Intel, the world's largest processor manufacturer, has always had a big impact on the computer world. After creating the Ultrabook concept to define a new generation of lightweight, thin computers in 2011, the company continues to offer a new direction for PCs with NUC.
From the name NUC (Next Unit of Computing) has shown Intel's ambition. Although the product is primarily intended for partners, Intel NUCs are getting better and more attractive both in design and configuration.
NUC is a complete line of computers with ultra-compact design, introduced by Intel in 2011
After the introduction of the 6th generation Intel Core (Skylake) processor last year, Intel also updated its NUC product line with new processors. The product we reviewed today is codenamed NUC6i3SYH, using an Intel Core i3-6100U processor, provided by An Phat Computer Company with reference price of 7.79 million dong.
The Intel NUC is now available in two forms: a complete version with a licensed Windows operating system such as NUC Rosa or barebone (NUC Kit), including basic components but no RAM or storage drive. and operating system. The NUC6i3SYH in this review is in the second form, allowing users to choose the storage drive and RAM at their disposal.
Its configuration includes Intel Core i3-6200U processor, integrated Intel HD Graphics 520 graphics, 4GB RAM installed and 240GB Kingston HyperX Fury SSD (refer to the detailed configuration at the homepage) Intel). If you add RAM and SSD as this configuration, you will have to spend about 3.5 million more (refer to anphatpc.com.vn). Copyright Windows 10 operating system will cost about 2-3 million more; You can also use old Windows 7 – 8 licenses and upgrade or use Linux – based operating systems to save. After you have added these components, you have a complete machine with a very small size, just about the size of your hand.
One of the attractions of the Intel NUC is its beautiful and sophisticated design, using a combination of "high-end" materials such as metal. Part frame is made of scratched aluminum, details such as heat sink tray, connection port … are very well completed. The top cover is made of glossy, eye-catching plastic but it is easy to stick to fingerprints and scratches easily.
The outer shell of the NUC is a combination of glossy plastic and metal
The size of this computer is only slightly larger than the hand, which can be easily arranged at a desk or bedroom. Intel also has a tray to attach the device to the wall in case the user does not want to put it on the table. Because it is a barebone product, when you buy the device you will have to open it to add RAM and SSD.
Removing this device is very simple
It supports 2 drive slots, M2 and SATA3
2 DDR4 slots use RAM for laptops, supporting up to 32GB capacity
To open the device you still need a screwdriver, but installing SSD and RAM is very simple, almost like changing parts on a laptop. You will have 2 DDR4 SODIMM RAM slots (type of RAM for laptop), support up to 32GB capacity. Supporting both M.2 and SATA3 ports also allows the installation of two storage drives at the same time.
Two USB 3.0 ports on the front (orange port adds charging feature for mobile devices even when the phone is turned off but still plugged in), headphone / mic jack and infrared port and status indicator work
SDXC memory card slot on the left side
A series of USB 3.0 ports, video output, network and power jacks on the back
NUC is fully equipped with "play" ports: 4 USB 3.0 ports (in which 1 port can be used for charging after shutdown), 2 HDMI and Mini DisplayPort ports, Gigabit Ethernet port, card slot SDXC memory on the side and headphone / mic jack on the front. In terms of wireless connectivity, this NUC also has standard WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1. It also has an infrared port on the front, allowing for use with controls.
Complete accessories of the NUC
The device's accessories are not much, only include wall mount and power adapter. It is worth noting that this is the FSP adapter, an OEM company that has a reputation for computer power products. This shows Intel's thoughtfulness, showing its investment in both accessories.
Performance and practical experience
The configuration of the NUC with a Core i3 U processor is equivalent to a laptop costing less than 10 million. Of course, you cannot change the CPU as well as the integrated graphics in the CPU, can actively add more RAM but maybe NUC users need only 4 – 8GB of RAM. The good thing is that you can choose the capacity and type of storage drive to optimize for your needs, for example, mount SSD to M.2 port and HDD to SATA 3 port to optimize both speed and capacity.
The NUC uses Skylake microprocessors that respond well to office and entertainment
With this configuration, NUC is suitable for office work, home use or gentle entertainment; It is impossible to ask for this device to play the majority of new games today, or to handle fast and smooth tasks related to graphics and rendering.
Thanks to many USB ports and card slots, I can connect a lot of devices at the same time
In the actual experience, the NUC with Skylake processor performed very well in the routine of a writer. With 4 USB ports, I can plug in the mouse, keyboard and connect two other storage devices, and the photo has a memory card slot. Thanks to WiFi support, I can easily place NUC anywhere in the office and do not need to connect to the network.
The gaming capability of this machine is not impressive enough to be "playable" with games that do not require high configuration.
The performance of the device is also enough to meet the software, applications I use every day: surfing the web, Office applications and editing and exporting photos with Lightroom or Photoshop. The integrated graphics of the machine are enough to play light games, which do not require high configuration. I can play the Pro Evolution Soccer 2016 game at a resolution of 1280 x 720, the detail level is Medium with a frame of about 50fps in the game, and lower in cut scenes. This is the level of play, but certainly not enough "already" to meet gamers.
Through performance evaluation applications such as 3D Mark and Cinebench R15, the NUC also shows average figures corresponding to the configuration:
Compare Intel NUC6i3SYH performance evaluation results with some other compact computers. Reference: Anandtech
As a computer, NUC also satisfies entertainment needs such as watching movies, listening to music. Configuration of the machine to handle movies in Full HD resolution, HDMI port also supports 7.1 audio output, so it is compatible with the sound system. However, if only for entertainment, Android players now have an advantage, because they support more movies and music streaming services than NUC.
Although the body is very compact, but with the pictures opening the NUC above, we can see the internal space of the machine is open, so the heat dissipation ability of the machine is still good even without the internal cooling fan. . When using the maximum system load feature in AIDA64 software, after 10 minutes, the average CPU temperature is only 76 degrees C. When touching the machine on the top and sides, I only feel the machine warm, not hot. With processors for laptops and SSDs, this machine is also more energy efficient than an equivalent desktop computer.
Who is NUC for?
In an age when equipment needs become more compact, the NUC is a computer that captures the right needs: beautiful design, compact and efficient enough. These are also key points that help NUC replace desktop computers for users who don't have high performance requirements. So NUC is suitable for office users, where the work space is very valuable or can also become a home computer, meeting the job, entertaining gently and saving electricity.
If you are not satisfied with the performance of the Core i3 CPU version, you can consider the Core i5-6200U (NUC6I5SYH) version for 10.25 million. Due to the use of Intel Iris 540 graphics, this version's graphics performance and processing are significantly better. In addition to Intel, manufacturer Zotac also has many compact computer products for 6 million or more, including high-performance machines that can handle heavy games like MAGNUS Z950 ZBOX ZBOX. Anyway, if you want to search for a machine with the highest performance, you should consult and build yourself a satisfactory configuration.
+ Beautiful design, compact
+ Fully equipped with communication port and wireless connection
+ Can install 2 hard drives
+ Cool operation
– With NUC Kit version needing more RAM, hard drive can work
– Performance is only enough to meet basic needs