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Intel NUC8i7HVK Review: Vega takes a trip to Hades Canyon

Author: Ken Addison
Manufacturer: Intel

A Peek Inside

As the NUC is sold exclusively as a barebones kit without RAM or storage, it should be relatively easy to disassemble.

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First, we'll remove the 6 hex head screws on the top cover of the device.

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Once the top cover is removed, we are greeted by the LED panel for the skull illumination as well as some shielding for the system. Look closely enough, and you will find 3 Phillips head screws to remove, one in each of the top corners, and then one in the middle of the shielding.

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Once those screws are removed, we can lift up the shielding, and carefully place it aside. Note the small ribbon cable connecting the LED panel on the shielding to the motherboard. There is enough slack provided in the cable, so I would recommend not removing it, as the connector seems to be very small and fragile.

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Now we can take a look at the internals of the Hades Canyon NUC. Here we can see the two DDR4 SODIMM slots for RAM, as well as the two M.2 ports that can each house either a PCIe or SATA drive.

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March 29, 2018 | 01:15 PM - Posted by dagnamit

30% more than a 1050ti, with comparable performance to a 6 core cpu? Impressive.

Shit, throw a 2/4 i3 w/ a 1050ti equivalent into it, and price at $499 or less and I will buy 2.

March 29, 2018 | 01:23 PM - Posted by Joseph Taylor (not verified)

Why would you choose this over a mini itx build?

March 29, 2018 | 02:50 PM - Posted by Morte (not verified)

Are there any mini ITX builds that even approach this in size? These NUCs are a little smaller than a hardback book and oftentimes lighter as well, no mini ITX case I've personally seen even approaches the NUC in terms of size. The smallest mini ITX I can find is the S4 Mini but I might be wrong about that, with the S4 Mini though the size difference between it and the NUC is bigger than the size difference between mini ITX and Full Towers.

Here's a quick comparison I did for my own purposes but I guess it doesn't hurt to share it:

http://comparesizes.com/comparison/NUC2/1522348845958

I just hope the inclusion of HBM and the GPU doesn't mean this thing is suddenly selling for twice as much like most graphics cards, if it actually sells for it's MSRP and stays there, I'll be buying another NUC it seems. I'd love to see more powerful mini computers, something that's around the same size as a hardcover book or even a paperback will fit in most containers that people travel with, nobody so far has stuffed a full fat PC with all the trimmings ala NVME, Thunderbolt and lower mid range GPU in a thing this size. I'd love to be wrong on this account though and discover a bunch of book sized mini PC's but I'm not holding out much hope for that.

March 29, 2018 | 02:41 PM - Posted by Onyx1640

I'd be down for one at $4-500, but the $1k price point of these seems a bit steep.

March 29, 2018 | 10:53 PM - Posted by Anonymouse (not verified)

At $4-500, this would be cheaper than a full size, full power machine of the same performance, and you're always going to pay at least a bit more for SFF, so that price isn't likely.

March 29, 2018 | 01:22 PM - Posted by Joseph Taylor (not verified)

I just don't understand what the usage case is for this product and you give it a gold award? Why does this product even exist?

March 29, 2018 | 02:58 PM - Posted by Morte (not verified)

These things are some of Intel's best selling products, in fact it's the only part of Intel's business related to microprocessors that has grown exponentially and it's done it very quickly.

These things pack more than enough power to be put into increasingly cramped office environments, internet cafes and for people that do certain types of field work.

NUC stands for "Next Unit of Compute". In a few years I'd be surprised to see anything bigger than these things for the average person that might still buy a desktop, this product exists because it makes a buttload of money and that buttload of money is increasing whilst the money from everything else is declining.

March 30, 2018 | 05:54 AM - Posted by Adrian (not verified)

Even if this computer is useless for you, it is perfect for other people. I use the previous Skull Canyon as my office computer at work and nothing else on the market can replace it.

For my work I need a fast CPU with at least 4 cores and as many as possible USB ports and Ethernet ports. On my desk, besides 2 monitors, there are a lot of electronic prototypes, power supplies etc., there is no place for a larger computer or for a laptop. Nevertheless the computer must stay on the desk, because I very frequently connect or disconnect USB or Ethernet cables to it. I also need Thunderbolt or at least USB 3.1 Gen 2 (10 Gb/s) for an external SSD. I do not use internal SSD's, because I must move every day the SSD between my office computer and my home computer, and from time to time to the laptop used for business trips.

So Skull Canyon and Hades Canyon are exactly what I need. Every other computer on the market is either too large, or it has a too slow processor, or it has too few USB ports, or it has no Thunderbolt or USB 3.1 Gen 2 or no DisplayPort.

So even if you are not aware of this, many people need computers very different from what you use.

March 29, 2018 | 01:36 PM - Posted by John Blanton (not verified)

LAN parties for days ...... LAN parties for days :x

March 29, 2018 | 05:28 PM - Posted by newowner (not verified)

How was the fan noise when gaming? Did it get hot?

March 29, 2018 | 05:28 PM - Posted by WTFisTheRadeonVegaGPUsFullSpecificationsForThisSKU (not verified)

Ok I want to Know the Shader/TMU/ROP counts on the AMD semi-custom discrete die that's on the EMIB/MCM. And I'd really like to Know the the Shaders to ROPs ratios and the Sheaders to TMUs ratios also.

We Now have access to Vega graphics that only has access to 4GB of HBM2 over a single HBM2 Stack's alotment HBM2 and at 1024 traces(That's Divided into 8 indipendent 128 bit channels according to the JEDEC HBM2 standard). So can there be some testing of Vega's HBCC IP where Vega's HBCC makes use of the HBM2 as HBC(High Bandwidth cache).

I'd like to see some Games tested using Texture mods that total larger than 4GB in texture size to test out Vega's HBCC IP.

Some websites need to purchase these NUC SKUs outright for testing outside of any review manual NUC(loaner sample)restrictions for testing the Vega graphics, including the HBCC/HBC(HBM2) IP, on Vega.

Why is there only PPC(Pixel per clock information on some websites) and no ROP counts to be found for this Intel/Vega SKU. I'm seeing shader counts and TMU counts from some January 2018 articles but really WTF is up with the usual GPU specifications on these MCM based Radeon Vega semi-custom SKUs!

What does GPUz say about Shaders/TMUs/ROPs and let's look at Shader to TMU ratios and Shader to ROP ratios on these Intel/Vega SKUs with Vega/MCM graphics and how that compares with Vega 56's and Vega 64's Shader to TMU and Shader to ROP ratios.

The JEDEC HBM2 standars also has a 64 bit psudeo channel mode where each of the 8, 128 bit HBM2 channels is split into 2 64 bit psudeo channels are any GPU makers taking advantage of that part of the JEDEC HBM2 standard currently in their GPU's drivers or the GPU's memory controller.

March 29, 2018 | 06:41 PM - Posted by willmore

Do the physics and graphics test run at the same time? I ask because I'm curious to see what they've done to address the package having to deal with the combined CPU+GPU thermals.

When you have time could you do something to evaluate that possible issue? Maybe test with some games known for use a lot of CPU? Thank you!

April 1, 2018 | 02:56 AM - Posted by Annie Moose (not verified)

Neat.
I winced at the price at first, but seeing the ample connectivity and performance, I guess the price is reasonable.
Why do you make no mention of temperatures and sound levels though? Dissipating 140W at that size has to be challenging.

April 1, 2018 | 11:28 AM - Posted by Annie Moose (not verified)

Haha, having read Notebookcheck's review, I have to say, you should have really clarified just how large the power brick is.
When form factor is half the selling point, a power brick that's as large as the device it powers is noteworthy.

June 2, 2018 | 06:22 AM - Posted by Splv123 (not verified)

Ok, it's good but for this money , I will prefer Chuwi HiGame!

September 7, 2018 | 05:35 AM - Posted by Katrina (not verified)

Intel's Hades Canyon NUC is a powerhouse for the games and really useful for the game lovers as my brother has bought one for him when I was busy in my https://www.goldenbustours.com/niagara-falls-bus-tour-packages/ and always like to play games on this.

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