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Re-use Thin Clients with DietPi

Thin clients are typically PC based systems which are often outphased due to their limited resources compared to the actual needs, e.g. in Windows environments.
This thin client hardware can be re-used in a kind of a “second life” to serve as a Linux hardware. Especially, DietPi with its lightweight approach is a good choice to be used.

Photo of some Thin Clients
Dell Wyse 3040 Thin client, Raspberry Pi 4, HP T630 Thin client (from left to right)

This blog post shows the Thin Client usage with two different hardware examples (HP T630 and Wyse 3040 Thin Clients) and compares them to a Raspberry Pi 4.

Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Installation
  3. Hardware / Performance
  4. Further hardware list
  5. References

1. Introduction

There are some reasons to use Thin Clients with DietPi:

  • Limited availability of Raspberry Pi hardware
  • Cheap affordable Thin Client hardware (e.g. 30 $ TC hardware compared to a 100 $ Pi 4)
  • Some Thin Clients have superior computational power
  • Recycling of hardware increases sustainability
  • Basically, PC based hardware has less compatibility issues as ARM based SBCs

The installation process of (modern) Thin Client PCs is based on UEFI hardware, so that the description of the UEFI section of the Native PC from the page https://dietpi.com/docs/install/ should be used.
As a prerequisite for the installation from an USB device (USB stick/disc) holding the DietPi UEFI image, either the BIOS settings need to be chosen to boot from USB, or during the system boot the user has to select the boot from the USB device.

2. Installation

2.1 HP T630

At first, the BIOS settings should be checked/changed to be able to boot from USB devices (no secure boot, USB enable). You can enter the dialog via the <F9> key:

HP T630 Setup dialog

The UEFI installation is based on Clonezilla and starts with the following dialog:

DietPi UEFI installation dialog

At next, you need to walk through the installation process like described in the installation documentation.

2.2 Wyse 3040

At first, the BIOS settings should be checked/changed to be able to boot from USB devices (no secure boot, USB enable).
Additionally, you could deactivate a BIOS password (default password: Fireport) and update the BIOS (see Wyse support homepage).
You can enter the setup dialog via the <F12> key:

Wyse 3040 Setup dialog
Wyse 3040 USB enable
Wyse 3040 Secure boot disable
Wyse 3040 Password setting dialog
Wyse 3040 BIOS version

The UEFI installation is based on Clonezilla and starts with the following dialog:

DietPi UEFI installation dialog

At next, you need to walk through the installation process like described in the installation documentation.

3. Hardware / Performance

The hardware described within this blog post are examplary and shall give an idea which options you might have: The HP T630 is more a powerful Thin Client wheras the Wyse 3040 is a less powerful one.
You can also use different Thin Client hardware variants and gather your own experiences.

3.1 Hardware comparison

3.1.1 HP T630 hardware

The HP T630 offers a quite powerful hardware with many internal/external expansion options within a fairly large housing.

HP T630 hardware

3.1.2 Wyse 3040 hardware

The Wyse 3040 is a lower performance Thin Client hardware without internal expansion options in a tiny housing.

Wyse 3040 hardware compared to a Raspberry Pi 4

3.1.3 Comparison table

TypeHP T630Wyse 3040
CPUAMD GX-420GI, 4 x 2,0 GHzIntel Atom x5 Z-8350, 4 x 1,44 GHz
RAMDDR4, max. 32 GB
(two SO-DIMM slots)
2 GB
(fixed size, soldered onboard)
Storage2 x M.2 NVMe SSD interface, max. 128 GB
internal USB 3.0 Flash disc interface
8/16 GB eMMC Flash disc
(fixed size, soldered onboard)
USBUSB 2.0, USB 3.0USB 2.0, USB 3.0
Network1000/100/10 MBit/s RJ451000/100/10 MBit/s RJ45
optional: M.2 WiFi interface
Graphic interface2 x Display Port (DP)2 x Display Port (DP)
TDP16 W4 W
Housing2 litres, approx. 24 x 4,2 x 22 cm0,3 litre, approx. 2,8 x 10,2 x 10,2 cm
Hardware feature comparison

3.2 Power consumption

The power consumption results are given in the following table.

HP T630Wyse 3040Raspberry Pi 4
Idle10 W3,3 W3,0 W
Full power26 W5,3 W5,8 W
Power consumption comparison

Compared to the benchmark results below, the Wyse 3040 power consumption is similar to the Pi 4 at lower computational power. Often the maximum computational power is not the relevant issue, from this point of view, the Wyse 3040 comes with a nice low power consumption and thermal behaviour.

Compared to the Pi 4, the HP T630 has a higher power consumption but offers much more expansion flexibility.

3.3 DietPi benchmark results

3.3.1 HP T630

The resulting benchmarks show the quite good performance of the HP T630 (with M.2 NVMe):

DietPi benchmark output
Detail CPU benchmark
Detail RAM benchmark
Detail root file system benchmark

3.3.2 Wyse 3040

The resulting benchmarks show the lower performance of the Wyse 3040:

DietPi benchmark output
Detail CPU benchmark
Detail RAM benchmark
Detail root file system benchmark

4. Further hardware list

This section contains a list of further hardware variants which were reportet or tested by us or other readers.

5. References

Re-use Thin Clients with DietPi

3 thoughts on “Re-use Thin Clients with DietPi

  1. The Fujitsu Futro S740 is also a great thin client with low power consumption and good performance.

  2. Hey there! Great read on reusing thin clients with DietPi! I recently repurposed mine for a more efficient home setup. Speaking of efficiency, I found a useful tip on optimizing internet connectivity, especially for Comcast users. If anyone needs assistance, check out my site for handy tips or simply dial the Comcast Support phone number for quick solutions.

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