Jul 29 2014

News - Haswell NUC BIOS Update For OpenELEC

I don't usually post about BIOS updates, but it looks like there was a recent update for the D54250WYB, D54250WYK, D34010WYB, & D34010WYK NUC that fixes an issue with IR wake from standby when using OpenELEC.



Feb 23 2014

News - Intel D54250WYK NUC Custom Solutions Header (CSH) 3.3V Flaw

I was really excited when I found out Intel had placed the HDMI-CEC enabling Custom Solutions Header (CSH) on the D54250WYK NUC. It was exactly the kind of feature that belongs on this near-perfect mini-HTPC. Unfortunately, as we can see in the gallery, something isn't right with its ability to maintain 3.3V under load.

What this means in practice is that we can't use the 3.3V pin on the D54250WYK's CSH for Pulse-Eight's Internal CEC adapter - disappointing would be an understatement. Now it is possible to find 3.3V elsewhere on the board; I was able to pull it from the SATA power connector, but since that only powered when the system is in S0 (on) it's less than ideal. Intel has been contacted with these findings. Hopefully it's something that can be addressed with a BIOS update, but I'm not confident.

Jan 30 2014

News - Baytrail DN2820FYKH - No Intel Clear Video HD Support

When I talked with Intel about the DN2820FYKH Baytrail based NUC at CES, I wasn't shocked by the "No" when I asked if it supported Intel QuickSync (hardware accelerated decode and encode). What is surprising as I looked more closely at the Intel Celeron N2820 is that it appears to not support Intel Clear Video HD (hardware accelerated decode) either.

If true, it does take all the sheen off the system. Without hardware accelerated decoding, and the video processing (i.e. deinterlacing & scaling) that comes with it, there's no way that this little guy could be the cheap client HTPC that I was hoping for. Really dissappointing considering that "Atom" Baytrail chips, essentially the same chip but targeted at tablets, include QuickSync.

Oct 16 2013

News - Slightly Bigger Intel NUC On The Way With 2.5" Hard Drive Mount

As you know from our review of the D54250WYK Haswell NUC, while there are SATA & SATA power connectors on the board there isn't any space in the chassis to use them. Intel has been hard at work on a chassis to address this, and I just got word that the target (read not 100% firm) release date is December for when the larger case, in Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i3 trims, should hit retail. I was told that it will look very similar to the existing model, just a bit taller and with some additional vents along the side, making it just about perfect for a super-small PVR (after adding a network/USB tuner) or highly portable and functional HTPC.

You'll have to bear with my poor Photoshop, er... Paint.NET, skills because despite talents in other areas, the mockup/render is not within my natural domain :). UPDATE: Intel provided some pictures of the new chassis.

We'll keep you updated on this, and other, NUC ecosystem products as they become available.

Sep 18 2013

News - Intel Haswell NUC D54250WYK Includes HTPC Header

If you saw the recent Intel Haswell NUC D54250WYK announcment and thought "hey, that would make a pretty slick HTPC" - go ahead and sit down. Not only does it have all the good stuff like IR, SATA, USB 3.0, etc. that we mentioned before. It also has the HTPC_HEADER on board.

Unfortunately, there isn't space in the stock chassis to mount the Pulse-Eight internal CEC adapter so a custom enclosure will be required to get the most out of it. That said, frankly I don't care - this is awesome news!

Hopefully someone steps up to make a suitible enclosure or we will have to do something on Kickstarter Smile.

Sep 13 2013

News - Intel Announces Haswell NUC Kit - D54250WYK

Looks like the NUC is getting a Haswell update, and it's not just the IPG (i5-4250U with HD 5000) that changed with the updated system also getting IR, SATA and four USB 3.0 ports. With all that good stuff and a fast 2.5" hard drive and/or slim-line Blu-ray drive this could be a killer fullsize HTPC replacement given the right chassis. Full specs are at Intel's website, but unfortunatley the price isn't listed.

Sleek, shiny, and with a smaller footprint than a wireless modem, the Intel® NUC with the 4th generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor is at home in your living room, your office, or your media center. The D54250WYK SKU of Intel NUC is equipped with Intel® Turbo Boost Technology 2.0, automatically allowing processor cores to safely run faster than the base operating frequency. It also includes Intel® Rapid Start Technology, ensuring you are quickly up and running, and Intel® Smart Connect Technology to keep you up to date at all times.


Jan 24 2013

News - SilverStone Prototype NUC Chassis Revealed

SilverStone NUC ChassisWhile we saw a bunch of great stuff from SilverStone at CES, one thing they didn't bring along with them was a chassis solution for Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC). SilverStone just unveiled a prototype to show there is something in the works. By the looks of it, the enclosure sports a passive design with heatsink fins on the exterior giving an interesting appearance while exposing more area for cooling. We can't wait to get one in for review. Check out all the eye candy in the photo gallery after the break.

Jan 12 2013

News - LIAN LI @ CES 2013

LIAN LIIn 2012, we reveiwed the thin mini-ITX PC-Q05 and mini-ITX PC-Q25, both interesting options for the HTPC enthusiast. At CES, we had the chance to catch up with LIAN LI and were rewarded with a look at a new prototype chassis designed to house Intel's NUC board. The black brushed aluminum chassis features passive cooling and a VESA mount. Compared to the stock Intel NUC chassis, LIAN LI's prototype has a higher-end look and feel. Considering the NUC has had some thermal issues in the past, we'll be very interested in performing a full review of the solution when it becomes available. Photos after the break...

Nov 27 2012

News - Intel NUC Reviewed, Thermal Issue Identified

Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) shot to the top of many HTPC enthusiasts' Santa lists when Intel finally revealed the final specs and prices earlier this month. The NUC will be available in two versions, the Thunderbolt-equipped DC3217BY and the DCDC3217IYE, which forgoes the Thunderbolt port in favor of a Gigabit Ethernet port. Our friends at TechReport recently got to take the DC3217BY for a spin and seemed to come away generally pleased with the experience. Certainly it looks like the NUC will have more than enough SFF horsepower to serve as a capable HTPC so long as internal storage capacity is not a major concern.

The Cliff's Notes version is simple: Intel should have called this an Ultrabox, in an obvious play on the Ultrabook name. The guts of the NUC are essentially the same as an Ultrabook's, right down to the 17W dual-core Ivy Bridge processor. This CPU, with the incredibly catchy name Core i3-3217U, has four threads via Hyper-Threading and runs at 1.8GHz, with 3MB of L3 cache. It's not exactly a screamer by desktop standards, but it's vastly more capable than your average Intel Atom or AMD Brazos CPU. 


Hot NUCUnfortuantely, the NUC was not without its issues. In particular, the TechReport reviewer, Scott Wasson, noticed issues with the system buckling under the load of large file transfers across a network, with the transfer slowing to a stop and taking the rest of system down with it. In his review, Scott posited some theories about what was occurring, and after reaching out to Intel, posted a follow-up confirming that the issue was a result of thermal issues surrounding the placement of the wirless NIC and the SSD. Intel is reportedly working on a fix and is currently confident that the issue only affects the DC3217BY and not the DCDC3217IYE. With the NUC release imminent, it will be interesting to see how Intel fixes the issue.

In our recent review of Intel's "Next Unit of Computing" barebones box, we explained a snafu we encountered with large network file transfers causing the system to lock up. At the time, we were working with Intel on resolving the problem and suspected it was confined to our particular review unit. After further testing, we have a clearer sense of the nature of the problem, and potential NUC buyers should read carefully from here.


Nov 09 2012

News - Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC) Previewed at Anandtech

Intel NUC

When I first saw reports of Intel's Next Unit of Computing (NUC) it seemed like the perfect little HTPC, although the price (~$400) was a bit off-putting. As it turns out, not only will it be getting Intel HD 4000 (madVR, yum) and an ULV IVB but will only cost $300-320. More importantly it will be easy to get one with retail availability at Amazon and Newegg. Hit Anandtech for the full specs and some pictures of the delicious looking mini-HTPC.

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