Dell Optiplex FX160 Thin Client

    • OMV 2.x

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    • I have to agree with deecon. Perhaps your method of fitting a HDD is a little unorthodox. But hey, if it works for you then it is OK!
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • Optiplex 160 help

      Great to see that someone else got this working. I can pickup these units for like $30

      Please post any info on how you got the Sata DOM to work on port (Sata 0) or any other solution to attach a disk to (Sata 0). I was looking at a thin mSata adapter card in combination with the sata extension cable.

      I am currently using a usb flash drive but am wondering if that is why I am having some performance issues. I am not looking to transcode video but to just use this as a NAS for recording video to the NAS from 2-3 security cameras so I dont think performance will be an issue to use it just for storage.

      I like this unit because it is a complete solution including the case. I am also open to other options but I am trying to keep my budget to about $125 including all components with a storage capacity of 1TB. 1TB drives are not that expensive today.
    • It is not necessary to do anything special to use the Sata DOM card on the slot 0. It is usually plug and play. I did not used that card because it is too smal, and you will easily run out of space. I managed to pack insode 2 2.5'' drives: a SSD on port 0 for the OS (with a data/power cable extension) and a normall HDD for data in sata port 1 with the HDD caddy. Check the first post of this thread, there are several pictures there of my setup.

      Sent from my LG-H955 using Tapatalk
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • That is odd as I though the Sata DOM card required power (5v) and most Sata Dom cards I have found only have the Sata (Data Connector) and not a power connector.

      I have also looked at using an msata to sata adapter board and putting an msata card on that. I think because of the thin profile it can fit under the fan.

      2.35 inch sata Extension

      microsatacables.com/22-pin-mal…235-inches-sata3-ext235in

      mSata to Sata Adapter

      amazon.com/Micro-SATA-Cables-M…ywords=msata+sata+adapter

      msata Card

      amazon.com/Premier-SP310-mSATA…r=1-2&keywords=msata+16gb
    • The port 0 is a 22 pin one, and it includes both data and power. Using the cable from the first link you can connect any 2.5'' drives there. All sata DOMs require a 5V supply, without it they cannot work. The second port (the blue sata port) requires a special cable and it gets power from a 2 pin connector on the motherboard.

      I tried fitting a dribe between the fan from the hdd caddy and the motherboard, but it was simply too crowded and the chances of damaging something were high. If i were you, i would pit the msata with the adapter somewhere else in the case.

      Sent from my LG-H955 using Tapatalk
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • Playin' Around

      Hi YALL !

      I got my FX160 some time ago. It's time again for a new router and instead of spending 200 bucks for a very limited little box, I'll make one out of this. It's perfect for the job, has countless improvements over a "normal" router and it's really cheap.

      What's on my list are 8GB RAM, an Intel 7260AC wireless card, a 120GB mSATA SSD connected to Port 0 with adapters and 2 SMA connectors on the top for antennas.

      I heard from a guy who's working as an IT specialist (like me) that you can upgrade a lot of older chipsets with 4GB modules, even when the chipset doesn't officially support it. He knows someone who's running a FX160 like this and after more research I think it's worth a try.

      The 7260AC card can only be used after I finish my BIOS hacking. Since today, I'm already running revision C13 (c for custom) as you can see here:

      forum.openmediavault.org/index…738bf38988221c9dc27a13d55

      It's almost ready. Just can't continue right now because I don't have a DELL 1397 wireless card. I need it's UUID to continue. Went through the whole BIOS already and checked if it has the newest microcodes, fixed typos, cleaned it up a bit from the legacy crap that's inside but not used so flashing is faster etc.

      This is a picture of the 2 adapters put together:

      forum.openmediavault.org/index…738bf38988221c9dc27a13d55

      This should fit great, I just have to saw off a bit of plastic on one side because of the front panel connector.

      I'll just drill 2 holes for the SMA connectors; found some which are longer than usual and they also have a 8 inch long cable.

      forum.openmediavault.org/index…738bf38988221c9dc27a13d55

      Just for the heck of it, one day I'll get a mPCIe to PCIe adapter and connect a graphics card so I can see the Crysis saga running on this little router in Ultra HD :D
      Images
      • C13.jpg

        26.87 kB, 800×600, viewed 456 times
      • mSATA.jpg

        60.27 kB, 800×600, viewed 572 times
      • SMA.jpg

        37.39 kB, 800×600, viewed 441 times
    • Hi, and my apologies for the late reply. I've had little free time to check the forum.

      Although I am not using the FX160 as my main OMV server any longer, I am kind of curious about the changes that you are trying to do in this little machine:

      1. Installing a AC wireless card would be amazing, and it seems that you are on the right path to mod the bios (respect! I lack the knowledge to do that).

      2. The mSata you want to install could be handy. However, I already made the experience and found that it is possible to install 2 2.5'' drives inside that little case. That means, the extra adapters are not required.

      3. The one thing that puzzles me is the 8 GB ram you want to install. AFAIK, the Atom 330 is a 64-bit capable processor. However, I do not know if the 4 GB limitation is imposed thru the Bios (which means that it might be hackable) or if there is another hardware-related issue that makes it impossible. In any case, since the Atom 330 is far from being a high performance CPU and it lacks virtualization, it is not required to have huge amounts of ram for its use as home server. I used it long time with 2 GB and had no issues. My FX160 has been re-purposed as a Debian PC which I mainly use to program micro controllers. It is running with 4 GB of ram and, although it is not a speed demon, it gets the job done!

      If you mange to modify the Bios to accomplish the changes you are proposing, please share it with us. You'll make a lot of people happy!
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • ngevan2k wrote:

      The 7260AC card can only be used after I finish my BIOS hacking. Since today, I'm already running revision C13 (c for custom)
      Since you have the ability to modify the BIOS, a crazy (but perhaps useful) idea came to mi mind. Most of us do not necessarily need a wireless card in the server since it is usually connected to the network thru gigabit Lan. Therefore, I thought that it would be nice to use the mini PCIe port to install a Sata controller card, or something that allows the computer gain access to more drives. Power is not an issue, since there are plenty of USB ports to get a 5 V line for the drives (2.5'' only). Say, something like this.

      Modifying the case to make room for one or 2 drives more won't be a titanic task. As I said before, BIOS modding is way out of my realm, but perhaps someone with the knowledge (like you) could achieve it. That would be an amazing upgrade for this little PC.
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • Hello, I recently bought a optiplex 160 (atom 230) for 2000 tenge = $ 5 bought from a friend (Kazakhstan), put 2 Gb RAM (1Gbx2). I understand it does not support HDD 3.5. Now I think to put the ssd to 64Gb or buy 2.5 HDD. My task on it: media center, torrent download 24 \ 7 \ 365, NAS and backup. Glad to see the theme of the old, but classy optiplex 160! There was a question, he supports 2Gb or 4Gb maximum?
      (C) thanks to Google translator. I do not speak, read, write in English. Sorry in advance for the bad translation.
    • Hi! $5 for a FX160 is a really good deal!

      1. The maximum RAM that you can install is 4 GB.

      2. You can install only 2.5'' drives.

      Greetings
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • The 8GB RAM arrived today and both modules work without a problem. I paid less than 20 Euros for this brand new RAM, so I don't even need to consider getting "only" 4GB. You can never have too much RAM on a server :P
      The limitation is only because of the chipset, you don't need to hack anything. If the memory controller supports this much RAM, it'll work without a problem. Usually only Intel chipsets don't support this much RAM.

      Hacking the BIOS is rather easy. I just needed to get some stuff before I could proceed. I got a 4315 and also an Intel 6200 which works without modifying anything. Usually, the vendor & device ID get checked by the BIOS so you just need to enter the ID's of the card you want to use or disable this check completely (which is harder). In this case, they took another path and it looks like they just check the device class. I'll see what can be done and share this modified BIOS when it's ready. The goal is to disable this check completely so ANY card can be used.

      In around 3 weeks I'll get a bigger SSD than initally planned, then I can install 2 OS's and will also have plenty of storage left for the NAS part. I won't do much until then.

      EDIT:
      Last weekend I found a mPCIe expander. It gives you 3 slots instead of just one. That's why I won't use 2,5" drives; I need the space for this. There's really no need to put more than one mSATA SSD inside, a 256GB one is cheap. If I ever need more, there's always the possibility of using nano USB sticks on the 4 USB slots on the back. With the expander, I'll update to USB 3.0 which can't be used at full speed but it'll boost the transfer rate to 250MB/s.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by ngevan2k ().

    • Some nice little projects here. Might have to consider keeping my eyes open for one too ...

      Extra SATA ports would really make this thing a winner though, so I'm also in favor of the SATA m-PCIe BIOS mod. Unfortunately I'm not skilled enough either ...

      Too bad the chipset only supports 2 SATA because it looks like there is room for an additional SATA connector next to the blue one. (I believe I read somewhere that some thin clients just need one soldered one)

      For power consumption, maybe a picoPSU-90 with a high efficiency (active power factor correction) power block (using the p4 plug only) could even improve performance. And with the modded BIOS one could use the extra plugs to power more disks. Off course this would drive the costs up a lot.

      I would use the internal USB header to attach a female USB port with a mSATA-to-USB adapter plugged in. I'm using this setup in my OMV system currently without problems so far and then I can have two SATA ports for data disks with RAID1 or snapraid.
    • For the non-believers, I just made a pic:



      As you can see, only one module is inserted and the BIOS shows 4096MB. When you insert both, it shows 0MB. I'll look for a way to display the correct amount. It's just a cosmetical thing anyway. So far it's been working very well. I have to wait another 2 weeks so I can get a bigger SSD because at the moment I only have the 2GB SSD that came with it.

      I'm understanding the BIOS better and better. I think I found the whitelist, but the format doesn't make much sense yet. It uses the vendor ID and a 16 byte long hex string. Now I need to figure out what the hex string does. Already found the subroutine which is xref'd to the whitelist. I hope I can disable the check completely.

      Update:
      Nyarharhar, the 7260 AC+Bluetooth card works :)



      There's 0 byte left on the SSD so I can't even install a driver :D :D

      I also activated SLIC 2.1 by going into factory mode. Let's see what else can be done.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by ngevan2k ().

    • Here's a picture of my brand new 500GB SSD and the adapters:



      It sits very firmly.

      I've found the routine which is responsible for calculating the memory size. It's only a single address that gets read. I will use a simple compare which will display the correct amount. When it can't count it fully, it'll display 8192MB instead of 0. Writing the code is easy, but I don't know yet how to insert my own code into the BIOS.

      I've found all kinds of different mPCIe cards. There's a card which can be used to decode all video formats in 1080p. It's only 15 Euros and would make a great video player out of this little router. I've also found an expander which supports connecting up to 4 mPCIe cards. I hope the sample I'm trying to get is not too expensive.
    • Interesting thread. I got one of these for free from work when they were about to toss it out, cause why not.
      Now mine is the Single Core Atom version, with the 1GB NVRAM SSD.

      I remembered I had an old Windows tablet that had a mPCIe decoder card (Broadcom CrystalHD, the second version, half-sized card which has better hardware and actually fits the slot), pulled it out and it fit in the mPCIe slot like a champ. Now in XP Embedded it will play almost anything I throw at it, which is just awesome.

      That's when I decided to order the HDD Caddy, and my issue starts. I got the caddy the other day, and tried 3 different 2.5" HDD's (Two of which I KNOW worked as I pulled them out of working laptops). Regardless when I plug it in and boot it up, POST says there's no HDD (even if the nvram SSD is still installed) and the BIOS shows nothing on the second SATA Port. I have a few $1 cables enrute from China which would allow me to at least use the SSD's SATA port, but I was really hoping to be able to use both.
      Has anyone run into this?

      It says:

      No HDD
      Pres F1 to Resume

      >I press F1

      Checking NVRAM

      No boot device available-
      strike F1 to retry boot, F2 for setup, F5 for diagnostics.

      The NVRAM check fails wether the NVRAM SSD is still installed or not.


      If I unplug the HDD Fan, it'll boot to the NVRAM, and not see the hdd. The HDD seems to be spinning up.

      Best guess, it's the SATA Cable or the SATA Port. I don't want to contact the seller who sold me the cable however if it's a known issue and I'm missing something stupid.. Any ieas ?

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Ryoken ().

    • Hi!

      I would first check the cables of the HDD caddy. I always found them very flimsy. If the HDD is spinning up, I would try with a different Sata Cable because the one that comes with the caddy is really short and prone to break. Second option, check that the HDD is in fact receiving power.

      Awesome to know that the CrystalHD card works, because the Integrated graphics sucks! That would make this PC an amazing HTPC.

      Sent from my LG-H955 using Tapatalk
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz

    • Finally got my SATA+Power extension cable, so I could test the HDD in the NVRAM's port, and it worked.
      So then I plugged the NVRAM into the HDD Caddy's cables, nada. Wasn't surprised. Looked around in the BIOS some more and BAM. SATA1 - DISABLED.

      Dell, if you're reading this, maybe on the page in the BIOS where you list the detected HDD's, if a port is disabled, rather than saying "Not Detected" just say "Disabled" :p

      So now I feel like an idiot, but it works lol
    • Been there, done (almost) that.... Dell computers tend to have those "features". Now that I think about it, I experienced something similar with my Optiplex 960. I never really understood the idea behind disabling sata ports.

      In any case, good to know that you managed to fix it!

      Sent from my LG-H955 using Tapatalk
      Custom mini-ITX build
      Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Celeron G1610T, 4 GB DDR3 Ram, 30 GB Sandisk SSDnow 200 (OS), 1 TB Samsung M8 HN-M101MBB

      Dell Optiplex 960 sff (deprecated) - link


      Dell Optiplex FX160 (repurposed) - link

      "If you can't find it in Google, it simply doesn't exist!" - The Internetz