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whm1974
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Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Fri May 27, 2016 6:38 pm

OK after reading a few reviews and watching the Full Nerd at PC World on the Skull Canyon NUC, I am left wondering what is this good for? Gaming? We can build a shoebox Mini-ITX system for the same price that will outperform this. HTPC? A bit on the pricey side for that.

Well?
 
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FYSA if you planned on eGPU etc, don't bother

Fri May 27, 2016 7:21 pm

Hanging everything off the PCH and leaving all 16 cpu lanes open is really facepalm. Both M2 slots and thunderbolt controller, whhhhhhhhhhhhhhy?! Every drop bandwidth from every single peripheral is going to be shoved through the x4 DMI lanes, ugh.

PCI is PCI, perhaps it simplified the pcb layout, but I would be surprised if it was a major difference and it might even be skewed to be easier in the other direction.

The cooling/profile is subpar too IMO, but it has been for most of the NUCs so no surprise there.
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whm1974
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Re: FYSA if you planned on eGPU etc, don't bother

Fri May 27, 2016 8:05 pm

Bauxite wrote:
Hanging everything off the PCH and leaving all 16 cpu lanes open is really facepalm. Both M2 slots and thunderbolt controller, whhhhhhhhhhhhhhy?! Every drop bandwidth from every single peripheral is going to be shoved through the x4 DMI lanes, ugh.

Yeah I don't understand it either. Intel could have put both m.2 slots and the thunderbolt controller on the CPU PCIe lanes instead.

On another note, what is the point of the external thunderbolt cabinet for video cards? It would seem that a Mini-ITX shoebox would take up less space total.
 
End User
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Fri May 27, 2016 9:05 pm

I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.

I so want this.
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whm1974
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Fri May 27, 2016 9:05 pm

End User wrote:
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.

I so want this.

Why?
 
End User
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Fri May 27, 2016 9:13 pm

whm1974 wrote:
End User wrote:
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.

I so want this.

Why?

- It hits 700+ in Cinebench R15
- It is the size of a book
- 1984 me would be so impressed

And finally...


... Thunderbolt 3
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Redocbew
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Fri May 27, 2016 9:15 pm

I was thinking about getting one, but I ended up building other stuff instead, and the NUC I have now doesn't really need an upgrade anyway. Maybe next year.
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whm1974
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Fri May 27, 2016 9:21 pm

End User wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
End User wrote:
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.
I have no need for this.

I so want this.

Why?

- It hits 700+ in Cinebench R15
- It is the size of a book
- 1984 me would be so impressed

And finally...


... Thunderbolt 3

Don't me get wrong, it is very impressive for what it is. But I'm not going to spend ~$1000 to play games at 1080 30 fps on low settings.
 
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Fri May 27, 2016 9:56 pm

whm1974 wrote:
End User wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
Why?

- It hits 700+ in Cinebench R15
- It is the size of a book
- 1984 me would be so impressed

And finally...


... Thunderbolt 3

Don't me get wrong, it is very impressive for what it is. But I'm not going to spend ~$1000 to play games at 1080 30 fps on low settings.


The Thunderbolt 3 part is exactly the ticket to actually good graphics performance :) (external graphics docks)
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whm1974
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Fri May 27, 2016 10:11 pm

Noinoi wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
Don't me get wrong, it is very impressive for what it is. But I'm not going to spend ~$1000 to play games at 1080 30 fps on low settings.


The Thunderbolt 3 part is exactly the ticket to actually good graphics performance :) (external graphics docks)

Right, if you are going to that, why not do a shoebox Mini-ITX build instead?
 
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Fri May 27, 2016 10:24 pm

whm1974 wrote:
Noinoi wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
Don't me get wrong, it is very impressive for what it is. But I'm not going to spend ~$1000 to play games at 1080 30 fps on low settings.


The Thunderbolt 3 part is exactly the ticket to actually good graphics performance :) (external graphics docks)

Right, if you are going to that, why not do a shoebox Mini-ITX build instead?


Some people would probably want a system that can be much more easily moved sans GPU.
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 2:14 am

I think NUCs let Intel experiment with new form factors to see where else they can shove their chips into. Unless space is a big concern I'd go get an APU-based rig for light duty applications. And I'm not an APU fan.
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NTMBK
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 5:26 am

Intel graphics just still aren't good enough. I'd like to see this form factor with a Zen APU, though.
 
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 5:57 am

whm1974 wrote:
We can build a shoebox Mini-ITX system for the same price that will outperform this.


It's difficult to find benchmarks against relevant hardware so I wouldn't be too sure an i5-5675C system will outperform this, and in any case it's five times the size at 3.5L vs. 0.7L.

This is appealing to the same market that buys ultra-thin high end laptops. The other prong of the hardware enthusiast community. The launch price is a little high, I guess Intel want to judge what the market will pay first, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a substantial drop in price.
 
DragonDaddyBear
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 8:41 am

I think it would be a good htpc. You could even upgrade to external graphics and shove it behind something to clean up the look.

For the price, though, I agree an APU is probably a better choice for most.
 
whm1974
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 4:28 pm

EndlessWaves wrote:
whm1974 wrote:
We can build a shoebox Mini-ITX system for the same price that will outperform this.


It's difficult to find benchmarks against relevant hardware so I wouldn't be too sure an i5-5675C system will outperform this, and in any case it's five times the size at 3.5L vs. 0.7L.

This is appealing to the same market that buys ultra-thin high end laptops. The other prong of the hardware enthusiast community. The launch price is a little high, I guess Intel want to judge what the market will pay first, and I wouldn't be surprised to see a substantial drop in price.

Yeah but once you throw in the external graphics, the whole thing takes more space then a Mini-ITX shoebox will.
 
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 4:44 pm

Noinoi wrote:
The Thunderbolt 3 part is exactly the ticket to actually good graphics performance :) (external graphics docks)

...hung off the PCH where it can fight with M.2 PCIe storage for DMI 3.0 bandwidth. GG, Intel. GG indeed.

I went 'round in circles with Raymond on the front page because I don't get the attraction to external graphics docs for a desktop in the first place. You're ruining a small PC by tacking on this relatively large enclosure that costs, literally, hundreds of dollars to add the PCIe slot that your standard mITX or mATX build already has. And on top of all that, instead of having a slightly "crippled" CPU (Raymond's argument for the Skull Canyon NUC is that the L4 makes it faster, and it does sometimes) you're handicapping the limiter for gaming performance in a modern Intel system: the graphics. Frankly, that's a bad choice.

It's not a "budget" gaming box because the iGPU isn't a budget gaming GPU. It's not a LAN party box because an actual mITX system will win gaming benchmarks with the same graphics card because the graphics card's barrier is the first one you'll hit. It's not a gaming anything, honestly.

The Skull Canyon NUC is for people who are using a particular application where one or both of these are true...

* The L4 comes in handy and the application can't run on a GPU
-or-
* Needs Thunderbolt 3 peripheral that somehow isn't going to be limited by the contentious bus between the PCH and the CPU

...and for some reason the PC has to be absolutely tiny, because any other TB3-equipped desktop will get the job done faster.

Even Andrew says these boxes aren't for everybody, and he works for Intel.

But now (thanks to Anandtech's review where this is outlined), not only are you hamstringing it with PCIe x4 bandwidth, you're competing with every other device hanging off the PCIe bus on the PCH while 16 lanes of CPU bandwidth go completely untapped.
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 5:04 pm

NTMBK wrote:
Intel graphics just still aren't good enough. I'd like to see this form factor with a Zen APU, though.


lol no.
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 5:19 pm

NTMBK wrote:
Intel graphics just still aren't good enough. I'd like to see this form factor with a Zen APU, though.


Keep the external TB3 box for the A/C.
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NTMBK
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 6:24 pm

DancinJack wrote:
NTMBK wrote:
Intel graphics just still aren't good enough. I'd like to see this form factor with a Zen APU, though.


lol no.


Nice and informative retort :-?
 
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 6:24 pm

I think it's kinda cool, just in an "an integrated GPU is approaching the XBO" kind of way. It packs some punch for its size, but I also wish they had just added half an inch if it meant the GPU could stay at its boost clocks the whole way through a game, it seems the 72EU Iris Pro is being limited here.


The EN970 in the same Anandtech review regularly smoked it and I think even cost lest though, in games at least. The NUC seems more for people who want CPU performance first, small form factor equally, and gaming performance as a bonus.
 
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 9:20 pm

I like what Intel has done with small form factor units but this particular NUC is just a bit off. I won't be the first person to cite that M.2 and Thunderbolt hanging off of the PCH is just wasteful.

The size and port selection is good. I'd love to take this thing with me on business trips in my suitcase and then use an external GPU with it while I'm at home. I do hope Intel does something nice and release an external GPU with the same foot print so that this device could sit on top.
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 9:23 pm

From the AnandTech review:

I am actually looking forward to what vendors like Zotac and ASRock can do with a similar design. If they could take a Skylake-H processor without Iris Pro (say, Core i7-6820HQ), and use the PCIe lanes off the CPU to hook up a mobile discrete GPU, it could deliver the best of both worlds - all the 45W TDP of the CPU can be used to provide raw processing power for CPU-intensive workloads, while a dGPU can handle graphics duties with a separate power budget.
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whm1974
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 9:34 pm

End User wrote:
From the AnandTech review:

I am actually looking forward to what vendors like Zotac and ASRock can do with a similar design. If they could take a Skylake-H processor without Iris Pro (say, Core i7-6820HQ), and use the PCIe lanes off the CPU to hook up a mobile discrete GPU, it could deliver the best of both worlds - all the 45W TDP of the CPU can be used to provide raw processing power for CPU-intensive workloads, while a dGPU can handle graphics duties with a separate power budget.

That would be the best way to go for SFF system.
 
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 10:21 pm

Yeah, if mITX is too big, a system with a 14/16-nm GPU will be the way to go—once those GPUs are available, anyway.
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whm1974
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 10:30 pm

derFunkenstein wrote:
Yeah, if mITX is too big, a system with a 14/16-nm GPU will be the way to go—once those GPUs are available, anyway.

Bit a shoebox mITX isn't all that big anyway.
 
synthtel2
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sat May 28, 2016 11:06 pm

External GPU setups still sound like an annoying idea just because it adds more boxen for no real benefit. When moving my computer around, the big mess of cables is more annoying than the computer itself (though said computer is in a 13 liter case). I don't need a power brick and an external GPU enclosure adding to that.
 
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sun May 29, 2016 2:06 am

synthtel2 wrote:
External GPU setups still sound like an annoying idea just because it adds more boxen for no real benefit. When moving my computer around, the big mess of cables is more annoying than the computer itself (though said computer is in a 13 liter case). I don't need a power brick and an external GPU enclosure adding to that.

Well, in theory, shouldn't this be possible?

One USB type-C connector:
-20V/power for charging
-Displayport for monitors/audio
-PCIe/thunderbolt for video card
-USB for keyboard/mouse/ethernet adapter/random crap

If someone could solve the issue of a power button (when the laptop's lid is closed) that doesn't require a proprietary dock, we'd be totally set.
 
synthtel2
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sun May 29, 2016 4:18 am

That's great for "one connector to rule them all", but how does it reduce cable clutter? People keep talking like it does, but I can't say I see it. Am I missing something?
 
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Re: Skull Canyon NUC, who is it for?

Sun May 29, 2016 6:33 am

whm1974 wrote:
derFunkenstein wrote:
Yeah, if mITX is too big, a system with a 14/16-nm GPU will be the way to go—once those GPUs are available, anyway.

Bit a shoebox mITX isn't all that big anyway.

There's a huge difference between a Cooler Master Elite 130 and a Zotac EN970, for example. The Elite 130 is fairly small as these things go, too.
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