Anandtech takes a look at Intel's NUC - Potentially a very small and neat HTPC - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 28 Old 11-11-2012, 03:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Anandtech via Missing Remote. Basically it's a very small chassis, motherboard, and CPU based on Ivy Bridge. Memory, storage, and even the power cord are not included. It looks like it could be a great little HTPC client. Unfortunately it's a little expensive at $300-$320.
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post #2 of 28 Old 11-11-2012, 07:53 PM
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Price is fine.

My experience here has shown me many people are willing to pay way moreover for something small.

It will sell well.

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post #3 of 28 Old 11-11-2012, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

Anandtech via Missing Remote. Basically it's a very small chassis, motherboard, and CPU based on Ivy Bridge. Memory, storage, and even the power cord are not included. It looks like it could be a great little HTPC client. Unfortunately it's a little expensive at $300-$320.

If it was fanless, and had integrated wifi and IR it would be compelling. As it is it's not.

Looky here!
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post #4 of 28 Old 11-11-2012, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by robnix View Post

If it was fanless, and had integrated wifi and IR it would be compelling. As it is it's not.

Although, "Under heavy load the fan will kick in, but it's barely audible from more than 18" away from the chassis". It's hard to tell if that means it will be silent from 8-12 feet away. IR would be nice, although it's so easy to add a USB one.

Edit: Thinking about it more, my Macbook Pro Retina has a 45 watt quad-core i7 and is barely audible sitting in my lap, and the NUC is 17W. Unless that fan is a real piece of crap or cools too aggressively, I think it's reasonable to think it may be completely silent from the couch. Also, what's the lowest watt Ivy Bridge desktop CPU you can buy? Honestly, for a typical HTPC client, lower wattage would be nice. My i3-2100 is already way overkill, as it can decode blu-ray rips without hardware acceleration using only 15-20% CPU.

Personally, while I know many people on this forum like their big noisy and beastly HTPCs that can play Crysis, I'm into more Roku-like HTPCs. I want something as small, quiet, and inconspicuous as possible.
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post #5 of 28 Old 11-11-2012, 11:21 PM
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The lowest Ivy Bridge desktop CPU is a 35W Pentium. The NUC uses ULV models which are usually only used in ultra-portables (ultrabooks and the like)
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post #6 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 03:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnix View Post

If it was fanless, and had integrated wifi and IR it would be compelling. As it is it's not.

Agreed about the fanless part. This is what it should have been:

http://www.habeyusa.com/datasheet/BIS-6922.pdf

And that's with a faster processor and more ports.
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post #7 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 04:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robnix View Post

If it was fanless, and had integrated wifi and IR it would be compelling. As it is it's not.

I disagree with the the fanless and wifi requirements. Wifi is an easy and small addon but really your HTPC should be wired anyway. The lack of integrated IR is a major oversight though.
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post #8 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 04:56 AM
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^+1. I avoid wifi at all costs for HTPC. As for fanless, I've got so many noises in my house a quiet fan is good enough, fanless is not worth much extra as simply a noise reduction measure. The biggest fanless advantage is internal dust buildup reduction, IMO. But everyone has different needs/requirements. Too bad IR is not available on more low end units.
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post #9 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 07:08 AM
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No USB3 or eSATA port. Thunderbolt external drives are few and expensive! No thanks Intel.
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post #10 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 07:47 AM
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Thats what the LAN connection is for. Its a thin client, not meant for handling storage itself.
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post #11 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 07:52 AM
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For a HTPC I don't really care whether its 4"x4" or 6"x6".

Yes an mITX system is a couple of inches bigger all round, but they both fit on the same shelf in my entertainment unit so the size difference to me is irrelevant.

However i know other people have different useage scenarios so maybe this form factor will mean more to them.
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post #12 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nevcairiel View Post

Thats what the LAN connection is for. Its a thin client, not meant for handling storage itself.

But Intel doesn't give you the flexibility to use a cheap USB3 external drive they way other micro systems do like the ASUS, Zotac and Jetway. What if I don't want to have my other PCs on and running as servers for the HTPC?
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post #13 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 10:26 AM
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I like it simply for the fact that it has dual HDMI out (the higher model, anyway). I could care less about the IR. Ideally this box could sit under the tv in the living room, and also be connected to my bedroom TV through the shared wall. Put one IR receiver in the living room, and route the other below the tv in the bedroom.

And since it’s part of a case/mobo/cpu package, there could be a great chance of seeing specific OpenELEC builds for this.

I also think the price is fine.
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post #14 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by GuyLR View Post

But Intel doesn't give you the flexibility to use a cheap USB3 external drive they way other micro systems do like the ASUS, Zotac and Jetway. What if I don't want to have my other PCs on and running as servers for the HTPC?

Its probably not for everyone. From the looks of it Intel isn't really positioning these as mainstream consumer products. More for niche.

Its more and more common for people to have a NAS device on a home network. People that have these might be interested in a powerful thin(ish) client device.

I'll probably pick up one of these and try it booting off iSCSI and local mSata and see how they work. I have some QNAP devices to test. All NAS storage and booting off iSCSI could be interesting.

I don't disagree with having this type of device with USB3 would also be interesting esp with hacking W8 with WMC to a Windows On the Go USB stick.

The omission might be strategic to get people playing with Thunderbolt. It might also be intentional to restrict power usage to the USB2 spec. Who knows. I do look forward to playing with them though...
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post #15 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 12:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuyLR View Post

But Intel doesn't give you the flexibility to use a cheap USB3 external drive they way other micro systems do like the ASUS, Zotac and Jetway. What if I don't want to have my other PCs on and running as servers for the HTPC?

Then what's the point of paying a premium for something cute and small ?

Having some ugly wire mess USB drive hanging off it defeats the purpose. Might as well just make a larger HTPC and move it internal.

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post #16 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Then what's the point of paying a premium for something cute and small ?
Having some ugly wire mess USB drive hanging off it defeats the purpose. Might as well just make a larger HTPC and move it internal.

Maybe Intel feels they should have an answer to a MacMini
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post #17 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 12:43 PM
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I wouldn't hook a USB up to one of these.

It's better to go with internal or network it to another PC for storage.

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post #18 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 01:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

I wouldn't hook a USB up to one of these.
It's better to go with internal or network it to another PC for storage.

But I would if Intel wasn't trying to force TB on me.

Guy
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post #19 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 05:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ljo000 View Post

I disagree with the the fanless and wifi requirements. Wifi is an easy and small addon but really your HTPC should be wired anyway. The lack of integrated IR is a major oversight though.
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Originally Posted by DanPackMan View Post

^+1. I avoid wifi at all costs for HTPC. As for fanless, I've got so many noises in my house a quiet fan is good enough, fanless is not worth much extra as simply a noise reduction measure. The biggest fanless advantage is internal dust buildup reduction, IMO. But everyone has different needs/requirements. Too bad IR is not available on more low end units.

I'm looking at these types of devices for more than just an HTPC. Regardless, even on an HTPC wifi has it's uses. Wired isn't always convenient or something that people can easily install. The extra cost for a combo wireless/BT card would be minimal and would greatly enhance the usability of these devices.

As that tiny little fan collects dust and wears down it'll get noisier and noisier. Yes, you can blow air through it, but considering the way the device is built, you'll have to completely disassemble it to properly clean the fan.

USB3 is a good idea as well.

Looky here!
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post #20 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 05:52 PM
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Originally Posted by GuyLR View Post

But I would if Intel wasn't trying to force TB on me.
Guy

Common sense says thunderbolt is better and will be cheaper in future.

Isn't there a usb3.0 thunderbolt adapter ?

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post #21 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 06:04 PM
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Common sense says thunderbolt is better and will be cheaper in future.
Isn't there a usb3.0 thunderbolt adapter ?

USB is everywhere and for the most part has backward/forward compatibility. Thunderbolt requires new everything or adapters. I smell the next firewire.

Looky here!
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post #22 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 06:08 PM
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Well it has USB 2.0 but yeah 3.0 would have been nice.

I assume they just wanted save cost if USB 3.0 controller.

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post #23 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 06:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Well it has USB 2.0 but yeah 3.0 would have been nice.
I assume they just wanted save cost if USB 3.0 controller.

I guess that's my big problem with the build on this.

Looky here!
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post #24 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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It may be possible there literally wasn't room for a USB 3.0 controller. Compromises are going to have to be made for a board this small. USB 3.0 isn't crucial, and if it's something you need you'll be looking at more conventional mobos.
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post #25 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by lockdown571 View Post

It may be possible there literally wasn't room for a USB 3.0 controller. Compromises are going to have to be made for a board this small. USB 3.0 isn't crucial, and if it's something you need you'll be looking at more conventional mobos.

Even if that's the case, Thunderbolt is even less crucial, yet they found room. They could have also eliminated the internal USB headers, the second HDMI port etc....

Looky here!
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post #26 of 28 Old 11-12-2012, 07:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by robnix View Post

Even if that's the case, Thunderbolt is even less crucial, yet they found room. They could have also eliminated the internal USB headers, the second HDMI port etc....

Since thunderbolt is basically a PCI express port, I'm guessing their logic was that users could add whatever ports they wanted.
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post #27 of 28 Old 11-13-2012, 03:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

Well it has USB 2.0 but yeah 3.0 would have been nice.
I assume they just wanted save cost if USB 3.0 controller.
I thought Intel had integrated a USB3 controller into all their latest CPUs now?
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post #28 of 28 Old 11-13-2012, 06:15 AM
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I thought Intel had integrated a USB3 controller into all their latest CPUs now?

Its part of the chipset, not the CPU, and as such still takes space.
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