_20190823_223756~2.jpg

Yeah, the 90w brick was NOT a mistake. While it's 'typical draw' would be under 65w and fine for the original system, it is quite possible to load up the subsystems and consume more power. And that was just an SMB transfer writing to the SSD and a USB ODD mounting and spinning the disk. It'd be fairly easy to add a lot more additional power draw to the USB system alone with a bus powered 2.5" drive or USB wifi or the like.
 

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