The new Intel NUC D54250WYKH packs the latest 4th generation Intel Core i5 processor and built-in Intel HD 5000 GPU, enough to power a workstation or even your home threatre PC, playing the most demanding HD content.
Comparing with its previous models, the new Intel NUC is just a bit taller, measuring 11.6mm x 112mm x 49.5mm. This makes it extremely portable and able to fit almost anywhere, even behind a TV screen when using the included VESA mount.
The kit comes with built-in 10/100/1000 Mbps ethernet and wireless antenna integrated into the chassis. In my review unit it came with a 802.11a/g/n Intel wireless card as well.
On top of the new generation Intel Core processor, Intel changed its internal design so that users could install a 2.5 inch HDD ir SSD (up to 9.5mm thick), while previous models required the use of a mSATA SSD for internal storage. This means even more options for storage are available to data heavy users who like to record TV shows or download content and don't want or need a separate storage device in the network.
For me a most notable change was the move from HDMI port to Mini HDMI - I now have HDMI, Mini HDMI and Micro HDMI adapter around my HTPC and tablets, which is really not something I look forward to managing.
Two SO-DIMM slots support up to 16GB of low voltage (1.35V) DDR3L memory but home users will probably settle at 4GB seeing these days Windows 8 runs pretty well with this minimum.
Changing its internals means a more cosy design and you need to be careful when fitting your wireless card or SSD. While not difficult at all, you want to make sure when moving the storage plate out of the way you don't break the wireless antenna cable by accident.
Being a reference design means you can happily install Windows 7 or Windows 8 and things will just work (TM) out of the box.
The unit is pretty quiet and air vents make it work pretty cool. Perfect for an entertainment centre device.