back to article Pint-sized PCIe powerhouse: Intel NUC5i5RYK

Intel’s teeny-weeny NUC or Next Unit of Computing device was first launched back in 2012 and has been tweaked and updated at regular intervals ever since. Just recently, the latest version of the NUC landed in my lap – or to be more precise, landed in the palm of my hand. Intel NUC5i5RYK Intel's next Next Unit of Computing …

  1. CAPS LOCK

    Elegant and useful, but..

    ... too expensive. Well, for me anyhow. Architects? Probably not?

  2. John Robson Silver badge

    Gulliver-like

    I presume you mean Brobdingnagian rather than Lilliputian...

    Or do you mean Gulliver in Lilliput rather than Brobdingnag?

    1. Uberseehandel

      Re: Gulliver-like

      To say nothing of the Yahoos, the Houyhnhnms, the Laputans or several other strange possibilities.

      Journalists, faux or otherwise, really should become familiar with the source of their literary allusions, before letting them loose on the rest of us.

      Similarly, somebody somewhere should be doing a better job of subbing, rather than concocting awkwardly laboured punning headlines.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gulliver-like

      I guess they meant Gulliver-like as in the NUC is Lilliputian, the ITX is Gulliver-like (in the middle) and a 'normal' PC form factor would be Brobdingnagian...

  3. timblackwell

    I bought one of these for my children to use in the kitchen in place of a laptop - precisely because I wanted something unobtrusive yet non-nomadic. Very very easy to set up, though the BIOS only showed up on DisplayPort, not over HDMI.

    1. Bronek Kozicki

      I had similar problem with BIOS setup of Zotac CI321 (same category of machines) and I think the problem was not HDMI itself, but HDMI/DVI adapter (and an old monitor with only VGA and DVI inputs). Did you use adapter too?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How much?!

    "Yes it’s pretty pricey, and yes you have to add in your own memory and storage, but it’s been designed so you can do that in a heartbeat."

    Presumably, this is the heartbeat that you'll have after you've been resuscitated after finding out how much the damned thing is.

    I don't care if it does use Intel componentry - £325 for a bare-bones system is having a giraffe.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How much?!

      A Mac Mini with comparable processor and 8GB RAM is £479, or 16GB RAM is £639; and that's only with a 500GB spinning hard drive, not SSD.

      So a system with 16GB RAM and superfast 256GB SSD for £550 doesn't sound so bad. That assumes you don't need to pay extra for the operating system of course.

      1. tempemeaty
        Thumb Up

        Re: How much?!

        This is a nice looking alternative to a Mac Mini. I would love to get BSD on that little Intel computer to see how they get along.

        I welcome this with hope it's built well. Unlike much of the other PC hardware out there that is so quality deprived.

        1. Ian Michael Gumby

          @tempemeaty Re: How much?!

          I run Linux OS on one (an earlier i5 version) and it works very well as my DNS, Mail and even small web server. Sits on the shelf, no noise. Runs like a charm with no hiccups. (small ssd and 8GB RAM)

          I still use it, but have upgraded my core server to an i7 in a totally fanless chassis w 2 SSDs running Raid 1 (mirroring)

          I highly recommend them. Especially if you want to build a transportable linux cluster.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only reason I'd want that is to hook it to my big screen and do some gaming.

    Only thing it does not do.

    1. Alan Edwards

      "The only reason I'd want that is to hook it to my big screen and do some gaming"

      You can if you have a gaming PC as well. Put that in another room and use NVidia GameStream (AMD probably has an equivalent) to stream the game to the NUC hooked up to the TV.

      1. deive

        Doesn't GameStream only work with (recent) nVidia graphics cards?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Many alternatives for both nvidia and ATI, and for receiving most systems work.

  6. Filippo

    Noise?

    Anyone knows of something fanless that can run Windows? I'm using an eBox at the moment, but it takes eIDE drives and I can't find an SSD in that form. Taking out the spinning rust would finally make it truly silent.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: Noise?

      Depends what you want, but a reasonable Mico-ITXboard running an AMD processor (these can be happier to run fanless) can be had for a good price on eBay these days.

      Build from scratch, as the 2nd hand prebuilt ones go for a premium.

      1. Triggerfish

        Re: Noise?

        So for the system builders I have laying around, a old 775 core 2 dou, and some RAM, can that be run easily enough on a fanless solid state pc? (thinking of a quiet media centre type PC for the bedroom). Also if it needs a PSU would you need a smaller one than a standard PC PSU?

        1. toughluck

          @Triggerfish

          To be honest, not really. Core 2 Duos are at least 65 W TDP, you'll need an expensive chassis for that (like Akasa fanless). Plus, the Core 2 Duo doesn't have an integrated GPU or any modern media acceleration features (there's support for hardware DVD decoding on some, but nothing HD), and none of its contemporary motherboards had a reasonable integrated GPU, so the CPU is going to be running at top frequency almost all the time, you'll be hitting that 65 W TDP all the time (add in ca. 25 W for the motherboard, plus a few watts for memory, it all adds up), and if you plan on watching anything in 1080p, you should expect some stuttering (plus a known Intel bug with frame skipping).

          At some point, it's cheaper to start from scratch. I already mentioned AMD's AM1 platform. There's also AMD's A4-5000, integrated with some mini-ITX motherboards (including several fanless solutions), but it runs at 1.5 GHz, although it also has 15 W TDP, not 25 W like AM1 (although you can upgrade AM1 if there are new SoCs in the future).

          Obviously, there are also Intel solutions. If you don't plan on playing games, there are some nice Atom and Celeron platforms that can also run fanless. To be honest, I don't know much about Intel's current lineup, so I can't recommend anything specific.

          1. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: @Triggerfish

            To be honest, not really. Core 2 Duos are at least 65 W TDP, you'll need an expensive chassis for that (like Akasa fanless). Plus, the Core 2 Duo doesn't have an integrated GPU or any modern media acceleration features.

            Correct me if I'm wrong here... But wouldn't this be where a dedicated discrete GPU would pick up the slack? I mean if the iCore series were as great as all that.. Who'd need to buy AMD/ATi To play Games, or nVidia to run VDPAU h.264 (up to 1080p). It used to be how I ran my HTPC... Till I deep sixed it, for a small Chinese Android TV Box, and a DVB2IPTV encoder.

            While there are still several problems with such a setup. Its still able to handle ~90% of my needs The only bits I'm actually missing would be the recording functions of a PVR. But, its a small price to pay between something that only eats ~10W/h as opposed to a bespoke HTPC House, (That wasn't Beige as such...), that ate something closer to 450W/h.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Noise?

          "(thinking of a quiet media centre type PC for the bedroom)"

          With the amount of extra you need to spend to build that, why not just use a Rasperry Pi with OSMC installed? Stick a wireless adaptor in it to get the media from your server and use your phone or tablet as a remote. I've got two set up sharing a MySQL database on the server so the media library and watched/resume status carries over between both RasPis. Total cost for both is much less than a single barbones NUC and probably less than re-building a PC to be silent.

          1. Triggerfish

            Re: Noise?

            Thanks for the replies, that's a shame. I happen to have enough bits lying around for a PC, barring a board after I killed it (Used it as an excuse to buy a whole new pc) and a case, decent components as well albeit dated. But it irks me they are sitting doing nowt when they could be put to some use.

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Noise?

              Nofen Fanless Cooler - for chips up to 95 TDW. A big cooler, for big cases.

              Otherwise, search for fanless industrial PCs - the whole case is a heatsink.

              Otherwise, quietpc.co.uk earn a living by selling... you guessed it!

            2. NogginTheNog
              Unhappy

              Re: Noise?

              There comes a point in ALL IT hardware's life when you just have to accept that it's no longer of any use to you, and you have to let it go.

              We've ALL been there, we feel your pain brother...

      2. Nigel 11

        Re: Noise?

        You can get a J1800 / J1900 Board. My home system is build around a Gigabyte GA-J1800N board (fanless, 2.4Ghz 2-core Celeron). The J1900 is Quad-core, but the cores have a lower top speed, so for single-threaded apps the dual-core may be faster. The board includes the CPU and heatsink.

    2. Bronek Kozicki

      Re: Noise?

      Some years ago I upgraded an old Toshiba Portege M300 with a Transcend PATA SSD, I can see they still make those (e.g. TS32GPSD330 , replace "32G" with larger capacities). If you do not want to keep your old PC, the one being reviewed will definitely run Windows but, as others noted, is rather expensive. FWIW I have just bought much cheaper Zotac CI321 to run small 24/7 Linux server at home; I can see on the box that Windows 7/8/8.1 are supported on this machine.

      1. Filippo

        Re: Noise?

        The reviewed PC does have a fan, though. I don't think it would run reliably without.

    3. Fuzz

      Re: Noise?

      I've got one of these http://www.streacom.com/products/fc8-alpha-fanless-chassis/ but it's quite bulky and has a huge external PSU.

    4. Dr_N Silver badge

      Re: Noise?

      "Anyone knows of something fanless that can run Windows?"

      Akasa do fanless heatsink cases for the NUCs.

      I have the previous NUC D54250WYK in an Akasa Newton H case. And have been using it connected to the TV as a general PC and media player. Daily use for more than a year running Win 8.1 and a wireless laptop/touchpad style keyboard. Sound is piped via USB to a Topping VX1 DAC/AMP.

      All works flawlessly.

    5. toughluck

      Re: Noise?

      You will want something that runs from an external power brick, since you don't want to add extra heat sources to the inside of the chassis.

      AMD's AM1 CPUs (all the way up to Athlon 5350) can run with passive cooling. In fact, they can run without a heatsink (they'll get hot, but not scalding), adding a cheap heatsink solves that.

    6. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: Noise?

      I'm presently holding a $100 D2 brand tablet running Win 8.1. Obviously no fan.

    7. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      @Filippo Re: Noise?

      I'm currently using the 4th gen i5 NUC with 8GiB of RAM & a 120GiB SSD. If the thing were any quieter I'd never know it was on unles/until I got it to do something software-wise that triggered audio output. It's essentially silent but for the faint audio artifacts I can hear through the amplified speakers as it's going through POST.

      I want to get one of the new i7's, fill it with 16GiB RAM & one of those blazing fast SSD's. I've already got my OS, I've got my ScreenReader, and I'd have WAY too much fun finding *just* how fast I can render email, write stuff in Notepad, & listen to it beep at me every time it's finished calculating pi.

      =-)p

      (That last part was called "Sarcasm" just to be sure.)

    8. John Sanders
      Thumb Up

      Re: Noise?

      There you go:

      http://www.fit-pc.com/web/products/fitlet/

    9. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Noise?

      If you don't like the horrendous noise PCs make then might I suggest a Hush. Please sit down before looking at the price though. Beautifully built silent PCs (OK, with my ear pressed to mine I could here the head of the hard disk moving, I guess they make them with SSDs now do avoid that issue).

  7. JP19

    So for the price

    of a low end laptop you get a low end laptop without the screen, keyboard, RAM, storage, optical drive, or battery.

    I'm just not seeing application for a low end PC where small justifies a high price.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: So for the price

      I dunno, some people may just want to use that stonking great screen in their lounge instead of a little piddly one on their lap.

      And I'd hardly call and I7 with 16gb RAM low end

      1. JP19

        Re: So for the price

        "use that stonking great screen in their lounge"

        I have a stonking great screen in my lounge driven by an HTPC.

        Why would I want to pay a substantial premium for a HTPC because it is 1/3rd the size of the wireless keyboard I use to talk to my current one?

      2. PleebSmash
        FAIL

        Re: So for the price

        "And I'd hardly call and I7 with 16gb RAM low end"

        I'd hardly call "£325 for a bare-bones system" useful information.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: So for the price

      Real estate in this city costs more than the cost of the PC you are putting on the floor.

      So we use a lot of these for signage, reception desks, displays in doctor's offices etc

      They mount on the back of a screen and work out a lot cheaper than an All-in-One PP and are a lot more reliable than most cheap PCs. Intel also guarantee to make a specific model for X years which is important if you are selling them into certain markets.

      Compared to the price of most industrial embedded small PCs they are a bargain.

      1. Andus McCoatover

        So we use a lot of these for signage, reception desks, displays in doctor's offices etc

        Wouldn't a Raspberry Pi suffice for that? Stuck (VESA'd) on the back of a touch-screen, running Windows-10 (Pi version)?

        If your Real Estate costs more than that, you must be in Tokyo....

  8. Michael Habel Silver badge

    TCO....

    I see the thing runs at 19v... Any clue as to how many Amps this thing needs to get on?! My guess here is this is a System for those that don't need / want to run a 450W+ Beige Box anymore. And, if it can do HTPC stuff, and run Photochop. I'm probably ok with it. Besides who said you couldn't game with it? Intel IGPs while sh--y in their own right... Are nowhere near a SH--Y! as, say S3's IGPs are At least Intel IGPs are well supported under Linux. S3... Naghh not so much...

    So I'm sure this thing would be capable enough to run both Half-Life2, and Portal (2). Which might not be good enough for some People... But, would be plenty fine for me...

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: TCO....

      PSU is rated at 3.2A but since the PSU doesn't even get slightly warm and the system fan barely runs I doubt if it it is pulling 30W even under load.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: TCO....

        As unfortunate is it is, it would take a System like that to boot me off my current Core2Duo, and the only reason would be that it was otherwise a full i7 CPU, that didn't need its own Power facility to run. Still for a Barebones system I'd rather see this at about half the current going price.

  9. Luben Solev
    Unhappy

    Monitor support is the issue for me..

    My 30" 2560x1600 monitor only supports dual link DVI-D whilst NUC's only have HDMI and DisplayPort. And all the active DisplayPort to dual DVI-D converters on the market are costly (over £60) and have mediocre reviews.

    I love the space saving nature of the NUC and am happy to pay extra for it, but I don't want to have to change monitors as well.

    The competition is not much better in this regard. Asus Brix also does not offer dual DVI-D, whilst Zotac only appears to offer it on it's older/slower/lower-spec boxes. And Zotac's prices seem to be even more eye-watering than those of the NUC.

    Decisions, decisions....

    1. sodium-light

      Re: Monitor support is the issue for me..

      Yes you're absolutely right to pinpoint that. I had to lose a cherished screen and get a replacement to run two displays off my NUC. Otherwise it's been an absolute pleasure to work with for the past year or two - and assembling the system was damn good fun.

    2. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Monitor support is the issue for me..

      Unfortunately for you, and many other people (me included), DVI-D seems to be a dying, tech, and only seems to be being included these days for legacy device support.

      DisplayPort, which has been included in most GFX cards, integrated GFX, and displays devices for some years now (usually alongside DVI-D), now seems to be becoming the standard display connector for anything above 1080p.

      I've noticed many new displays, such as UHD devices, now only support their fastest frame-rates when used through DisplayPort, and often they no longer come with a DVI connector at all!

      I suspect DVIs days are numbered :-/

      1. Martin 67

        Re: Monitor support is the issue for me..

        > I suspect DVIs days are numbered :-/

        Analogue DVI is regarded as deprecated by Intel, AMD, Dell, etc: http://newsroom.intel.com/community/intel_newsroom/blog/2010/12/08/leading-pc-companies-move-to-all-digital-display-technology-phasing-out-analog

        The modern range of Dell Ultrasharps (U2414, U2415, U2515, etc) all lack DVI connections.

        1. Boothy Silver badge

          Re: Monitor support is the issue for me..

          I was thinking more of DVI-D (digital).

          Whilst GFX cards still seem to have DVI-D, some new spec monitors seem to now be dropping DVI-D.

          For example, the Samsung S34E790C UHD (Ultra wide monitor), only has HDMI and DisplayPort for video input, and only the DisplayPort input supports 60Hz at the native res of 3440 x 1440.

          Just wondering if this will spread, and DVI-D is now becoming depreciated as well?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Boothy

            I think as your example it's more down to the new tech have/needing backwards compatibility.

            Not much point in the super extra wide screen having a connector for a resolution so low it does not support it (though not checked if DVI-D does superwide 1080p/1440 etc).

  10. DCFusor

    Good for quiet and limited power draw applications.

    Horses for courses. I've been a computer guy since the 1960's (PDP-8), and have been living off the grid (solar) since around 1980. I thus care a lot about how much power something uses, especially if it's on much of the time. I have 3 Haswell i5 nucs here (along with some other machines) and yes, while expensive, you do get what you pay for - rock solid reliability, super low power, very very quiet and small.

    They seem as fast as another system I built in the standard tower case with 2400 mhz memory and an Nvidia 4 monitor vid card (which isn't for gaming, but stock trading). If not a little bit faster.

    They are more or less silent unless really loaded up with say, rendering video, when you can hear them a little in a quiet room, at least the tall ones I've added 1 or 2 terabyte spinning rust to - those do get warmer.

    I do like putting them on the back of monitors. All but one of them drive two monitors here (often using adapter cables for older monitors). In many ways, they are the nicest computers I own at *any* price in speed, quietness, and reliability. There were some initial glitches re UEFI and some linux distros - all fixed now. Till further notice, any more desktop computers for this campus will be NUCs.

    Compared to the only other machines I could leave on 24/7 - everything else is a joke (eg raspberry pi model 2 or some android). Yes, they are expensive, especially if you get the best ram and disk. You get what you pay for. Get a powered USB-3 hub if you're going to build one out...

    1. sodium-light

      Re: Good for quiet and limited power draw applications.

      Yep I put a Plugable seven port USB3 hub on and it's been great.

    2. RegGuy1 Silver badge

      There were some initial glitches re UEFI and some linux distros - all fixed now.

      So does this mean the cunts at M$ have not yet been able to prevent a real OS being installed on virgin HW?

      1. DCFusor
        Linux

        Re: There were some initial glitches re UEFI and some linux distros - all fixed now.

        That's right, MS has failed in their quest to disallow non-MS opsys. I'm running Mint-Mate 17.1 (Rebecca) on every machine here - about 12 or so, 3 of which are NUCs, all of which are Intel, and most of which are relatively new and have UEFI. While they don't make the purists happy, NVidia cards seem best on linux from a user's POV - they "just work". No need in a NUC, and frankly, as "not a gamer" I can't see the whining about Intel's graphics, they are plenty snappy (nowadays, they did used to stink). Heavy plotting or video use - fine.

    3. Nigel 11

      More or less silent ...

      I immediately thought of a companion phrase, "slightly pregnant".

      If you want quiet, the only way to go is passively cooled, SSD, no moving parts at all. You can do that with a NUC in an expensive, heavy, cast aluminium case. If you don't need such a powerful CPU, I'd recommend an ordinary ITX board in an ordinary ITX case (still small enough to attach to the back of a monitor). Boards in question have dual- and quad-core Intel Celerons with ~15W TDPs.

  11. batfastad

    Nice

    I have an HTPC under my TV but all media stuff has been switched over to a RaspberryPi+OpenElec, which does most of the job perfectly.

    The old Atom in the HTPC is starting to struggle with modern sites though and there is one thing that keeps it in service... Microsoft Effing Silverlight. No actually 2 things, Microsoft Effing Skype.

    I considered buying a new TV, one of those Samsung spyware ones which apparently have Skype, if you're willing to pay £60 for the official USB web cam accessory. Has all the Netflix, iPlayer apps built-in as well... until Samsung get bored of providing updates for whatever TV model I bought anyway.

    This does look good but the NUCs are expensive. Perfect for our meeting rooms at work perhaps.

    For my use something like the Zotac Zbox Pico is about 1/3rd of the price and will be more than adequate for an always-on Skype kiosk.

  12. theOtherJT

    Stackables.

    Anyone remember how the SNES used to have a socket on the bottom for stacking peripherals with?

    As soon as I saw these back in 2012 I thought "Yeah, that's cute, but what they need is a PCIe socket on the bottom and a bunch of stackable expansion modules.

    Imagine buying one of the low end ones and then stacking it on top of a quadruple height box that's full of 2.5" hotswap bays. Awesome little all purpose server. Or a high end i7 one and stack it with a proper GPU.

    I still think these are quite nice, but being able to do THAT is what would make me actually buy one (or indeed several)

    1. Midnight

      Re: Stackables.

      That's a good idea, extending the PCIe bus to an external device.. You should market it and give it a catchy name.

      "Thunderbolt" sounds good, but if that's already taken there's always "ExpressCard".

      Alternately, there are a number of products out there which will extend an existing mini-PCIe slot to an external enclosure. The only challenge is drilling an appropriate sized hole for the cable.

      1. theOtherJT

        Re: Stackables.

        None of which provide enough lanes to put something that needs real bandwidth on. A 16x slot would.

  13. cmannett85

    I was looking at these things to build a home ownCloud/git server, but I really wanted a RAID1 configuration and none of them have more than one SATA or M.2 port. Which I find odd because you'd think home server would be a popular use for them.

    You could hook it up to a NAS, but you've just doubled the price...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now, make one with multiple Ethernet ports…

    or 10Gb Ethernet, and we'll be lining up to buy them for compute nodes in virtual machine clusters.

    Sadly there aren't that many options out there and a single 1Gb Ethernet port doesn't really suffice, you need two or three to get the job done properly. They seem to be chasing the home theatre PC market and have forgotten that there's a potential small nano-server market that isn't being served by the current hyper-scale options out there.

    1. John Sanders
      Thumb Up

      Re: Now, make one with multiple Ethernet ports…

      fitlet-X LAN, four GbE ports

      http://www.fit-pc.com/web/products/fitlet/fitlet-x/

    2. HPCJohn

      Re: Now, make one with multiple Ethernet ports…

      Stuart, for that purpose have you looked at the Xeon-D?

      Not sure if it is the done thing to push one's own company here,

      but I am very interested in the potential markets for Xeon-D.

      Would be happy to chat with you.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Now, make one with multiple Ethernet ports…

        fitlet-X LAN, four GbE ports

        http://www.fit-pc.com/web/products/fitlet/fitlet-x/

        Yep, that's about the only option out there that we've seen.

        Stuart, for that purpose have you looked at the Xeon-D?

        Yeah, the bare CPU is a little useless to us, making the PCBs needed to mount the chip is a bit beyond our technical abilities.

        1. HPCJohn

          Re: Now, make one with multiple Ethernet ports…

          Stuart - we have Xeon-D available in Mini-ITX form factor and as blades.

          We should have a chat!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's got potential

    Suppose I don't care about graphics, or HDMI, superfast USB or audio. But I do care about having at least one gig-E and expansion capability (say, an external PCIe bus). In other words, a bare-bones server instead of a bare-bones desktop. Are there any NUC-like systems out there? Thinking about building a micro-cloud.

  16. LINCARD1000
    Windows

    I'm curious about the quality of the audio, myself...

    I've got a previous gen one of these and the audio on it... well, let's just say it leaves a little to be desired. There is some sort of noise interference that comes across whether you're using analogue or digital audio connections to the thing - and it occurs when something is moving on the display (i.e. scrolling a website or document, moving a window around etc). Manifests as a buzzing sound.

    I'm not the only one experiencing this either, had a look around and there are a few others. Guessing that there is some sort of crosstalk (?) from components being crammed so close together on the mainboard of the thing. I'm not an engineer or electronics expert, pure supposition on my part.

    Fixed it by getting an external USB sound-card.

    So far my searching hasn't turned up any instances of this for this new generation of micro-boxen, which is good as they're actually quite nifty little devices and I'd be well tempted to buy another if it deals to the sound issue.

    1. JeffyPoooh
      Pint

      Re: I'm curious about the quality of the audio, myself...

      I've got several Windows 8.1 gadgets, two tablets and a little laptop. Noise on the headphone audio seems to be so consistently present on all of them that I'm starting to think it's a bug in Windows 8.1 itself, or the drivers.

      All other gadgets and laptops have perfectly noise free headset audio.

      It's a 'feature' of Win 8.

      1. LINCARD1000
        Meh

        Re: I'm curious about the quality of the audio, myself...

        Wouldn't entirely surprise me - I've not tried any other OS on the thing than 8.1.

        Problem is the interference (if that's actually what it is) is also evident on the HDMI output as well (when I run it through my amp). And because one of its main roles is listening to music, that's a bit of a nuisance.

        Appreciate the response, though. Thank you :-)

    2. Mnot Paranoid

      Re: I'm curious about the quality of the audio, myself...

      I've had this problem with internal audio on PCs *and* Macs for as long as I can remember. It is very noticeable on good quality headphones and reasonable hi-fi gear. Realtek audio is bloody awful.

      Interestingly I even had a noise issue on an M-Audio 2496 in a G5 Power Mac. There was a distinct "ticking" particularly on Line In.

      The only way to solve this is peferably, galvanically isolated USB DAC / ADC using a separate linear power supply injected at the USB socket of the device.

  17. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    A bit of info on the NUC...

    The "front" has a pair of USB ports & the audio-out/headphone jack. The Power Button is on the top-left corner. All the rest of the ports are on the back opposite the audio.

    So if you use it with a VESA mount to stick it to the back of your monitor, invest in a bunch of USB extension cables to make it easier to plug in stuff, or else buy a hub with a nice long cable.

    I tried to put it on the back of my monitor (it's used for those few times I need a Sighted Person to tell me what the hell the computer is doing that the Screen Reader can't parse), but because you have to reach around behind like an amorous gorilla, it's not exactly convenient.

    Now it sits on my desk on top of the monitor's base, the ports are where I can get at them, & the power button doesn't require dislocating a shoulder to press.

    If you leave it on 24/7 & only ever Reboot, then the power button won't matter, but the ability to use the ports needs be taken into consideration.

    Get extension cables, a hub with a long cable, or figure to never make a habit of utilizing them at all.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go drool over that i7 NUC. Mmmmm... Nuckin' Futzy Nuxy!

  18. BikePics

    No official Server 2012 drivers

    I picked up a NUC5i5RYH a few months ago to use as a low power machine for running a few lab VMs but only discovered after installing Windows Server 2012 R2 that there are no official Intel server 08/12 drivers, and the windows 8.1 NIC drivers will not work on server 2012 R2.

    There is a workaround that requires editing a driver inf and temporarily disabling some security options. There is some more info here - https://communities.intel.com/thread/51182

    Win 8.1 comes with hyper-v which will do the job but I still have a few precious TechNet keys so using a Server 2012 R2 enterprise key lets me activate lots of Server 2012 R2 VMs

    Apart from the driver issue, I am very happy with my setup, I added G.Skill 16G(2x8G) DDR3-1866 RAM and a 500GB Samsung 850 EVO M.2 + 2 TB Samsung ST2000LM003 2.5 SATA 6GB/s

    1. John Sanders
      Linux

      Re: No official Server 2012 drivers

      That's what you get with artificial limitations.

      Inconvenience.

  19. Graham Jordan

    Gaming

    So by shit gaming rig, do you mean Battlefield 4 shit? Or can't even run Candy crush shit?

    It's been a long time since I've paid any attention to computer hardware so this stuff goes well over my head. I'm running a 1st gen Celeron NUC with OpenELEC and whilst it does the job fine for now I'm very conscious of the oncoming wave of x265/4K movies.

    Not to mention I'll one day bother to set it up as an emulator.

    Any thoughts anyone?

    1. WraithCadmus

      Re: Gaming

      Depending on what you're emulating a Pi might do it just as well. I'm confident a Pi2 would do most home computers (Like Amigas... Amigae?) and anything 8-bit with a big chunk of 16-bit too (MD, SNES etc).

  20. Payne

    Expensive doesn't mean bad value

    How about this - the i7 version with 16gb of RAM and a 512Gb SSD would be less than £700. Compare that to £1999 for the Macbook Pro with near identical spec (apart from the graphics). Or, to make it less Apple-vs-oranges a Mac Mini with i5, 8Gb RAM and 1Tb hybrid drive costs £799.

    Yes, they're expensive, but you get a lot for your money.

  21. AndrueC Silver badge
    Boffin

    What's the power consumption like? My Fit-PC is a twin core Atom unit with 4GB of RAM and consumes less than 5w under mail server load. Computing performance isn't everything ;)

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nice, they've addressed everything I didn't like

    I was shopping for an HTPC a year or two ago and dismissed the Intel NUCs almost immediately:

    - The affordable ones had crappy processors, i.e., fixed-clock-speed i3s running at < 1.5GHz

    - Only two USB ports (which would have been taken up by my wifi adapter and wireless keyboard/mouse adapter, leaving no free port for an external DVD drive or hard drive)

    - Enormous external power brick, plus they required you to buy your own power cable

    - Expensive (even the low end barebones models were > $350, now they're under $300)

    - Questionable acoustics (apparently these have tiny and sometimes-annoying CPU fans, but with the new Broadwell CPUs I doubt the fans have to spin up much when streaming media)

    So while I quickly dismissed them 1-2 years ago, I think the decision to buy one now for HTPC use would be a no-brainer.

  23. gary27

    only 1 display port ?

    Would be great if it had 2 or 3 display ports.

    I attach 2 high res monitors to my mbp , display port / thunderbolt is essential for this, no other connectors up to the job, until maybe usb 3 monitors ship.

    Unfortunatly display port hubs are extremely expensive.

  24. Flywheel Silver badge
    Coffee/keyboard

    Now is this an interim device or what?

    Well, a couple of years ago I bought a NUC DN2820FYKH to use as a small database server for my Raspberry Pi group. Not wanting to install Windows, I looked around for a Linux distro and basically ended up with Fedora: at the time, installing other distros was fraught with problems, and having read how many other users had bricked their BIOS without too much effort I was understandably worried.

    Suffice to say that *despite* Intel's BIOS setup and overly-picky HDMI requirement I got the thing set up, and it runs reliably to this very day.

    However, looking at Intel's "support" forum, I always got the impression that they were developing the device as they went along, based on the number of problems that unfortunate users had. "Oh, you're using 'this' version of BIOS? You should be using 'that' version - give it a try can you, and tell us what happens?" I'm actually getting pissed off with vendors that ship a barely-ready product and expect us to finish their R&D. It looks like the same for that Intel Compute stick - rushed out, allegedly incomplete and basically an interim product.

    So, is this one an interim device, or what?

  25. ecofeco Silver badge

    SketchUp?

    Done.

    Pricey? That's a damn workstation for less than $1000 even after adding your own RAM and HDD. It's a steal!

    It is nothing short of fucking amazing. Just found my next desktop.

    But yeah, a second display out would be nice.

  26. JaitcH
    Happy

    Not too shabby, has a 3-year warranty to boot!

    Our company landed a contract for some outside (i.e.in the wild weather) electronic systems and we built three prototypes - one using an Intel NUC (NUC5i7RYH) a second with a NUC5i5RYK and the third a Gigabyte (GB-BXi7H-5500). I realise the specifications of two are a few notches higher than the NUC5i5RYK but essentially the difference is in the processor and memory.

    What engendered our interest was the ability for a closed box being able to dissipate heat. The ambient runs approximately -10C through +35C in extreme ends of the country (VietNam).

    We had employed more traditional mechanical forms of computers in an earlier contract but we suffered from the ingress of flora, fauna and biota (other life forms such as fungi) who made the most of a warm enclosure to set up housekeeping.

    After a month or so, notwithstanding quality air filters, the fans would grind to a stop as the minced intruders jammed the blades.

    These new form computers allowed the whole electronics package - computer, power unit, accessories, including standby batteries - to be housed in a sealed stainless steel container.

    After many weeks of trials I believe these mini-computers have the solutions to many challenges in adverse conditions. The NUC units can be powered from 12V batteries and charged by solar reducing ongoing maintenance costs.

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