Imagine my surprise when I unboxed this Intel NUC. As you can see from my photo, it makes my tiny hands appear huge! The dimensions are 115 by 110 by 30mm, and in the box is a mount for attaching it to your monitor or television. It has a range of ports that make my fruit-flavoured devices appear spartan by comparison. The unboxing experience, by the way, is quite exciting. It has to be one of the best examples of packaging I’ve come across. The packaging is a work of art.
I had to do some research on NUC and found that it refers to Next Unit of Computing and is pronounced NUC as in Chuck. It was introduced in 2012 to showcase the Intel range of processors. They are generally sold as bare-bones computers, meaning that the user gets to customise the computer to meet their needs.
I read that they are OK for gaming and “light media” use, but only if you’re a light gamer. If you’re a heavy gamer or multimedia user, you will find the NUC limiting. However, if you are looking for a Home Theatre System, this will neatly slot in with your TV.
- Intel NUC12 PRO Wall Street Canyon Barebone Kit Intel 12th Gen Core i7 1260P
- 12 Cores, 16 Threads,
- DDR4 3200 SODIMM X 2, Review device has 16GB RAM, expandible to 64GB RAM
- M.2, Intel WIFI 6 + Bluetooth, Dual HDMI, Dual DP via Type C ,
- Thunderbolt 4 . M.2 & 2.5 inch Drive
Setting up the device was a simple matter. My review device came equipped with Windows 11 Pro. However, a visit to their home website tells me that I can choose Linux or Windows 10 or 11. As this is designed for a business environment, the choice is going to depend on what you are already running with.
In a matter of minutes, I had a personalised system ready for me to start being productive.
I admit to being a newbie to Windows 11, but I found that it has adopted a Graphics User Interface reminiscent of my fruit-flavoured OS. Linux users will also be happy to know that the Intel NUC makes an ideal platform for your favourite Distro. In this Windows setup, once I had the software I wanted, I was up and running. The whole process took mere minutes.
I am finding the performance snappy, although I’ll admit I haven’t tried any heavy multitasking of graphics-heavy tasks. I only had to use one of my HDMI ports to connect to my 27-inch monitor, and the Iris Xe Graphics provided a clear and lag-free user experience. This NUC supports those of you using dual-monitor systems, which is great for those of you with voluminous spreadsheets and multiple open windows.
I notice that the fan appears to run quite often. I didn’t notice any heat to the NUC, but the fan was on for a fair amount of time. My review item came with a 500GB Drive, and I’d be inclined to install a hefty SSD in the other slot, which would likely help make things a little more silent. I’m a fan of having the OS on its own drive or partition. Doing a little research, I found that adding a 2TB SSD would add around $300 to the purchase price but would give me a NUC with 32GB RAM and a 2TB SSD for well under $2000.
This is a computer that’s definitely going to appeal to a user who likes a small form factor. Being totally customisable, you will have fun setting it up to the configuration that suits you. If you are looking for low-cost devices for office activities, this may well be the right option.
With two HDMI ports and a total of 7 USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports, you will be able to add on plenty of peripherals. One of the USB ports remains live even when the NUC is shut down, meaning you can use it as a charging port.
I had a look at different resellers, and it appears that you can build a decent NUC with plenty of RAM and a decent Hard Drive and still have change left from $2000. In closing, the only minus I found was the rather hefty power supply, which takes up almost as much real estate as the NUC. The beauty of this whole system is that you can safely package it way out of sight and be left with a relatively uncluttered workspace.