Review: Intel NUC I-7

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Dec 14, 2001
Far NW Valley
OK, so I got the NUC I ordered yesterday, it was delivered about an hour or so ago. It is an Intel NUC5i7RYH, with a 3.1 i7 processor, BT and WiFi and 4K video support for up to 3 monitors.

I ordered it from Amazon yesterday and it arrived less than 24 hours later, along with a pair of 8GB SO-DIMM's for 16GB of RAM. It cost about $600 including the RAM and sales tax.

Basically the NUC is a bare-bones computer. You buy the computer itself and supply your own RAM, storage and OS.

I reused a 1 TB SSD I bought last year to run my old (2006) Windows PC that came with Vista, was upgraded to 7 shortly after and then to Windows 10 last year. I thought about getting a new SSD for this but my kid who owns an IT company said it should work fine with this SSD and I won't even have to install Windows again.

Taking it out of the box and laying out the stuff it came with, I saw the computer itself (about 4 inches square and less than 2 inches tall), a wall-wart PS with several international mains connectors, a VESA mounting plate so it can be mounted to the back of a monitor and a quick-start guide.

I removed the base and then I installed the RAM and the SSD. The computer has 2 RAM slots and supports up to 32 GB of RAM. I figured 16 was good enough for me. The SSD just slid right into a slot on the base. This computer supports a 2.5 inch SATA3 SSD or HDD as well as an M2 style SSD-on-a-stick or both. Since I already had the SATA SSD and it had Windows and all my radio applications I used it.

I replaced the base plate and connected the box to mains power, my network, and a wired KB and mouse. I bought a BT mouse and have a couple spare Apple BT keyboards that I intended to use on this.

After it booted it took a minute or two to discover the various hardware involved and ran thru a set of Windows Updates. I rebooted it after the updates were done and set out to pair the BT mouse and a keyboard. The mouse (Logitech UltraThin 630) supports 2 separate devices with a little A-B switch. This will allow me to use it for my Surface as well to replace my old BT mouse that the rubber pads are disintegrating on. The mouse paired immediately and asked if i wanted to download the optional Logitech control software.

The keyboard however was a different story. I could not get the Apple keyboard to pair with the NUC. I tried a second one and no joy there either. I then borrowed the keyboard from the videophone, a Logitech K480 that supports 3 devices. Since we rarely use the videophone and never use the keyboard with it I think I will just keep it for the NUC. It paired right up and works great.

For video the NUC has a Mini Display Port/Thunderbolt jack and a Mini HDMI connector. Since I already had a Mini Display Port to HGMI connector to go to my 2K monitor I used that.

Outside the keyboard shenanigans the NUC was up and running in less than half an hour. It took a few minutes to download the updates and it was off and running.

I plugged in my AirNav RadarBox and it fired right up. This is going to be the main purpose for this computer. I also have a couple SDR's that I play with occasionally and I also run PRO96Com most of the time, as well as a couple ARC-xxxPro applications for activity logging on BCT15, BCT15X, BCD996XT, BCD996P2, BCD536HP and PRO197's.

The NUC has 2 USB-3 ports on the back and 2 on the front. I plan on using a hub since I will need more than 4 devices connected. Using BT for the interface devices saves a port or 2 but still, 4 is not enough.

So far I am very happy with this computer. It is remarkably tiny but extremely powerful. My kid uses these as servers for his office and one as a home theater device and suggested it over the Mac Mini I was planning on. At half the price it really was a great idea. The fact that I didn't have to reinstall Windows made it even better.

I have it running on my desk for now but will find a good place to stash it soon. It takes up almost no space so the only real limitations on where to put it is the cable lengths. I do need to find some decent speakers that are small and can be placed out of the way. I might also look for a smaller keyboard.

The first picture is the computer along with the RadarBox. The second is the whole shebang including the 27 inch 2K monitor I am using for it.


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