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ESXi Compatibility on Lenovo ThinkStation P3 Tiny


Earlier this year, William Lam from discovered the Lenovo ThinkStation P3 Tiny, a compact system with a lot of potential. Lam, a tech journalist and blogger, was intrigued by the system and was particularly interested in its suitability for VMware deployments, especially with the recent announcement of VMware Edge Cloud Orchestrator (VECO) and Project Keswick.

The Lenovo ThinkStation P3 Tiny offers a range of Intel CPU options, including Core i9, i7, and i5. This is notable because it’s uncommon to find an Intel Core i9 in such a small form factor system. The system also supports DDR5 4800 SO-DIMM memory, although it does not support the new non-binary DDR5 48GB memory modules. The P3 Tiny has a compact form factor, measuring 179 x 182.9 x 37mm, making it smaller than a Supermicro E200-8D but slightly larger than an Intel NUC.

In terms of networking, the P3 Tiny comes with a single Intel I219-LM (2.5GbE) Ethernet port. However, Lenovo offers optional Ethernet-based add-ons that can provide additional networking capabilities. The system also has a Thunderbolt 4 port, which can be used to add faster networking options.

For storage, the P3 Tiny supports up to 2 x M.2 PCIe x4 Gen 4 (2280) drives. These drives are easily accessible by removing a single screw from the back of the system. It’s also possible to add additional storage using the low-profile expansion slot and the Thunderbolt 4 port.

Another notable feature of the P3 Tiny is its graphics capabilities. The system comes with built-in Intel integrated graphics (iGPU), but it also has a low-profile expansion slot that can accommodate an additional NVIDIA discrete GPU (dGPU).

Lam confirmed that the latest release of ESXi 8.0 Update 1 and ESXi 8.0 Update 2 can be installed on the P3 Tiny without any issues. He also provided instructions for disabling E-cores within the BIOS to prevent ESXi from encountering errors related to non-uniform Intel CPU cores.

Overall, the Lenovo ThinkStation P3 Tiny is a powerful and compact system that is an interesting option for servers and home labs. Its small form factor, networking capabilities, storage options, and graphics capabilities make it a versatile choice for various use cases, including edge deployments and virtualization projects.