Another Next Unit of Computing
Just about a year ago Intel released a new product called the Next Unit of Computing, or NUC for short. The idea was to allow Intel's board and design teams to bring the efficient performance of the ultra low voltage processors to a desktop, and creative, form factor. By taking what is essentially Ultrabook hardware and putting it in a 4-in by 4-in design Intel is attempting to rethink what the "desktop" computer is and how the industry develops for it.
We reviewed the first NUC last year, based on the Intel Ivy Bridge processor and took away a surprising amount of interest in the platform. It was (and is) a bit more expensive than many consumers are going to be willing to spend on such a "small" physical device but the performance and feature set is compelling.
This time around Intel has updated the 4x4 enclosure a bit and upgrade the hardware from Ivy Bridge to Haswell. That alone should result in a modest increase in CPU performance with quite a bit of increase in the integrated GPU performance courtesy of the Intel HD Graphics 5000. Other changes are on the table to; let's take a look.
The Intel D54250WYK NUC is a bare bones system that will run you about $360. You'll need to buy system memory and an mSATA SSD for storage (wireless is optional) to complete the build.
Subject: General Tech | September 18, 2013 - 08:43 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: usb 3.0, SFF, nuc, celeron, Bay Trail, atom
Intel and Gigabyte announced new Haswell powered SFF (small form factor) PCs earlier this month around the time of Intel's IDF 2013 conference. It seems that Haswell is not the only processor Intel has in mind for NUC, however. A recent report from Hexus.net suggests that a new lower-cost NUC will be available early next year for $140. The NUC DN2810FYK will use Intel's new Bay Trail-M Atom processor and be available as a barebones system or motherboard/processor combination. The barebones system, which includes a case, motherboard, soldered processor, and 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi module will have a $139 MSRP.
Intel's Bay Trail Atom processors use the Silvermont architecture which was built from the ground up with low power usage and efficient performance in mind. The new SoCs will span from smartphones and tablets to desktop PCs. The specific chip used in the upcoming DN2810FYK NUC PC is the Celeron branded N2810, which a dual core 7.5W TDP (4.5W SDP) Bay Trail-M SoC clocked at up to 2GHz with Intel HD Graphics clocked at 756 MHz. The processor comes pre-soldered onto the NUC motherboard which supports a single DDR3L SO-DIMM, one SATA port, and one mPCIe slot for the included Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 4.0 NIC. For the barebones system, users will only need to bring their own RAM and a SATA hard drive or SSD to the table.
External IO includes:
- 1 x USB 3.0
- 2 x USB 2.0
- 1 x IR receiver
- 1 x Analog audio jack
- 1 x HDMI
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet port
As such, the Bay Trail-powered NUC is not quite as expandable as the Haswell model which supports four USB 3.0 ports (among other additional ports) externally and a mSATA SSD slot internally. On the other hand, because of the reduction in IO and hardware horsepower, the new NUC will be significantly cheaper than the existing models.
The DN2810FYK is slightly taller than the Haswell NUC at 55mm (versus 35.6mm), which is likely due to the use of mobile-class SATA drives rather than mSATA. Again, this is a compromise that allows Intel to offer up a budget SFF system.
Code-named "Forest Canyon," I expect the new Next Unit of Computing PC to be a popular NUC option that will help to drive adoption of small form factor systems thanks to the attractive $140 price point while still being sufficient performance wise for budget desktop, HTPC, and home server uses! I will wait for the full reviews to make up my mind, but I am optimistic about the upcoming Bay Trail-M NUC.
Is this Atom-powered NUC the one that you've been waiting for?
Subject: General Tech | September 14, 2013 - 02:54 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: SFF, nuc, Intel, hd 5000, haswell, 4k
Intel has announced a new Haswell-powered NUC called the D54250WYK. The new barebones kit includes an Intel D54250WYB NUC motherboard with soldered processor in a small form factor case that measures 4.6″ x 4.4″ x 1.4″. The new NUC is faster, has new IO options, and reportedly fixes the overheating issues of previous NUC systems. The Haswell-powered NUC has a bit of competition with the recently launched Gigabyte BRIX system which also got an upgrade to Intel's latest consumer architecture.
The new NUC D54250WYK barebones kit.
The Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK uses a new 4.33" x 4.33" motherboard with a pre-soldered Intel Haswell Core i5-4250U processor. The system further supports two DDR3 SO-DIMM slots (up to 16GB of 1600MHz memory), a single SATA port, two mini PCI-E slots (one for mSATA SSDs and one half-height for Wi-Fi NICs), and a USB 2.0 header supporting to USB 2.0 ports. The Core i5-4250U CPU is a 22nm chip with a 15W TDP. It is a dual core part clocked at 1.3GHz base and 2.6GHz Turbo with HyperThreading, 3MB of cache, and HD 5000 processor graphics (200Mhz base and 1GHz Turbo).
The new NUC motherboard and Haswell processor.
While Intel has removed Thunderbolt support, external IO is still decent, with the following ports:
- 2 x USB 3.0 ports
- 2 x Analog audio jacks
- 1 x Infrared receiver
2 x Video outputs:
- 1 x Mini DisplayPort 1.2
- 1 x Mini HDMI 1.4
- 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
- 2 x USB 3.0
Notably, the Intel NUC Kit with i5-4250U CPU requires active cooling, but aftermarket cases offering passive cooling are likely in the works. Of course, users will be able to purchase the barebones D54250WYK kit or just the D54250WYB NUC motherboard and CPU that can be paired with a third party or custom built case. Like Gigabyte, Intel has not released specific pricing or availability, but expect the new Haswell-powered NUC to be coming soon as the system appears to be ready to go. Hopefully full reviews will be hitting the Internet soon!
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | July 20, 2013 - 03:29 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Intel, dccp847dye, nuc, SFF, pcn, wi-fi
Intel recently posted a Product Change Notification (PCN, number 112432-00) regarding one of its first NUC bare-bones systems, model number BOXDCCP847DYE. The PCN seeks to address the overheating issues that several hardware review sites encountered when performing large file copies across the network using the built-in Wi-Fi card. Intel has reportedly found a solution by adding a 9.5mm thermal pad to the underside of the top cover. The thermal pad will make contact with the mSATA SSD and facilitate heat transfer from the drive into the metal chassis.
The overheating problems spotted by PC Perspective (in our review) and other tech sites lead to system freezes and restarts. When transferring large amounts of data across the network, the built-in mPCI-E Wi-Fi card would heat up, and because the SSD is mounted just above the Wi-Fi card, the system would lock up or crash when the SSD overheated. Thus, Intel’s workaround is to improve the cooling of the SSD such that it (hopefully) will no longer overheat and users will not have to resort to buying a USB Wi-Fi dongle or running an Ethernet cable to the switch.
According to the PCN, the solution works and system retailers should expect shipments of the BOXDCCP847DYE with upgraded cover to arrive as early as August 1st. Notably, Intel is planning to ship out all pre-modification inventory before moving onto shipping updated bare-bones systems. It may be some time before consumers can be sure they are getting the updated model. In the meantime, users can always opt to use one of the many third party NUC cases that take full advantage of passive cooling techniques.
Akasa has debuted a new passively cooled chassis for Intel's NUC platform called the Newton. The new chassis measures 154mm x 150mm x 47mm and does double duty as both a case and passive (fan-less) heatsink for the Intel processor soldered onto the NUC motherboard.
Specifically, the Akasa Newton case can support the Intel D33217GKE or DCP847SKE NUC (Next Unit of Computing) motherboard, depending on whether you want an Intel Core i3-3217-U or a Celeron 847-U respectively.
The Akasa Newton case supports all of the IO of the NUC boards, including a single USB port on the front, and two USB ports, two HDMI outputs, and one Gigabit Ethernet port. The case also has two antenna jacks for the mini-PCIe WI-Fi card and a DC power in jack.
The case is entirely matte black with a brushed aluminum front bezel and curved corners. The boxy case comes with a VESA mount for attaching to the back of monitors or using a wall mount. The top of the case is finned to increase the surface area and aid in cooling the CPU.
Overall, it looks like a decent NUC chassis for a silent, passively cooled system. The Akasa Newton is available now for 50 Euros (including VAT).
Subject: Cases and Cooling | March 31, 2013 - 04:17 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nuc, Intel, impactics, europe, d1nu
Impactics is the latest company to launch its own small form factor case for Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) platform. More heatsink than chassis, the new D1NU chassis sandwiches an Intel NUC motherboard and other internals between two aluminum fin heatsinks. The D1NU measures 170 x 114 x 67mm and weighs 1380g.
The D1NU supports Intel's D33217GKE and DCP847SKE motherboards. The motherboard and other components are attached to a solid piece of precision milled 99.99% electrolytic copper (220g), and then to an aluminum heatsink.
The case seals the components between a top and bottom heatsink and then a 4mm aluminum front bezel and a rear chromium steel bezel with EM shield. The D1NU case/heatsink supports a 25W TDP, and has an MSRP of 99 euros. The front bezel hosts a power button with blue LED and space for a single USB port. The rear of the case can support the outputs of either Intel's Golden Lake or Ski Lake boards. A VESA mount is also in the works. The D1NU comes in silver or black.
According to Fanless Tech, the passive NUC case is now available in Europe for €100 Euros from Case King or £87 pounds from Systo.co.uk. No word yet on whether it will show up on this side of the pond, but (although it is a bit pricey) it is certainly a cool NUC heatsink/case (heh)!
Subject: General Tech, Cases and Cooling | March 21, 2013 - 01:52 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: galileo, newton, akasa, nuc, case, thin mini-itx
FanlessTech recently spotted two new fan-less and small form factor cases from Akasa ahead of the official launch. The Akasa Galileo and Akasa Newton are compatible with thin Mini-ITX and Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) motherboards respectively.
Both cases are constructed of aluminum, have VESA mounting holes, and double as a fan-less heatsink for your components. The Galileo is 37mm thick and can cool processors rated up to a 35W TDP. The Newton is a small case with fins around the sides to increase surface area (for better cooling capability), and aesthetic flair.
According to Fanless Tech, the two PC cases will be officially unveiled at Computex in Taipei, Taiwan this summer. There is no word on pricing or when they will be available for purchase, however.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | February 3, 2013 - 06:14 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: tranquil, nuc, fanless, case
Tranquil PC, a case manufacturer and system integrator based in the UK, recently announced a new aluminum chassis for Intel’s NUC motherboards. The new chassis acts as a heatsink and will keep your NUC system running cool without needing case fans. Tranquil is offering two versions of the case – the NUC-BY and NUC-YE – which are compatible with both the D33217CK (Thunderbolt-equipped) and D33217GKE (Gigabit Ethernet-equipped) Intel NUC boards respectively.
The two Tranquil NUC cases are nearly identical, but they differ in the IO cutouts offered (naturally). The cases measure 110 x 164 x 47mm and resembles a black heatsink with its horizontal fins and brushed aluminum design. The chassis is reportedly able to keep the Next Unit of Computing (NUC) system 5 to 15 degrees centigrade cooler than the reference Intel NUC case that uses an active fan. Hopefully, the case-as-a-heatsink design will help to mitigate the overheating problems that many reviewers (including PC Perspective) have run into when performing network transfers to the SSD over Wi-Fi.
It is a streamlined design with port only the expected port cutouts and a rubberized power button on the rear of the device. No LED-lit logos or extra buttons to speak of. You can, however, have Tranquil laser-engrave a custom message onto the chassis for an additional fee.
The front of the case features a single USB port while the rear IO will depend on your particular NUC board. The D33217CK board includes one Thunderbolt, one HDMI, two USB 2.0 ports, and a 65W DC power input jack. On the other hand, the D33217GKE motherboard has a DC-in jack, two USB 2.0 ports, two HDMI outputs, and a single Gigabit LAN jack. Additionally, the Tranquil cases have a cutout for an externally-mounted Wi-Fi antenna (as the aluminum casing is not well-suited to housing an internal antenna).
Both Tranquil NUC cases are available now for a base price of £99. A VESA mount adds an additional £17. Further, VAT and shipping charges may apply depending on where you are ordering from. In USD, the Tranquil cases have a base price of $155.62. While I do not get charged VAT, I do have to pay shipping, and it is not cheap at approximately $33 to ship to the mid-west US. In my case, ordering one NUC case and having it shipped to Illinois would cost $207.41. Ouch.
The Tranquil PC NUC case with its brushed aluminum and fanless design is extremely nice. Unfortunately, that build quality does not come cheap, and will add to the overall cost of putting together your NUC system. If you have the money for it though, it looks to be one of the best cases available for the new 4” x 4” NUC motherboards.
More information is available on the Tranquil PC website.
Subject: Systems | January 28, 2013 - 07:20 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: nuc, Intel, DC3217IYE
The new Intel NUC DC3217IYE is a tiny little system with a Core i3-3217U on a QS77 Express chipset with a pair of HDMI ports, three USB 2.0 ports, WiFi, ethernet and a mini PCIe slot that can handle mSATA, which is good as there is no internal storage apart from that. Once you have purchased the NUC, all you need to do is install an mSATA drive and RAM and you have a fully functional system. The inclusion of a Core i3 processor helps make the performance of the NUC significantly better than what it would be with an Atom and while the HD4000 is good for some applications it is not a strong gamer. X-bit Labs likes the idea of the NUC but questions the $300 price it will command.
"Intel decided to give it a shot in the ultra-compact desktop systems market. And they immediately came up with a unique product: a miniature system case only 12x11x4 cm in size based on Core i3 processor. It boasts a truly impressive combination of features, but does it make practical sense to give us a large desktop box in favor of a tiny guy like that?"
Here are some more Systems articles from around the web:
- The Hardware.Info 2013 PC Buyer's Guide
- Dell XPS One 27 Touch Review @ TechReviewSource
- Toshiba Satellite LX835-D3380 Review @ TechReviewSource
- Apple iMac 27 inch 2012 review: Mac XL @ Hardware.info
- Samsung Series 7 All-in-one PC 700A3D @ Hardware.info
- OcUK Titan 8350a King Cobra MK2 @ Kitguru
Subject: Cases and Cooling | January 10, 2013 - 09:50 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: nuc, Lian Li PC-N1, Lian Li, Intel, ces 2013, CES
The crew over at Overclockers Club stopped by the Lian Li booth to check out the company's latest cases at this year's CES. One interesting addition to Lian Li's case lineup is the PC-N1 which is a third party replacement chassis for Intel's NUC motherboards. Specifically, the PC-N1 case is designed to host Intel's D33217CK and D33217GKE boards. The chassis is constructed of aluminum and features a black burshed aluminum design. A recessed, silver colored, power button is on the top of the case, a single USB port is on the front, and the standard rear IO layout for NUC board is on the back of the case. That includes a DC power jack, two USB ports, two HDMI outputs, and a RJ45 Ethernet jack. Notably absent is s cutout in the case for a Thunderbolt port (perhaps there is a PC-N2 case on the way?).
The PC-N1 meaures 122 x 40 x 108mm. Because it is completely aluminum, it may help with keeping the NUC components cool like the many HTPC cases on the market with heatpipes that draw heat from the processor into the chassis. No word yet on pricing or availability, unfortunately. In my opinion, it looks really nice, though I've always been partial to look of Lian Li's brushed aluminum cases (I have one sitting under my desk as I type this heh). Overclockers Club has additional photos of the PC-N1 as well as several other upcoming PC cases that are worth a look.
Read the full review of Intel's Next Unit of Computing platform at PC Perspective.
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