Yet MORE Intel NUC Models on the way for your Nanolab!

For those of you who are regular followers of my blog, you will know I am a great proponent of the Intel NUC range for their low noise, low power, low(ish) cost, high performance and most importantly high WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor) features!

Unbelievably having only just announced their second generation triumvirate of models just 2 months ago (and due out in a couple of weeks), they’re at it again, announcing a third generation already! The new models include a pair of Haswell-based “Wilson Canyon” Core i3 / Core i5 processor options, featuring up to 4 USB 3.0 ports and a full size SATA connector and are expected to land some time around Q3 this year.

I have updated the CPU table with the currently available info on the new models, and will add CPU benchmarks once available on www.cpubenchmark.net (for consistency). This also includes the recently leaked specs for the new Gen 8 HP Microservers based on Intel Pentium / Celeron processors.

GenModelCores / Threads / Logical CPUsClock Speed / Turbo (GHz)CacheMax TDP (Watts)CPU BenchFeatures
1Intel Celeron 8472/1/21.1 / None2 MB17986None
1Intel Core i3-3217U2 / 2 / 41.80 / None3 MB172272None
2Intel Core i5-3427U2 / 2 / 41.80 / 2.803 MB173611vPro & VT-d
2Intel Core i7-3537U2 / 2 / 42.00 / 3.104 MB173766VT-d
3Intel Core i3-4010U2 / 2 / 41.70 / None3 MB152253VT-d
3Intel Core i5-4250U2 / 2 / 41.30 / 2.63 MB153572VT-d
1 (G7)AMD Athlon II Neo N36L2 / 1 / 21.30 / None2 MB12751None
2 (G7)AMD Turion II Neo N40L2 / 2 / 41.50 / None2 MB15946None
3 (G7)AMD Turion II Neo N54L2 / 2 / 42.20 / None2 MB251314None
4 (G8)Intel Celeron G530T2 / 2 / 42.00 / None2 MB351604iLO
4 (G8)Intel Pentium G630T2 / 1 / 22.30 / None3 MB352154iLO

IMHO you cant beat the NUC for its price / performance / noise features mentioned above. In an ideal world I would be happy to give up 2-3cm of extra board size to get some extra RAM slots and a second gig port on the VMware HCL in there, but as a tidy home lab solution they’re hard to beat!

As regards this latest batch of models, I personally still think the sweet spot is with the Intel Core i5-3427U DC53427HYE 2nd Gen model, which includes vPro for remote access, and will turbo to a handsome 2.8GHz for as little as ~£235 when I last checked. More than enough for most home lab requirements!

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19 comments

  1. Mike says:

    Have you had a chance to take a look at the press release from Gigabyte about their Brix products? Just wondering if you may recommend those over the vanilla NUC line?

    Thanks!

    -Mike

    • Hi Mark,

      They do look really interesting. I guess it comes down to whether the chipsets will be supported. The NUC is based on the Intel QS77 Express chipset and has an Intel 82579V NIC which will work with vSphere. I think the Gigabyte boxes are based on Intel HM77 with CPU options around the Intel Core i3-3227 and Intel Core i7-3537U, but I dont know exactly which NIC they use.

      I haven’t had much chance to look into them fully, but I have also heard that they’re a bit loud, which doesn’t meet the WAF score for a Nanolab! 🙂

      Alex

  2. Kev Johnson says:

    Hi Alex – just wondering where you saw the DC53427HYE so cheaply? I can only find QuietPC offering them, and at £298 + VAT it’s a lot more expensive than the £235 you mentioned. Looks ideal for a couple of new nodes in my lab 🙂

    • Hi Kev,

      I believe Lambda-tek have them for about £230-ish inc VAT at the moment. They’re not due out for another few days of course! I have bought stuff from them before (including my Synology NAS boxes) so I think they’re pretty reputable.

      Cheers

      Alex

  3. Thomas says:

    Has anyone else installed on the new i5 NUC? I recently did it. I installed remotely via vPro, using a remote ISO mount (vPro was one of the big things I was looking for). After a few issues with the video, I got further and ran into the NIC issue. I was hoping newer ESXi 5.1 builds would have the driver, but no such luck.

    I built a custom ESXi image with the e1000 driver, and it works. However, Configuration -> Network Adapters shows that the speed the 82579LM negotiated is “10 Full”. Throughput tests from VM to physical network confirms it’s 10Mbps.

    The driver I used is: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/27246203/E1001E.tgz

    Anyone else seeing this behavior? Any newer / better drivers available?

  4. Finally got the latest benchmarks for the new CPUs from http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_list.php

    Looks like the Gen 2 Core i5 is still the best option by far!

  5. Jeff says:

    Hi there,

    I just wanted to post and say thank you for your blog. I’ve been looking at how to rebuild my lab as I have old power hungry equipment. Your nanolab sounded perfect for my needs and I had to buy it right away. I already have your cisco switch and synology nas 1513+. Which by the way it’s worth the investment. It’s really fast and can easily expand.

    I bought 2x Ivy Bridge based NUC’s, 2x crucial 240GB SSD’s (it was on sale at newegg for $140), 16GB RAM, 802.11ac wifi+bluetooth pcie adapter. Plus the USB drives for esxi and power adapter’s.

    On vPro – Any thoughts on how to manage vPro with SCS or do you use something else? Do you know of any apps for iPhone? I have VPN setup on my iphone and it would be cool to be able to manage my nucs via my iphone.

    I bought 2 NUC’s, 2x crucial 240GB SSD’s (it was on sale at newegg), 16GB RAM, 802.11ac wifi+bluetooth pcie adapter. Plus the USB drives and power adapter’s.

    I plan to use it to study vmware, server 2012R2, windows 8.1, windows 2008r2 (the version we use at work), and other things as I run into it.

    I’m pretty excited thanks for the idea!

  6. zood says:

    can i add an extra nic (USB) to have 2 nics?
    which model would be compatible. I am thinking about getting the newer models that support the haswell processors.

    Thanks. Great blog. Looking to become a vexpert

  7. astro02 says:

    Hi Alex
    Any update on tests with 2nd NIC in the NUC? I have just installed ESXi 5.1 with 2 Intel i5 NUCs, running nicely, but would like to test dual nic. I saw one blog with the mini nic adapter hanging out the back of the NUC, its an option but…..

    cheers

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