Turning a Wyse 3040 Into an HTPC (Part 1)

As a wyse mann ynce seide

I recently acquired a Dell Wyse 3040, a thin client PC intended to connect to virtual desktop[s] running remotely.

A Wyse 3040 in the flesh! Well, on the floor

The Wyse 3040 has a quad-core Intel processor, an Atom x5-Z8350 CPU @ 1.44GHz, which won’t win any benchmark tests (a PassMark score of 896!), and is backed by 2GB of RAM and 8GB of flash storage (in my model). Thanks to the HD Graphics 400 is capable of playing video.


Interested in more info on the Wyse 3040? ParkyTowers has a treasure trove of info on the hardware, disassembly, firmware, installing TinyCore Linux, and some further reading. Enjoy!


I have been using an Odroid C1+ with LibreElec as an HTPC until now, it is a n ARM-based single board computer — similar to a Raspberry Pi — and I would thoroughly recommend it. However, I wanted a device that could do Netflix as well- at the moment that role is served by a first-generation Chromecast paired with the Netflix app on an old phone plugged into an HDMI switcher with remote.

A v1 Chromecast from 2013! Which was apparently the last time I dusted behind the TV

It works, but it’s not ideal as it required faffing with a phone, and sometimes the Chromecast switches the HDMI switcher to its input, which is unhelpful at best.

Android would have worked as something that runs media playback software like Netflix, Kodi, etc; but I wanted an x86_64 device so that I could use it for other things too.

Setting up Arch Linux

This went reasonably smoothly. The whole section is, as usual, “follow the installation guide instructions on the Arch wiki“. That’s it, that has all the information you need; just remember to follow the links at the relevant sections. There are a few caveats, which I’ll get to.

You could alternatively try out alis, the Arch Linux Install Script. I used it and it seemed to work, only I ran into an EFI snag which I think was an idiosyncrasy of the Wyse 3040, not alis:

If you didn’t read the post, or the tl;dr in the post, or the tl;dr in the onebox of the post above: if you’re booting with grub, you need to follow the instructions under Default/faullback boot path.

I didn’t bother with a desktop environment, or anything of the such. I just installed openssh (and enabled the server so I could install remotely), base-devel (for building trizen, an AUR package manager), dhcpcd for getting an IP address, nano and vim, and intel-ucode for microcode updates.

My tips from the other post also stand: try netboot.xyz (I use it as an all-in-one USB drive! NB needs internet connection); but maybe don’t use a netboot image if you’re rebooting to retry things a lot.

Coming up: configuring Arch on the 3040 to be a worthy video player; or please let hardware acceleration work!

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