Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

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Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Postby Apoptosis » Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:24 am

Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Today we are looking at the Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC)! This desktop PC uses uses a tiny form factor that measures just 4”×4”×2” and still managed to pack a mean punch thanks to the Third Generation Intel Core i3 'Ivy Bridge' processor inside. Read on to see how this system is assembled and performs after we install Windows 8 on it! Is the NUC the future of computing?

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I was able to get the Intel NUC fully assembled and installed Windows 8 in well under 30 minutes. Everything flowed together nicely and this DIY system was easy and fun to put together. The Intel NUC isn't designed to replace everyone's desktop PC, but it has enough performance to satisfy the needs of the average PC user. Having an entire PC in a 4" x 4" x 2" cube is pretty darn impressive and it allows you to...



Article Title: Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8
Article URL: http://www.legitreviews.com/article/2083/1/
Pricing At Time of Print: $320 for the barebones kit
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Re: Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Postby sbohdan » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:23 am

Hm, This NUC is a joke. My 5 year old Dell laptop has the same performance figures (with the T9500 CPU and SSD drive) and any new average laptop can do better than that. Hell, my Acer Netbook is pretty close to this performance (bougt it slightly used for $200) after changing the HDD to SSD.
Frankly, I can't see why would anyone want this piece of crap? Laptops are not bigger (just different shape) and have more performance, have USB 3.0 (high performance USB2.0 - I hope that was a joke?), have DVD or a Bluray writers in them and are more upgradeable (the CPU isn't soldered to the MB and new laptops can take 1866Mhz DDR3 memory). Laptops also have a keyboard and a monitor as well and all new lappies have USB3.0 in them. Oh and you can just take them with you and use it anywhere - the NUC can also be taken with you, but how about the monitor, keyboard, mouse etc? This is a useless gadget in my opinion ](*,)
The review is nice as allways Nate - at least we know what NOT to buy :finga:
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Re: Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Postby INeedAFnSuffix » Sun Nov 25, 2012 11:41 am

I think what they want to do is to fill in the niche slot for mini computing aka Mac Mini!
Sadly they should have made it slightly bigger and fit in a normal harddisk and that will really bring prices down, it's not like you'd want a SSD with a ULV processor anyway

In terms of thermal performance i bet they can do a million times better than Apple though, look at the vents on the mac! That for a i5-3210M? I'll bet it's running HOT
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Re: Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Postby Apoptosis » Sun Nov 25, 2012 2:08 pm

sbohdan & INeedAFnSuffix -

I agree with both of your comments, but as Intel shifts to BGA solutions for desktop platforms I think you'll see better options. For a start this isn't bad. Like I noted in the review 70% of the cost of the barebones kit was the processor, which is pretty crazy.

The next generation NUC doesn't need a PCH (when Haswell arrives), so that opens up a ton of real estate on the PCB for additional features. I also very much agree with the fact that the chassis and the board needs to support a 2.5" hard drive. I think that is something we will see with the next version when Haswell comes out. It will free up room on the PCB for those components. As it sits the NUC is impressive in the sense of what you can do in such a small footprint and for such low energy numbers.

That said, if the price on this unit was sliced in half I think your thoughts on it would be different. I think prices will come down drastically once they make several million of these. I see no reason why it can't be in the $199 range instead of the $300-$320 range by next year. Pricing will adjust properly as time goes on and with more CPU options.

As with any brand new product and form factor... uCFF needs to find some legs to stand on. I think Intel has proven it can be done, but the price needs to come down.
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Re: Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Postby Athlonite » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:23 pm

I see one small problem with the case on the NUC it has an exhaust area on the back for the CPU's HSF but where is the inlet for it ?? #-o ?? might be time to get out the dremel and do some moding
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Re: Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Postby sbohdan » Sun Nov 25, 2012 7:52 pm

Apoptosis wrote:sbohdan & INeedAFnSuffix -

I agree with both of your comments, but as Intel shifts to BGA solutions for desktop platforms I think you'll see better options. For a start this isn't bad. Like I noted in the review 70% of the cost of the barebones kit was the processor, which is pretty crazy.

The next generation NUC doesn't need a PCH (when Haswell arrives), so that opens up a ton of real estate on the PCB for additional features. I also very much agree with the fact that the chassis and the board needs to support a 2.5" hard drive. I think that is something we will see with the next version when Haswell comes out. It will free up room on the PCB for those components. As it sits the NUC is impressive in the sense of what you can do in such a small footprint and for such low energy numbers.

That said, if the price on this unit was sliced in half I think your thoughts on it would be different. I think prices will come down drastically once they make several million of these. I see no reason why it can't be in the $199 range instead of the $300-$320 range by next year. Pricing will adjust properly as time goes on and with more CPU options.

As with any brand new product and form factor... uCFF needs to find some legs to stand on. I think Intel has proven it can be done, but the price needs to come down.


Well, you are right on the pricing thing but... I would add, that it was stupid to solder the CPU on (no upgrade possibility in the future - why would you do that?), second: they could of include USB 3.0 instead of USB 2.0 - I see no difference costwise for Intel and to have only the slow USB 2.0 (which I don't even use anymore) is a big mistake on their part. I also think there is enough space (above the MOBO, or attached to the top's inside), for a 2.5" SSD. A smaller (ex. 2.5" 120GB SSD) would of been a cheaper option and with the interchangeable CPU and USB 3.0 the whole deal would look a bit better. Now if they do all this and slash prices to $200-$250 as you say, than it all looks entirely different. Than.


Athlonite wrote:I see one small problem with the case on the NUC it has an exhaust area on the back for the CPU's HSF but where is the inlet for it ?? #-o ?? might be time to get out the dremel and do some moding


I shouldn't have to be forced to dremel any equipment, when paying $650 [-X
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Re: Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Postby Apoptosis » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:50 am

Official Intel statement on why the NUC didn't work:

The Next Unit of Computing (NUC) Press Kit was released with an Engineering Sample motherboard and Engineering Sample Intel® 525 mSATA SSD. After prolonged data transfers, the mSATA SSD would stop working or the system would Blue Screen. This issue does not exist for the Production version of the NUC.


Odd, when I take out the wireless card the system doesn't blue screen and the SSD never stops working... At the end of the day they said it's fixed, but there is a new board and SSD shipping to the retail channel. Legit Reviews was not offered a retail sample, but we did request one. We were told they would look into it.

They also had this to say about my USB concerns:

The internal USB header was removed from pre production units. It is being put back on for all production units.


Odd that they were on the IDF 2012 pre-production units... removed from our pre-production review sample and then put back on for the retail version... I'd really love to get my hands on a retail version.
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Re: Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Postby INeedAFnSuffix » Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:57 pm

USB 2 instead of USB 3 might sound like okay but the issue with USB 2 was latency due to being half-duplex, i can have fast harddisks but if i'm transferring small but very scattered files like an game that uses uncompressed files you can watch in agony as your transfer drop to 100kbps :rolleyes:
I doubt the tiny thumbdrives even need USB 3, hell all the tiny ones i have can't even saturate USB 1 for god's sake!
But as a system with a tiny harddisk you really need USB 3 to shuffle data in and out all the time AND that IS a big mistake. Not so much on a desktop if you have a network data system but even so just one USB 3 output i would be content with but really if i was backup-ping data i'll open the case and stick another harddisk in

So the verdict? FAIL. On intel's part.

sbohdan wrote:
Well, you are right on the pricing thing but... I would add, that it was stupid to solder the CPU on (no upgrade possibility in the future - why would you do that?), second: they could of include USB 3.0 instead of USB 2.0 - I see no difference costwise for Intel and to have only the slow USB 2.0 (which I don't even use anymore) is a big mistake on their part. I also think there is enough space (above the MOBO, or attached to the top's inside), for a 2.5" SSD. A smaller (ex. 2.5" 120GB SSD) would of been a cheaper option and with the interchangeable CPU and USB 3.0 the whole deal would look a bit better. Now if they do all this and slash prices to $200-$250 as you say, than it all looks entirely different. Than.


Solder on the CPU to save cost and they better have good reasons to back it up, but thankfully it remains cool not hot as lead free solder is really brittle and it has cost consoles dearly
But anyway would anyone upgrade a tiny desktop? Hah. Not that they would but anyway, if they are really bringing BGA to desktops by broadwell i can smell AMD's sudden increase in sales when the intels go out if AMD doesn't follow suit or else us enthusiast will be wiped out :( No that won't be right because we will probably go on strike
And counting properly those who bought a intel CPU custom system in 2011 probably wants a new computer in 2014 and that is roughly Broadwell so either they continue making Haswell or go to the red team
Processor reviews will be tough in the future like i'll bet when broadwell comes out a high-end CPU will be mated to a high-end motherboard and vice-versa and you can't really make fair reviews anymore in the end
Well that was pretty much enthusiast market, our choice as to which motherboard or CPU we want and not being tied down having to buy a very plain and ugly motherboard with a i3 proc
We have always been able to mix and match right? As like you could buy a Z77 low-end motherboard with a i7-3770k now and well you could buy a i3 with a Z77X motherboard (I know some people who DOES)

Athlonite wrote:I see one small problem with the case on the NUC it has an exhaust area on the back for the CPU's HSF but where is the inlet for it ?? #-o ?? might be time to get out the dremel and do some moding


I shouldn't have to be forced to dremel any equipment, when paying $650 [-X[/quote]
Surely Intel knows what they are doing right?
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Re: Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Postby decass10 » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:31 am

Thank you.
Your Review was a pleasure to read..Very thorough; and Organized.
Product looks inviting; I just wished you had figured out the communication problems and taught the designers a thing or 2.
good luck
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Re: Intel NUC DC3217BY Review w/ Windows 8

Postby Apoptosis » Mon Apr 15, 2013 4:50 am

decass10 wrote:Thank you.
Your Review was a pleasure to read..Very thorough; and Organized.
Product looks inviting; I just wished you had figured out the communication problems and taught the designers a thing or 2.
good luck


They figured it out and fixed it just before it went into mass production, so all the retail units were fixed.
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