Intel NUC

I’ve been looking for replacements for my HP Microservers which according to this blog are now nearly 7 years old!. Although still going (sort of) strong: one of them failed completely, and another has developed a faulty cache manifested by random 32 byte wide web server corruption (yes, it’s also my main web server …)

My virtualization cluster is also coming up to 4 years old, and while it works fine it turns out that running servers without cases isn’t such a good idea because they generate large amounts of RF interference.

So you can tell that my current computing setup is held together with string and sticky tape. Can I make a nicer system based on a pile of NUCs? I bought 1 NUC for testing:

20180117_125413

The total cost (including tax and delivery) was £583.96 from scan.co.uk. I also specced up a similar system with an M.2 SSD which would have been about £670. (An ideal system would have both M.2 SSD and a hard disk but that gets even more expensive.) The NUC model is NUC7i5BNH and the Wikipedia page is absolutely essential for understanding the different models.

Enough talk, how well does it work? To start off with, really badly with the NUC regularly hanging hard. This was because of a faulty RAM module, a problem I’ve had with the Gigabyte Brix before. Because of that, I’m only running with one 8 GB module:

Screenshot_2018-01-17_15-31-50

It has two real cores with hyperthreading. The cores are Kaby-Lake Intel(R) Core(TM) i5-7260U CPU @ 2.20GHz.

The compile performance is reasonable, not great, as you’d expect from an Intel i5 processor.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Intel NUC

  1. FWIW, I’d be looking to see if something Threadripper/Ryzen-ish is available in a similar form factor, for VM hosting purposes, just for the cores-per-CPU-package advantage…

    I do like NUCs as HTPC boxes. I suspect they’re not specced with sufficient heat dissipation for long periods of heavy utilization, but haven’t tested.

  2. Another small/fun/inexpensive option might be putting together a mini-STX system:
    * ASRock DESKMINI +
    * Intel CPU +
    * Memory +
    * HDD

    Alternatively, the closest thing I’ve seen to an AMD Ryzen NUC is the Zotac MA551 (though that’s more of a SFF PC than a NUC sized system).

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