Skylake i5 NUC Review (NUC6i5SYH) – Part 3/3: Gaming & Conclusions

As there has been quite much interest on using the NUC as a miniature gaming PC and especially as the benchmark results in the previous part of this review were looking so positive, I decided to try out some gaming with the NUC.

Gaming Results

The games below are a random mix of reader suggested games and my old favourites. I don’t hold any illusions that the NUC could beat much bigger desktop PCs with discrete graphics adapters, but I intended to find out how much it could be used for some casual gaming.

Heroes of the Storm

I used the same replay of a game played on the Towers of Doom map that I used during the Skylake i3 NUC review. The numbers below I got with Fraps while playing the same replay again and again. Basically the game seemed to be very much playable with 1920×1080 resolution, even if I tried increasing the graphics quality settings. Approximately 50% better results are seen for i5 when compared to the i3 model.

nuc6i5syh_hots

Resolution 1920×1080 1920×1080 1920×1080
Graphics quality Medium Ultra Medium
Texture quality High High High
Anti-alias Off Off On
VSync Off Off On (60 fps)
FPS High 63 42 31
FPS Low 42 22 25
FPS Average 55.3 35.5 29.9

Dirt 3

Dirt 3 represented the racing genre here. It’s not exactly the latest rally game, but it is still a lot of fun. The game was playable on 1080p resolution with a correct combo of the parameters. The results below are achieved with the internal benchmarking option found in the graphics settings. I did test some of the same settings on the Skylake i3 NUC and the i5 seems to provide approximately 50% higher frame rates.

Resolution 1920×1080 1920×1080 1920×1080
Preset High Medium Low
Multisampling Off Off Off
VSync Off Off Off
FPS Average 47.73 55.06 68.38
FPS Low 40.72 46.14 53.90
Resolution 1920×1080 3440×1440 2560×1080
Preset Medium Low Low
Multisampling 2xVSAA 2xVSAA 2xVSAA
VSync On (60 fps) On (50 fps) On (60 fps)
FPS Average 47.34 32.62 50.47
FPS Low 39.65 24.99 40.55

Team Fortress 2

nuc6i5syh_tf2

TF2 is a bit older game as well, but as one reader asked me to try it on the i5 NUC, I downloaded it from Steam (for free!) and installed. Then I found a semi-standard benchmark replay here that I used from the console with “timedemo benchmark1”. With the following settings, I got average of 48-49 fps for both 1920×1080 and 3440×1440 resolutions! This was likely due to the vsync being enabled and me using a 50 Hz refresh rate.

  • Model detail: High
  • Texture detail: High
  • Shader detail: High
  • Water: Simple reflections
  • Shadow detail: Medium
  • Color correction: Enabled
  • AA mode: 2xMSAA
  • Filtering mode: Anisotropic 2x
  • VSync: enabled
  • Motion blur: disabled

DOTA 2

DOTA 2 seemed to be fluid and playable on 1920×1080 resolution, as is expected for a couple of years older game.

Resolution 1920×1080 3440×1440
Textures Medium Medium
Shadows Medium Medium
Anti-alias Off Off
Render Quality 70 70
All other options On On
FPS High 65 33
FPS Low 41 24
FPS Average 49.9 27.6

Skylake NUC as a HTPC

Since the i3 NUC will do all the same things equally well, I did not write a separate HTPC chapter for the i5 NUC. Read what I had to say about the i3 model as a HTPC and all of that will apply to the i5 as well.

Conclusion

The Skylake i5 NUC is a winner in many ways. Compared to the previous generation it has gained significantly in the performance department. It beats the Broadwell i7 NUC in all but the few tests that require pure CPU power. Also compared to the Skylake i3 model it’s a significant step up in performance. I for sure did not expect to see a 50% increase in most of the benchmarks and games when comparing the i3 and the i5 models. Growing the gap between the i3 and the i5 probably helps to differentiate these products in the market. Okay, it does not have HDMI 2.0 and it does not decode 10-bit HEVC material, but other than that it’s extremely capable mini PC that I can recommend.

Intel is positioning this NUC as a gaming solution and we found out that it’s not totally unreasonable. Gaming performance was surprisingly good keeping the context in mind. This is still a 15-watt CPU with an integrated GPU – there’s no chance it will come close to the 60-watt CPUs with a discrete GPU that alone takes more than 100 watts. Anyhow, in our tests it was apparent that at least some not-so-cutting-edge games will actually be enjoyable on the Skylake i5 NUC.

It would also offer a capable PC for anyone looking to replace their older desktop PC with something that takes less desktop real-estate.

Definitely this NUC was one of the most positive NUC product launches since the launch of the original NUC. If you’re interested in one building yourself one, look at the recommended setups below or visit our resident guru, the NUC Guru, who can recommend you parts that are known to work with each other.

Recommended Setups

Lean and Mean

By choosing the smaller chassis and a PCIe based M.2 SSD drive you can keep the footprint small and the performance big. Faster CL13 memory is good option, as you pay almost no premium of it with the current prices. I would not try this setup with Windows 7, as the NVME drive can be a bit difficult to get working on Windows 7. Windows 10 should be fine though.

Product US UK DE FR
Intel NUC NUC6i5SYK $372.98 £387.03 EUR 413,99 EUR 459,90
Kingston HyperX 2x8GB DDR4 Memory (total 16GB) $133.99 £112.98 EUR 134,95 EUR 140,60
Samsung 950 PRO M.2 250GB NVME SSD drive $293.99 £196.85 EUR 195,79 EUR 220,51
Check out the total price of the whole setup on Amazon.com!

Mainstream

A more mainstream setup with the higher case and a conventional (but still fast!) SATA SSD drive. This matches the setup I used for this review.

Product US UK DE FR
Intel NUC NUC6i5SYH $374.00 £366.92 EUR 405,92 EUR 453,59
Kingston HyperX 2x4GB DDR4 Memory (total 8GB) $63.79 £63.09 EUR 82,14 EUR 85,89
Samsung 850 EVO 250GB SSD drive $98.00 £88.08 EUR 99,00 EUR 109,00
Check out the total price of the whole setup on Amazon.com!

Read Further

Read also the previous parts of this review.

118 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Thanks for the review! So small, so quiet & so capable. I didn’t read anything about adjusting the minimum fan speed for your test, so was it not required?

    • Olli says:

      I actually wrote under the BIOS title that I set the minimum fan speed to 25% which makes the system even more quiet when at desktop. The 35% default value is pretty quiet as well. The minimum value is just a minimum value, the fan will spin up if needed.

  2. Thank you so much for actually trying out Team Fortress 2 and DOTA 2! Quick question, if you turned off Vsync for TF2, what was your FPS with the same settings you published? Thanks!

    • Olli says:

      Had a quick go at it: 1920×1080 resolution gave me 79.18 fps and with 3440×1440 I got 51.48 fps.

      • Have you tried maxing all settings except Anti-Aliasing (MSAA)? Because I have everything maxed in my current gaming desktop but I want the NUC for the form factor. I can do away with 8x MSAA since 2x is fine.

        • Olli says:

          Ok, so I run a couple of more benchmarks (I updated the article above to contain the procedure, in case you want to see what your current system gives). All the following are run at 1920×1080 resolution:

          Everything maxed, but anti-alias at 2x and filtering at 2x: 68.62 fps
          Everything maxed, but anti-alias at 2x: 60.59 fps
          Everything maxed: 39.97 fps

  3. Dreal says:

    Thank you for the HotS benchmark!! It means that SC2:LotV at High settings is surely playable with 30~40 fps. I don’t mind the Ultra setting since the difference is rather negligible. Sooo happy right now 😀

    Hmmm… while at it, will it be possible for you to test the StarCraft II starter edition?? xD
    I’m very pumped to get the same setup as you suggested for “Lean and Mean”

    • Robert says:

      Now I cannot wait to get the new NUC i5!! If I can play SC2:LotV at High Settings, that would be brilliant! Woo-hoo!!

    • Olli says:

      Ok, so I know nothing about SC2, but here’s what I did:
      – download SC2 starter edition and a replay from here (it was a bit hard to find replays that work with the recent patch that made old replays invalid)
      – watch the replay using player camera of Khyira.
      – use Fraps to measure the FPS for 90 second duration starting at 11:00 in that replay.

      Results:
      Anti-alias on, Vsync off, Graphics detail Ultra, Texture detail High, 1920×1080 resolution: 17/29/23.7 (min/max/avg)
      Anti-alias on, Vsync off, Graphics detail Medium, Texture detail Medium, 1920×1080 resolution: 26/52/39.0 (min/max/avg)

      • Robert says:

        Olli, you beauty!!!

        Now I cannot wait to buy myself a new NUC6i5!!

        And if SC2 will play on high settings, so will all the other Blizzard games.

        Thank you for all your effort.

      • Dreal says:

        Wow, you did it promptly!!
        It is a shame that I didn’t notice your reply earlier.
        Thank you so much for the test!!
        You’ve confirmed what many others were left wondering about.
        It’s decided, and I’m sure others like me & Robert already have made up their mind thanks to your test result.

  4. Any idea when these NUCs will be widely available? NewEgg and Amazon just have resellers.

  5. dejan says:

    My nuc6i5 won’t connect to my VGA monitor, I’ve tried several adapters and I installed the latest drivers. Is anyone having the same problem?

  6. Thank you very much for your review on the new NUC6i5syX+ I really like your NUC-Blog. I myself bought a set yesterday.
    – Intel NUC Kit NUC6i5SYK (the small version, as I have all my data stored on a NAS-System) = 407 EUR
    – 256GB Samsung SM951-NVMe M.2 2280 (MZVPV256HDGL-00000) = 145 EUR
    – 16GB HyperX Impact DDR4-2133 SO-DIMM CL13 Dual Kit = 89 EUR
    Plus, I bought a new monitor (Asus H277 HUsmidpx). I hope, that the NUC and the monitor is a good match.
    If I’m lucky, I’ll get the parts till the weekend so I can built my new desktop in the next few days. I already have a laptop running on Windows 10, which I upgraded from Windows 7. As I understand, the key for the Windows 7 Version is bound to my laptop, so I bought a new key for Windows 8.1. Hopefully I can install a Windows 10 ISO-Image via USB 3.0 and use that new key.
    Bye Lars

    • Olli says:

      Thanks for the comments!

      If the Win8 key won’t work directly, You’ll possibly need to install Win8 first, then upgrade to Win10. At this point the hardware gets registered and a Windows 10 license is attached to it. Now you can reinstall Win10 anytime on that hardware and just skip the license key prompts during the installation. Your Windows will activate itself automatically after the installation.

      Good luck with the NUC build, should be a nice setup!

  7. Tino says:

    Power Consumption?

  8. Domi says:

    How the IR receiver is being used on Windows 10? Which OS is best suited for using the NUC as a media center?

  9. MAVIN says:

    Hi there,
    I have one question regarding SSD drive. I’m about to purchase this setup:

    – NUC6i5SYH
    – Samsung SSD 850 EVO M2 Series 500GB SATA 6Gb/s, M.2 SATA, r540MB/s, w500MB/s
    – Kingston HyperX Impact 2x8GB 2400MHz DDR4 CL14 SODIMM, 1.2V

    My question is: is it worth to change the Samsung SSD 850 EVO M2 to Samsung 950 PRO PCIe M.2 500GB SSD drive? The read / write speeds are more than 3 times better but I do not know if this will increase the overall performance of this setup. This NUC will be mainly used (more than 80%) as my application development system. The rest will be photo & video (Full HD) editing. No gaming.

    Thanks in advance for your opinions.

    • Olli says:

      Hi Mavin,

      If I was buying it personally for myself, I’d go with the 850 EVO. Of course the 950 PRO is much faster and in some tasks it will really fly compared to the 850 EVO (like large file copying and such), but I think in many real world applications the difference will be too small to notice. If you’re the kind of guy who enjoys having the latest and greatest and the price difference is not an issue, the 950 PRO is one beast of a drive.

      I tried to find real-world application benchmarks but could not find too many. Here’s something:
      http://techreport.com/review/29221/samsung-950-pro-512gb-ssd-reviewed/4
      http://www.pcgamer.com/samsung-ssd-950-pro-review/

      Most of them agree that the synthetic benchmark results from 950 PRO are incredible, but in many real-world tests there’s no advantage to be seen (Windows won’t boot much faster).

  10. Dan M. says:

    Long time lurker, first time poster.

    Just bought my first NUC a week ago – got the NUC6i5SYH. Drives are the 2 Tb Samsung HD and the Samsung 850 EVO M2. Windows 10 installed on the M2 – haven’t even gotten around to putting data on the HD yet.

    Last night, I updated the BIOS to the 33 variant just posted on Intel’s site. I was hoping this would help with some throughput problems I was having with the wifi, which it did (or seems to – time will tell). Update went fine, booted into Windows normally.

    This morning, I powered off the unit and powered it back on the test POST times (something the BIOS is supposed to tweak). No joy – no boot drive detected. Went into the BIOS – sure enough, the BIOS didn’t see the 850 EVO M2.

    Did some research, and found this fix which worked. Posting here in case anyone else has this problem. Thankfully I didn’t have to downgrade the BIOS, which may or may not work with version 33.
    ____________________________________________________

    BartM Apr 22, 2015 4:53 AM

    5. Re: SSD not recognized by NUC5i5RYH BIOS
    BartM
    Acolyte
    BartM Apr 22, 2015 4:53 AM (in response to phemfrog)
    Can you try the following:
    – Remove the SSD from the NUC.
    – Boot the NUC (without the SSD)
    – Turn it off again
    – Reinstall the SSD in the NUC
    – Boot again and check if it is now recognized

    If this doesn’t work I’d just try to reset the BIOS (normal way first and if still not working via the jumper). My hunch is some settings from the previous BIOS version are still retained and still causing the issue.

    https://communities.intel.com/thread/63529?start=0&tstart=0
    ____________________________________________________

    • Olli says:

      Hi Dan,

      And thanks for the hints! I’ve learned that after the update to BIOS 33 there is an option in the BIOS for M.2 SSD that is by default OFF! So you’ll need to switch that option on to enable M.2 SSD slot again. A bit silly of Intel I’d say…

      • Timothy says:

        Oh yes, and that was just bump 3 in the road for my new NUC6i5SYH Olli. So last week I finally got around to trying to get win 7 ultimate on my new NUC so I could update to Win 10 pro. First bump, no usb 3.0 drivers during install. Thanks to your how to I was able to finally do that. Intels usb 3.0 create utility didn’t work for me. Neither did your how to until I unblocked the driver files thanks to the comments thread from that post. Okay second bump my samsung 950 Pro nvme ssd was not found. I put the correct driver on a usb stick and during win 7 install added the driver and it worked yay! Third bump, I couldn’t leave well enough alone and updated the bios to ver. 33 from 28. Bricked my NUC. After multiple trys to roll back the bios and boot to the ssd (which wasn’t visible probably because of your point above) it just started booting into windows again. I don’t have a clue what I did but it all works now and I’m not touching anymore settings! 😉 Thanks a lot to you and this community for helping me through all this. Its a great blog! Cheers

  11. chrism says:

    Hello. I only discovered this blog a few weeks ago, really enjoy your articles!

    I am thinking of purchasing a NUC as a HTPC and would like to know if there are any advantages to using the i5 over the i3. Seems like the i5 might be overkill for video playback.

    • Olli says:

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your feedback! The i5 would most likely be an overkill for HTPC usage (of course depending on your usage). The i3 already has more horsepower than you’d need for a HTPC. My living room HTPC is a Haswell i3 NUC and that’s idling most of the time.

  12. Kreuzschlitz says:

    Hello,

    Can someone say something about the power consumption of the NUC6i5 compared to the NUC6i3 (Idle / Load)?
    I would also be interested how the fan noise is compared to the i3 Version.

    Please can someone tell me how fast the fan is rotating under CPU load (e.g. Prime95)?

    Thanks.

    Best regards,
    Kreuzschlitz

  13. asdf asdf says:

    Thanks for the review. My Question: Is the cpu cooling solution any different between h- and k-Version? I wonder if the same cooler and fan is installed in both variants. If so, there shouldn’t be any differences in regards to noise pitch and noise overall.

    • Olli says:

      The same NUC6i5SYB mainboard is used for both NUC6i5SYK and NUC6i5SYH. The mainboard includes the CPU with the heatsink-fan assembly. As far as I know they’re the same. I haven’t seen the NUC6i5SYK in live, but have no reason to believe it’d be any different.

  14. Tino says:

    I try to ask again…

    Can someone tell us something about the power consumption of die NUC6i5 (idle/load, Linux/Windows/, …)?

  15. Julian says:

    Do you know if the SATA port supports port multiplier functionality? If no then do you know what chipset is used on the mobo to implement the SATA port so that I might be able to delve into Intel’s technical docs to see if the chipset supports it? (I’m looking to connect a JBOD enclosure to the SATA port.)

  16. NBH says:

    This new NUC looks interesting, I love the small size but it’s in the back of my mind that performance wise it won’t be much better than my Shuttle SH67H3 with i3-2100 for things like web browsing, live HD TV watching/recording on Mediaportal along with occasional video editing/transcoding/photo editing.

    I’m looking for reasons to buy one so if anyone can convince me I’m wrong then please let me know.

  17. mavin says:

    I have a problem with SD memory card reader in my new NUC6i5SYH. I’ve installed Windows 10 & Windows 7. In Windows 10 everything is fine but in Windows 7 the SD memory card reader is not working (is not visible in My Computer). In Device Manger is listed with alert icon. I’ve already tried to update the driver – the result is a message: the driver is up to date…. Any ideas? THANKS

  18. Bruce Fowler says:

    A suggestion and a caution for new NUC owners:

    1) If you have the “H” model with the SSD cage, before you slide in the SSD, fashion a tab out of duct tape on the rear of the SSD, so it has a bit of a handle. Otherwise you will have a heck of a time getting the SSD out again when that becomes necessary. I had to take the whole cage apart, there is no place to pull or push on the SSD to remove it.

    2) At this time there is a limitation in the GRUB loader such that it will not work if a Linux boot directory is on a NVMe drive. That has been patched in Fedora, but I couldn’t get Ubuntu or Manjero to boot. Hopefully the patch will be in future .iso’s from these and other distros. The deficient Grub version is 2.02beta2.

    Still exploring the little box, but so far I’m lovin’ it.

  19. Bean says:

    Hi, thanks a lot for the review.
    I’m thinking of replacing my first gen EEEBox (pretty unusable now) with the NUC6i5SYK and was wondering if you could try Linux Mint and report about compatability like M.2, WiFi, sdcard etc working or not.

    Thanks and keep up the good work.

    Bean

    • Olli says:

      Hi Bean,

      I just installed Linux Mint 17.3 on my NUC6i3SYH and the following were working out of the box: sound, SD card, wired Ethernet. WLAN and Bluetooth did not work, as the kernel in Linux Mint 17.3 is 3.19 and these require at least 4.2. I manually installed kernel 4.3.4 (not Mint-specific kernel, but a general one) and this got the WiFi and Bluetooth working. However, after the 4.3 update I get some graphical glitches every now and then. Might improve after an update of libva-intel-vaapi-driver, libva1 and mesa, but did not try. I did not have an M.2 SSD at hand for this test rig.

  20. Ben Sanford says:

    I built my NUC6i5SYH with a Samsung 950 PCIe 256GB for the OS, and a Samsung 850 512GB for storage. 16GB of Kingston HyperX memory, and windows 10. I get an idle power consumption of 9 watts, and system is silent.

    Since my monitor support arm uses the monitor’s VESA mounts, I needed to use a Silverstone NUC VESA Mounting Bracket to mount it on the rear of the monitor.

  21. Pyros says:

    Does the i5 CPU have enough power to display 10-bit HEVC material? In your i3 review you mentioned that the CPU is not powerful enough.

    • nucblognet says:

      No, not really. Have a look at the second part of the review, where I tried out different video players and video codecs.

  22. pfs35 says:

    Really great review, thankyou Olli. I was looking at getting the H model with 16gb ram and the 850 ssd (saw a few articles saying the 950 offers no major day to day advantages).

    Just saw your comment about problems with the nuc and linux mint 17.3, i use 17.3 now along with win7 dual boot (windows rarely rarely used now), was going to put mint 17.3 on the nuc and use virtualbox from time to time when i need win7. The nuc with 16gb should handle virtual box ok? (Never tried VB but have seen tutorials). The mint 17.3 issue has thrown a spanner in the works as i need WLAN, so not sure if theres a workaround or a better suited linux distro running at least kernel 4.2. Please chip in if anyone knows.

    I also read comments on the intel forums about suspend mode in linux sometimes bricking the nuc until the cmos battery is removed, there is a work around from a user but thats not really the point. The issue is long standing so imagine the nuc6i5 would have the same issue too but would like to be proved wrong.

  23. Sam says:

    I do not have Windows startup sound. (Windows 7). I can listen to music and watching movies all goes with sound. In some games, I have no sound. I noticed that no longer plays Sound when changing the display resolution.
    for example my display resolution is 1980×1080 and i Start a Game That i set to 1280×72. No Sound!! If i launch the game in windowed mode I can Hear Sound.

    I Try to reinstall drivers, Change HDMI Cable and install Windows 7 New. Nothing Works

  24. Allan says:

    Thanks for the review – after reading it I took the plunge and ordered one alongside 16gb ram and the 850ssd.

    I seem to be having an issue with boot times. It takes me around 15-20 seconds from pressing the power button to load the NUC logo and begin to start loading windows. Once windows starts, the OS loads in about 10-15 seconds so there are no issues there.

    Is there anyway go improve loading the BIOS speed and making the NUC logo load faster?

    I’ve seen YouTube videos of the 5th gen booting into windows in about 10 seconds from powering on the unit. Mine is taking 40+ and its all down to the initial wait.

    I did check the intel forums and at least 2 others are complaining of this, but no answers yet!

    • mini2mini says:

      Uncheck legacy boot in the UEFI and disable network booting. UEFI booting only works with Win8.1 or Win10

  25. Olli says:

    Thanks for the comments Allan,

    The BIOS version 33 is supposed to have boot time improvements, but be aware that some people have had issues with the upgrade. See also the article here about the disappearing M.2 drive before upgrade. Or are you already running version 33?

  26. Allan says:

    Thanks olli, I did see your article about the new BIOS, I haven’t updated yet as I also read about the issues.

    Mini2mini’s suggestion worked, I had already disabled legacy but as soon as I disabled network boot it fixed everything. Now booting from pressing the power button to windows in 14 seconds.

    I’ll try register on the intel forums to advise others who are having the same problem.

    Cheers guys!

    • mini2mini says:

      Nice that it worked.

      Could you do somethign for me, and run the Dolphin emulator benchmark on the Skylake i5 NUC? Anandtech always uses Dolphin to show CPU performance.

      It’s very easy to do this, just google “Dolphin Benchmark” and download the 7zip file, extract it, run the exe and open the .elf file there. Completely standalone package.
      For example, the NUC5i7 uses 636 seconds, the NUC5i5 uses 830 seconds. My first gen i7 (120W) gets 1200+ seconds for comparison)
      (won’t link to anything to avoid disappearing in the spam filter)

  27. Have you tried to play GameCube/Wii games with the Dolphin emulator ? On my previous NUC (D54250WYKH) it was almost running fast enough to be playable. I have good hopes for this one to run Dolphin just fine.

  28. Clinton says:

    Is anyone using the HDMI port to connect to a DVI monitor? I have an old 20″ NEC monitor with a 1680×1050 resolution that I wish to use with one of these and after hearing Intel disabled the VGA function I was wondering.

  29. I am tempted on getting an Intel NUC since I’ve been looking at mini PCs for a while. I plan on running Windows 10 but I am not sure if i want to get the NUC6i5SYH or NUC6i5SYK. I like the smaller footprint but having the space for an additional 2.5″ drive would be great.

    • Michael says:

      I opted for the H model. While the K is shorter, the width & depth are the same, so it’ll take up the same desk space in that regards. Also, a lot of places seem to sell them at the same price, so future expand-ability is always a plus!

    • Robert says:

      Get the NU6i5SYH – and slap a 1TB 2.5” drive in it for extra storage. You cannot go wrong to have extra storage.

  30. Meniak says:

    I went for the K version, just for the aesthethics. I really like how something so small can be so quiet and powerful.

  31. Josep A. says:

    Olli, what’s the best 2nd HD for data storage….using USB3.0 to 3.5″ HD enclosure ? because i dunno if there is reliable enclosure for 24/7 operations, except NAS of course. Thanks.

    • nucblognet says:

      Hello Josep,

      That’s a good question for sure. I don’t have experience on running a 3.5 inch drive in an enclosure, but I assume that one thing you’d like to make sure is that the drive stays cool. So the cage should have a fan. 2.5″ drives definitely put out less heat, but also tend to be slower. On the other hand since you’re running USB3 anyhow, maybe that does not matter so much?

      Personally I’ve been running a two-bay NAS for the last 3 years and there’s no going back for me. Of course if you plan to use the NUC wirelessly, NAS is not ideal. Over GigE NAS it is really good though.

      Do you really need two hard drives? You could install a 250-500 GB SSD in the M.2 slot and then a large 2.5″ hard drive (2TB for example) for storage.

      • Josep A. says:

        Thanks for great advice. The only problem with NAS is if it’s broken, it’s difficult to retrieve the data, unless you have 2 identical NAS.

  32. Frank says:

    Hello together!

    I got my NUC6i5SYH yesterday. It is connected over HDMI to my TV. While trying to set it up i had graphic freezes a couple of times. Did someone experience the same? Is there a way or program to test for faulty hardware?

    • nucblognet says:

      Hello there!

      Can you give a bit more background information? Are you using Linux or Windows? Which type of RAM did you install (these things are really picky about RAM)?

  33. Frank says:

    I am using 2 HyperX HX421S13IB/4 Modules and an 2.5″ 850 evo 120GB drive. Installed Windows 10 and because i could not directly upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 10 i had to install Windwos 7. Got freezes on Win7 and Win10. Also had the problem that when i switched the HDMI to another source and back to the nuc often the Screen stayed black and i had to force a Reboot to get a picture over HDMI again. I am starting to think that i got a faulty nuc.

    • nucblognet says:

      Ok, I’ve got pretty much the same setup (different brand of SSD, but otherwise the same), and both Windows 7 and Windows 10 were ok. Just check that you have the latest display drivers as this is from the release notes of the current Intel driver on their site:

      “This driver provides fixes for 6th Generation Intel Core and related processors in the following areas: display flicker issues, fixes for various hangs and graphics corruption, and stability fixes for Intel® Iris™ Graphics 540.
      This driver is for 6th Generation Intel® Core processors, Intel Core™ M, and related Pentium® processors with Intel® HD Graphics 510, 515, 520, 530, Intel® Iris Graphics 540 and Intel® Iris Graphics 550. ”

      Direct link to the driver:
      https://downloadcenter.intel.com/download/25644/Graphics-Intel-HD-Graphics-Driver-for-Windows-7-8-1-10-for-Intel-NUC

      • Frank says:

        That should be the driver i used. I will do a bios update this evening and check the graphics driver Version. What settings did you use for the graphic card in the bios (Memory, Aperture Size)? Will also try to set the Outpuport from Auto to HDMI.
        Also i think i will do a memtest. Is there any program to test for a faulty graphic card?

  34. nucblognet says:

    Ok, for the tests I was using BIOS version 33 (other have has problems with it, and be aware that after the update you will need to enable your M.2 slot in the BIOS if you have a device in it) and specifically reset the BIOS to the default settings after the update. Memtest is probably a good idea. I used the automatical output port all the time. If the problems persist it’s probably a good idea to get the NUC replaced.

  35. Henkklaas says:

    Could somebody confirm if Intel bothered to enable pass through of DTS-MA en Dolby TrueHD on the 6th gen NUCs? The biggest problem with the previous generations is that Intel for whatever reason never enabled the Windows drivers to do pass through of HD audio, making them essentially useless as a HTPC.

    Obviously the hardware is capable of it because it does work in Linux.

    Also, when idling is the fan audible in a silent room at night? I’m thinking about buying a nuc to run 24/7 but it will be in the bedroom so it must be silent.

    • Meniak says:

      Can’t comment on the DTS-MA and Dolby True HD because I use an Nvidia Shield as media box. I use the Nuc as my main PC in my bedroom however. It is dead silent!!! You can slow the fan further down in the bios if you want but I don’t think it’s necessary. Even under load, this thing keeps quiet.

  36. mini2mini says:

    Quick question: do both Cores turbo boost up to 2.8GHz?

    Intel released some CPUs previously that only boosted one Core, and on some other CPUs (G3258) both cores turbo boosted at the start, then after a microcode update in Windows only one Core turbo boosted.

    Thanks if someone knows.

  37. David says:

    Did you notice any slowdown for general use in Windows on the i3? Will be using mine for downloads/file server/media player primarily. Won’t be going to 4K any time soon so trying to decide if the i3 will be sufficient.

  38. Frank says:

    Quick update on my problems. After using only 1 Ram Module i did not have any Problems. So i thought the one module i was not using was defect. So I switched to the module which i thought was bad, but did not have any prolems either. Now i’m back to both modules but still no problems. Maybe the unplugging and replugging of the ram solved the problem.

    Now i’m running Windows 10. So far so good. But i have a problem with the hdmi sound. If i start the nuc without the tv on, or switch to another hdmi source while the nuc is still powered on, the nuc does not find a audio Source after i switch back to the nuc. Then i can’t play any audio unless i restart the nuc with the TV on or deactivate and activate the sound card in the device manager. Does anyone has the same problem? Is there an better/alternativ audio driver than the one from the intel site?

  39. ech01 says:

    I am having a hard time purchasing the nuc6i5syk. NewEgg and Amazon don’t carry it, other through some resellers. Any ideas on when it will be more available? New Egg would be great since I have a credit with them!

  40. Ben Sanford says:

    I purchased mine from MacMall, same price ($400) for the syH and syK models.

  41. First off BIG thanks for the review!

    I have an important question considering gaming: Is the NUC throttling?

    In this video someone tests the I7 with the HD540 graphics on the Surface Pro 4. The problem is, that the CPU can’t drain the power it wants/need and therefore throttles down (not due overheating!). The question is: Is the same problem present on the NUC, or do we get full power all the time?

    Here’s the video:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMdjCNxYkRQ

    Thanks in advance for the reply 🙂

    • mini2mini says:

      Setting the Power Target to 30 or 35 Watt in the Bios up from 25 Watt and the NUC won’t throttle whatsoever, and will be in continuous Burst Mode at 2.7 GHz (both Cores)

      • Robert says:

        Fantastic to know, thanks!

      • nucblognet says:

        Hello there,

        Sorry to be a bit thick here, but I can’t find such an option in the Skylake NUC BIOS. Can you point out to me where to change it? Thanks!

      • Thank you, that sounds awesome! That is exactly the problem, the I7 in the Surface Pro 4 suffers with the HD540. Having the full power all the time makes this thing perfect for me! 🙂

        One more question: Can I also go for faster RAM like DDR 4 2600 or is 2133 the max?

  42. mini2mini says:

    @nucblog
    Check the Performance Tab, there should be a setting for upper TDP. Broadwell had a few settings here, Skylake only has one.
    @christoph
    Just remember, even with the power target raised, the graphics take priority, meaning a fully loaded iGPU will strangle the CPU. See here
    http://www.anandtech.com/show/8986/intel-nuc5i5ryk-review-a-broadwellu-ucffpc-for-enthusiasts/7
    Also DDR4 2133 is max for this box, since there is no option to OC the memory
    Another thing everyone, the NUC has some really big issues with different Memory chips (Samsung, Hynix, etc), which causes the systems to freeze or even Brick, but according to Intel a BIOS update will come this week.

  43. @mini2mini
    Thanks for the info! The iGPU is important for me when gaming, so I don’t care, if the CPU goes down a bit.
    Good to know Intel is working on a bios updaze for those memory problems – guess I’ll wait with the purchase until that one’s out.

  44. adrian says:

    Thank you for the great review. I’m contemplating on replacing my old laptop (CORE I5 530M + 8GB) that I’ve used for dev work for a NUC, as I’m not traveling with the laptop all that much and it is rather noisy. Do you know if it would handle a Win 10 + Visual Studio 2015 or CODE plus a small SQL Server instance ? I’m thinking of NUV6i5ryk + 16gb DDR4 + Samsung PRO 256 (the PCI x4), so maybe I’ll be good for the next while as a desktop.

    • Robert says:

      I’m sure it will run your setup like an absolute champ! Go for it, you will be pleasantly surprised how good the NUC really is.

  45. donmoon says:

    Hi,

    I recently purchased an intel NUC6i5SYH kit PC and fitted it with the following RAM and HDD.

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00TGIW1XG?psc=1&red

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B014R8JRRW?psc=1&red

    I installed a copy of windows 8 that I owned and then upgraded it to windows 10. It was working fine for a couple of weeks, and suddenly it had and error and is stuck rebooting itself with a blue screen error. The error appears to be different every time but the ones I have seen repeated are “WHEA_UNCORRECTABLE_ERROR” and “MACHINE_CHECK_EXCEPTION”. I can get into the BIOS and that’s about it. I can’t find a way to boot into safe mode and when I try and install a fresh copy of windows 10 via USB created from microsoft i still get a blue screen error after a couple of seconds. I’m really stuck here and don’t know what to do – can anybody help?

  46. Allan says:

    After just over 3 weeks it appears my nuc6i5 has bricked itself.

    I can no now longer boot to windows or use any install stick as I get a BSOD with a whea error.

    A quick scan of the NUC forums has shown this exact thing has happened to a load of other people – all of whom have had to return their units.

    I’m getting a replacement sent out, but sadly I have no confidence in the new unit not doing exactly the same thing!

    • Robert says:

      I’m still using my DN2820FYKH NUC without any issues, guess I’ll just get a 8GB RAM DIMM for it and use it a bit longer. :p

  47. Emuthefoo says:

    Hello. I stumbled across this website looking for the answer to a question I had. Would this or the i3 skylake nuc be able to take an external capture card and run a streaming software such as OBS or xsplit. I stream on my ps4 so don’t need to worry about handling the games. Just capture. I know the nuc uses a mobile cpu but I figured skylake is so far more advanced, it could be better than 3rd gen i5. Which they recommend. Thanks for any input.

  48. Sam says:

    My Card Reader dont work with Windows 7 only in Windows 10. any Workaround for that Problem ?

  49. Sam says:

    Another thing i want to Know. Whats about the Iris graphics 540. I read it work with 950mhz. My BIOS Shows me 950mhz. But GPU-z shows me only 850mhz at load? Can anybody Confirm That ?

    https://www.techpowerup.com/downloads/SysInfo/GPU-Z/

  50. mini2mini says:

    If anyone’s not up to date with the NUC forums, BIOS 0033 has been pulled a while ago because of increased bricking of the Skylake NUCs. BIOS 0028 does it too, but to a lower extend.

    Made up my mind, will stay clear of this Box, it’s too unreliable compared to the prev. gen.

    • Trace says:

      I have seen the reviews fall off the end of the earth on this box. I guess I am fortunate that my order was received as an empty box and the vendor took 28 days to rectify the situation with a refund. I am now in possession of an SSD, HD, 32Gigs of ram and a brand new copy of Win10 Pro with no box for them. Time to re-group. Thanx for the note on the Bios progression.

  51. Drew Klaussen says:

    Please let me know when this will be GA (on Amazon, Newegg, etc)

  52. Sam says:

    hi can someone please download GPUZ and see with how many mhz the iris 540 operates ? I got only 850mhz.

  53. Sam says:

    @ donmoon and everybody with a bricked NUC unit

    You can Try to Recover your BIOS here is a How to:

    http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/boards-and-kits/000005532.html

    Buy the way can anybody Confirm that gpuz Shows only 850mhz for the Iris 540??

  54. Alessandro says:

    I am interested in a NUC i5 to replace my old PC connected to my TV , mainly used for digital content (digital music and HD video) my concern would be the lack of a Digital Audio Cable port , to connect it to my amplified speakers. I might solve this using an external DAC but my speakers have an integrated one so it would be a waste .. any suggestions?

    • Olli says:

      I guess your TV does not have digital audio output? And I guess it’s the optical SP/DIF that you’re looking for? If that’s the case, then there are HDMI to SPDIF converters that pass through the HDMI signal, but also extract the audio signal from the stream and output it over an optical connection to an audio device. These tend to be powered boxes though, so not an ideal solution either.

  55. Hugh says:

    Have Intel found a solution yet? Are the 6th gen nuc reliable enough to buy? or should I buy I7 5th gen?

    • Trace says:

      I have the same question. I am sitting on an order waiting for inventory turnover before ordering.
      Thank you to those of you who know a lot more than I do. 🙂

  56. Sam says:

    Everybody here had a Fucking Intel NUC 6i5syk/h can Nobody Download gpuz and Tell me with How much mhz the Iris 540 Works ? I asked a few times here. No answer. Absolut worthless Blog Forum what ever.

  57. RUMcajz says:

    Hi guys, have anyone from you terrible mouse, keyboard or gamepad reception thru radio dongle? i’m using this NUC 6i5SYH, 8GB Kit Kingston 2133Mhz DDR4, 250GB Crucial MX200 SSD, 2TB Seagate M9T HDD with my TV LG OLED 55EG910V (HDMI) and Microsoft All-in-one Media Keyboard.

    It has terrible LAG from 2-3m distance on IDLE, even worst if some work is done on it. (once i was installing something big on my SSD and the mouse doesn’t even move a bit, totally freeze out there till the end of installation)

    Windows 10 is clean install from USB, with just necesary drivers from Intel site.

    Tried also with my Logitech Illuminated Living Room Keyboard K830, Logitech G700s Mouse + 2x Logitech F710 Wireless Gamepads – same issue. Gamepads doesn’t work at all from distance 2m+ , from close range lot of lags.

    Already tried install latest BIOS + drivers, uninstall Realtek Soundcard (as mentioned in other sites) none of them worked.

    All my peripherals work flawlessly on front Case USB 3.0 header under Windows 7 Pro SP1 (ASUS Maximus IV GENE Z + Silverstone TJ08-E)

    So I’m sure it has something to do with crappy Windows 10 + USB 3.0 on Intel’s NUC

    Should I contact Intel or perhaps Microsoft to deal with my issue?

    Any help would be appreciated.

    • junk1 says:

      I am using a Logitech k400 keyboard with touchpad on a NUC6i5SYH running windows 10 and it works fine. No difference with windows 7.

      • RUMcajz says:

        It’s already my second 6i5SYH, booth units was ok from >2m distance for keyboard or mouse, but from more than <3m it's getting lagy with lots of stuttering.

        With my desktop pc + Windows 7 all my peripherals work with no issues even from 5m+ (Gamepads too)

        Bought i5 unit mainly for light gaming with my 2 Logitech F710 wireless gamepads, but it's working within 1m from reciever, over 1m lots of LAGS and over 2m doesn't even work.

  58. Trace says:

    Currently there are no NUC6i5 available from intel. They are listed as unavailable. I am hoping this means they are addressing the issues and providing an updated offering soon.
    http://www.intel.com/buy/us/en/catalog/search/?q=nuc6i5

  59. Is there a possibilty to test COD4MW and CS:GO, if they run it would be fantastic

  60. Mariano says:

    Thanks for the gaming benchmarks, especially for Heroes of the Storm and Dota 2, I own a Haswell i3 NUC since 2014, Im planning on upgade it in the next few days, so i would like to know if this NUC will be able to run Dota 2 on 1080p but on higher video settings with some reasonable frame rates, do you think you can run some tests Olli?

  61. Peter says:

    Will a M Sata SSD fit into the NUC’s drive bay? Not m.2 Sata but m Sata like Samsung Evo 850 MZ-M5E500BW. Since the drive bay has a height limit of .95mm, the bare board m Sata ssd would be able to fit and might also be cheaper to buy. Thanks all in advance

    • peter says:

      Nevermind, I’m just being silly. I just realized while the pins may fit, I can’t reach far enough into the slim space to insert the card.

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