Intel Broadwell NUC Kit NUC5i7RYH Review

This is a review of the Intel Broadwell NUC Kit NUC5i7RYH which I unbox here and build here.

It is not quite a production ready system. I’ve tried to like it but it and Intel’s actions are so broken that it is hard to do.

The fan ramps up every time I do anything slightly demanding. Open a browser window -> Fan ramps up. Start playing a video -> Fan ramps up. It is definitely not a HTPC. More of a HT NOT PC.

Lids – Intel promised customized NUC lids. They even demonstrated them at CES and said we’d be able to buy them soon. Yet you can’t buy one anywhere, all we have is a bunch of specifications in a useless pdf file. I could make my own specifications and not have a lid, their specifications are useless to me!

Talking of lids – the NUC has USB and NFC headers on the motherboard on the inside but no way to bring them out … completely useless. I’d have to drill a hole in the bottom!

Most of the time when I try to edit video using Da Vinci Pro I get a VIDEO_TDR_FAILURE blue screen of death. Apparently the BSOD happens because Intel’s own video driver crashes on its own hardware! I should not have to deal with this on a so-called production ready system.

Once you add up the prices, NUC at $450, 128GB SSD at $100, 8 GB RAM at $30, and a legit copy of Windows at $120; you end up at $700 which is Apple Mac Mini territory. The mac comes fully assembled with a stable OS, not crashing video drivers, free upgrades to newer OSs, as well as easy to use movie and photo editing software – stuff you have to buy separately with the NUC. This is not a system for enthusiasts, it is a system for ripping off enthusiasts!

The so called Core i7 is not a real Core i7 but rather an ultrabook Core i7. Its like putting a go-cart engine in a regular car. It has about as much power too. Try playing a couple videos and editing another video, the fan ramps up to the max and if you’re lucky it won’t crash. Why not do proper heat sinking (maybe a heatsink lid!?) and put in a real i7?

The sleep and monitor powerdown features are horrible. It simply doesn’t go into sleep – most days I have to shut it down when I leave. What is the point of a sleep feature that never works? I have the monitor connected through an HDMI cable, the sound stops working every-time it puts the monitor to standby. I have to go through the windows sounds debug flow just to turn them back on and get this, it comes back with a ‘your speakers aren’t plugged in’ message. Yeah, they were magically unplugged when the screen went to sleep.

The screw holding the M2 drive in place is so small it seems it was designed for ants. I dropped it while trying to screw in my drive and had to take apart the whole thing just to get it back out. I’m glad it fell into the system and not outside, I’d never have found the screw again!

Luckily for Intel, they’ll soon move on to the next horrible enthusiast system promising new features and a new batch of frustrated users rendering this review useless.

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