Braswell NUC is soon here!

EDIT: Braswell NUCs are already here and we have posted reviews of both models: Celeron-based NUC5CPYH and Pentium-based NUC5PPYH!

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.

Intel Braswell NUC : NUC5CPYH

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!



7 Responses

  1. DN2820FYKH user says:

    Interesting, they both still have the same TDP. My experience is that the DN2820FYKH is not fast enough for pleasant desktop use (lags a lot). Considering that the tech went up (14nm now) and the TDP went down from 7.5 to 6W (which is a good thing in itself), these NUCs are going the be similarly unsuitable for pleasant desktop use, I would guess. Maybe with 10 or 7nm then. For the use as a HTPC this very well might be different.

  2. DN2820FYKH user says:

    I forget to add that the OS is of course (Arch through Antergos)Linux with Cinnamon desktop and 4GB RAM+Samsung EVO SSD (same as on my i5 Haswell NUC), so that’s not the reason for the Celeron-NUCs’s slowness). The i3/i5/i7 NUC versions do provide quite a pleasant desktop usage but are of course more expensive.

  3. Olli says:

    Thanks for your comments! But you’re right, I don’t think this makes an ideal desktop replacement. The i3 NUC is much more suited to that task (let alone the i5 or i7 models). Coming Skylake models will probably have everything you could want from a miniature desktop replacement – including HEVC decoding in HW, unlike the Broadwell models. Though one thing to check is that you have recent Linux drivers for the Intel GPU – there has been lately significant developments in the drivers.

    For a HTPC running OpenELEC I expect very good performance, but that’s also due to the fact that the OS is so highly optimized for the task at hand.

    • Olli says:

      Basically the Bay Trail / Braswell CPU is / will be used in many budget laptops, so you can expect similar performance from the NUC as you do get from a €/$300 laptop. Those are typically available in every computer or electronics store, so it’s easy to fiddle around a bit before making a decision which model to get.

  4. DN2820FYKH user says:

    “Coming Skylake models will probably have everything you could want from a miniature desktop replacement – including HEVC decoding in HW, unlike the Broadwell models.”
    Yes the Broadwell models seem a bit uninteresting. I’m interested in the cheaper Celeron/Pentium NUCs becoming faster/better suitable for pleasant desktop usage. As mentioned, maybe in 7 – 10nm and then without active CPU cooling this is going to happen.

    As the Skylake NUCs are in sight, is also the Braswell NUC successor in sight?

  5. Olli says:

    First Braswell products have barely hit the market. :) No, I’m not aware of a successor for Braswell. Expect one in 2016.

  6. Mehtab says:

    Returned my NUC5CPYH, with SSD and 8GB ram even basic web browsing seemed so slow to me. My desktop with Pentium G2120 runs a lot lot faster. Any idea how the NUC5PPYH will perform? Here in Australia the i3 Nuc will cost around $400.

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