Portrait of Jacinth
Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional

Setting Up Jacinth

Jim Carter, 2018-01-16


In the Box

Check the box contents and record serial numbers. Try to get the ethernet MAC address so it can be registered with the firewall.

Wonder of wonders, the MAC address (and the serial number) is on a sticker on the bottom of the machine and also on the box.

Beware: This machine has no memory, no disc and no operating system. You will need to obtain your operating system from another source. This of course is simple, inexpensive and legal for Linux.

What's in the box:

The power supply has interchangeable pins. None of them have a grounding pin. For the type letters see the IEC World Plugs website. These pin assemblies are provided:

Assembly Steps

Booting from USB storage: Get into BIOS setup by pressing F2 during boot. On the left side of the start screen is the Boot Order panel. Use your USB mouse; shift from the UEFI to Legacy tab. (OK to use UEFI boot, if the USB stick has this set up.) Double click on whichever device, to boot from it immediately.

Alternatively, press F10 during boot. Use the arrow keys to scroll down to the desired device, and press enter.

BIOS Update

As delivered, the machine has BIOS version 0038 dated 2017-03-10. Not too old, but I should check for recent updates with mitigation for the Meltdown exploit (CVE-2017-5754). How to obtain the latest BIOS version:

BIOS update history:

2017-03-10: BIOS 0038 dated 2017-03-10

This is the BIOS version on the machine when it arrived.

2018-01-13: BIOS 0047 dated 2018-01-08

This is (was) the latest version when the machine arrived. It is believed to have a patch partially mitigating the Meltdown (CVE-2017-5754) and Spectre (CVE-2017-5753, CVE-2017-5715) exploits.

2018-01-31: BIOS 0043 dated 2017-11-23

Oopsie! On two occasions the machine got into a very strange state and had to be rebooted. There are reports that the Meltdown mitigagion patch has been causing weird behavior on a broad range of machines, and Intel has withdrawn recent BIOSes; in particular, 0047 has vanished from the download page. I reverted to 0043. Actually 0045 is the currently latest survivor, but I got confused as to whether it was already on the machine (it wasn't).

Here's a good guide to the present very complicated status of Meltdown/Spectre mitigation: A Clear Guide to Meltdown and Spectre Patches by Jonathan Crowe (latest update 2018-01-29).

BIOS Setup

When you boot, sometimes the video is shown on HDMI, sometimes on VGA, and sometimes on both. I haven't figured out what the logic here is. This is probably why the NUC5i5RYH would sometimes not show the splash screen: it was on VGA, and that machine has no VGA connector. It will still respond to function keys like F2, and it usually shows the BIOS GUI on the active display.

Display Port to HDMI Converter Firmware Update

A small app to update HDMI firmware version to 1.72 for NUC6CAY and 7ixBN. Windows only.

As it happens, I had a disc with Windows on it, for Baobei awaiting installation, so I stuck that in Iris and tried running the patcher. But it requires a HDMI-2.0 device to be attached, and mine is only HDMI-1.0. So I was unable to update the HDMI converter firmware. Hiss, boo! This really holds back using the NUC6CAYH in the home theater role.

Speed Measurements

Speed test on Jimc's benchmark. Columns in the output:

The test was run 3 times and the last one is reported. Actually the test is designed to be reasonably immune to buffer cache effects and scores vary only about 3% between repetitions. Numbers are in kbytes/sec.

SHA512 SHA512*cores Disc read Composite Machine
120848 241696 12003 81531 NUC5i5RYH
200479 400958 4964 127781 NUC7i5BNH
101697 406788 11525 94747 NUC6CAYH

Comparing the 7i5BNH and the 6CAYH, one core of each one, the Core i5 is twice as fast as the Celeron, but if all cores are contributing, the CPU power is just about the same for both. For video playback, the VLC player uses multiple cores if available. The same disc drive was used in all three tests. I believe that when the NUC7i5BNH was tested, its virtual machine was being tested at the same time (hiss, boo!) causing the suspiciously low disc score.

USB Bus Structure on NUC6CAYH

Unlike on the Fit-PC Pro and LP, the NUC has only one USB bus and all of the ports connect to it. This bus is provided with a XHCI (USB-3.0) and a EHCI (USB-2.0) controller. Port usage on Jacinth goes like this:

Portrait of Jacinth