Review Index:

Intel NUC D54250WYK SFF System Review - Haswell Update

Manufacturer: Intel

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.

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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.

Continue reading our review of the Intel NUC D54250WYK SFF System Review - Haswell Update!!

Outside the Intel NUC D54250WYK

Even though the chassis of the Intel NUC is so small, that really is a lot of the charm of the platform. 

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The Intel D54250WYK is based on the 4th generation Core architecture and the Core i5-4250U dual-core, quad-thread processor that runs at a peak clock rate of 2.6 GHz and a base clock of 1.3 GHz.  The Intel HD Graphics 5000 will scale from 200 MHz up to 1.0 GHz.  The other specs are pretty straight forward with a dual-channel memory configuration (DDR3L supported), etc.

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This round we got our NUC sample before the retail packaging was ready but the contents are the same as they were with the first generation.  Inside the box you'll get the 4-in square computer, a power adapter, quick setup instructions and a VESA compatible mounting bracket for attaching the device to the back of a monitor.

You are still going to be responsible for getting your own power CORD again; Intel leaves it out for cost reasons they say.  In North America you'll need a triangular C5 power cord, easily bought online for a couple bucks. Just confirmed with Intel that retail units of the Haswell NUC will include the appropriate power cord for each region.

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The D54250WYK has a silver side and glossy back top in the same basic shape as the previous NUC.  This model is actually a bit shorter in terms of the z-height.  The motherboard inside is 4-in by 4-in square and the housing of the NUC isn't much larger than that.

There are third-party cases for the NUC including some passive designs that I saw with last years model.  I expect this year's unit to get the same treatment.

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Up top you'll find a single button for the power that includes the power LED embedded in it.  The hard drive icon above it lights up for drive access as well.

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The front the Haswell NUC includes a pair of USB 3.0 ports, a shared headphone and microphone jack and an IR receiver (though no remote is included).  The move to USB 3.0 is great to see as the previous models only has USB 2.0 which limited standard accessory speeds. 

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Out back you'll find another pair of USB 3.0 ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, mini-HDMI connection and mini-DisplayPort.  The power connection is on the far left.   The first thing we noticed this time around was the Thunderbolt port we loved on the DC3217BY NUC from last year was missing, replaced by a standard mini-DisplayPort connection.  It would appear that Intel was trying to keep costs low at the expense of their new connectivity option.

You might notice that the HDMI port is slightly bored out - that was an issue with the early samples Intel sent out that prevented good contact with the HDMI port inside the case.  It will be corrected on the final retail models.

The larger, darker areas over the Ethernet and display outputs is the exhaust area for the fan and heatsink cooling the Core i5-4250U processor. 

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The bottom of the NUC has four rubber feet that hold the four screws to remove to get inside.  It also has some added ventilation area for heat removal.

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September 27, 2013 | 03:23 PM - Posted by Barry j Fliegelman (not verified)

great product i would love one

September 27, 2013 | 04:04 PM - Posted by monstercameron (not verified)

what about performance and power consumption vs. the amd a6-5200?
any news on the gigabyte brix with amd a6-5200/intel haswell?
what about power draw during video?
what about any relevant gaming benchmarks vs amd?
any interedting use cases for such a sff design?
what about any competitors?

the 3dmark score of the a6-5200 is very close to this haswell piece
here is my quick review of it...would have been great to compare this instead of the a4-5000, the power consumption numbers would be similar/lower for amd as well.

amd - 30500
intel - 32700

September 27, 2013 | 06:49 PM - Posted by Lorash (not verified)

Aha! My new htpc.

September 27, 2013 | 10:36 PM - Posted by justme (not verified)

HD 5000 is basically Iris Pro without the embedded ram (and lower clock I guess, but same 40 EUs),

interesting to see it being 20% faster than the MacBook IGP (same IGP),

is this only caused because the mac is running to hot (lower clock), or did apple make something stupid like, using single channel memory??

September 28, 2013 | 09:32 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Yeah, this is likely because of the dynamic clock differences.

September 27, 2013 | 10:45 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

no thunderbolt.....disappointed. i was hoping to use it with apples thunderbolt display.
I guess I have to wait for the haswell mac mini and run bootcamp on it!

September 28, 2013 | 09:33 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

You can still use the mini Display Port connection with that monitor, you just won't get support for the accessories.

September 28, 2013 | 06:07 AM - Posted by KocKa (not verified)

For 600$ you can probably buy any HTTP computer you want, so what's the point of this again?

September 28, 2013 | 07:57 AM - Posted by justme (not verified)

regular HTPC is not going to be as small as this.

September 28, 2013 | 10:38 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yup, great idea but the crazy high price is what kills it.

September 28, 2013 | 11:11 AM - Posted by jonny (not verified)

In a fanless case kit the NUC becomes interesting.
Say No to fans already! :)
We dont want quiet, hardly audible- we want inaudible!
Plus, in another case you may install a real SSD.

October 7, 2013 | 08:00 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Exactly. Fanless, absolute silence with this level of performance would be interesting to me.

September 28, 2013 | 01:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

OMG...HTPC !!!

September 30, 2013 | 06:40 PM - Posted by cyberwire

What's the availability date?

October 3, 2013 | 10:31 AM - Posted by Adrian (not verified)

Some say end of october ...

October 11, 2013 | 02:14 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Intel, make the next 14nm generation 7Watt and fan-less already!

October 11, 2013 | 10:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You can buy a Mac mini for that price which includes the operating system and warranty and you get things like thunderbolt, and an sd card slot, FireWire.

Intel NUC seems like a solution looking for a problem. Too expensive for what you get

October 19, 2013 | 03:06 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

But the mac mini does not come with SSD, you could shave off probably 150 dollars if you could put a mech drive in. Also take the mac mini up to 8 gigs of ram that is at added cost now your mac is running close to 900+ dollars. I know i had one. I had the i7. I have one of the i3 nucs with windows 8.1 and it is very fast, i only have a 60 gig mSata in it tho i do have a 128 here but not installed it have not needed to yet.

October 14, 2013 | 12:00 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Your costing is misleading. You include a $200 180GB SSD for the NUC but only a $105 128GB OCZ for the comparison.

October 23, 2013 | 03:55 AM - Posted by PwnHkr (not verified)

How long is that OCZ SSD going to last you? not very long. I've had to replace 3 in the last two weeks that are only roughly a year old.

October 30, 2013 | 04:23 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Are there any new haswell compatible fanless NUC cases?
This looks good but not haswell (ivy only) compatible as one can see from the screenshots.

October 30, 2013 | 09:11 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Akasa told that support for the Haswell based NUC fanless cases will be available in a rather short time :)

November 28, 2013 | 11:12 AM - Posted by It's there (not verified)

Newton H fanless case for 4th Generation Intel® NUC boards

December 5, 2013 | 05:57 AM - Posted by WANT ONE!! (not verified)

February 1, 2014 | 08:14 PM - Posted by mens fitness (not verified)

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February 1, 2014 | 08:16 PM - Posted by mens fitness (not verified)

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February 25, 2014 | 04:57 PM - Posted by Scott (not verified)

I am running 50 of these NUCs in a corporate environment. They are mounted on the back of ASUS 23" monitors. The users like them as they take up no space, no wires running over the desk, and they are a lot faster that the Dell OptiPlex 755 they replaced.

Intel D34010WYK (Core i3-4010U)
Intel 525 series (120gb)
Crucial 8GB 204-Pin DDR3 SO-DIMM DDR3 1600
Logitech Wireless Keyboard and mouse

May 7, 2014 | 10:41 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Intel NUC D54250WYK SFF System can suit with Logitech Wireless Performance Mouse MX for PC and Mac

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