Intel has released the Braswell NUCs and they’re about to start shipping soon. Braswell is the successor of the Bay Trail processor and basically sits one step below the Intel Broadwell Core NUCs – both in terms of capabilities and price. The product specifications are already online at Intel’s site and tell us almost all we need to know about the NUCs.
Basically, two variants of the Braswell NUC will be released. One running the Celeron N3050 CPU and the other running the Pentium N3700 CPU. You can compare the specifications of the CPUs here. The main difference is the number of cores – The Pentium is a quad-core whereas the Celeron is a dual-core CPU. Feature-wise the CPUs are identical, but the Pentium CPU will boost up to 2.4 GHz, whereas the Celeron will reach up to 2.16 GHz. Likewise the max GPU burst frequencies are 700 MHz and 600 MHz in favour of the Pentium, which will also have 16 execution units in the GPU vs 12 EUs in the Celeron. Other than that there’s no difference.
The specifications look good otherwise. There are now 4 USB 3.0 ports (one with fast charge capabilities), a GigaBit Ethernet port, 802.11AC WLAN module included, slot for a 2.5″ SATA drive and a slot for an SDXC card (with UHS-I support) and a consumer IR receiver.
- Intel Celeron N3050 CPU (for model NUC5CPYH), Intel Pentium N3700 CPU (for model NUC5PPYH)
- single DDR3L SO-DIMM slot, 1.35V, 1333/1600 MHz, max. memory 8 Gb
- single slot for a 2.5″ SATA drive
- 4 USB 3.0 ports (2 in the front, 2 in the back)
- 2 USB 2.0 ports (internal header)
- Consumer infra-red receiver
- Full-size SDXC slot with UHS-I support
- Gigabit Ethernet adapter (Realtek)
- 802.11ac WLAN adapter (Intel Wireless AC 3165, dual-band, max transfer speed of 433 Mbps)
The good news for HTPC enthusiasts is that the Braswell NUCs will have hardware decoding of HEVC video and there will be Linux support of the HEVC decoding as well. We still have not seen the unit in person, but I expect even the slower Celeron NUC to be powerful enough for almost all HTPC uses!
Amazon has the Celeron model (NUC5CPYH) already listed for $129, but the delivery estimate is 2-4 weeks. The expected retail price for the pentium model NUC5PPYH is approximately $50 more.
Basically I’m quite excited about the Braswell NUC. It looks like the perfect HTPC. Compared to last years Bay Trail model DN2820FYKH it is significantly improved: There are enough execution units in the GPU to handle upscaling and deinterlacing properly, it has plenty of USB 3 ports and finally, it will do HEVC decoding in hardware!