Introduction and Specifications

DESPITE BEING BRANDED as the Next Unit of Computing, Intel’s NUC wasn’t actually a new idea. It simply formalized an approach other PC makers had been taking for years: squeezing lower-power notebook chips into tiny chassis that make even Mini-ITX rigs look morbidly obese. Some horsepower and expansion are inevitably lost versus small-form-factor desktops, but modern mobile chips are fast enough—and integrated enough—to let palm-sized PCs deliver a good experience for most common computing tasks.

The last NUC to pass through our labs was a slim Broadwell unit that wraps a 15W Core i5 processor in a palm-sized package just 1.4″ thick. Today, we’re taking a closer look at its big brother, the NUC5i7RYH. This model expands the formula slightly to accommodate not only additional storage, but also a beefier Core i7 with a 28W TDP. Those perks make the machine a more well-rounded proposition than its predecessor—and a potentially better fit for a wider range of applications.

Although this NUC shares the 4.5″ x 4.4″ footprint of its sibling, the case is 0.5″ taller. This growth spurt provides a little more breathing room without compromising the system’s compact credentials.

Apart from a couple stickers on the front, the external design is unchanged. The muted aesthetic should blend into most environments, but it’s a little short on style. I’m not a fan of the glossy plastic lid, either. The shiny surface shows fingerprints and smudges, and more worryingly, it scratches very easily.

To Intel’s credit, the lids are designed to be replaceable. In fact, the lid specifications are freely available online, so folks with 3D printers can make their own. We’ve even seen lid prototypes loaded with NFC and TV tuning hardware, though I don’t believe either has made it to market just yet.

Processor

  • Intel 5th Generation Core i5-5557U (3.1 GHz up to 3.4 GHz Turbo, Dual Core , 3 MB Cache, 28W TDP)

Memory

  • Dual-channel DDR3L SODIMMs
  • 1.35V, 1333/1600 MHz, 16GB maximum

Graphics

  • Intel Iris Graphics 6100
  • 1 x mini HDMI 1.4a
  • 1 x mini DisplayPort 1.2

Audio

  • Up to 7.1 surround audio via Mini HDMI and Mini DisplayPort
  • Headphone/Microphone jack on the front panel

Additional Features

  • Support for user-replaceable 3rd party lids
  • NFC and AUX_PWR headers
  • OS certs: Windows 8 & 8.1 Logo
  • VESA mount bracket and mounting hole support
  • Low-acoustics active cooling design
  • Kensington lock support
  • Integration Guide
  • 12-19V DC Power Input
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