1. 24
  1.  

  2. 7

    I’ve recently got a NUC8i5BEK. Great machines, small, very powerful for their size, very free software friendly. I’ve been using a 7th gen one for two years as my main desktop before that. Not missing my old Mac Mini that it replaced at all.

    However, I have a big problem with the 10th generation and their direction. All 10th generation NUCs come with the Comet Lake CPUs that in turn come with UHD 620 instead of for a GPU. That is the reason I went for an 8th gen for my upgrade—I thought I’d better grab one while they are around. Iris 6xx is a very reasonable GPU for what it is, you can do a bit of video rendering or play an occasional 3D game.

    UHD620 is way worse than Iris, and their “gaming” NUCs with dicrete GPUs is an entirely different class in terms of power consumption and thermal profile. I also have no idea what gamer would go for a machine with GPU soldered on. So, I’ll wait for the post-10th gen and see, or switch to something else, if I find what to switch to.

    1. 3

      problem with the 10th generation and their direction

      Doesn’t seem like an intentional direction. It’s just that Comet Lake is sort of a weird stopgap “fake 10th generation” they don’t really care about. Arse Ice Lake — the 10nm 10th generation — will have “Iris Plus” branded (higher than GT2 tier) GPUs. When 10nm stops being vaporware.

      1. 1

        Wait, I thought they are already shipping Ice Lake chips, just not making NUCs with them. Am I wrong?

        1. 1

          Yeah, barely. Looks like there are some laptop chips now that ended up in the XPS 13, Surface Laptop 3 and a few others. I’m not surprised that laptop OEMs have priority over NUCs..

          1. 1

            And high-volume: the 2020 MacBook Air.

            1. 1

              13” MBP and MS Surface Book 3 too. The main problem with Ice Lake is it tops out at 4 cores to maximise yield.

              1. 2

                13” MBP

                Thanks, forgot about that! But not the baseline models, which still use an 8th gen CPU (and is basically the previous MBP iteration with the fixed keyboard).

      2. 2

        I have had a NUC8i5BEH for over a year. And I love it! All the hardware (that I use, haven’t tested Bluetooth) works out-of-the-box on NixOS and suspend-resume works great. I looked this year whether it would be interesting to purchase a new NUC and also found that the 10th generation was a step back.

        The only thing I’d have wished for are more USB-C ports (I use the single USB-C port for DisplayPort).

      3. 1

        Intel AC 9462 not supported

        Is that iwx by any chance? (Intel’s Wi-Fi branding is getting super confusing now)

        Thunderbolt N/A I have no idea what the implications of this are or how to test

        We don’t have anything for controlling it when the system is running, but I think firmware is supposed to configure it at boot, so a PCIe device (e.g. eGPU) could work when cold-plugged?

        1. 1

          Yes, I think it is iwx.

          Yeah that is what I thought. Someone told me that networking over thunderbolt is possible (the way it was over firewire), but I don’t think we have support.

          I don’t have anything like an eGPU so there is no way for me to test.

        2. 1

          I’m totally wierded out that I have never heard about NUCs until a few months ago, although they have existed for years, apparently. Since I have recently moving back from a laptop-orienter workflow to a desktop (but for technical and health/posture reasons), I have found NUCs quite interesting, and it’s great to see that free software works well on them – to a certain degree.

          And I’m glad to finally see a “review” from a developers perspective. Most of what I found until now was “Not good enough for games” and “Great for Office Work”, especially this part:

          that isn’t the fastest in the world, but it is about an 1:15 faster than my x270 with its 2015 i5-6300U. The difference 5ish years makes.

          I have a x230 from 2012 with a i5-3320MT, so the difference would be even more noticeable.

          On that note, is there any real-world difference between the fat-NUC with the extra HDD space and the thin one? Like is one louder or warmer?

          1. 1

            On that note, is there any real-world difference between the fat-NUC with the extra HDD space and the thin one? Like is one louder or warmer?

            I’ve used both types. There may be slight differences but I didn’t notice any. I think it comes down to whether you to be able to fit a 2.5” drive (a major convenience which is worth the extra height IMO).

            1. 1

              So I guess that if you have an external hard-drive, the difference is negligible.

              1. 2

                Note that both variants also have an M.2 slot with PCIe X4 lanes. I have a BEH and initially used a 2.5” SATA SSD that I had lying around already. Later I replaced it with an NVMe SSD.

                When I got the NUC, the price difference between the BEH and BEK was really small, so you may want to get a BEH for the extra expansion option.

                1. 1

                  having an external hard-drive doesn’t necessarily mean you have no use for an internal 2.5” drive. but if you aren’t using the internal drive then yes.

                  1. 1

                    The only difference between is the enclosure size. One has room for a 2.5 HD, the other doesn’t. The board is exactly the same for both variants, so the “short” variant still has a SATA port, just no room for anything to plug into it.

                    I tried to find the tall one but then thought with current SSD prices and reliability I can go with a 500GB SSD and just bought the short one that was in stock.

                2. 1

                  Glad to hear it helped. It is remarkably hard to find good comparisions for build workloads, CPU bench marks do help though. If I look at my build machine Xeons, laptops and this NUC on passmark the realitive single core performances do compare reasonably well.

                3. 1

                  This is tangential, but thanks for the warning about the fan. I wonder if the last few generations of NUCs all have a fan that loud.

                  1. 1

                    I wonder if it’s possible to replace the stock fan with something more quiet? Or maybe an enclosure like this one: http://www.akasa.com.tw/update.php?tpl=product/product.detail.tpl&no=181&type=Fanless%20Chassis&type_sub=Fanless%20NUC&model=A-NUC45-M1B

                    1. 1
                  2. 1

                    Wow.

                    Now I’m considering changing my laptop to this. I don’t use it on the go, just at home or my parents home and i have a monitor in each place and i’m just tired of dealing with nvidia optimus and not being able to use wayland.