The Intel NUC platform has been around for a while and it's a favourite of mine when someone asks for a good HTPC platform (thinking as a consumer) or an all around desktop platform for business needs (meeting rooms? check, desk worker? check).
Intel worked on an updated version of this small box, bringing the Intel NUC NUC5i5RYH to the market.
First thing I've noticed though was the lack of the Intel sound when opening the cardboard box - that was so cool.
Seriously though, the new Intel NUC brings quite a few additions to the platform. For example four (two in the front, two in the back) USB 3.0 ports including a charging capable one in the front (the yellow USB port). This is not counting the extra two USB 2.0 ports via internal header.
The Intel NUC has a mini HDMI 1.4a port as well as a DisplayPort 1.2 - this one with support to 4K displays, thanks to the built-in Intel HD Graphics 6000. In addition to this video capability these ports both support up to 7.1 surround sound.
You can achieve such high definition not only due to its GPU but also thanks to its support for SSD (you can use either 2.5" SATA3 HDD/SSD or a M.2 Key Type M SSD card) and high speed networking - the Intel NUC supports 10/100/1000 Mbps ethernet and 802.11ac wireless with a built-in (soldered down) Intel Wireless AC 7265 card.
In terms of memory it's no different than previous models, where you have to use DDR3L SODIMM 1.35V memory modules, with a maximum 16GB RAM.
Performance wise, the 5th generation Intel Core i5-5250U processor runs at 1.6GHz but can reach instant 2.7GHz turbo when needed. This gives the box that snap performance feel. When put together you have a box that starts almost instantly and return from sleep at a moments notice - ideal for that HTPC setup in the lounge.
The platform is still small enough (115mm x 111mm x 48.7mm) to fit on most desks or even to hide tucked away behind a display panel, thanks to its VESA mount bracket (included in the box). Thanks to its design the box is quiet enough to be used around your home theatre setup.
The unit I received here came with Windows 8.1 pre-installed - and I love the fact all drivers come from Intel so it's pretty easy to keep up to date. In addition to Windows you will find support for Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Fedora and OpenSUSE.
The black plastic top now come out with a pop and you can easily replace it with custom designs, if you so feel inclined.
You can source the Intel NUC as a kit (where you add your own DDR3L SODIMM 1.35V memory modules and storage) or as a fully assembled device ready to use. Don't expect the size to be an indicative of price though, as a fully assembled Intel NUC-based PC can cost as much as a much bigger desktop computer.