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Lenovo M700 Tiny PC experiences


mobilenvidia

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Just received a Lenovo M700 Tiny PC, as the name suggests its tiny
It comes with:
Pentium G4400T @ 2.9Ghz 2core/threads (Skylake)
4GB DDR4
120GB Samsung 560 SSD
I've since added a 500GB M2. SSD
Using Display port to HDMI cable to AV amp (VGA out shown in picture not on my model)
Win 10 Pro

I brought it for a Media player as my Satellite receiver/PVR won't play anything beyond H264, and struggles with some formats
The Skylake CPU will decode 4k H265 up to 8 bit colour depth
The PVR also had issues with Music files be it MP3 or FLAC, would stutter no matter what always in same place
I have over Covid19 lock down converted all our DVDs/Blurays and CD's into digital files, filled in long hours of winter days, there were 100's

Anywho the M700 as it is plays the movies I have just dandy, having a CPU just to decode the Video and the AMP decoding the sound, things don't get better visually or sonicaly 
But I do have some 4k H265 files in 10bit colour depth, and this the Skylake can't decode I would need a Kaby Lake CPU or newer for that
So I looked into an upgrade
Lenovo how ever made after the M700 a M710q which supports the Kaby Lake where as the M700 does not even though the Chipset (B150) can
I rummaged around and found some one who had successfully modded the M700 BIOS with Micro Code for the Kaby Lake CPU that comes with the M710q
No instructions, and lots of trial and error, I managed to also insert the Kaby Lake Microcode into the BIOS
Did remove the ES Skylake Microcode from the BIOS to make room, but no big deal
How ever I don't have a Kaby Lake CPU and they are very expensive to the point a decent CPU would cost me more than the M700 in its entirety
So my search goes on for a reasonably priced Kaby Lake

Here is a link to a folder I've made up that should contain everything needed to modify your own BIOS
It comes with the very latest July 2020 BIOS for the M700 in both Original and Modded forms
Files for modding the BIOS even further or grab others to mod another
Do your homework, study up, I visited many sites with how to's and not to's
You can brick your System with greatest of easy if you do it wrong, so you have been warned !!

_20200228124055_360.png

_20200228124103_030.png

 

UPDATE, I've updated the M700 files, to also include m900
Only kept the bare minimum things needed to make a modded BIOS or use the one I'm using

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Lenovo seem to have released another BIOS not very long after last
More 'Security' updates
I've updated the archive and have added this newer BIOS version FWKTB1A
Modded the new BIOS as previous adding Kaby Lake and removing Skylake ES CPU's

BIOS files are kept in 'BIOS" folder, original and modified now in version folders
Copy and past into Windows or DOS folder then run updater

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  • 2 weeks later...

i5-7500T arrived today
Put it in the M700 using previous version of modded BIOS and NO go
Used latest modded BIOS also NO go

Used Haskeer's modded BIOS that he says works but updater has error with BIOS file, don't want to force the update

7500T does get very warm while in the M700
I'll need to do some research on this

BUT my G4400T works fine with both modded BIOS versions

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Not having much luck with this, it should work from the outset as the B150M chipset support both Skylake and Kaby Lake CPUs
The VBIOS is a version that also supports both CPUs

Don't have another motherboard to test the 7500T in either

Thinking is back on

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Have made some progress but the i5-7500T still refuses to work.

I have managed to find a BIOS file from the Lenovo Thinkstation P310 that will flash to the M700
It has some later OPROM/BIOS drivers than the M700
I also made a modded BIOS with the Kaby Lake Microcode but same old nothing happens other than CPU gets really hot

Below screen shot are from M700 on the left and the P310 flashed to the M700 on the right
Note the GOP driver also includes support for Coffee Lake CPU's, there have been BIOS mods that allow Coffee Lake CPU's to work on Skylake/Kaby Lake Motherboards (100/200 Chipsets)
I could update the Intel NIC and Realtek Audio drivers too, but not getting the 7500T to work is doing my head in

m700_bios.JPGP310_bios.JPG

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8 hours ago, Slipx said:

About to pick up one of these boxes. Following your progress.

I have a feeling that to get Kaby Lake support there going to have to be Hardware flashing of the Firmware/BIOS chip
Just checking out a Chinese Modding site

Even without Kaby Lake support the M700 tiny is a great little Machine, my G4400T CPU not decoding 10bit HEVC is a bummer but it can do it via Software and high CPU use
I could live it

I'll keep looking about

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5 hours ago, Slipx said:

Can it handle software decode without stuttering?

Seems to by its self, I use remotePC to log into the unit, but doing it this way it does stutter, but is trying to display on both TV and via LAN on my laptop
Running all by its lonesome no other influences the CPU runs at about 30% SW decoding 10bit x265 4k movies
I don't have a 4k TV so 4k movies are getting down sampled, not sure if the SW decoder is doing it or AMP (4k passthrough) or TV (1080p)

I'm using MPC HC via K-Lite Codec Pack and use Foobar2000 for audio, this combo seems to give me best audio visual performance

But get your self a Kaby Lake CPU if you are worried
But remember you need DP out as HDMI only does 4k24, and with DP you still need an active adaptor to get to HDMI 2.0 (DP does do 4k60 but not many TV's have DP in)

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Hmmm, I"ve not got many (well just one) 4k60 movie in 10bit HEVC with full surround sound (True Dolby HD) I could test
Not good news, the G4400T is maxed out and running 90+% and skipping frames merrily
4k60 is out, a 4 core CPU might fare better but that high frame rate needs HW decoding

1080p h265 10bit - 8 channel AAC sound running at 30% CPU, no stutter

Conclusion
1080p 10bit with pretty well any audio encoding the Skylake can pretty well software decode
4k60 software decoding not a chance

But other than that one movie everything I currently have is watchable but not anything for the future

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Thanks for the feedback. Getting my box this week to test. It might not do HW decoding but it's still an upgrade on my current HTTPC.  Next best option is to get an ODROID-N2

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I've ordered an EPROM programmer to have a play with, US$12.40 delivered won't break the bank
https://www.ebay.com/itm/264715247642
Hopefully I can attach to the soldered on EPROM and at least get a backup, before I maybe attempt to flash it
Not too interested in 8/9th Gen support and its issues of making that work, would be happy with Kaby Lake

My other option is find a cheap M710/910 tiny with no CPU and/or RAM, as I can transplant those parts

If you want the newer OROM/Driver versions in your BIOS the Lenovo P310 BIOS will flash to the M700
Don't need any mods (only support 6th Gen)
Quite strange as the P310 runs on a C236 chipset which is supposedly like the Q170

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alrighty, the EPROM programmer has arrived I've have had a quick play and it looks to work just nicely with just attaching the clip to the Chip legs
I now need to flash the M700 BIOS to the unit as currently running the P310 BIOS which has newer OPROMS but ME version error at boot up (m700 still boots)
Then I'll need to take the BIOS to win-raid.com to confer with Lost_N_BIOS, as adding Kaby Lake is not as easy as adding the Kaby Lake Microcodes to the BIOS
Did have a mission to get the BIOS EPROM chip version (very important step) as the programmer can't auto detect exact version, I needed to pick one from about 7 in a pull down menu
Not sure if they all would have read the BIOS but best to get the correct chip
Note I used ASProgrammer v2, as CH341A Programmer didn't work, well at each read the rom data was different
Below some pics to show hows its done

20200930_183634.jpg

IMG_2272.JPG

BIOS_info.JPG

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OK, wasn't getting very far at win-raid.com as very hard to attach or link to files when one can't do either when starting out
Have since found an auto BIOS modder mode meant for mainstream motherboards
A very good guide can be found at LTT
I have made a modded BIOS that also includes the ability to go as far up as Coffee Lake
Also found out that Coffee Lake B0 stepping CPUs don't need a pin mod
Now I just need the M700 not being used for movie watching to give it a try.

I have my doubts, as still working with the M700 BIOS
And I think I need to insert the M710 BIOS in there somehow

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OK, that didn't work

Now trying to copy the M710 BIOS into my M700 Backup
The actual BIOS starts at the 8MB point and goes up to 16MB end of file
Copied this and now burning this BIOS to machine

This BIOS flashing using the CH341 is rather easy and very convenient as you can't really go wrong 
Any mistakes as long as you have original BIOS you can just flash that back

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:laola: 

Houston we have Kaby Lake Support, what a mission but I got there
Now of course pushing for Coffee Lake support for completeness

Not sure if everything is working
Will need to put back in the Serial number, look to have lost the Windows key
Not sure what else, Display Port 1 works
Can boot to BIOS

But will give Coffee Lake ago, if fail to back to Kaby Lake version and see what's working/broken/missing/added

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Coffee Lake BIOS Mod also boots but I dont have SATA support = no boot OS

I'll look some more into this

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Boohoohoo 😭

Got the Coffee Lake support BIOS to work and boot
Had a closer look at what doesn't work
SATA and possibly NVMe are not working (well in BIOS anyway)

I was going to as a last before going to bed as time was approaching 1am make BIOS and copy in the Intel RSTe OROM from the M700 BIOS
Well I did that, but from unplugging the M700 out of TV and move it to laptop under good lighting, the BIOS EPROM is no longer recognised by the programmer, and turning on the M700 it no longer boots up, the fans just spin
I'll have to have a closer look at this, but am thinking there might be a death in the family

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Phew :phew:that was close

I managed to get the EPROM back via using CH341A programmer 1.38
Detect didn't find my exact EPROM so picked one close, seemed to have worked
Other version either failed on Verify after writing to EPROM or just didn't have a EPROM close enough for my liking
And ASProgrammer didn't work at all any more, opens into a blank box

So progress so far
i5-7500T showing at boot time
8GB RAM showing at boot time
Do get a couple of errors to do with Serial number or lack of
SATA not showing in BIOS but BIOS does eventually boot to windows on the SSD on SATA port
M.2 SATA not showing in BIOS but does show in Windows
Windows Boots and works fine

h265 4k Main 10 Quicksync not decoding it
Is decoding everything else lower

Quote
Version 5 (Skylake)
The Skylake microarchitecture adds a full fixed-function H.265/HEVC main/8-bit encoding and decoding acceleration, hybrid and partial HEVC main10/10-bit decoding acceleration, JPEG encoding acceleration for resolutions up to 16,000×16,000 pixels, and partial VP9 encoding and decoding acceleration.
Version 6 (Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake, Whiskey Lake, Comet Lake)
The Kaby Lake, Coffee Lake and Comet Lake microarchitecture adds full fixed-function H.265/HEVC Main10/10-bit encoding and decoding acceleration and full fixed-function VP9 8-bit and 10-bit decoding acceleration and 8-bit encoding acceleration

Wondering if the B150 chipset is holding it back
I'll plug away a this
But the i5-7500T is happy decoding the 4k 10bit stream, running at around 45% CPU, those 2x extra real cores making difference here, but I need Quicksync to work as whole reason for this high risk stuff

But other than lack of SATA/M.2 not showing in BIOS all is looking very promising

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UPDATE
h265 4k Main10 decoding fully working well HW decoding
Am using Media Player Classic via K-Lite Codec Package
Needed to set the 10bit decoding inside MPC K_Lite settings not KLite settings tweak app

Quite chuffed, do have some work to do and a how to at some point

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Currently running Coffee Lake enabled BIOS via M710 Tiny BIOS overwriting M700 section of BIOS backup then written back.
So I've enabled support for:
All Skylake Desktop CPUs
All Kaby Lake CPUs
ONLY Coffee Lake B0 stepping CPUs (ie up to 4 core) Celeron/Pentium and i3 as this requires NO pin modding Possibly not supporting Coffee Lake, just going through modded BIOSs saved and can't see the one I did do with Coffee Lake support
Not tested as I've not got a Coffee Lake CPU handy.
This should also work on the M900 as uses same BIOS but probably a different BIOS backup as using a Q170 chipset

I will work on the SATA/M.2 and BIOS issue
Not tested Display Port 2, as port 1 works fine (there are rumours only one DP port works)

 

 

m700_h265-10-4k.JPG

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To boot to Windows with a bootable SATA SSD/HDD or M.2 have network boot enabled, in System boot options (if you have the 2x UUID and Serial number errors)
M700 will boot go through the network search and then boot from drive
Only way I've seen to boot to a drive as drives not showing in BIOS
Not having any luck with BIOS and finding a way to have the drives show

Both Display Ports work, all USB's look to work, LAN works

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M700 + P320 BIOS with CFL CPU support combo flashed to M700
Installs and boots with CPU fan missing/broken error (CPU fans now is thought of as System fan)
The BIOS is full of settings to play with, PCIe slots that don't exist, 8x USB ports, Serial port + more
Drives now show in BIOS, which is nice
BUT
2x Beeps at boot time, boots to windows
No Sound
CPU stuck in Low Power mode (790Mhz), showing running at 0.5-0.7w of power at idle
2nd LAN port detected but Code 10 error, probably confusing Sound for LAN

No sound  = killer as not much use watching Silent movies
Could possibly live with 800Mhz CPU as HW decoding movies should not stress it
Could also probably play with BIOS OROMS/Drivers but too fiddly
I'll go back to M710 BIOS and put up with no drives in BIOS, but that is for tomorrow
After last nights not sleeping well thinking my M700 was a paperweight I'll sleep good tonight

Some examples of what the ThinkStation BIOS looked like

IMG_2280.JPG

IMG_2281.JPG

IMG_2282.JPG

IMG_2283.JPG

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OK, flashed a M700 backup BIOS (16MB), with M710q BIOS flashed into the M700 BIOS Space (8MB)
Ran CoffeTime to add Coffee Lake support
Updated the Intel NIC OROM and EFI driver

But twice now this build has crahed, once over night and again earlier today in middle of playing a song
CPU not stressed at all, running high 30's degC, about 1w

So now trialling M700 backup BIOS (16MB) with M710 BIOS flashed into M700 BIOS space (8MB)
Loosing CFL support

Pays to set all the first options to having Network boot first (you can escape out) then SATA
As otherwise quite a clunky crash/reboot
I'll let this run for a bit

Running the G4400T on stock BIOS ran for weeks with no crashes

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