New, cheaper Intel NUC coming next month

Intel’s Next Unit of Computing is about to get cheaper. While visiting Intel’s booth at CES, our Editor in Chief was shown a new version of the small-form-factor system featuring a slower Celeron 847 processor. That machine is scheduled to launch in early February, and Intel expects it to cost $100 less than current models.

The existing NUC, which we reviewed in November, packs a Core i3-3217U processor and will set you back $319.99 at Newegg. A variant without Thunderbolt is also available for $289.99. Compared to the Core i3-3217U, the Celeron 847 in the upcoming model lacks Hyper-Threading support and runs at 1.1GHz instead of 1.8GHz. The slower chip also has 1MB less cache and lower-clocked integrated graphics.

In addition to the Celeron-based variant, Intel is also cooking up a Core i5-powered NUC. That model will come out in April, and it’s going to have vPro capabilities, USB 3.0, and triple-display support. Intel says the machine is being added to the NUC lineup in response to user feedback.

Speaking of feedback, Intel said the NUC has "completely exceeded" its expectations, and that the company is "going to go big" in the future. The chipmaker hinted that a Haswell-powered version of the NUC with even more onboard functionality will be out late this year. Here’s hoping the company has found a more elegant way around the thermal problem we encountered in our testing. Last I checked, Intel’s present solution involves running the fan at a default speed of 50%—probably not ideal for use in the living room or for other acoustically sensitive applications.

Comments closed
    • EEK
    • 6 years ago

    Article Says “Intel is also cooking up a Core i5-powered NUC. That model will come out in April”
    Any Idea of a part number ? Checked Intel Site which has no info. I somehow have a terrible problem
    understanding The reason for releasing these units with USB 2.0 instead of 3.0 which was adopted in 2008 and Available since 2010. Is there anyone more knowledgeable who can explain Why they chose 2.0 instead of 3.0 If it were a matter of cost I would assume it could only be nickels and dimes, It just does not make any sense to me WHY a company would offer what it calls Next Unit Computing and use old tech.

    Sorry do not mean this to sound like a rant just looking for some answers!

    EEK

    • cwizardtx
    • 6 years ago

    I’m typing this reply from a NUC, played Sim City on it earlier and I run Minecraft on it and use XBMC for streaming media. So far, I love this thing. With 4GB of memory and a 64GB SSD it is able to fit in a couple games, and the rest is streamed. I carried it to SXSW with me for this weekend and everyone who sees it wants one.

    cwiz
    magic box solutions

    • Rasterian
    • 7 years ago

    I have been a TechReport reader (intermittently) for years and use PCs for everything in my day-to-day life except playing videogames. No time for that anymore.

    I am just posting to mention that (obviously) there is a gaming-bias in the community. I will replace my machines with NUCs as soon as we are in the Haswell+USB3+Thunderbolt unit and the initial (thermal) issues have been worked out. The naming Intel chose is ambitious (“next-unit-of-computing”), but I think they have a good chance of pulling it off.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      Welcome to the comments section, here’s your helmet. You can check your facts and logic with the helpful attendant by the door.

    • R├╝benschwein
    • 7 years ago

    browsed comments just for puns… kinda disappointed ­čÖé

      • Arclight
      • 7 years ago

      NUC stands for Nuclear Unstable Computing.

      Edit
      Or was it No Use Computing?

    • flynace
    • 7 years ago

    Not a popular request but I wish they had a NUC with Thunderbolt AND wired ethernet.
    I need a small Thunderbolt device for a Blackmagic Mini Recorder.

      • pedro
      • 7 years ago

      I’m with ya.

    • Srsly_Bro
    • 7 years ago

    Only Apple products are magic. It’s only a matter of time before Intel is taken to court for this.

      • Thecanto
      • 7 years ago

      If they try to sue intel who will provide the processors for there own products ?

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    Celeron 847…. too bad it didn’t have at least an HD 2500 so that you could get decent HD video decode acceleration out of it.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Do we know what level of IGP it is? All ARK has is ‘Intel HD graphics’ with no number, a quick search didn’t find anything more detailed. Maybe we can assume it’s worse than even HD2000 since it’s an older Sandy Bridge.

      OEMs must be getting these on cheap clearout, because there’s a more recent Celeron 887 that runs at 1.5GHz and has a lower tray price: [url<]http://ark.intel.com/compare/56056,69361[/url<]

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        [url<]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_Intel_graphics_processing_units#Sixth_generation[/url<] Dead slow graphics with no real video acceleration. It is worse then the HD2000. At least the HD2000 supported clear video and quicksync.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          What is Clear Video..? I’ve seen this label on Intel marketing materials, but never took the time to figure out what it really means

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            [url<]http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/architecture-and-technology/clear-video-hd/clear-video-hd-technology-general.html[/url<]

            • NeelyCam
            • 7 years ago

            Thanks!

            [quote<]"Built-in visuals deliver incredible visual experiences" "images as they were meant to be seen. " "Stunning video quality"[/quote<] So.. it's a glorified image filter? Wait... [quote<]"Multi-channel premium audio "[/quote<] Oh, so no multi-channel audio without Clear Video? That sort of kills the cheapo NUC's HTPC aspirations, doesn't it...

            • MadManOriginal
            • 7 years ago

            Depends on if they mean decoded LPCM over HDMI or even pass-through multi-channel. At least it has the same shader count and similar clockspeeds to HD2000 so we can estimate performance.

            If it can’t do any kind of multi-channel audio that would certainly explain why Zotac went with the GT610 in their cheaper Celeron Zbox.

      • insulin_junkie72
      • 7 years ago

      If you’re just interested in straight playback, and don’t need post-processing, or QuickSync for transcoding, even the HD1000 in the Celerons has the same decode capability.

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    Re: picture

    “Magic Inside”? Apple will be pissed off

      • BIF
      • 7 years ago

      I saw that too. So “Intel Inside” is now passe?

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        No, it means Intel = magic!

          • BIF
          • 7 years ago

          Well, that goes without saying! But they did say it probably because not everybody knows yet. <eyeroll>

    • sschaem
    • 7 years ago

    Dell and HP , etc… must be livid.

    Intel is soon introducing SoC x86 that will reduce system cost further and make those little box THE system to get for business. From hospitals to schools.

    Having Intel build 99% of the components, no one can ultimately undercut them.
    (And the one that sell at cost, still endup paying Intell full price)

    Seem like its game over for OEM in the desktop business.

    ARM is really disrupting allot of old alliances….

      • phileasfogg
      • 7 years ago

      Exactly right. And let’s not forget the attack from the other flank – Microsoft’s Surface and SurfaceRT. We can already imagine the 2nd iterations of those tablets now that the SoCs and CPUs to power them have been announced at CES. Like you said, it appears that there won’t be any more “OEMs” to speak of: the ODMs have morphed into the OEMs they used to work for. Asus does more hardware design innovation than Dell and HP’s PC divisions combined. (and perhaps soon even their server market share will be under siege from the Taiwanese manufacturers)

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Dell and HP , etc... must be livid.[/quote<] I doubt it since the NUC is simply a bare-bones box and there are a million of those already on the market. Dell & HP sell complete systems and already sell complete small form-factor systems. The NUC is aimed at the DIY market and resellers that customize the NUC for other customers in ways that Dell & HP do not want to deal with since the sales would be low-volume. Shuttle, on the other hand, may be a bit miffed since the NUC is right up the same alley as many of its barebones offerings.

        • phileasfogg
        • 7 years ago

        I would think Zotac would also be miffed – doesn’t this NUC compete with their ZBox offering also?

        You wrote>>>> “Dell & HP sell complete systems…”
        – yes, they do. With a whole lot of bloatware that most users despise and would rather not have to deal with at all.

      • DPete27
      • 7 years ago

      If the OEM’s can’t do it right, you’ve got to do it yourself.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        Exactly right. Now in this case, it’s leading because the guts are a mobile platform. The large OEMs have dabbled in such systems but never took them seriously. On top of that, Intel is showing how to do really low power draw. OEMs would rather cheap out on components to save pennies than charge a bit more for the ultimate efficiency – Intel has shown that motherboard component selection can make a big difference in efficiency. Maybe they’ll continue with these systems for the long-term, or maybe they’ll just stop once some OEMs take such systems seriously.

      • moog
      • 7 years ago

      That’s a scary thought if you’re an employee (of HP/Dell).

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      Businesses don’t buy barebones boxes, they buy complete systems (including OS) along with service and support contracts. Unless Intel wants to get into that fray — and I can’t see why they would, at this point — they’ll still be supplying hardware to third party vendors.

      What Intel IS doing is Borging the entire system hardware platform into silicon and thus killing off the third-party platform suppliers — chipsets are done and gone, “good enough” graphics are in progress now, and soon the memory and storage peripheral subsystems will be subsumed.

      • Sahrin
      • 7 years ago

      I don’t think it’s ARM, I think it’s miniaturization. x86 has been on-die-ing system elements for 30 years, this is nothing new. Hell, the x86 memory controller went on-die before most people knew what ARM was.

    • Vulk
    • 7 years ago

    In principal I like this concept. My problem though is that I really need storage from a PC. I have a laptop with a dinky 128GB SSD, so I REALLY need my desktop to augment that. I don’t have the budget for a dedicated NAS with some sort of hybrid cloud ability although that would make both the NUC and my Laptop much more palatable. I have no problem running external hard drive cages, but without SATA support in any form these boards are dead to me.

    That said I could totally see my work moving to them instead of desktops. We don’t need the towers there since we have powerful servers… and they’re still rocking p4’s on half the desks without issue so it’s not as if CPU power is such a premium that these solutions would be out of the question. Hell with cheap small SSDs they’d be more responsive, and very few people use more than 40gb of storage anyway at work as of the last hardware poll. And small easily replaced and shipped computers with locked down uniform components with no moving parts are kind of the holy grail of corporate IT, so I’m not surprised that the lower powered version especially will sell well there.

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    I’d like one of those NUC chassises stuffed with an FX-8350 overclocked to 5.0GHz, please. I’ll use it to compress files all day with 7-zip. Thanks.

    Edit – //sarcasm (in case you didn’t catch it)

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      That’s entirely possible…with external cooling that’s more volume than the case.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      Just use an atom setup, then it really will take you all day…. weeks….. months………

      • Arclight
      • 7 years ago

      I think it can be done using [url=http://arstechnica.com/science/2013/01/scientists-create-negative-temperature-system/<]one of these[/url<]

    • bcronce
    • 7 years ago

    i5 Dual-core IvyBridge, dual-NIC, ECC memory NUC…. <– please make

      • StashTheVampede
      • 7 years ago

      I’d take one of these sized machines with a dual-core atom and two NIC cards. Add a tiny amount of storage and my current router turns into an AP.

      Really considered getting one of these NUC, but the costs seemed high and the heat issues were a big turn off.

    • chuckula
    • 7 years ago

    Intel wouldn’t be ginning up new versions of the NUC if the first generation had just sat unsold in a warehouse somewhere. Despite the dissing that a device like this takes on a site like TR, there are plenty of uses for these things and money from a large number of non-gamers who want a small box for nice boring uses goes into the bank just as easily as money from enthusiasts.

      • ludi
      • 7 years ago

      It’s equally possible that if the first-gen NUC had design problems that made it unmarketable, Intel may have written off the entire lot and donated it to a few technical schools somewhere.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      It’s fun to ridicule these things, their dumb names, lack of various features etc.

      Bottom line is, I really like mine. Since I don’t [i<]need[/i<] USB3.0 on it (thanks to the gigabit ethernet), it is a near-perfect HTPC. Last weekend I was streaming a BluRay ISO from a file server to play back on it, and it worked beautifully. It runs 1080p YouTube flawlessly. (I don't know if all this is due to core unparking... I didn't try those before unparking.) When I have time, I'll install Skyrim on it, to see how bad the GPU really is at 17W TDP

        • MadManOriginal
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]thanks to the gigabit ethernet[/quote<] Yuppers, that was my point in another recent, longer post. The only people for whom lack of USB 3.0 should matter is anyone using this as their sole computer and without any kind of network storage. But I don't see too many people like that buying a barebones computer without an OS, so unless the wireless performance is really bad for those without wired networks, no USB 3.0 is just a checkbox feature, not a real-world dealbreaker.

        • Kurotetsu
        • 7 years ago

        This is probably an odd question, but how does your NUC handle playback of 10-bit h.264 encoded files?

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          If you can point me to some 10b clips/trailers, I’ll try them the next time I use it

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          Ok; I found some 10b/1080p clips, and tried them out. As far as I can tell, VLC on NUC played the well. Depending on the clip, the CPU % was running from low 40s (Puss In Boots trailer) to up to 95% (some anime), all four threads active. With that 95% stuff, I didn’t notice any stuttering or corruption, but it was so close to 100% that I can’t be sure.. do you have some benchies I could try that track lost frames?

          I must say, though, that – for some reason – it seems like installing stuff on the NUC is insanely slow. I can’t figure out why that is.. it seems even slower than on my old CULV laptop. Installing .NET took [i<]minutes[/i<] - I'm not kidding. I don't think it's the drive - Crucial m4 should be pretty fast. It almost looked like uncompressing stuff was just taking forever (CPU at 100%). Or, maybe it's MS Security Essentials...?

            • Kurotetsu
            • 7 years ago

            I usually use Media Player Classic + madVR + LAV Filters, which has features that you track things like frame rate and dropped frames (just press Ctrl + J while watching a file). If you feel like going through the trouble, you can use these instructions to get it working (its really not that difficult):

            [url<]http://www.avsforum.com/t/1357375/advanced-mpc-hc-setup-guide[/url<]

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      And those people are better off with a Brazos based box which costs a good deal less. Once you play the ‘good enough’ card, you open up the solution space.

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        That’s your opinion. Brazos box has weaker graphics, weaker CPU and is less power efficient (40nm vs. 22nm…). If “they” don’t care about performance at all, I’d say those people would be better off with an even cheaper Atom based box.

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        Brazos might be a better solution for some people, but the NUC is definitely a better solution for other people. It’s up to the customers to decide and not you or I.

    • dpaus
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Intel said the NUC has "completely exceeded" its expectations[/quote<] Sold both of them, did they? [quote<]The chipmaker hinted that a Haswell-powered version of the NUC with even more onboard functionality[/quote<] OK, that could be interesting....

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      I wonder who bought the other one

        • tay
        • 7 years ago

        Haha. Well, 12 reviews for the cheaper one and 1 review for the TB one on newegg. So you guys aren’t that far off.

        • ronch
        • 7 years ago

        AMD’s testers.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          Are you sure mine wasn’t bought for that specific purpose…?

    • NeelyCam
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]Intel is also cooking up a Core i5-powered NUC. That model will come out in April, and it's going to have vPro capabilities, [b<]USB 3.0[/b<], and triple-display support.[/quote<] First round customers got screwed again...

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      Eh… what did you expect? How’s that upgrade to your socket FM1 Llano going?

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        Upgrade? If it works, don’t fix it

          • chuckula
          • 7 years ago

          [my point was that leading-edge products from lots of companies get abandoned and the early adopters get a raw deal, just like you can’t upgrade socket FM1 boards, you don’t get the best features with the leading-edge NUCs]

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Never buy version 1.0

        • StashTheVampede
        • 7 years ago

        This is true for many aspects of computers, cars and many other forms of electronics.

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        Yeah; I broke the cardinal consumer electronics rule..

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      It’s never a good idea to be an early adopter. You not only pay more, but you become a guinea pig.

      Speaking of guinea pigs, I used to have 5 of them. Cutest animals ever.

        • yogibbear
        • 7 years ago

        You used to have them till all 5 were used as test subjects in your PC wind tunnel experiments…

          • ronch
          • 7 years ago

          No, I used this: [url<]http://i50.tinypic.com/a4xwyq.jpg[/url<]

          • derFunkenstein
          • 7 years ago

          Fly! Fly away!

      • DPete27
      • 7 years ago

      USB 3.0 was pretty much the only reason I didn’t buy the original.

      [edit] And why do we have to pay for the premium model to get USB3.0 when its natively supported on the CPU. It’s just a matter of putting the correct ports on the enclosure which can’t cost that much more (if at all) than USB2.0. It’s not like we need a separate USB3.0 controller anymore.

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        Just a small correction… USB3.0 is not on the CPU, but in the chipset. I get your point, though, and agree with it

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