Reqirements for the new machine:
It's supposed to be a drop-in replacement for the old Diamond. This means:
We prefer products sold by and shipped from Amazon, because of their generally fair and competent shipping and return policies. Other vendors may be slightly less expensive but the extra cost is worth it, we think.
8Gb RAM is the targeted size, but there is a speed advantage to having two sticks, i.e. 2x4Gb.
The existing monitor and keyboard will be used. We have a wireless mouse with a proprietary protocol, which is getting old, and would like to get the Bluetooth mouse working (we already have it).
Intel NUC variants currently on Amazon (2017-10-05). Filtered for
Intel NUC, sold by and ships from Amazon (not affiliates).
Unless otherwise noted, these have 2x USB-3.0 type A female ports on the
front (one is configured for
charging and has power in S5 i.e. when
machine power is off), and 2 more on the back, and a 4 wire audio+mic jack
in front. More back ports: power, HDMI (full size), RJ45, Thunderbolt-3,
micro-SDXC slot on the side. DisplayPort-1.2 via USB type C port (actually
you use the Thunderbolt port with an adapter).
RAM 32Gb addressing limit (RAM is normally not included). Where "BOX"
is included in the part number, this is omitted in the list below.
NUC7i7BNH Core i7-7567U @4.0GHz, $479.99. BNK not on Amazon. HDMI and DisplayPort. First on Amazon: 2016-12-22.
NUC7i5BNH Core i5-7260U @3.4GHz, $373.17. M.2 slot for SSD, BNK has no 2.5in drive bay; BNH has drive bay. First on Amazon: 2016-12-22.
NUC7i3BNH Core i3-7100U @2.4GHz. $282. First on Amazon: 2016-12-22. Has 2.5in drive bay; BNK (no drive bay) also available.
NUC5CPYH, 8Gb RAM (included?), Celeron (Braswell) N3050 2.16GHz. $130. Fan cooled, space for a 2.5in drive. First on Amazon 2015-05-25.
Various NUC6's and NUC5's. I think I'm going to bypass these.
Summary: in December 2016 the latest NUC product line came out; this is the NUC7 series. Unless I see any negatives, I think I should stick with this recent product line and not get the previous generation. Amazon has the variants with Intel Core i3,5,7 CPUs. I have been pleased with my NUC5i5RYH (Iris), so I'm tentatively picking the i5 variant.
On this family of machines, people seem to use M.2 SSDs, which will fit in
either case style. One person says he is using the Samsung 960 EVO 250Gb PCIe
NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD (MZ-V6E250BW); several mention the Samsung product line
but are not so explicit about which one they have. But to meet the
I'm going to get the BNH chassis style with space for a 2.5in laptop drive
(9.5mm high), and a new 500Mb rotating disc. The old disc is not showing
signs of flakiness, but let's not tempt fate.
There is a speed advantage to having two memory sticks so it can interleave access. I think 8Gb will be plenty, i.e. 2x4Gb.
There is an offer of
Optane memory, 16Gb. This is a disc cache on
steroids, implemented (I guess) in BIOS, and it fits in the M.2 slot. I think
this is not going to be useful for me. Linux uses system RAM in an equivalent
manner out of the box, and I assume that modern Windows does something similar.
(Some people ask, does this replace or supplement regular RAM? No, you need
to get normal RAM.)
Specifications of the BOX NUC7I5BNH:
Customer Infraredfor a remote control.
Tidbit: On the SDXC slot, UHS-I refers to an
Ultra High Speed bus
up to 104MB/sec (bytes). The card is backward compatible to slower slots.
Speed class U-1 is 10MB/sec for sequential writing. This is similar but not
identical to SDHC speed class 10.
Review of NUC7i5BNH/K by Olli (2017-05-14). He describes it mostly consistent with the product page. Warning, there is a flaw in the MegaChips MCDP2800 LSPCon firmware; version 1.66 has the fix. It messes up bitstreaming HD audio over HDMI. See link for a patcher, Windows only, HDMI-2.0 device must be connected when you run it.
Windows-10 installation was no problem. Ethernet driver was up to date out of the box but the display and Wi-fi drivers needed an update from Intel's site (see link). I believe this did not interfere with installation. Benchmark results (a 1920x1080px). I'm reporting in order the NUC7i5BNH, the NUC7i7BNH, and the NUC5i7RNH (close to my Iris).
Cinebench R15 CPU: frames/sec, multi core, 373 - 482 - 355. Single core, 142 - 159 - 139. The Core i7 is 12%-15% faster; it is similarly faster than the gen5 Core i7.
Cinebench R15 OpenGL: frames/sec, 65 - 77 - 39.
There were several other gaming and generic benchmarks, which were generally consistent: the Core i7 version is around 15% faster, and the gen5 Core i7 is around 15% slower. Iris is a gen5 Core i5, so let's say around 30% faster than Iris (which is no slug).
He measured fan noise. With default settings it's not exactly silent.
But if you change it to
quiet in the BIOS, it shuts up when doing
low intensity tasks.
His power measurements: Win10 idle on the desktop: 13.6W (oink). Video playback, 10bit HEVC, 4k (screen size?): 19.2W. Two CPU benchmarks: 48.1W and 45.4W.
Intel BOXNUC7I5BNH, $373.17, SBSF Amazon.
Samsung 960 EVO Series - 250GB PCIe NVMe - M.2 Internal SSD
(MZ-V6E250BW), $117.60, SBSF Amazon. Also available: 500Gb and
1Tb at proportionally higher price. Size: 22x80mm. Sequential read
up to 3.2e9 byte/sec, sequential write 1.9e9 byte/sec. 3 year
warranty. On Windows, need to upgrade the NVMe driver, download from
Samsung's site. Also run the Samsung Magician software and check for
firmware upgrades. Also make sure AHCI and Trim are enabled.
Crucial 16GB Kit (8GBx2) DDR4 2133 MT/s (PC4-17000) DR x8 SODIMM 260-Pin Memory - CT2K8G4SFD8213 $133.89. SBSF Amazon. These are dual rank chips. Watch the price lest they switch vendors on you.
Moread Gold-Plated HDMI to VGA Adapter (Male to Female) . $7.99, sold by MoreadDirect and fulfilled by Amazon. A reviewer notes that it gets warm; how much power is it drawing from HDMI?
Total for items: $647.64
It's interesting to compare prices. The Dimension E520, with an Intel
Core 2 Duo E6300 @1.86GHz, cost $948. The
Intense PC (including RAM
and disc, which are sold separately) cost $931.