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June 6th 2014 10:55 am

How would you change Intel’s Next Unit of Computing?

What is Intel’s Next Unit of Computing? It’s far too bulky to be an Intel-hewn alternative to the Raspberry Pi or Arduino, nor is it powerful enough to be designed to replace a low-powered desktop. Sitting awkwardly between the two, we imagine that plenty of you bought one of these for curiosity’s sake, but have you used it? What projects did it fit into, and how easy was it to use? Share your experiences here, you're amongst friends.

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61 replies

I like it - sounds like a much smaller version of Cooler Master's HAF Stacker idea.
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I'd like to see modular SFF chassis specifically designed for average consumers.
Vast majority of pc users know how to put in battery, connect AC and turn on the computer.
However, most people interested in NUC are pc builders as it's a barebone and not a finished product.
If Intel could R&D NUC further like Google's project ara, a lot more people will be interested in customizing their own pc for home, work, etc.

For example, the chassis can have one basic slot dedicated for
CPU RAM Motherboard + Cooling, which can all be upgraded.
Also include expansion slots similar to current pc motherboard, i.e. PCI-Express.
Now one Thunderbolt port will suffice multiple low bandwidth devices by daisy-chaining internally, which will free up PCI-e slots for GPU even SLi Crossfire for enthusiasts.
Rather than opening up the case with screws, new modules can be installed easily
by sliding in to click with the chassis.

Module Sizes
  • mini pcie (extra long for m.2 ssd and wifi + bluetooth)
  • 2.5" SATA storage (laptop hdd/ssd or slimslot disc drive)
  • MXM mobile graphics card (heatsink pre-assembled)
  • new size for extra fans, speakers, controllers, pro audio, card reader, etc
Key difference from barebone is that all modules can be installed whichever slots
as long as it fits and only requiring simple push in like ExpressCard in laptops.
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What do you mean not powerful enough to replace a low end computer? That is flat out false. I have one built here, and I would say it sits firmly at the top of mid range. Mine is loaded with 16 GB RAM and one of the fastest SSDs on the market.

In any case, to answer the actual question.... An eSata port is all I think it needs. Then I could connect my RAID system to one and use it for my main computer also.
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Firstly, I love the box. If you have one, then you know what I mean.

Secondly, these are fantastic. Very easy to setup.
I set one up for a customer 3 months ago, and the thing boots so fast, you don't see the 4 windows colors that make up the windows 7 flag logo actually touch. (They swirl around before coming together, but then the system turns on the windows7 desktop, and you never see that actual flag.)

Very easy to build one of these with 16GB RAM, and decent storage. (I have been using Intel 240GB SSD's, but will build my next with Samsung, 500GB or 1TB available.)

I love that they come with a VESA mounting bracket. Doubles as a wall-mount if you really need it out of the way somewhere.

These things are basically awesome.
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Just fitting one of these in my parents house because they don't have a lot of room for computers, they love it and find it a great improvement of the Mini-itx builds I used to make for them.
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I really like the NUC, especially their latest version with the USB 3.0 and the i5 processor. It does great outputting 4K through the HDMI 1.4a port, albeit at 30hz. I wish they would upgrade it to use HDMI 2.0 and they would also add a second NIC port. Otherwise we use these all over the place for our customers as their footprint is small and no moving parts are great. I know it has DisplayPort for outputting 4K but big screen TVs don't have DisplayPort so we need HDMI 2.0 or they need to start making affordable TVs with DisplayPort.
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I'd like to see a version with the 8-core C2750 in it, this would be a great little virtualization lab.
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I bought one to attached to a lobby monitor and play slideshows for incoming visitors. Works just fine for that.
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Not necessarily under powered. But these things are way overpriced for a bare bone system that requires an additional $250 spending on top.

You can't compare a Raspberry Pi to this! But you CAN compare a ARM box or some other sub $200 box since they can run just about the same applications most people want / need these days. HTPC - XBMC, Android, ChromeOS, SteamOS (soon), or some Desktop variant.

The cost is clearly prohibitive and Intel will not even begin to compete in the compact PC market unless it looks at remodelling its prices to be more in-line with other products competing.

Heck, I am looking for a HTPC for my TV and I can fulfil my requirements with a ~$250 budget. I'm not prepared to spend more if I don't need to.
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I recently (a few months ago) purchased a Bay Trail NUC. It's running Arch Linux (with Gnome 3.12) and I use it as my development platform (even compiling, synthesizing and simulating VHDL). It is perfectly adequate however lags slightly on the desktop graphics-wise. This will improve however when Wayland is more stable (I tried out the current development version of Wayland and the NUC handled the desktop quickly and smoothly). I compile the occasional Linux kernel and it's slow as expected but for my usual development it works fine. It boots up in seconds and shuts down/suspends almost instantly.
I'm very happy with my NUC and I especially like how silent it is.
I would however recommend the Haswell Core-based NUCs over the Bay Trail ones if one has slightly more money to splurge. They certainly handle everything that is thrown at them - and basic gaming too!
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I love the concept.
We use it at work to handle information boards, I use it at home for xbmc.
But my prefered concept is a simple pfsense for heavy firewalling/DPI at home.
So my main grief with the NUC is that there is not a 2 (or more :p) NIC version! We just have to stick with vlan.
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