Intel spills the beans on Coffee Lake NUCs

Machines in Intel's NUC line of compact computers have offered a good bit of performance inside of a 4″ x 4″ (10.2 cm x 10.2 cm) package since their introduction. The company is now stuffing its 28-W eighth-generation Coffee Lake processors into a new NUC family, available with Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 chips. Form factors include both slim and tall barebones versions, tall Optane-infused complete systems, and bare board configurations. As is tradition with Intel's NUCs, the main difference between the slim and tall versions is the presence of a 2.5″ drive bay in the larger chassis.

The NUC8i3BE bears a Core i3-8109U dual-core processor with Hyper-Threading that clocks as high as 3.6 GHz when conditions allow. Stepping up to the NUC8i5BE nets a four-core, eight-thread Core i5-8259U CPU that can reach single-core speeds as high as 3.8 GHz. The top shelf NUC8i7BE's Core i7-8559U chip doesn't get any extra cores or threads compared to its Core i5 sibling, but the maximum boost clock swells to a lofty 4.5 GHz. None of the new NUCs' integrated Iris Plus Graphics 655 is going to challenge the 3D chops of the larger Hades Canyon NUC and its AMD-sourced, on-package GPU.

The rest of the new NUCs' specification sheet is pretty much exactly what one would expect. Up to 32 GB of 2400 MT/s DDR4 memory fits into a pair of SO-DIMM slots. For storage, all versions have a single M.2 slot that works with NVMe or SATA SSDs, plus a single SATA port for use with 2.5″ devices. The slim-chassis kit can't use the SATA port effectively, though, given the lack of room for a 2.5″ drive inside the case. Wireless connectivity comes courtesy of Intel's in-house 9560 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5 combo card.

The Core i3 and Core i5 complete Optane systems come with a 16-GB Optane module, a rather-unimpressive 4 GB of system memory, and a 1-TB spinning platter drive. The Core i7 version doubles all three specs with its 32-GB cache module, 8 GB of DDR4 memory, and 2-TB mechanical storage drive. All of the complete systems come with a copy of Windows 10 Home installed on the hard drive.

Users can connect one display to the HDMI 2.0 output and a second monitor to the USB Type-C port on the back of the machine thanks to DisplayPort-over-USB-C black magic. That Type-C port is also capable of performing Thunderbolt 3 party tricks. The front and back of the machine also get a pair of USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A ports each. Wired networking is present in the form of a single Gigabit Ethernet port.

Intel's product manual has a fantastic level of detail about the new machines but doesn't spell out the pricing or availability. Anandtech believes the Coffee-infused NUCs will hit store shelves next month. We'd expect prices similar to the current Kaby Lake versions, which means about $300 for a barebones Core i3 version up to about $450 for a barebones Core i7 model.

Comments closed
    • LoneWolf15
    • 1 year ago

    The i3 Bean Canyon NUC was rumored to be 4-core/4-thread.

    With this not being the case, I’m guessing the i5 model (which is already overkill for me while the i3 won’t be enough) will have a price that keeps me from being interested. I’ll keep using a low-voltage Kaby for the HTPC. Another disappointment on the low end.

    • ronch
    • 1 year ago

    If I had a nickel every time someone drops a coffee pun every time they talk about Coffee Lake, I’d have enough money to buy a Ryzen.

    • riviera74
    • 1 year ago

    Exactly what is the CIR port on this NUC?

      • Ummagumma
      • 1 year ago

      CIR = “consumer infrared”

      [url<]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consumer_IR[/url<]

    • Chrispy_
    • 1 year ago

    I really wish that Intel would (for the non 2.5″ version at least) drop the active cooling and replace the lid with a finned heatplate or something.

    I have a few of the 10W Apollo Lake NUCs powering CNC lathes and laser-cutting beds but was disappointed that they needed active cooling at such low power consumption.

      • rnalsation
      • 1 year ago

      Wait for Akasa to make fanless a case for your chosen NUC. I got one for a i3-6100T on a thin mini-ITX board and it has been great.
      [url<]http://www.akasa.com.tw/update.php?tpl=product/product.list.tpl&type=Fanless%20Chassis&type_sub=Fanless%20NUC[/url<]

      • GoJuice
      • 1 year ago

      Or even a thin, flat aluminium top panel that was heat synced to the SoC would be enough to run fanless under light loads.

      I’ve just got a j5005 Gemini lake NUC. I knew I wouldn’t want the 28tdp coffee lake NUC, more expensive too. J5005 same performance as q6600 so that’s good enough for what I need with 10w tdp and semi fanless options added to bios.

      • MOSFET
      • 1 year ago

      Isn’t the CPU on the bottom?

      Edit – nope, I’m just not accounting for the fact that the access panel is on the bottom.

    • techguy
    • 1 year ago

    Feels like I’ve been waiting for these things forever. May have finally found the perfect “HTPC” (Plex client). Previous generations of NUC were underwhelming to me but Bean Canyon might just be as close to perfect as we’re going to get for the foreseeable future.

      • AutoAym
      • 1 year ago

      Isn’t a Coffee Lake NUC several degrees of overkill for a Plex [i<]client[/i<]? I could see it if it were running PMS for clients plural, but to just act as a target? Why not just use an Xbone/PS4, given remote support is way better plus supports physical media (if needed) in a manner that doesn't have you considering [i<]seppuku[/i<].

        • techguy
        • 1 year ago

        I’ve tried almost every client device known to man. They all have various issues. Roku, for example, cannot playback DTS variants without transcoding, and it also has lipsync problems. XBox One and Apple TV (all generations) have judder/frame skipping/video blocking/distortion on various media formats (even old ones like MPEG2). Shield has (had) the same issues on some media for me when I tried, though not as bad as XBone or ATV and allegedly due to a software update which Nvidia was made aware of (and they may have corrected the issue since this time). PS4 doesn’t have a decent remote worth using and has 4k content/HDCP issues in my home theater, ruling this platform out entirely for me.

        Bottom line: there’s no perfect stand-alone device. I’ve tried NUCs in the past (Haswell generation) and it was just not quite ready (audio codec support, HDCP, and framerate issues). I’m hoping this has changed. The only options left to me now are to look for a different software client. I’ve looked at Kodi/XBMC a few times (even ran it on a 4670k-powered HTPC for awhile) and ultimately kept coming back to Plex.

          • AutoAym
          • 1 year ago

          Agree on the bottom line: There’s no perfect device out there, unfortunately. It also sounds like you’re on the high-end for quality preference (Though having HDCP issues is interesting! Presuming your cabling is properly rated). I’m personally a couple of years off from pulling the 4K trigger (everything i’ve seen about the current state of 4K seems like it needs just a little more time in the oven and i’m not ready to let go of my Kuro quite yet) so i’m clearly not seeing the issues you have with media playback.
          The only challenge i’ve personally encountered with the Xbone is a memory leak requiring a weekly reboot and if there’s media it won’t handle, my Mk.II Chromcast will. Also helps to have the GTX1070 in my PMS handling HW encoding duties.

            • techguy
            • 1 year ago

            I won’t delve into the details on my journey with HDCP problems in my home theater, it would require an amount of labor I am not willing to expend. I will say this though: I hate HDCP.

            My Plex Media Server isn’t lacking for performance with a 7900x onboard (up from a 5820k when I first built the machine). Not using hardware encoding though, just a GT 1030 in the machine for basic 4k/60 display output via HDMI 2.0. Glad to know hardware encoding is working out well for you though, perhaps I’ll migrate my 1070 back to this machine after upgrading to an 1180 (if the performance is there).

            • Beahmont
            • 1 year ago

            Doesn’t PLEX only do software encoding on the server side?

            • techguy
            • 1 year ago

            Hardware transcoding has been a feature for awhile now.

            [url<]https://support.plex.tv/articles/115002178853-using-hardware-accelerated-streaming/[/url<] Check the section towards the bottom titled "Hardware-accelerated encoding"

          • GoJuice
          • 1 year ago

          My setup would be a windows box running my favourite file manager and MPC-HC. Media files on a USB HDD or over a LAN NAS. Works beautifully, no?

            • techguy
            • 1 year ago

            In all likelihood that setup would have the best compatibility and performance – but also the worst interface for the living room. I have to balance these two, seemingly contrary demands.

            • GoJuice
            • 1 year ago

            Actually I really like the file manager, I would even prefer it over a XBMC style app. I have it configured with a large attractive font with white text on very dark grey background in a list. So it’s very easy to read, maximum performance, rename & delete & move files.

          • deruberhanyok
          • 1 year ago

          Have you looked at the NUC7PJYH?

          For video playback capabilities, price, and power use it’s going to be tough to beat. I’ve got one and I’m quite happy with it for day-to-day use as well.

      • Ummagumma
      • 1 year ago

      I don’t understand all of these issues that people have with the PLEX product and playback.

      I guess it’s a matter of having avoided PLEX and stayed with KODI for my HTPC needs all of these years.

      I mostly watch 720p & 1080p (mp4, avi, MPEG-2 “.ts”, divx, xvid, and so on), rarely 2k, and no 4k. I can easily stream anything I want from the Internet. I have no need to transcode anything for playback. It baffles me why PLEX users have to do that for some of their videos. Then there are the inevitable complaints about PLEX transcoding overhead that make me happy to have never used PLEX.

        • techguy
        • 1 year ago

        It’s really frustrating. Enough to make me want to leave the platform entirely. This will be my last attempt to resolve the matter “once and for all”. If I can’t find the “perfect” Plex client, I’ll move to something else.

    • Neutronbeam
    • 1 year ago

    So this is what’s brewing with Coffee Lake? NyUC NyUC NyUC!

      • morphine
      • 1 year ago

      That was Seriously Bad. Have some upvotes.

      • chuckula
      • 1 year ago

      Why I oughta!

      • Growler
      • 1 year ago

      I wonder what Java performance is like.

      • mganai
      • 1 year ago

      Oh a wiseguy eh?

    • derFunkenstein
    • 1 year ago

    These may not keep up with Hades Canyon graphically, but that 128MB of eDRAM will get the most out of the integrated graphics chip.

    Those CPUs would make totally acceptable Mac Minis so of course Apple will pass on the opportunity.

      • AutoAym
      • 1 year ago

      If you believe the latest rumour mill, Mac Minis may finally see a refresh this fall with these very chips.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 1 year ago

        I’d love to buy one. It’d be a perfect desktop for my wife, who so very badly wants to iMessage from her computer when she’s on it as opposed to typing on her iPhone. We’ll see what they do.

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