Intel Core i3 3217U 1.8GHz
Chassis Dimension: 4.59" x 4.41" x 1.55"
Board Size: 4" x 4"
RAM: 8GB DDR3 1600
mSATA SSD: Crucial 64GB SATAIII
OS for testing: Win7 x64 Professional
The Intel NUC (Next Unit of Computing) is an almost square 4.5" x 1.5" little box. Very unassuming at first glance (I still have the protective film on the top of the unit). One thing that is neat about the build is the box --- it slides open and when you open it you hear a "dum......dum dum dum dum" jingle that we all know is Intel's. Yes --- the box plays music just like one of those greeting cards.
On the front you can see a single USB 2.0 port. The power and HDD activity LEDs are on the top front left corner.
On the rear of the unit from left to right is the power connection, two USB 2.0 ports (my RF dongle is in the right one), dual HDMI out, and gigabit LAN. The mesh area above is for the fan that is actually on the underside of the motherboard where the CPU is housed. There is a very small (and almost completely silent) fan located here that softly blows air out the back of the case.
Underneath the case you can see the four screws that keep the case together. Opening it is as simple as turning each screw counterclockwise. There also is a VESA mount that comes with the NUC making it easy to mount to the back of a TV, for example.
Once open you can see a few of the parts (there aren't many). On the top you can see my single 8GB stick of RAM. You can use two. One the bottom you can see the 64GB mSATA SSD. Under the mSATA SSD you also can use a wireless networking card if needed. The mSATA and wireless card share the same interface with one being on top of the other. That's really all there is to see inside. (Not pictured is the underside of the board where the CPU and small fan reside)
Here you can see the NUC powered up. A blue LED power and blue LED HDD activity light let you know that its on.
The power cord that is needed (the adapter comes with the NUC. But the parts that plugs into the wall does not. This allows the NUC to be easily sold all over the world requiring you to just use whatever cord is applicable).
I have only done limited testing but let me tell you my first impressions:
Build quality: Excellent.
Noise: Almost inaudible except when my ear is right next to the unit. I had it in my bedroom on a shelf and my wife never even knew it was there.
Speed: Plenty for HTPC use.
Ease of setup: Relatively easy once I found it on Intel's website for driver downloads.
Media playback: Tested a few files in MPC-HC and it was fluid and crisp. 23.973 fps.
Cons: So far the use of USB2.0 over 3.0 is the one glaring omission.
More testing soon...