Description

I got a really good deal on a refurbished ThinkCenter M83 SFF from Lenovo Outlet a while back (cheaper than buying the equivalent components myself). I decided to significantly upgrade this computer and use it as my primary workstation.

I added a graphics card, wi-fi card, a ton of storage, maxed out the RAM, and upgraded the case fan and cooler. I may upgrade the TFX power supply in the future, but the current one seems to be working fine.

Also, this chassis supports a regular ATX motherboard, so I can always re-use the chassis in the future for another build.

Didn't really have any issues with the build, although the case makes cable management really terrible.

A few notes on part choices:

  • Quadro K1200; there aren't that many low-power half height single-slot graphics cards out there right now, and this is one of them. It's not the most powerful thing in the world, but it handles 4 1080p monitors and some light gaming just fine.

  • Oyen Digital JBOD array: Because it's a small chassis, I couldn't quite fit all of the HDDs I wanted in the case. While this has an internal RAID card, I'm just using as a JBOD array.

  • StarTech PEX2M2 PCIe 2x M.2 adapter; This is a really nice piece of hardware to add more solid state storage. Would highly recommend it.

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Comments

  • 45 months ago
  • 3 points

That Quadro GPU is very good!

Hope you are happy with your build.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! It's working great so far.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

What kind of work are you doing with the PC?

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Apart from general purpose use (including some light gaming like league), I do computational physics (Fortran / C++) with a bit of freelance Python on the side. I have other machines that I run highly parallel code on, but I mainly use this for development and testing.

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice! I'm learing C and HTML at the moment!

  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice! It's always worth knowing some programming. If I may ask, why C? I did some C programming a while back, but I like C++ quite a bit more.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

More pics, case and all.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I spot a Debian Sid Xfce desktop! +1

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Yep! It's all I've used for ages. Even managed to convert my research group to Debian and away from the mess that is Scientific Linux.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice. I'm boring and would rather use stable instead. Sid is too exciting for me.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

As long as you pay attention to the transition tracker and don't blindly apt-get dist-upgrade all the time, Sid isn't too bad. Haven't really had stability issues for ages.

But I definitely wouldn't ever want to put Sid on something like a server I didn't have physical access to.

  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah. That's not really my thing; I just want an unobtrusive system that I can update and forget about. Outdated software isn't too much of a concern to me, as long as it's secure and functional.

But I definitely wouldn't ever want to put Sid on something like a server I didn't have physical access to.

Oh, heavens, no. Terrible idea.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! Somewhat surprisingly, the K1200 actually isn't at a completely terrible price point for a Quadro card. You're still paying a bit of a premium (it's roughly equivalent to a GTX 750 in performance albeit with a ton more VRAM), but I don't think there are any other NVIDIA cards right now that would fit in this case and have low enough power consumption / thermals.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Guess it's time to shove quad SLI GTX 980 Ti's in here, then :P

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

I'm pretty surprised that this is apparently the only build on this site that's used a Quadro K1200 given the popularity of SFF builds. Of course it's not the best in terms of raw gaming performance (it's roughly a GTX 750 with twice as much VRAM), but it still has decent specs, can fit in almost anything, and draws very little power. Great little workstation card.

And I wish upgrading refurbished OEM PCs wasn't as much of a mixed bag because it can easily be better value than buying everything new and it prevents old PCs from ending up in the dump. The enterprise stuff like this tends to be pretty easy to work on but consumer lines can still be a bit of a mess, especially since consumer desktops now seem to be focusing on all-in-ones instead of towers.

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  • 45 months ago
  • 1 point

I've used the Seasonic 350W TFX supplies before, and they're pretty good. Still not enough to run a high end graphics card, though.

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