Dell Optiplex FX160 Thin Client

  • 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


    WOW!!!! Disabling SATA on a 960???? That should be a criminal offense. Did you have a USFF chassis? If you do, then MAYBE such configurations MAY be forgiven BUT ***WHY*** disable ANYTHING on such a nice piece of hardware???



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  • Ryoken- was the Crystal HD card plug and play? What model number is it? I am running one as a HTPC for the kids from and need some better graphics. Did you have to modify the BIOS or anything to get it to work?



  • 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.

    Let me get that straight. Did you successfully tested an Intel 6200 without modifying the BIOS? Or you did modify it to remove the white list? I am asking because I am planning to re-purpose the FX 160 as a secondary back up machine for my main server. I would love to connect it to my network with gigabit, but that is not possible. Therefore, I need a fast Wifi card to do the job and an Intel 6200 or a 6205 could work quite well.

    Custom mini-ITX build
    Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Core i3-3220, 8 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 all. How to connect the power supply?I want to put another motherboard, but leave the power supply.Is it possible to?

    It might be possible, given that you find a mini-ITX mobo that can be powered with a 4 pin connector (in order to keep the PSU). However, there are some issues to overcome:


    - You'll have to do some heavy modding to the case. You'll have to cut the back to make place for the backplate/connectors of your new mobo and somehow screw the it to the case, since the screw positions probably won't match. Also, you'll have to find a place to put the HDDs.
    - Assuming that you do find a mobo, you will be kind of limited because of the PSU (the one in the FX160 can't deliver a lot of juice).
    - If you succeed with the 2 previous points, then you will need a really low profile cooler, ideally passive.
    - If you want to use the Power and HDD lights, you'll have to mod that also (all of them are integrated into a small PCB in the front of the FX160.


    If you manage to find a mini-ITX mobo with integrated CPU, passive cooler and 4 pin power connector you might be able to do it. I considered the idea some time ago, but quite honestly, I doubt that it is worth the hassle.

    Custom mini-ITX build
    Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Core i3-3220, 8 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


  • I remember that I managed to find a mobo that could be powered thru the 4 pin power connector only. Those kind of mobos are rather old. Nowadays many (if not all) are powered with the standard 24 pin connector or a DC jack.
    An alternative would be to use a mobo with a DC jack. I am currently using an Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB in my OMV server. It is a hell of a mainboard, somewhat old but still it offers quite a bunch of features and really good quality in a very small package. It can be powered with a regular laptop PSU and it is very power efficient.

    Custom mini-ITX build
    Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Core i3-3220, 8 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


  • Daer all. I see here is a lot of discussions regarding installing second hard drive to Optiplex 160. Look: Regular hard drive 2.5' has thickness 9.5mm. SSD hard drives and slim factor HDDs have 7 mm thickness. I have turned in lags (2 mm) of a caddy in my Optiplex 160 and installed two drives: SSD and WD750 slim drive. Everuthing were fits to the box size. I tried disconnect a colling fan. But BIOS prevents starting computer without fan. After that I installed Windows 2003 Server with Windows XP drivers (video, audio and LAN). Now my mini server works good and very fast. Have a good luck.

  • Hi guys! Iì've been using the FX160 for >5 years now (bought it brand new) with a crystalHD for transmpeg decoding (this one wasn't that easy to setup) and an external 4-sata USB 2.0 case with ZFS. I had to give uup the ZFS because of system memory. I have 4GB and despite the 64bit OS, only 3 are seen.
    @ngevan2k are you telling me that your system is using (visible undcer the OS) 8GB?!
    The only "fault" the machine has to be a perfect NAS is the lack of support of jumbo frames in the integrated NIC.
    PS: I always used the crystalHD in the mPCI slot without need for any BIOS mod.


    thanks anyone!

  • Hi @ngevan2k, did you managed to have a stable version of your FX160 hacked Bios? I would really like to use it in my FX160 (probably I am not the only one), mainly to have a little bit more of ram, take advantage of the 64 bit OS and probably add an Intel 7260. Would you be so kind to provide us with your modded Bios? I am willing to buy you a couple of beers in exchange! :D

    Custom mini-ITX build
    Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Core i3-3220, 8 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


  • Hi everybody,


    I just found this interesting thread and wanted to add.
    Since 1.5 years I'm running FX160 as a Centos 7 home server and am still very pleased with it.
    I bought it for a small price and added a 500GB sata disk to it and 2x2GB RAM (only 3gb is usable).


    The following services are running on my FX160 without any problems:
    - apache webserver
    - haproxy load-balancer
    - mysql server
    - observium (snmp monitoring)
    - smtp server
    - mail server
    - samba + nfs file server
    - FTP and SSH server
    - sabnzbd (newsgroup binary download client)
    - varnish server (caching)
    - tftpserver
    - DNS server
    - owncloud



    Besides the FX160 I'm also running a Wyse R90L (thin client) as a Centos server, but it is less powerful due to
    its single core and 2GB RAM.


    I really hope a new (hacked) bios update will come available so I can benefit from the 4GB ram.
    Cheers

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The lion is the king of the jungle, but throw him in a shark tank and he’s just another meal.

  • Hi guys!
    I registered here because of recent answers in this topic. I bought my FX160 more than year ago. It has only debian, samba, nfs and transmission. LibreELEC on Raspberry Pi 2 connected to TV is my player for movies i have on Dell. So far i wasnt greedy, this setup was enough, h.264 work great both HD and FHD, h.265 works with HD after RPi OC but cant handle those with more bitrate. But your responses woke my appetite for more. Especially i would love to dump all those Dropbox/GoogleDrive/Mega accounts with limited space and traffic and switch to ownCloud/syncthing + DynDNS.


    But anyway, i wanted to ask few questions first:
    1. I know that 3GB i recognisable from 4GB of ram. But most of you have 2x2GB sticks. Has anyone tried to put one or two 4GB sticks anyway and see what happens? Ok, i found its because chipset SiS 671 itself so either @ngevan2k has some special version with different chipset and settings or his 8GB just doesnt work as he claimed.

    2. @aletib mentioned that he used crystalHD but it wasnt easy to setup. Has anyone else tried this. What obstacles you have to overcome to set it up with PLEX for example?
    3. I would like to set LVM RAID1 (mirror) with two 2,5" drives - ive seen some of you struggled to place 2,5" drive instead of flash drive. What is the best way to mount two 2,5drives? Or is it worth to experiment with RAID1 on two different drives?
    4. What R/W speeds do you get over LAN with SSD drives?


    Thanks in advance

  • I can perhaps help with some of the questions:


    1. @ngevan2k managed to get 8 Gb of RAM because he modified the Bios. AFAIK the Atom 230/330 can use more than 4 Gb of RAM, but in the FX 160 that amount is limited to 4. There are no special versions nor special chips built in the FX 160.


    2. I've heard mixed opinions regarding the Crytal HD. Some people got it to work without fuzzle. Nonetheless, having the card won't help you with Plex. Plex relies purely on CPU for transcoding. You can take advantage of the Crystal HD if you use the FX160 as media player, that is, as a client for Plex and not as a server.


    3. Check the pictures on the first posts of this thread. I managed to put 2 2.5 drives inside (a 1 TB HDD and a SSD). You have to mount one of the drives in the HDD caddy, and the other one has to be mounted above the RAM sticks. Be aware that it can only be done if 1. you use only one ram stick (the one inclined) or 2. you use 2 low profile ram sticks. I have no experience regarding RAID with the FX 160.


    4. Never experimented with the LAN speeds, my system was usually accessed over Wlan so I was usually limited to max. 20 MB/s.

    Custom mini-ITX build
    Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Core i3-3220, 8 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


    Edited once, last by Eryan ().

  • 1. @ngevan2k managed to get 8 Gb of RAM because he modified the Bios. AFAIK the Atom 230/330 can use more than 4 Gb of RAM, but in the FX 160 that amount is limited to 4. There are no special versions nor special chips built in the FX 160.

    But he wrote that it was simple and he didnt have to do any hacks to do that? And is it possible to overcome chipset limits with some bios hack anyway?


    Another question is - is it worth to buy 2x2GB sticks anyway? If all OSes see only 3GB isnt just better to buy 2GB+1GB?

  • But he wrote that it was simple and he didnt have to do any hacks to do that? And is it possible to overcome chipset limits with some bios hack anyway?


    Another question is - is it worth to buy 2x2GB sticks anyway? If all OSes see only 3GB isnt just better to buy 2GB+1GB?

    You'll then have to ask him if there are any mods necessary for the 8 gigs! As far as I understood the mod is on the bios level. But I might be wrong.


    Regarding the ram stick sizes well, it shouldn't be an issue if you use 2 and 1. The Fx160 does not support dual channel memory i believe. Only then equally sized ram sticks would be better to take advantage of the speed boost.


    Sent from my F5321 using Tapatalk

    Custom mini-ITX build
    Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Core i3-3220, 8 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


  • Ok, thanks. To summarize all things needed to achieve my goail ill have to buy:
    1. another 160GB 2,5 disk
    2. those cables you mentioned in 1st page to connect it to SATA0
    3. low profile 2GB DDR2 ram
    4. usb 3.0 pendrive for OMV
    5. mini pci-e -> usb3.0 controller


    Ill throw OMV or pure debian on pendrive, make RAID1, set transmission, syncthing/owncloud and openvpn. Then ill setup DynDNS because i dont have static IP. I think hope that Atom 330 (dual core 1,6GHz) will handle all those. It would be awesome to have almost limitless syncronised storage space on such power efficient machine

  • One more thing ...


    Finally, the mini PCIe slot seems to recognize Wlan cards only, meaning that some bios-tweaking is also required.

    How do you know that? Did you try to put anything else from WLAN card? Because the fact that mobo did recognise CrystalHD without any hack is very promising.



    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)

    Maaan, indeed there is a place to solder another one!

  • Bios Whitelist. As a Dell computer, the bios restricts what can be installed in the mini PCI port. It might be that the USB card you want to install won't be recognized. And if you are lucky and it does get recognized, it is hard to tell if you will be able to boot from a pendrive connected to it.


    I would not go wild with soldering a sata port. It is difficult to tell where to sold. A mobo is a multi layered PCB, and it is close to impossible to know what has to be soldered and where.


    Sent from my F5321 using Tapatalk

    Custom mini-ITX build
    Coolcube Mini, Intel Desktop Board DQ77KB, Intel Core i3-3220, 8 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


  • Bios Whitelist. As a Dell computer, the bios restricts what can be installed in the mini PCI port. It might be that the USB card you want to install won't be recognized. And if you are lucky and it does get recognized, it is hard to tell if you will be able to boot from a pendrive connected to it.
    I would not go wild with soldering a sata port. It is difficult to tell where to sold. A mobo is a multi layered PCB, and it is close to impossible to know what has to be soldered and where.


    Sent from my F5321 using Tapatalk

    Well now i rather think about mPCIe -> 2x SATA connectors like you mentioned in some of your previous post. But the fact is that it is only a guess, so quoting Lloyd from Dump & Dumper movie ...


    Quote

    So you're telling me there's a chance. YEAH!

    As for soldering part - im not an expert but i think youre wrong. I changed bulky capacitors on multilayered mobos couple times. They have those additional rings inside wholes which are connected to appropriate layers. And even without them there is no chance that you can accidentily solder joint with wrong layer because AFAIK there is no copper field arround the hole arround it. It would be ridiculous to do such field if such joint would be harmfull.
    So chances are really huge that this will work. The only thing could prevent it from working is lack of some electronics (like resistors or caps) for such port. Aslo it is very probable that it is only a splitter/multiplier for existing SATA. But i think it wont harm to try out.


    //SATA sockets came to me but meanwhile i sold Dell and set up an ITX machine with Asus E35M1-I (18Watt AMD E350 CPU and 6xSATA III)

    Edited 3 times, last by doman18: I sold device ().

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