Intel NUC8i5 experience: a more powerful mini host than you think

About half a month ago, the laptop that accompanied me for 5 years went on strike, which made me need to buy a working machine.

After comparing for about a day, considering that I need to carry my computer to and from work all day, but there is no need to use it outdoors. I finally chose the Intel NUC8i5 High Edition, codenamed "Bean Canyon", which is a version that can install a 2.5-inch hard drive and uses an eighth-generation Core i5 processor.

If you are familiar with the mini-host market, you should know about NUC, which is a barebones product from Intel. It includes the motherboard, CPU, power supply, and case, and users can install memory and solid state drives according to their needs.

After about two weeks of use, here are my thoughts on this product.

Appearance and assembly

Appearance: unexpectedly small

According to official parameters, the size of this product is 11.7×11.2×5.1cm. At present, the smaller A4 case size of ITX products is about 34x17x22cm, which is about 19 times that of NUC8i5.

If you feel that the parameters are not intuitive, the following is the volume comparison of this NUC8i5 and Xiaomi 8. I believe that you can feel how small this product is.

Under such a compact body, the interface of Intel NUC8i5 has not compromised at all. Two USB 3.1 Gen2 (10G) Type-A ports are provided on the front and back, and the yellow port on the front also supports shutdown charging.

In addition, the NUC8i5 also has an HDMI 2.0a, wired network, power supply and Thunderbolt 3 interface on the back. Among them, Thunderbolt 3 is compatible with USB Gen2 and DP 1.2, but cannot charge the machine. Instead, it uses a separate 5.5mm DC circular power port.

The front panel provides a headphone / microphone combo interface, an infrared sensor, a hard disk status indicator, and a power-on button with an integrated power indicator. The disadvantage is that the microSD card reader is provided on the side. It would be much better if it could directly read the SD card.

The above configuration makes Intel NUC8i5's scalability not to lose many high-end and high-end notebooks. Although it uses an external power supply, but because it is small enough, it can share a set of power with the notebooks I have previously struck. Not expensive).

With chargers and peripherals at home and work, it's even more portable than many laptops.

There are only 4 screws on the outside of the Intel NUC8i5 body, which are hidden under the non-slip mat. Compared with its predecessor, its casing has been shrunk to plastic, but the overall look is still very delicate, and this also comes at a lower price.

Assembly: Maybe the installed machine can be easily completed

My choice is two 8GB DDR4-2666 memory (the system can only recognize DDR4-2400, but the price of the two is the same, the following calculation is based on DDR4-2400) and two 1TB solid state drives.

The former considers that the performance of NUC8i5 is still relatively limited, and 32GB of memory may be a bit wasted. In order to make the core display fully perform, dual-channel memory is selected. The latter is for the installation of black apples, but in order to prevent lawyers from writing letters, I will not go into details about this part here.

After I got it, although I didn't install NUC, I completed the whole assembly of the product in about 15 minutes.

After unscrewing the screws inside the base and disconnecting the two connecting wires, you can directly remove the base. Next, you only need to install the memory and M.2 solid state on the machine, and then install the SATA solid state on the lower hard disk tray, and then you can directly replace it.

It can be said that this is one of the best installed computers I have ever used, and it is even simpler than many laptops with the same system. I think that even if you have no experience in installing a computer, you can smoothly assemble this machine just by looking at the manual a little.

Performance and experience

The Intel NUC8i5 is equipped with an i5-8259U processor and a quad-core eight-thread design. The overall performance is similar to the desktop i3-8100, which is also the eighth-generation Core.

At the same time, Intel added Iris Plus 655 core display to this processor, which solved the problem of insufficient performance of UHD core display.

According to my actual experience, with the support of 16GB DDR4-2400 memory, this computer can run "League of Legends" at 1080P resolution with a frame rate of about 90-100 and the highest quality. After reducing the resolution to 720P, you can also run Microsoft ’s recently launched "August: Elves and Fire Will".

The fan will make a certain noise when running the game. I think it is more obvious in a quiet environment, but it will not be noticed at all in the office or wearing headphones.

In daily office, when running QQ, WeChat, QQ Music and other software in the background, I open 3 Word documents, use PS to process 8 Raw images at the same time, and open 5 web pages in the new version of Microsoft Edge browser. Caton.

In addition, it can be used for simple PR editing, of course, AE and complex effects should not be difficult for it.

As for the external graphics card through Thunderbolt 3, I can only say that I have this plan now, but I haven't saved enough money.

As mentioned earlier, I need to use this computer at home and work. My plan is to leave a power supply, keyboard, monitor, and splitter in these two places. The splitter is connected to HDMI, keyboard, and network cables, and can also be used as an SD card reader. The mouse receiver is always plugged into the rear USB interface.

So I only need to plug two plugs before using it, and just unplug them when I leave, I think it is very convenient.

Summary: Small and portable, unexpected

After half a month of use, I think the body of this NUC8i5 is very small. Although the whole machine still has some weight, it is also completely portable. Of course, this is my original intention to buy it.

In a small body, the performance and scalability of this computer were completely unexpected. It can not only meet my daily office needs, but also play some mainstream games in my free time.

With the support of four USB 3.1 Gen2 Type-A, a Thunderbolt 3 interface compatible with DP 1.2 and USB 3.1 Gen2, wired network, card reader and HDMI, I believe that the scalability of NUC8i5 can already meet the needs of most people.

The current self-operating price of this product is 2999 yuan (USD $428) , and the price of many three-party stores is still around 2299 yuan (USD $328) . The price of 16GB DDR4 memory is about 500 yuan (USD $71) , and the hard disk can be selected according to your needs.

If you have a 2.5-inch hard drive available, or only install a 1TB solid state, the overall cost of the machine is about 3000-3700 yuan (USD $429) . Leaving aside it may be the cheapest Thunderbolt 3 host at present. Even if it is only portable and performance, if you need to carry your computer every day and do not need to use it outdoors, this price is still very cost-effective.

It should be noted that Intel has announced that it will discontinue production of this product. The new NUC8 Lite uses a fanless design, which not only lowers the upper limit of the processor power consumption, but also changes the nuclear display to UHD.

Although the previously launched NUC10 has relatively strong CPU performance, the higher price and the same UHD core display make it relatively low cost-effective, unless you already have a set of external graphics cards.