Review: Intel’s Next Unit of Computing

What’s this? A real and reasonably capable PC stuffed into box that will fit in the palm of your hand?

We’ve heard such claims before, but they’ve never really panned out. Usually such systems have been based on low-power Atom processors or the like, demanding massive performance trade-offs to fit into a small space. Now that most of the world is convinced the PC is doomed and mobile devices are taking over, though, I suppose we should start paying closer attention.

It doesn’t hurt that Intel, the traditional provider of PC performance, has produced this sleek little 4″ by 4″ box and given it a totally-not-pretentious name: the Next Unit of Computing.

Intel calls it NUC, for short, which is incredibly cute.

The firm’s ambitions for this form factor are far more serious. Most of the talk about the NUC mentions obvious applications for a teeny PC, such as digital signage and home theater systems. There’s an undercurrent of suggestion, however, that boxes such as this one may be the future of the PC. If so, the future of PC enthusiasm is likely to be dominated by people with extremely small hands.

Still, the concept is compelling, instantly spurring the question: what would you do with a little PC of this size? That question comes into sharp focus when you realize that these NUC boxes are on the cusp of broad availability in early December at a pretty darned reasonable price.

Forgive me for this obvious slight to the post-PC era, but in order to orient ourselves to the NUC’s true potential, some discussion of the system specifications will be helpful. Have a look:

Processor Intel Core i3-3217U
Chipset Intel QS77 Express
Memory 2 DDR3 1333/1600 SO-DIMM slots
Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4000
Audio Intel Display Audio via HDMI or
Thunderbolt/DisplayPort
Ports 3 USB 2.0 w/headers for 2 more

1 HDMI 4.1a

1 Thunderbolt (with DisplayPort 1.1a)

Expansion slots 1 full-size mini-PCIe w/mSATA support

1 half-size mini-PCIe

Cooling Integrated heatsink/fan
Power
supply
65W external brick
Dimensions 4″ x 4″ x 2″

The Cliff’s Notes version is simple: Intel should have called this an Ultrabox, in an obvious play on the Ultrabook name. The guts of the NUC are essentially the same as an Ultrabook’s, right down to the 17W dual-core Ivy Bridge processor. This CPU, with the incredibly catchy name Core i3-3217U, has four threads via Hyper-Threading and runs at 1.8GHz, with 3MB of L3 cache. It’s not exactly a screamer by desktop standards, but it’s vastly more capable than your average Intel Atom or AMD Brazos CPU. This Core i3 chip is soldered onto the underside of the NUC’s motherboard and included in the system’s price tag, which Intel anticipates to be somewhere around $300-320.

The version of the NUC we have for review is the DC3217BY, a lovely name that could double as a software registration key. As you can see, the BY has several external connectors, including an HDMI output, a trio of USB 2.0 ports, and a Thunderbolt plug that doubles as a DisplayPort output. Intel will also be selling the DC3217IYE, which omits the Thunderbolt port in favor of a second HDMI output and a GigE port. Also, the YE rocks a manly black top cover.

Going NUC-ular

Beyond the embedded CPU, the NUC is still a bare-bones system. You’ll to have to supply the Wi-Fi adapter, storage, and memory—and install ’em into this tiny little box. Let’s see how that process looks.

Flip the NUC on its back to expose its belly, and you’ll find four screws inside of the rubber feet that support the chassis. Remove the screws, pull off the cover, and you’re staring at the Lilliputian future of PC expansion, also known as the Lilliputian present of laptop expansion.

Intel supplied us with a pair of expansion cards for our NUC review unit. The first of those, pictured above, is a mini-PCIe version of Intel’s 520 Series SSD. This particular drive isn’t cheap, mostly due to its fairly high capacity. We couldn’t find this mSATA model at online retailers, but the desktop equivalent sells for $189. You can find 64GB mSATA drives for much less, though, such as this 64GB Crucial m4 for 75 bucks. Of course, any of these SSDs is going to feel like a minor miracle next to your average hard disk drive. Not only are they tiny, but they’re also silent and have virtually instantaneous access times. You’re really not compromising much, storage performance-wise, to get into this form factor.

That postage stamp-sized item you see in the image above is a half-height mini-PCIe card, in this case an Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 Wi-Fi adapter. The NUC has a pair of pigtail connectors for the antennas, which you’ll have to snap into place over the proper terminals. This is a dual-band card able to connect to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, and it will set you back a whole 23 bucks at Amazon.

The final piece of the puzzle is a pair of memory modules—DDR3 SO-DIMMs, in this case. We pulled a couple of Corsair 2GB 1333MHz modules off the shelf and snapped them into place in the NUC’s slots. The modules we used are going for $23 at present, although you may wish to upgrade to higher-capacity modules or some capable of running at 1600MHz, especially if you plan to make heavy use of the NUC’s integrated graphics.

You’ll have to add one other thing in order to get the NUC up and running. Strangely, although the system comes with a 65W laptop-style power brick that plugs into the back of the enclosure, it doesn’t come with a power cord to connect the brick to the wall socket. What you’ll need is one of those triple-prong laptop-style power cords; we happened to have one lying around that we ganked from an old netbook. If you don’t have an extra, you’ll need to order a power cord—specifically, one with an IEC 60320 C5 connector to mate to the power brick.

Add the NUC’s likely price and the various components, including the 64GB SSD we mentioned above, and the total price tag rings up at just about $450, without shipping. That’s pretty reasonable, all things considered—better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, a sensation that’s probably similar to what you’d feel upon forking over 600 bucks for a Mac Mini.

What to do with a NUC?

Since the NUC is essentially a full-fledged PC, the possibile applications for it are nearly endless. It could make for a nifty living room streaming box, a near-ideal e-mail terminal for grandma, or a killer compact kitchen PC.

The prospects are expanded somewhat by the inclusion of a VESA mounting bracket right in the box with the system. The idea is that you’d attach this bracket somewhere—to a wall or to a VESA-compatible mount of some sort—and then slide two screws on the underside of the NUC into the two slotted openings in the bracket. Bam! You’ve got a wall-mounted PC. The NUC should then slide in and out of the bracket easily for upgrades or whatnot.

My number-one possibility is to use the NUC as part of a compact TV streaming setup in the bedroom. I figure I could mount an LCD monitor and a NUC to the wall via VESA brackets, run a pair of power cords and attach a single HDMI cable between them, and call it good. Add Windows Media Center with a wireless remote, and we’d be able to stream recorded programs from the HTPC in our living room—or simply stream shows from Netflix.

Yeah, that pretty much needs to happen.

One notable limitation for any NUC application is the system’s port selection. There’s no analog audio output, for instance, so if you want sound, you’ll need speakers built into your display or a set of USB speakers. Most folks will probably want to buy a display with the right input types and integrated speakers as part of any purpose-built NUC-based setup, so I doubt the port selection will really chafe. With that said, the apparent limitations of this system’s outputs are easily worked around, as I found out while testing the thing.

You see, I wanted to connect the NUC to my standard CPU test bench, which has a four-port KVM switch attached to speakers (via an analog connection), a keyboard and mouse (via USB), and a monitor (via DVI). At first, I attached the HDMI port on the NUC to the monitor directly, bypassing the KVM switch for everything but USB input devices. The audio question baffled me, since the monitor lacks speakers. I just did the Win8 install on the NUC without sound. A little noodling around, though, produced a solution for the audio. I have a Plantronics headset that came with USB dongle, and inside the dongle is a C-Media audio chip. The thing is basically a USB sound card, with analog in/out ports. I temporarily appropriated this USB dongle for NUC testing, and audio was a go.

The only real annoyance left was the need to switch between the HDMI and DVI display inputs manually. It took an embarrassing amount of time before I realized—as I was compiling the specs for this article, in fact—that the Thunderbolt port on the NUC is about more than just mad, mad bandwidth for external storage, although it is good for that. Thunderbolt ports are also DisplayPort capable. That led me to yet another dongle, this one a DisplayPort-to-DVI adapter that I also had lying around. (A great many things are lying about in Damage Labs, as you might have guessed.) Soon, I had the NUC feeding DVI video and analog audio into my KVM switch, so I could toggle between it and the other test systems seamlessly. Even so, only two of the NUC’s five external ports were occupied, without resorting to USB hubs or Thunderbolt daisy chains.

Now, I’m not saying that’s an optimal configuration for a system like this one, but it does illustrate the flexibility you have in integrating this thing with existing hardware, with a little creative thinking.

Trouble in NUC-ville

Since the NUC is largely a pre-fab system with only a few cards to install, one wouldn’t expect to run into the sort of frustrating problems that sometimes plague DIY PC builds. Unfortunately, my NUC experience was marred by a pretty major issue that I’m still trying to resolve.

The problem crops up whenever I try to perform a multi-gigabyte file copy over the network from my main PC (running Windows 8) to the NUC (also running Win8.) The copy plods along as expected for a while, but eventually it grinds to a halt. Once that happens, the system becomes semi-responsive; it will allow you to drag some windows around on the desktop, but other applications won’t respond and new ones won’t launch. Sometimes, the screen just turns black and the system locks entirely. The only way out is holding down the power button to force the system to shut down.

Once you boot back up, though, the system throws an error on POST, saying it can’t find a boot device, and just sits there. The workaround is to remove the power connector from the back of the NUC for a second and then plug it back in. After that, the system will boot and operate normally, as if nothing had happened.

Weird, huh?

Here’s my best theory about what’s happening. Dunno if I’m right about this or not. Look at the cards in the picture above. The wireless NIC is on the bottom, and the SSD is sandwiched on top of it, with only about a millimeter of air between them. My crackpot theory is that the NIC is heating up during the file transfer, causing the SSD to heat up, as well. Eventually, the SSD overheats and goes to a bad place, no longer responding to system requests. The funky Windows lock-ups seem consistent with what would happen after the loss of the main system disk. And, I suppose, the SSD won’t come out of its stupor until it’s powered down completely by having the power cord yanked out of the back of the box.

I’ve tried various things to confirm my theory. Plugging in an external USB Wi-Fi adapter, disabling the internal one, and copying files over the network works just fine, with no lock-ups or other problems. You can see the clear plastic sheaths around the antenna pigtails in the picture above. I feared those were blocking airflow, so I cut them off. Their removal seemed to lengthen the time window before a lock-up, but didn’t prevent it. There’s also a bit of material on the SSD controller on the prior page, which I left on the card initially. At Intel’s suggestion, I removed that, to no avail. Intel then sent me a replacement Centrino Advanced-N 6235 Wi-Fi card. I swapped that in and tried it, and the system locked up just the same as before.

As of now, I’m not sure what the trouble is with this NUC. The folks at Intel have been attempting to reproduce the issue, even testing a NUC doing a large file copy inside of a 35°C chamber, but haven’t seen any problems. Odds are that my particular system has some sort of unusual quirk, perhaps due to the abuse subjected by my stubby fingers during assembly. I’ll keep working with Intel on a fix and update this section of the article if we can resolve the problem. Until then, we can’t be sure that you won’t see similar issues with any NUC you’d buy, but we suspect our problem isn’t a general one affecting every unit.

Performance

Since we’re a PC hardware review site, I’m required by guild by-laws to include some benchmark results for the NUC. Thus, you’re about to be subjected to a specious comparison, pitting the helpless little NUC against full-grown desktop PC systems with vastly higher power envelopes. Somewhere in Oregon, an Intel product manager just burst a vein in his temple. Our purpose here is not to humiliate the NUC, but to offer some context.

This may be all the context you need, really: the Core i3-3217U in the NUC has dual cores ticking along at 1.8GHz. The lowest-end Intel desktop chip we’ve tested based on the same Ivy Bridge silicon, the Pentium G2120, runs at 3.1GHz, nearly twice the frequency in a 55W power envelope. Notably, the NUC has Hyper-Threading while the Pentium does not, but one would still expect the Pentium to be much quicker. A look at the numbers confirms it.

So the NUC’s speed isn’t going to blow your hair back, but this thing is also more than half as fast as a modern desktop system, which is pretty good. We don’t have any numbers from Atom or Brazos systems in this latest set of results, but if you look back at our older results, you’ll observe that the dual-core Atom D525’s 7-Zip compression rate is under half the NUC’s and its x264 encoding rate is one third or less. There are some software rev differences there, so the comparisons aren’t exact, but those numbers should be sufficient to establish that the NUC is a different class of system—just like an Ultrabook seriously outclasses a netbook.

Usability and the user experience

The NUC’s lineage as an Ultrabook-class system means it’s free of some of the worries you’d have about PCs based on Atom-class processors. Rarely does it feel sluggish. Windows 8 boot times are unnervingly short. Software installations feel as scandalously snappy as they do on desktop Win8 systems with SSDs. Surfing the web is seamless, with quick page loads and positively unhindered scrolling, even with multiple tabs open in the background.

CPU utilization consistently stays well under 50% while streaming HD video via Netflix (which, by the way, doesn’t invoke the lock-up problems in our NUC that file copies can.) Yes, the chip’s IGP includes a hardware H.264 video decode block, but with this class of CPU power on tap, you’re not under threat of choppy video playback should software fail to make use of it.

Given the prodigious bandwidth available via that Thunderbolt port, the NUC is even a threat to replace low-end workstations for light to moderate productivity.

The NUC’s two CPU cores and integrated HD 4000 graphics won’t handle everything perfectly, of course. Triple-A game titles of recent vintage will be a struggle at best and will probably be unworkable. Still, outside of my Borderlands 2 addiction, much of the gaming at my house centers on a couple of less demanding titles, Minecraft and Unreal Tournament 2004, and those are more the NUC’s speed. I had to drop the resolution to 1280×800 in order to ensure silky smoothness in the heat of battle, but the NUC was very much up to the task of being a UT2004 station.

All of this action takes place in virtual silence, by the way, even when running a game. I thought the thing was passively cooled until I was plunking around in the EFI menus and saw the fan-speed monitor. Once you know it’s there, you can put your ear up to the NUC and hear the fan going, but it’s practically inaudible from eight inches away.

In short, the NUC ably demonstrates the potential of Intel’s current portfolio of PC technology—everything from 17W processors with reasonably decent integrated graphics to SSDs that have redefined PC storage and Thunderbolt ports that can give closed-box systems unprecedented expandability. Intel often builds concept systems like this one in order to goad the industry in a certain direction. Having played with a NUC, I’d consider the industry sufficiently goaded.

At the same time, the NUC is a pretty nifty little end product that crams more computing power into a small space than any of the past attempts we’ve seen. Unlike some prior Intel concepts, you’ll soon be able to order one of these for your own use. Provided that the lock-up problems we encountered are confined to our particular review unit, I’d say the NUC deserves the attention of anyone looking to put together a compact project PC of some sort. You’ll have to plan carefully around the output ports on offer, but as we’ve noted, a little ingenuity should allow pretty wide leeway in the selection of accompanying hardware. If you don’t care about optical disks or TV tuners, the NUC may just be the ultimate media center PC for streaming and such, although admittedly the price of entry dwarfs that of a Roku or the like.

I suppose the other question lingering in the backdrop has to do with this thing’s, um, wildly unassuming name. Is this 4″ x 4″ x 2″ form factor truly the “next unit of computing,” or is it just another one-off package in a market filled with choices of all shapes and sizes? Will it someday supplant industry stalwarts like ATX, as PCs drive into smaller footprints?

Tough to say. The answer depends to some extent on Intel’s commitment to pushing this form factor and on its ability to convice its partners at PC makers to hop onboard. Ultimately, though, it comes down to whether consumers and businesses will be compelled enough by the vision embodied in NUC-type products to make them a commercial success.

I could see that happening, if the Windows 8 app ecosystem takes off and the Windows Store is one day brimming with all sorts of consumer-focused games and entertainment options. By then, Intel’s next-gen Haswell processors should double the graphics power available in the NUC and deliver substantial increases in CPU performance, too. Plugging one of these things into a keyboard and touchscreen monitor could unlock a very easy, very compelling experience for the average family, almost regardless of how they wish to use it. At that point, the rationale for a larger desktop system could be a very tough case to make—unless, of course, you’re a hard-core PC gamer or hobbyist.

I have to admit, if that’s where the mainstream PC market is headed, this little box soothes a lot of my worries about the prospects. It’s a better PC than the one I was using several years ago, and it’s open enough to allow upgrades to several major components. I’d sure like to see a version that accommodates a laptop-style discrete graphics chip, though. With that addition, the NUC would have a much better chance of living up to the promise of its name.

Comments closed
    • WillyGilly321
    • 7 years ago

    No Internal Hard Drive Support? mSATA is nice to use for Intel SRT, but not as your only storage device. No internal hard drive; not even a 2.5″? Perhaps they should have made this unit 4×6 to make room for internal storage. All it really is now is an over priced media streamer.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      If you want something bigger, there are plenty of options out there. For me, this is perfect.

    • ashley01x93
    • 7 years ago
    • Archer
    • 7 years ago

    I’m waiting for the 3 Stooges branded version.

    It’s going to be called the Nyuc Nyuc Nyuc.

    • streagle27
    • 7 years ago

    ” Odds are that my particular system has some sort of unusual quirk, perhaps due to the abuse subjected by my stubby fingers during assembly. ”

    I saw all the pictures of the electronics being handled, but I have not noticed if the person doing the handling was connected to an anti-static wrist strap and standing on an anti-static floor mat nor if the desk had an anti-static mat on it, all straps and mats grounded.

    When I used to buy computer components in person and saw the sales “tech” handling the motherboard or whatever directly w/o being grounded and properly protected, I would 1) never buy the device as it then stood of good chance of being permanently damaged, and 2) never shop there again, as obviously, the staff were not trained in the proper handling of computer components.

    Return rates (due to issues) at one particular location went from over 20% to next to nil once the staff were all trained in ESD prevention and anti-static mats and wrist straps were used. The problem was ESD damage to brand new ‘untouched’ motherboards used in assembly and being damaged to the point of causing intermittent issues requiring replacement of motherboards, CPU’s, RAM and Hard Drives for unknown reasons.

    This may not be the cause of the heating issue.

    I do however grimace with I see ‘techs’ -in person- (over and over again) handling components as if they were making a sandwich at home. A couple have even told me they don’t have static problems. I just kept quiet. They later learned that everyone does whether they feel the discharge occur or not, and converted their entire work area to an ESD safe environment.

    There’s lots of people out there who don’t consider what ESD can do to computer components nor how to prevent it.

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      You need to be wearing insulating shoes in an artificially dry environment with few ground points to actually murder most electronics.

      As long as you aware of your invisible and sometimes undetectable static charge, you can easily ensure you have sufficiently little to build a common PC. Only people working with exposed, ESD-sensitive component assembly should really need a wrist-strap and grounding mats.

      For the rest of us, natural humidity in the air is enough to prevent static build up unless we’re wearing rubber-soled footwear, dragging our heels on carpetted floors and wearing rubbing fabrics of differing materials (ie cotton + polyester). The greatest risk is in the summer when we rely on AC which de-ionises and dehumidifies the air, but similarly that is when we also tend to wear only one layer of clothing and lightweight, more conductive footwear.

      Touching many printed circuit boards in PC’s doesn’t really matter because the circuits are loaded with a wealth of capacitors diodes and resistors that soak up charge. I would imagine that static charages that generate large voltages (capable of frying components) tend to have such a low current that a resistor will dissipate them completely.

      If you avoid touching copper contacts that may have a more direct path to the ESD-sensitve stuff like the silicon IC’s buried inside those plastic RAM chips and under those big conducting heatsinks, then you should be fine – even on a relatively dry day.

        • streagle27
        • 7 years ago

        “As long as you aware of your invisible and sometimes undetectable static charge, you can easily ensure you have sufficiently little to build a common PC. Only people working with exposed, ESD-sensitive component assembly should really need a wrist-strap and grounding mats.”

        How little ESD is sufficiently little to build a common PC?

        You only need 10-30V to damage an IC chip. No one will feel that pass to the chip.

        I’ve seen people swivel just once back and forth on a chair working on a steel table generate zaps when they touch the table that everyone can hear. There was no carpet or any other triboelectric charging going on. Just one swivel on a chair.

        How does one easily ensure they have sufficiently little triboelectric charge built up in their body?

        Anyone who doesn’t want to damage a component should have zero volts built up, because they’re properly grounded using properly installed anti-static devices.

        It’s the voltage, not the current, which damages semiconductor devices.

        And you don’t need alot of it to cause damage, whether it’s immediate and catastrophic (if you’re lucky), or latent (failure occurs later) and intermittent (have fun diagnosing those problems). My favorites to diagnose are multiple intermittent failures.

        It just takes one person touching the RAM, motherboard, hard drive electronics, video, sound and NIC while they’re working on a computer to turn it into a mess I’d never want to try to repair.

        I wouldn’t buy electronic components from anyone who thinks it’s ok to touch printed circuit boards because they’ll “soak up the charge”, as you wrote.

        As we all know, many devices (remember RAM anyone?) can tolerate only so much voltage applied to them before they begin to fail. If much less than 1 volt applied to RAM via the BIOS configuration can prevent proper stable operation of a PC, how much more dangerous is tens to hundreds of volts (on the low end) of an ESD to those same components?

        With human beings, current kills.

        With IC electronics, voltage destroys.

          • Adaptive
          • 7 years ago

          At work and at home I have tossed tons of cards into boxes for “storage” and have made my share of video card sandwiches that featured CPUs as the jelly and I’ve never had this issue. I’ve also soaked CPUs in rubbing alcohol when too lazy to get all the thermal gunk off in a slow fashion…

          Twenty years later and I have never lost a single component to this fabled “ESD” despite walking around in socks on plenty of apartment complexes. The worst thing that ever happened was when I tried to fix a loose custom fan cable on a PSU while it was running. That one shocked me good but it died for the trouble. I think I can pretty safely say it wasn’t “ESD.”

          Unless you work for the company that makes those wonderful little wristbands, I think you’re waaaaaaaaay overblowing this “issue.”

    • Wirko
    • 7 years ago

    Scott, what’s the power consumption?

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      [url<]http://hexus.net/tech/reviews/systems/45833-intel-next-unit-computing-nuc-review/?page=6[/url<] 11W idle, 28W x264, 35W gaming. Anand says x264 is a bit under 20W. Depends on the components and benchmark, but in that ballpark

    • Airmantharp
    • 7 years ago

    Browsing though this excellent article, I see so many negative comments that seem out of perspective. It looks like the fact that this device is little more than an Intel engineering study gone retail- this isn’t a targeted product, rather a quick amalgamation of Intel technology that customers undoubtedly asked Intel to build.

    And it is cool! Intel has shown their willingness to support platforms smaller than ITX, and like ITX, the possibilities are endless. Please, show some open mindedness- Intel received an overwhelmingly favorable response when they began showing this thing around, enough for them to produce it. They don’t do that often, even when they want to.

    Just understand that this is round one of this configuration. Every single component can be upgraded by Intel or their partners at will.

    • odizzido
    • 7 years ago

    Poor AMD. They finally get their new processors to beat the old ones, and then it’s coloured blue to look like intel.

      • Arag0n
      • 7 years ago

      It’s that kind of mistakes and more things that make you wonder if techreport has some kind of bias against AMD products right now. It’s a small detail, but why did they only mistake a single CPU, the FX-8350?

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    This isn’t going to be a NUC for anyone at $300. $40 for a Raspberry Pi, $50-100 for a Roku, you can make a small PC for Under $150.

    A lot of other companies have already been in on this bandwagon for quite some time: [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Barebone-Mini-Computers/Category/ID-3[/url<] My brother uses Lenovo Ideacentres as PoS computers and they have a VISA mount and cost about the same. There are cheaper options in that category too as well as more expensive ones. Really Intel isn't the only game in town and definitely isn't offering anything interesting. Really you don't need anything more then a Atom for PoS or even home entertainment systems. If you actually want to extend to playing something outside the realm of FB games and watching movies you'll need a dedicated graphics card and I'm sure this system would heat up like a mofo during any normal gaming session. I'm sorta surprised that wasn't covered by this review. For a system that tries to be more then a Atom it should be faced with tasks that represent it's price point.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]and they have a VISA mount[/quote<] VESA mount. VISA's are never cheap.

        • chuckula
        • 7 years ago

        And They Don’t Take American Express!

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        Aye… they keep jacking up the usage fees.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      NUC is quite a bit faster than anything listed in your Newegg link (except the large Shuttle boxes). Getting something this powerful into something this small is pretty interestesting imo. This is reaching my “good enough” requirement for a HTPC.

      And Roku/Rasberry Pi don’t belong to the same discussion – they are in a completely different performance and use class.

        • Bensam123
        • 7 years ago

        If you price out the hardware it doesn’t come close to the actual price of this system, that’s why I mentioned a $150 PC… You could get a Trinity system for slightly more with infinitely better graphics for like $200 too. Worse processing power, but light gaming isn’t extraordinarily dependent upon the processor. Not to mention the Trinity processors are more then adequate for internet browsing, videos, and pretty much everything else.

        You can hit ‘good enough’ at quite a bit lower price point. That was the whole point I was making. Trinity fits the little more then Atom system profile quite a bit better then this does.

        There are six systems listed with i3-i7 components, there are pentiums, core2, older and newer systems… Pretty much at any pricepoint you want. Barebone systems has quite a bit more then that without the processor with a tiny footprint. If you’re specifically looking for vesa mountable hardware besides a handful I mentioned those are generally limited to Atoms.

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          Bigger systems are cheaper, I don’t disagree with that. But this is a very small form factor system that’s still powerful. The comparable competition is that set of “Mini Computers” you linked, and they are all either quite a bit larger or much weaker in performance.

          Can you point me to a Trinity system in this (or similar) form factor that’s $200? Because I don’t know of one. As chuckula likes to point out, Trinity in this TDP class takes a beating from Ivy Bridge even in graphics (and low TDP is critical for making such a small form factor system)

    • ZGradt
    • 7 years ago

    Kind of pricy if you’re just going to use it to stream video. You can get a Roku or the WD Live for $50 – $100, and they have built-in WiFi…

    I’ve got a Raspberry Pi on the way that could fill that role as well. (finally shipped, yay!) ~$45 for the board and case. Going to use an old iPhone USB wall plug for power and a $5 4GB microSD. I’ll probably just run XMBC on it for now.

    I have a low power Zacate fileserver, but I put it in a full size case and stuffed it with 3 hard drives, with room for more.

    I don’t see what niche the NUC fills. It’s too expensive to just stream video, too slow for current games, and too small to be a fileserver. Maybe a dorm computer to do homework on?

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      It’s a full computer. That’s what it’s used for. You don’t have to attach it just to an HDTV; any monitor will do.

      • Darkmage
      • 7 years ago

      [i<]I don't see what niche the NUC fills. It's too expensive to just stream video, too slow for current games, and too small to be a fileserver. Maybe a dorm computer to do homework on?[/i<] I'm tempted to buy/build one of these the next time a family friend wants a computer to surf the Internet & check email. Pop a Logitech universal wireless USB plug in the back, keyboard & mouse in front of the monitor and mount this puppy to the back on the monitor... instant low-power connectivity for family & friends. It will run Gmail and Google docs with a side helping of Facebook and YouTube. There are other competitors in this space, but Intel has joined them right nicely.

        • Coran Fixx
        • 7 years ago

        Thats trying too hard to find a use.

        Chromebook/tablet at 1/2 to 1/3 the price for this role.

      • Kurotetsu
      • 7 years ago

      I can see it being quite useful as a lightweight and power efficient network extender for a CableCard tuner (which is what I’ll probably need soon). Though the lack of gigabit ethernet and an I/R receiver still weakens it alot (both of which the Mac Mini has). As somebody else pointed out, its missing a few too many notable features for the price its selling at. I’d be rather lose Thunderbolt and get a GigE port in its place.

      EDIT:

      Then again, how much do Thunderbolt –> GigE adapters cost nowadays?

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        Apple sells their TB to Ethernet adapter for $30.

    • WaltC
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]It's a better PC than the one I was using several years ago, and it's open enough to allow upgrades to several major components.[/quote<] Although most current PCs are "better" than the ones we were using several years ago *cough*, I do have to point out that the PC I was using several years ago had plenty of internal room for adding *internal* storage drives and gpus and by comparison lots of ram, and several other things by virtue of the included expansion *buses* (as in plural.) What good does it do me to get the essential guts in a matchbox to which I have to festoon myriad wires and devices to get reasonable and similar capabilities? I think that in the rush to see things get smaller some folks have allowed their brain matter to also become a part of the process shrink, and in the process lost some of their innate functionality. Portable often actually does mean "portable"; what it often does *not* mean, however, is "better." I thought this was a lesson learned, oh, 'bout 20 years ago.

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      Do you need more storage if you now stream everything?

      Do you need a high-end (well, mid-range by gaming standards) GPU in every computer?

      Do you think that a high percentage of people will be using these boxes as their one and only computing device?

      I think you’re missing the point entirely- it’s not all about you, it’s about how much computing Intel can reliably shove into the smallest amount of space. Conveniently, they managed to do it a little square that fits on a VESA mount.

        • paulWTAMU
        • 7 years ago

        Speaking for myself, I do not want computers in every room. I know that might make me an oddity, but I’d rather have just a laptop or tablet and a good desktop than an SFF in every room….

      • squeeb
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]What good does it do me to get the essential guts in a matchbox to which I have to festoon myriad wires and devices to get reasonable and similar capabilities? I think that in the rush to see things get smaller some folks have allowed their brain matter to also become a part of the process shrink, and in the process lost some of their innate functionality.[/quote<] Well said !

      • Deo Domuique
      • 7 years ago

      [i<]What good does it do me to get the essential guts in a matchbox to which I have to festoon myriad wires and devices to get reasonable and similar capabilities?[/i<] That exactly was my first thought which broke the whole picture from the beginning, in before the reading.

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    While the included CPU is pretty nice for the price, on the whole this box has too many tradeoffs. I can’t figure out why I would buy one of these Intel-supplied boxes over either of these Zotac offerings, both of which appear to support a standard 2.5″ SATA drive:

    [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856173042[/url<] [url<]http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16856173027[/url<]

    • derFunkenstein
    • 7 years ago

    So if there are headers for more USB ports in this thing, but there aren’t any empty expansion bays, how does one go about using those USB ports? O_o

    • Anarchist
    • 7 years ago

    but, … does it have to so fugly?

    • zqw
    • 7 years ago

    Is there a cheap optical audio / bitstream solution that could be used with NUC?

    • rodalpho
    • 7 years ago

    I find your $450 estimate quite reasonable, but you forgot to include the OS. Unless you run linux, that will run another $100, making the mac mini a $50 premium. That $50 buys you gigabit ethernet, thunderbolt, another couple USB3 ports, firewire, a SD card slot, audio in/out, and an integrated IR receiver. Of course it comes with a HD rather than a SSD, so you might want to toss another $50 on top of that, making the difference $100 if you plan on using it as a desktop. Or not; a HTPC is better off with the HD. Oh, and ithas a hugely faster non-ULV corei5 CPU too.

    YMMV but I would much rather have a packaged fully supported and warrantied computer running OSX than an essentially homebuilt windows box, and the price difference is small enough to make the mac mini an obvious choice for me.

      • willmore
      • 7 years ago

      Tiny correction: The NUC has thunderbolt, too, right?

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      You forgot the Mac Mini also has bluetooth.

    • Deanjo
    • 7 years ago

    [quote<]My crackpot theory is that the NIC is heating up during the file transfer, causing the SSD to heat up, as well.[/quote<] So have you tried just adding a temp fan blowing through the sandwiched pieces? That should help isolating if it is a heat issue. PS. I've noticed that most of the mPCIe SSD's do run incredibly warm even on a big intel motherboard.

      • Damage
      • 7 years ago

      With the fan pegged at a constant 100% speed, the NUC doesn’t lock during file transfers. The system is kinda noisy in that config, though. I’m still working with Intel on a proper fix. They want me to further disassemble it and check the thermal solution, which is the next step I’ll take.

        • Hattig
        • 7 years ago

        Maybe you could stick something to draw out heat between the two mPCI cards?

        • ludi
        • 7 years ago

        According to Anand’s review of the SATA-form factor Intel 520, there’s a thermal interface pad between the Sandforce controller and the metal chassis. Whether that’s just precautionary or necessary, he didn’t indicate, and I don’t see it mentioned in the TR review for that drive…but I’m wondering if the sample PCIe drive that Intel shipped you had a coverplate removed?

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        [quote<]They want me to further disassemble it and check the thermal solution, which is the next step I'll take.[/quote<] This is something [i<]they[/i<] should be doing.. I hope they pay for your trouble.

    • vargis14
    • 7 years ago

    I have to say it is CUTE 🙂

    As for use the only piratical use would be a HTPC?Media extender. If you already have a home network setup. But the lack of a gigabit connection puts me off bigtime. Wireless just does not handle hi bitrate 1080p blu ray or large MKV streams.

    Sure you could add a usb2 HDD but the interface is so slow! And not using USB3 is just plain stupid at least that would make a external drive have some spunk.

    If it had a USB3 connection and a gigabit ethernet connection it would be much more appealing!!! Plus it would not increase the size if the unit at all!! Who ever designed it without those 2 features is not very bright.

    I still think its cute!

    Edit: anotherengineer beat me to the usb3 gigabit comment. And call it cute! weird:)

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]Wireless just does not handle hi bitrate 1080p blu ray or large MKV streams.[/quote<] 802.11 N has more then enough bandwidth to handle Bluray bitrates assuming you have a good signal. Of course if your wireless connections are saturated with other traffic going on it it may get saturated but in theory, even a cheap 802.11 N 150 mbit/s has enough bandwidth to handle 3 simultaneous steams.

        • cynan
        • 7 years ago

        I think the main issue is that many environments are simply not conducive to hitting theoretical speeds, especially with the cheaper consumer wireless N hardware. Any sort of intermittent interference is apt to cause noticeable hiccups that you probably simply wouldn’t notice while surfing the web, etc.

    • Chrispy_
    • 7 years ago

    Claiming a small box is powerful without having a decent GPU is a false claim:

    Too many things today benefit from proper graphics cards – even if you don’t want to game, GPU’s are now viable and important productivity tools for many people.

    [i<]....and let's face it, a lot of people who want a "more powerful PC" are actually just complaining that their Intel HD graphics suck, without realising the difference between a CPU and a GPU.[/i<]

      • Airmantharp
      • 7 years ago

      It’s powerful right up until you want to run a modern game (at all) or a decent game with better than low settings.

      But that criteria extends only to games. As a computer, it’s quite powerful.

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        I wouldn’t want to do any kind of 3D modelling or CAD without a dGPU these days, and likewise – I don’t really use Photoshop these days but I’ve seen the amazing benefits you get from GPU acceleration from our vis team.

        Outside of software rendering (almost all renderers prefer and run better on a GPU) and movie encoding, what do people actually need CPU power for these days? Is the mass adoption of “good-enough” computing in the form of tablets, netbooks, netbooks, thin-clients and all-in-one PC’s not proof that CPU power is overrated (as well as over-sold and over-marketed by Intel)?

          • NeelyCam
          • 7 years ago

          [quote<]what do people actually need CPU power for these days?[/quote<] Mathematical computations, simulations, Excel and such...

            • Deanjo
            • 7 years ago

            Most people’s spreadsheets are not complex enough to show any appreciable difference.

          • Deanjo
          • 7 years ago

          Depends on the level of CAD you are talking about. Plain old Autocad runs just fine on IGP’s but I wouldn’t want to use Pro/E or Solidworks on one. Another thing where a powerful CPU helps is with virtualization and basically any type analytical software.

          • My Johnson
          • 7 years ago

          I know you need a fast machine to browse the Internet. Javascript and Flash suck down CPU cycles.

          • Darkmage
          • 7 years ago

          You need to narrow down your definition of “people”.

          If you mean “typical American consumer” then they need to 1) check email, 2) run MS Office, 3) surf the web. None of that requires a dGPU. It is debatable if it ever did. Well, maybe in the bad old days of Flash-heavy websites. Hence the development of tablets and netbooks arriving soon after the development of manufacturing processes able to miniaturize basic computing power.

          Ah, but throw a nice complex game in there… and suddenly the need for CPU power becomes manifest. Do you remember playing Civilization II at 200 MHz? Do you remember waiting an eternity whilst the enemy moved behind the scenes? My wife had an HTC Dream (aka, the G1) the first Android phone. It ran at a blistering 535 MHz and it surfed the web at the speed of smell.

          It would seem that basic consumer computing power has a floor of about 1GHz.

          In my line of work, CPU power is what compiles my software, searches my databases and parses my text files. Downstairs, CPU power in massive servers is what allows people much smarter than I to tease out interesting tidbits from massive data clusters.

          People still need CPU power. Just not as many people.

      • Taft12
      • 7 years ago

      “Claiming a small box is powerful without having a decent GPU is a false claim”

      Hilariously, THIS is a false claim! GPUs are only “important productivity tools” for a tiny percentage of PC users. The Intel HD4000 is more than enough for anyone interested in a machine with this form factor.

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        No, that’s different;

        [list<][*<]What you're saying is that most people don't [i<]need[/i<] a powerful system.[/*<][*<]What I'm saying is that this is [i<]not[/i<] a powerful system.[/*<][/list<] Can you see the difference?

      • Kaleid
      • 7 years ago

      Exactly. It should be equipped with a low profile 7750.

        • Airmantharp
        • 7 years ago

        And be larger while using double the power?

        I agree that this thing could use an MXM with a ~50W envelope, but that would increase the size of the enclosure and the PSU, as well as the cooling needs and the noise output. Along with the cost.

        What you’re looking for is something completely different, not just an adjustment.

          • Chrispy_
          • 7 years ago

          Yeah, little boxes like this just can’t hold/cool/power a dGPU with today’s technology.

          What irks me is that the article mentions Intel suggesting that this is the future, in other words, that dGPU’s aren’t part of the future of computing.

          Pretentious name? Check.
          Lack of support for third-party tech? Check.
          Ignorance of huge swathes of the PC market? Check.

          Intel’s vision of the future means we can’t work in CAD or play games. Great. Perhaps they’re just sore that they can’t make a GPU and that the dGPU competition is progressing faster than they can hope to keep up with…. 😛

            • Airmantharp
            • 7 years ago

            dGPU’s really aren’t a major part of the future of computing, if you ask AMD and Intel- to support that, the marketshare of games that use engines not completely derived from console-oriented productions has decreased (that’s number of games x sales), and the power of iGPUs has been increasing steadily and can be expected to continue to do so.

          • Kaleid
          • 7 years ago

          7750 is just about 45w full load. It wouldn’t be hard to deal with.

    • FireGryphon
    • 7 years ago

    This reminds me of the Cappuccino PC back from the Pentium III days. If it’s marketed right this can be a huge success. Car PC, anyone?

    • Hattig
    • 7 years ago

    This appears to lose an awful lot compared to that Mac Mini to get down to $450.

    And in the end, any non-laptop requiring a “65W external brick” isn’t going to do it for me.

    Maybe a version with a low voltage trinity, non-overheating components and a built-in PSU would entice me. I’ll just sit here and wait… and wait… and wait.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 7 years ago

      I was thinking that, too. The 35W CPUs found in the Mac Mini are all much, much faster, and the Mini uses “full sized” 2.5″ drives, which are cheaper to replace when you want something bigger. Not to mention analog audio outputs, more USB (including USB 3.0) and wired ethernet. If anything, the NUC is a testament to how relatively cheap the Mac Mini is compared to its size.

      • Ryhadar
      • 7 years ago

      Didn’t even think of the mac mini, good point. I was thinking more about Zotac’s z-box. Seems to me the NUC in its current iteration lacks way to much just to shave off another inch or so.

      Maybe when thunderbolt peripherals (i.e. hooking up a discrete graphics card to it) are more extensive this would be more impressive.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 7 years ago

        The article made a specific comparison to the Mac Mini that left me scratching my head.

      • Rza79
      • 7 years ago

      I much prefer the Fujitsu Esprimo Q line. Bigger but more usefull in my opinion. It also has been available for more than a year.

      • Deanjo
      • 7 years ago

      I wouldn’t even put the Mac Mini in the same class as this thing. The Mac Mini kills this thing in connect ability and performance. This thing has no ethernet, no USB3, no Firewire, no SD card slot, and only has room for one hard drive. Plus the power supply is internal, it has a much faster processor, and actually looks good.

    • jjj
    • 7 years ago

    lol lets be serious here,that perf for the price in a desktop is just not anywhere close to be worth it.Size matters little for desktops. It is a bit smaller than competing products because they get rid of the HDD (Zotac does have mobile i3 SB based Zbox -using a mobile part is noting new) so there is nothing really new here,except the fact that Intel is trying to steal some revenue from it’s partners ,we’ll see how that one goes and it does show that Intel is a bit desperate.
    The thingy is just a niche product with no real impact on the market now or in the future.

    • albundy
    • 7 years ago

    ” Add Windows Media Center with a wireless remote, and we’d be able to stream recorded programs from the HTPC in our living room—or simply stream shows from Netflix. ”

    wouldnt it just be simpler to run an hdmi cable or wireless hdmi from your htpc to your tv? why would you want a middle man?

      • Arclight
      • 7 years ago

      Why?

      For teh lulz

      • jss21382
      • 7 years ago

      Running an hdmi cable from the living room to the bedroom won’t be acceptable to many spouses.

        • Deanjo
        • 7 years ago

        So upgrade the spouse.

          • ludi
          • 7 years ago

          ERROR: HTTP 503: SERVICE UNAVAILABLE

            • anotherengineer
            • 7 years ago

            or

            ERROR: FTP 666 : insufficient funds

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        Run it inside the wall

      • Jason181
      • 7 years ago

      A wireless remote is just for controlling the pc, just like a remote for your tv. Of course you’d need something to connect the pc to the tv, and hdmi would be the obvious choice, but I don’t think you understood the author.

      • jihadjoe
      • 7 years ago

      So you can play a recorded show on the NUC while your wife watches something else on the HTPC.

        • albundy
        • 7 years ago

        i dont think that’s how marriage works.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 7 years ago

          You’re just holding it wrong.

    • Lianna
    • 7 years ago

    I’d be really, really happy if TechReport could put NUC in the CPU and GPU context of some Brazos (18W) unit; and a quad core VIA ARTiGO A1250. That would mean something useful, e.g. how it compares to e.g. Zotac barebones that are quite a bit cheaper.

    I’m all for the Ultrabox. Or NUKe. I like the compact form factor… but no USB3 in the Next Unit of Computing? Really? Oh yeah, it has Thunderbolt. In one version. But NUC is not a mobile system, so it does not benefit from “just connect TB and power” docking scenario; it would benefit from “where do I connect disk with my camera movies” scenario.

    Ah, it is for digital signage… And the CPU does not support AES extensions? And one of the models lacks GigE? And no separate audio jacks?

    Now, it’s for the kitchen. With the dangling notebook power adapter. And cables to the monitor. And the keyboard/mouse. So of course, it’s for HTPC, with no USB3 nor GigE, nor place for internal high capacity 2.5″ HDD.

    Well, these are not real problems at all. If you have some parts lying around, you can add an audio card, external 2.5″ USB2.0 HDD, DisplayPort adapter… Except that I can buy a Pico/Nano/Mini-ITX barebone (or a complete unit) with GigE, USB3.0, audio, HDD, SSD, etc. and choose a CPU with AES support; and better integrated GPU if I want it; for less. Wait, what was the NUC for, again?

      • Chrispy_
      • 7 years ago

      NUC is for [i<]"NUCklehead who forgot to find a market for this product before announcing it"[/i<].

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]So of course, it's for HTPC, with no USB3 nor GigE, nor place for internal high capacity 2.5" HDD.[/quote<] In my case I would use it for streaming (with GigE, which the non-TB version has). I have server(s) around the house that have the storage. I agree with you on the USB3, though... But I'm wondering if I really [i<]need[/i<] it... I've been meaning to upgrade my HTPC for a while now, and this is pretty close to perfect for my needs. Hmm.. I'll give it a 50:50 chance of me buying it instead of waiting for a Haswell version.

      • chuckula
      • 7 years ago

      [quote<]I'd be really, really happy if TechReport could put NUC in the CPU and GPU context of some Brazos (18W) unit;[/quote<] As anemic as this thing is, it will massively outperform the Brazos box at both CPU and GPU while using less power. The Brazos box at 18 watts certainly beats an Atom, but it is not in the same league as a ULV Ivy Bridge.

    • Geistbar
    • 7 years ago

    Looking at this, I could see their name turning out accurate given a few generations of improvement. It’s still a bit too slow, a bit lacking in external connections (Scott’s assessment aside, I’d still want some form of a straight up audio connection), and would need some way to include a discrete GPU. All of that isn’t so impossible though — Haswell will get closer on the performance, and the arch after it will probably be close enough. More ports (and as others mentioned, bumping USB2 to USB3) would invariably be included by someone else making the unit. The discrete GPU might be a tougher nut to crack, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to do (then we’d need a generation or two to make that comparably fast enough).

    Even before all of that, it looks like a fun system to work with. Anything that isn’t performance bound looks like it’d be well served by it.

    I also had an odd thought towards the end of the article: this is almost more portable than a laptop. Obviously it’s not able to run while being transported, but it looks smaller than my laptop, and with all of the plugs arranged towards the rear it should be easier to unplug all the various odds and ends as well.

    • The Dark One
    • 7 years ago

    You mentioned signage as a possible use, but a device like this feels like overkill. You can use one of those cheap Chinese android-on-a-stick devices and load up a signage app, or just stream 1080p video off your network, for a couple hundred dollars less than what the NUC will cost.

    • Meadows
    • 7 years ago

    I wonder what would happen if I stole Mr Wasson’s twitter pun about “intel going NUCular”.

    In related terms, this product reminds me of Pingu.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      I love Pingu

    • holophrastic
    • 7 years ago

    Still there’s nothing to do with it. As Scott says in this article, it’s about as good as as a desktop from 8 years ago, and a laptop from 5 years ago. So what would you do with a laptop from 5 years ago? Right, a living room video pc, a kitchen pc, and a simple gaming pc. so all of the ways we throw old garbage computers already. Oh, and e-mail for grandma. Another impressive purpose. So it’s not even as good as a 3-year-old gaming console. Next you’re going to say that it’s as good as the four cellphone that could fit into it. whoopie.

    It’s this size and shape instead of a different size and shape. It’s like a 5-year-old laptop is smaller, and has no screen, and fewer ports. It’s a tablet without a screen. it’s the size of a 1980’s cellphone, without the phone. It’s two original game-boys in one.

    Look, it’s a nice size for many things. And if you don’t want to put holes into your wall, double-sided tape, or velcro will hold it up even better than a vesa mount. But I don’t know why you’d need to mount something so small.

    I’ve never understood the concept of this size. It lacks a screen, so I’m not going to carry it around: it has too many component dependencies for me to carry as a tool-set. And anywhere that I could use a basic computer, I can fit a standard slim-factor ATX, like I always could. And anywhere that I’d have a monitor, I have under the monitor and behind the monitor to mount the same slim machine, or a proper laptop. So why would I want something like this?

    Fashion? I’m not into red. Sorry. Make it yellow.

    Oh yeah, and it needs a brick power supply. Thanks for taking the biggest component of any computer, putting it outside the box, and calling the box smaller. Good job. Where’s that brick going to be in my kitchen pc with the water and oil and flour and crumbs and tomato sauce everywhere? Am I going to mount that too?

    • marvelous
    • 7 years ago

    Another video box but the market is flooded with these already.

    • MadManOriginal
    • 7 years ago

    Now you know I like to bash Apple just as much as the next person, but the Mac Mini is a pretty decent little computer for the $600 price. OK, so it’s about 2x as large in the horizontal dimensions, but it’s got a much faster CPU, both GigE and Thunderbolt, USB 3.0, and an optical audio output. You’d need to add an SSD to the $600 price to make it directly comparable to the ~$450 NUC (and end up with a spare 500GB laptop drive), so price/performance wise it is maybe more expensive, and if the NUC is ‘enough’ to do what’s needed, great. But the Mac Mini is one piece of Apple hardware that imo is decent for the price.

    • UberGerbil
    • 7 years ago

    Granted, there’s only so many ways to build such a thing, but this totally looks like the Dell Zino HD’s little brother. Except with a lot more horsepower under the hood.

    • yogibbear
    • 7 years ago

    So Intel going to stomp Zotac out of the market then?

      • UberGerbil
      • 7 years ago

      Intel is trying to get other companies to build these, not go into this market itself. So really it’s validating what Zotac has been doing all along (and indirectly annointing them as a pioneer). Of course, if Intel can goad other manufacturers to get into this market, one of them (or all of them together) could stomp Zotac out of the market, but that doesn’t appear to be Intel’s intent.

    • colinstu12
    • 7 years ago

    Hope intel keeps this platform alive and pumping.

    Haswell should bring some VERY neat things to the table too.

    • anotherengineer
    • 7 years ago

    Cute.

    Give me USB 3.0 plugs, and a DVI-D & HDMI vid jack, and, the gig network port I would probably buy one.

      • NeelyCam
      • 7 years ago

      This. Exactly this.

      I’m hoping that Haswell generation will bring USB3 to this “Ultrabox”

      • EJ257
      • 7 years ago

      How could Intel leave out Gigabit Ethernet?!? Even the Mac Mini has RJ45 and USB3.0.

        • NeelyCam
        • 7 years ago

        They didn’t. The one without Thunderbolt has Gigabit ethernet

          • EJ257
          • 7 years ago

          Is it too much to ask for both. It’s not like there is a shortage of real estate on the back panel there.

    • mightymightyme
    • 7 years ago

    So how soon are these coming to market. I could a couple right now.

      • theadder
      • 7 years ago

      The article says early December.

    • boing
    • 7 years ago

    Kudos to Intel for actually attempting to help you and not just write it off with a “sorry mate, your unit is just dodgy”.

    • TurtlePerson2
    • 7 years ago

    I wouldn’t have thought that you would have to drop settings to get UT 2004 to work. I used to run UT 2004 on computers from 10 years ago that my high school had in its drafting lab. Good times…

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