Braswell NUC Review (NUC5CPYH): Building a HTPC with OpenELEC (3/3)

OpenELEC on Braswell NUC

The Bay Trail NUC DN2820FYKH was a very popular starting point in the HTPC business, but it had a few shortcomings: it had only 4 execution units in the GPU and thus it was not able to perform proper upscaling and deinterlacing. This made the Bay Trail a poor choice for people who wanted to watch live TV on their HTPCs as TV streams are mostly interlaced. Actually, very recently the clever Linux developers have cracked the nut and found a way to make Bay Trail take care of interlacing properly.

However, we’re not here to talk about Bay Trail today. The Braswell NUC has the promise of being a perfect HTPC. It does not consume a lot of energy (think 10 watts max), it is small and quiet, and it has got the looks. There’s even infrared receiver integrated and what is very interesting for a lot of people, it can do HEVC decoding in hardware – something that the few months old Core i3 and i5 Broadwell models cannot despite being more expensive. It also supports 4K resolutions up to 3840×2160@30fps. This is the maximum resolution that can be supported using HDMI 1.4b interface. For 3840×2160@60fps you would need a device with HDMI 2.0 interface or DisplayPort 1.2. However, movies at 24p or 30p should be fine on the Braswell.

As the Braswell NUC is the cheapest Intel NUC with a price tag of only / / I think it’s natural to pair this NUC with a free operating system. OpenELEC is an open-source project which is designed for one purpose – to run the Kodi media center application as smoothly as possibly. You can literally have a full media center running in 15 minutes with OpenELEC. I’m also going to install OpenELEC on the SD card and not on a hard drive – just to keep the costs down. Of course there won’t be much storage for media files, but for the storage you’ve got options: either you stream your content from a network drive (NAS) or you can install a 2.5 inch disk in this NUC. You could even connect an external USB drive.


The latest version of OpenELEC today is the OpenELEC 6.0 beta 3. However, if you want to use your NUC for 4K resolutions or HEVC decoding, you will need a development build that is available here. The functionality is very recently developed and has not found its way to the actual OpenELEC and Kodi distributions yet.

I used Win32DiskImager to write the OpenELEC disk image to a USB stick, plugged in the SD card and the USB stick on the NUC and rebooted the system from the USB stick. Installation was a breeze and after rebooting again without the USB stick, the system started from the SD card. It runs surprisingly fast from an SD card. I had a PNY Elite Performance card which is a rather fast option and extremely good value at the moment, but if you want a little bit more performance, get yourself a Sandisk Extreme Pro card that’s about as good as it gets as of July 2015. However, it does cost approximately twice as much as the PNY card does.

NUC5CPYH SD card inserted

After installation, a few video playback related settings should be changed to optimal ones. Change the settings level to expert and make the following changes in the Kodi settings:

  • Video – Playback – Adjust display refresh rate: On start/stop
  • Video – Playback – Sync playback to display: Enabled
  • Video – Acceleration – Render method: Auto detect
  • Video – Acceleration – Enable HQ scalers for scalings above: 20%
  • Video – Acceleration – Allow hardware acceleration – VDPAU: Disabled
  • Video – Acceleration – Allow hardware acceleration – VAAPI: Enabled
  • Video – Acceleration – Use Mpeg-2 VAAPI: Enabled
  • Video – Acceleration – Use Mpeg-4 VAAPI: Enabled
  • Video – Acceleration – Use VC-1 VAAPI: Enabled
  • Video – Acceleration – Prefer VAAPI render method: Enabled

I also noticed that the WiFi was not working at all. After a bit of snooping around I found out that the firmware file for the Intel Wireless AC-3165 card was missing. This will be fixed in the coming versions of OpenELEC (probably already in the next beta version of OpenELEC 6.0 in the coming weeks), but in the mean time you can get your WiFi working by downloading the firmware file and placing it in /storage/.config/firmware: Copy the file to the box, open an SSH connection and locate your file. Then issue the following commands:

mkdir -p /storage/.config/firmware
cp iwlwifi-7265D-13.ucode /storage/.config/firmware

Now your WiFi adapter should be detected properly. I did not get Bluetooth working though. Unlike a few previous models, the infrared receiver works fine out of the box this time.

EDIT: As of August 24, 2015 the current OpenELEC version (5.95.4) supports the wireless adapter out of the box. Bluetooth works fine as well.

OpenELEC System Info


In general the Braswell NUC works as well with Kodi as you would expect. I paid extra attention to the upscaling and deinterlacing capabilities as those were the low points of the Bay Trail NUC last year. Much to my delight the low-end NUC of this year is able to handle deinterlacing using the GPUs inbuild Motion Adaptive Deinterlacing (MADI) and Motion Compensated Deinterlacing (MCDI) methods. MCDI gives you the better quality out of these two.

In summary:

  • Does it support proper 23.976 Hz refresh rate? Yes
  • Can it decode full HD video at high bitrates? Yes
  • Can it upscale SD video using lanczos3 algorhitm? Yes
  • Can it deinterlace SD and HD video with advanced methods? Yes (MCDI)
  • Does it run heavier skins like Aeon MQ5 ok? Yes
  • Can it decode H.264 video at 4k resolutions 60 fps? Yes, with the development build
  • Can it decode HEVC video at 4k resolutions? No, software support does not exist yet (EDIT: Support is here)

For 4K I tested H.264 encoded video both 4K at 30 frames per second and at 60 frames per second. CPU usage stays nicely around 20% on both cases and the video playback is smooth. As I have only a full HD television, the picture was obviously downscaled to 1920×1080 resolution after decoding.

OpenELEC playing 60 frames per second 4k video on Intel NUC5CPYH (downscaled to 1080p)

OpenELEC playing 60 frames per second 4k H.264 video on Intel NUC5CPYH

HEVC Video Decoding

HEVC is the new video encoding standard that is expected to be used for pretty much any new application in the next few years. It’s the successor of the popular H.264 standard and sometimes mistakenly called as H.265. The video encoding algorithm used in HEVC is very computation intensive, which means that if you’re going to watch a HEVC video you will need a powerful CPU. Alternatively you can have specific hardware that will handle the decoding of the video leaving your CPU unused. In the case of Intel Braswell (and the coming Skylake) processors the graphics processing unit (GPU) has built-in capabilities for HEVC decoding. This means that your CPU will not be overloaded even if you watch a HEVC video and it can do some other things while the GPU takes care of the video decoding.

Now, to actually be able to enjoy HW decoding of HEVC you will need graphics drivers that do support this. For Intel the Intel VA-API driver version 1.6.0 released 1st of July includes HEVC decoding support for Braswell CPUs. So the operating system side of things is already covered. However, the video player application still needs to support this hardware decoding functionality that the driver offers. On Linux the most common video player software is called FFmpeg. This is the player that Kodi uses, for example. FFmpeg, as of July 2015, does not support HW decoding of HEVC yet on Intel GPUs. This means that if you play a HEVC video, all the number crunching is done on your CPU and in case of Braswell NUC this CPU is a not very powerful one. In my tests a 1080p 60 fps HEVC video with a 2.5 Mbps bitstream was too much for the CPU.

So, as OpenELEC is a Linux distribution it does not support HEVC decoding on hardware. I’m certain that we will see the support being added to FFmpeg, but the question is when. My (gu)estimation would be before the end of the year. I will definitely write another article when that happens.

EDIT: HEVC decoding support in Linux has taken a step forward! Read more. Also the current OpenELEC development build linked above does support hardware accelerated HEVC decoding on Braswell.


EDIT: Very experimental HEVC support is available now. I’ll update the conclusion chapter when the HEVC decoding is a bit more mature.

So is it the perfect budget HTPC? Well, the answer is – for me, not yet. However, I believe that in the nearby future I can revise this statement. It does everything that its predecessor does and a lot more, but the lack of working HEVC support in Linux is still a bit of a letdown. Of course there’s nothing that’s specifically down to Intel as their drivers already offer the support. As we saw in the previous chapter when we tested it in Windows 8.1, the hardware definitely is capable of decoding HEVC at 4K@30fps. Is it capable of doing that at 60 frames per second? So far it looks like it is not, but the drivers are in their early stages still, so who knows really.

Another interesting question is, how much more capable is the sister product NUC5PPYH that costs only $50 / €50 more than this (EDIT: read the answer in our review)? The NUC5PPYH is in every other aspect totally identical, but it contains a Intel Braswell N3700 processor that is also branded as a Pentium processor whereas the N3050 in the NUC5CPYH is branded as Celeron. In reality it’s a quad core version of the same N3000 CPU series that the dual-core N3050 also belongs to. However, for HTPC use the amount of cores in the CPU is not that interesting as the N3050 already does everything that’s needed with reserves. But the interesting thing is that the N3700 has 16 execution units in the GPU instead of 12 in the N3050. This might be enough to HW decode a 4K video at 60 fps, but that remains to be seen.

Despite the lack of working HEVC decoding in Linux I’m still really positive about the HTPC potential of this NUC. When the FFmpeg HW decoding and working BlueTooth support are introduced it’s pretty much perfect. And I expect both of them rather sooner than later (think during 2015 still). The only things that I could want more are HDMI 2.0/DisplayPort connector to enable 60 fps 4K video and the HDMI-CEC functionality.

If you’re interested in one, our resident guru, the NUC Guru can assist you in choosing the parts that will work nicely together and give you a shopping list with exact listing.

Recommended Setup for OpenELEC Users

Cheap but cheerful

Product US UK DE FR
Crucial 2GB Memory Module
PNY Elite / Lexar Professional 16GB SD card
Check the total price of the whole setup on!

Ideal HTPC

This is assuming that you don’t have significant storage needs in the NUC itself, but instead stream from the net or a NAS. If you need more storage space, customize your own NUC with the help of NUC Guru.

Product US UK DE FR
Kingston KVR16LS11/4 4GB Memory Module
Crucial BX100 120GB SSD drive
Check the total price of the whole setup on!

Read the other parts of our NUC5CPYH review

56 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Hi there, great review and you seem to be the first to review the NUC5CPYH… I’m interested to see the NUC5PPYH myself..

    I held off on the DN2820FYKH as it wasn’t able to do HD audio decoding/bit streaming in Windows (wasn’t a problem in OpenElec) so I’m curious can the CP and PP models do HD Audio in Windows…

    • Olli says:

      Hi Chris and thanks for your comment! I’ll hopefully have the NUC5PPYH next week and can compare the two.

      I’m afraid I don’t have a AV receiver that would support HD audio, so I’m not sure if I can verify the HD audio bitstreaming support. Any suggestions?

    • pierre says:

      FYI, DN2820FYKH latest Windows 10 driver do support HD Audio bitstream to a receiver. I just install a unit last week.

  2. Rex Rollman says:

    Nice review. I’ve been looking at getting the NUC5PPYH for a home server but it doesn’t seem to be available anywhere, even though the Celeron version is. Hopefully, it will start showing up soon.

    • Olli says:

      Availability of the NUC5PPYH here in Europe seems quite ok. I should receive it during the coming week. I’ll write a short review of that one too, though I don’t expect significant differences between that one and the NUC5CPYH. If there’s anything specific that you’d like to know about that, let me know!

  3. Nils says:

    Thanks for the review.

    Though subjective, it would be nice to know more about noise levels.

    How are the noise levels compared to the i3 broadwell… do the fan ramp up with increased load on these low TDP systems? A noise/temperature comparation between nuc5cpyh and nuc5ppyh would be interesting.

    I’m looking at either an Asrock Beebox (n3000 or n3150) or a Intel Nuc (nuc5cpyh or nuc5ppyh). The n3000 is fanless but looks to be a little on the weak side for medium desktop usage. Perhaps the nuc5ppyh with altered BIOS cooling settings could be an option.

    • Olli says:

      Hi Nils, thanks for your comment. I’d say the noise levels are on par with the i3 Broadwell, but to be honest when I set it to run the CPU fan only at 30% of the max value it was almost as good as quiet for my ears. Even when running the benchmarks that load the CPU the fan did not spin up noticeably.

      However, I’ll make a comparison of the fan speed and temperatures between the NUC5CPYH and NUC5PPYH as soon as I get the N3700 model. For medium desktop usage I’d probably go for the NUC5PPYH (or even i3) – there’s not so much price difference, especially if you compare the total cost including memory, SSD and OS…

      • Nils says:

        Thanks Olli! Yeah it’s a good point about i3 pricing, it’s not that much higher. However i kind of like the sense of a lower energi device with adequate performance. Looking forward to the NUC5PPYH review.

  4. Dave says:

    Thanks for the wifi tip–I was able to use the firmware to get it up and running in Mint 17.2 (Kernel 4.2 RC4) as well. Btw, anyone know what’s up with the ‘7265D’ name on the firmware? (As opposed to the AC-3165 wireless card that it contains?) Probably some Linux developer thing that’s way over my head…

  5. Edgar says:

    Hi. First, thanks for your review. It is really helpful as this product is relatively new and there’s not much written about it.
    I’m planning to build my first HTPC. I’ve been using a 5 yr old HP laptop that just went dead but I’m looking to salvage the parts (I just recently upgraded it to SSD). I just use Kodi on Win 7 and all my media is my Synology NAS. I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately and found tremendous info on the Chromebox on OpenELEC and it looks like a promising solution to my HTPC needs. However, for the price of the this NUC5CPYH, (currently $141 on Amazon) VS Asus Chromebox ($158.99) the NUC is a steal! Though the chromebox is highly recommended in the kodi forums, it’s hard to ignore the price and potential of this NUC that you have recommended (4K support, built in IR, toslink, the features just beat the Chromebox).

    I have some questions that you can perhaps answer:
    1. With OpenELEC, were you able to test if the built in IR receiver works? I’m planning to use a Logitech Harmony remote to control Kodi.
    2. Since I’ve never used OpenELEC before, I was wondering whether it’s possible for me to install Windows on an SSD, and run OpenELEC with Kodi using an SD card or USB stick. My spare SSD is big and I’d want to have an option to run windows and occasionally use this as a desktop PC (for the wife and kids). Will it be as simple as plugging in the USB stick with OpenELEC when I want it to be a dedicated HTPC? and then just pull it out if I want it to boot to Windows?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Olli says:


      Thank you for your comments.

      1. Yes, the inbuilt IR receiver works ok in OpenELEC and Linux.
      2. Yes, you have several options:

      • You install both Windows and OpenELEC on the SSD and dual-boot between them (this is slightly complicated to install, see )
      • You install OpenELEC on a USB stick or SD card that you just plug in when you want to boot into your HTPC
      • You install OpenELEC on a USB stick or SD card that is always plugged in, but in the BIOS you set your SSD drive as the primary boot device. You need to press F10 when booting the system and select a boot from USB when you want to access your HTPC.
      • You install OpenELEC on a USB stick or SD card that is always plugged in, and in the BIOS you set your USB drive as the primary boot device. You need to press F10 when booting the system and select a boot from USB when you want to access Windows.

      In general for Windows usage I would consider the faster NUC5PPYH instead. It’s $182 on Amazon currently (They have a problem with the product page, but you can purchase it via NUC Guru or using this link). I got mine yesterday and will publish an article some time during the weekend or early next week.

  6. kevbeek says:

    Thank you everyone for this thread. I’m excited to get my NUC5CPYH + 2GB ram + 16GB SD card so I can run a pure Kodi HTPC with the Openelec OS. I am new with tinkering around with devices and I’m trying to learn everything I can about a successful installation. I would like to use a Rii i8 wireless Bluetooth that has its own dongle and hope it can become an input device on the NUC. Will this be possible? Also, will a regular external HD with usb 3 support be adequate to watch 1080p quality audio out of? I have a 3TB WD I would like to repurpose.

    I agree with others that there isn’t much written yet on such a new product, and even less on specific setups and appreciate all the help I can get. Thanks.

    • Olli says:


      Thank you for your comment. I’m pretty sure you should be able to use the Rii 8 remote, maybe even with the inbuilt Bluetooth receiver (ie. you won’t need the bundled Bluetooth receiver), but I don’t have much experience on Bluetooth devices and OpenELEC. I wrote that I could not get Bluetooth working, but actually later on I have been able to pair my phone and the NUC5CPYH with each other.

      USB 3 drive should be more than enough for smooth 1080p playback. I believe an USB 2.0 drive would even do, though of course 3.0 is much better. Good luck and in case you run into problems, let us know. Kodi forums are also a very good source in case you need anything.

  7. kevbeek says:

    I got my NUC today. My regular computer is a Mac. I ran into a problem. I thought I successfully created a disk image on flash drive on the NUC it goes to a mostly gray screen with the Openelec logo and word, but nothing happens. I created a disk image in Terminal according to I’m lost at this point.

    • kevbeek says:

      I used a different usb drive after many attempts and I actually got past the logo screen and was installing onto the sd card and it kept on getting stuck at 87%. Very frustrating. Maybe I need a high quality usb drive. The latter one was a pny 16 GB. The first one was a no name. The sd card is the exact one mentioned on this site. The fact that different flash drives had different results leads my to believe I need a high quality one.

      • Olli says:

        Hi Kevbeek,

        Sorry to hear that. I’ve installed OE probably a hundred times and never seen the installer get totally stuck like that.

        Maybe couple of things to try. Enter BIOS by pressing F2 and reset the settings to defaults. Then go into boot configuration and select Linux as the operating system. Exit and save settings.

        You could also try to take out the memory card, plug it into your Mac (either using the inbuild SD card reader or an external one) and format the card (use the disk utility to erase all partitions first, then create a new one).

        Just for the fun of it, try installing OE on the 16 GB USB stick. Put the installer image on to the no name stick and make the installation on the PNY one. I’ve used countless of sticks – Kingston, noname, Sandisk, PNY and they all seem to be ok.

        Oh, and one more thing. The SD card has also a write protection mechanism, a small physical “switch”. Make sure write protect is not accidentally enabled.

      • kevbeek says:

        Success! I decided to break down and purchase a 120 GB SSD and just to be sure, got a new 3.o USB drive and made a disk image of Generic 5.95.3. Bam! Clean Boot!

        • Olli says:

          Good to hear that! Remember that the kernel in 5.95.3 does not fully support the Braswell GPU, but then again – a new OE release should be here really soon.

          Strange that the SD card did not work out too well. Maybe the BIOS is not in the best shape yet (by the way, did you upgrade it to version 031 already?). Many of the earlier NUCs were released with a BIOS that was not fully polished…

          • kevbeek says:

            I created the disk image the exact same way in Terminal as before, with the exception of changing the flash drive and removing the usb extension cord and plugged directly in back of iMac. I first started with the 5.0.8 stable build from previous Usb onto 120gb ssd but for fail error (failed to start xorg) during boot up so I opted to try latest version. I haven’t seen any problems with it except for no Bluetooth, but I have seen this discussed as a common problem. I’m using the Rii mini keyboard with its dongle so I don’t really care. I’m using a heavy skin with many addons with background art that changes every 5 seconds on home screen. I streamed a 1080p movie and it ran flawlessly. I was concerned about this because I was frugal opting for cheapest NUC. Navigating through menus in GUI is also lightning fast. I’m happy so far and will be happier with Bluetooth support.

  8. Daniel Luiz Costa says:

    Hello OLLI!

    Was you able to test hd audio passthrough (DTS master, Dolby TrueHD) so far in the configuration described on your article (NUC5CPYH with OpenELEC)?

    Anyone else?

    Best regards!

    • Olli says:


      Have a look at this discussion on Intel’s website: How to get NUC5CPYH passthrough DTS-HD, Dolby TrueHD Audio?

      Basically it should work ok on OpenELEC (I have not tried but I’ve read people reporting that it works ok), but the Windows drivers do not (at least currently) support it.

      • Daniel Luiz Costa says:

        Nice. Thanks… And what about storage and plex. Do you think that a 16GB SD card would be enough to store the OS, the plex app and all the metadata plex need? Do you think that the read speed would be enough to launch plex quickly?

  9. kevbeek says:

    I tried an old (~2009) external optical drive (LG Super Multi DVD Rewriter), and the audio was distorted. I changed audio settings to no avail. I was really interested in a new one that supports Bluray if it works. Does anyone know if this will work?

  10. Calico says:

    Do you think that the problem remain with Windows 7 drivers ?

  11. gringott says:

    Got one, so far installed OpenELEC on a Transend 64GB SDXC card, and Windows 10 Enterprise on a 120 SSD with Kodi on top. Both work well streaming HD video over the wireless. I was interested in trying the internal USB 2, it needs a special connector, and pre-made cables have been pretty much impossible to find for me, a post on another forum led me to this site, which after all said and done, I ordered the cable with two USB A female ports for $16 shipped from UK to USA. I’m posting in case anybody else was searching for this. They offer various versions, I went with the third one down.

  12. soder says:

    Hi. I just got my first NUC (nuc5cpyh). Been waiting for a version that was more suited for my needs.

    Got some questions and so..

    1. Did you do any changes in BIOS that is needed? Like some boot stuff? I read some old post on openelec forum about efi mode.

    2. I had no problem with bluetooth? Just enable it in OE setting.

    3. I just the firmware you wrote about for getting the wifi to work. It works, but after a reboot my wifi is disabled in OE settings for me. Not for you?

    4. Do you run OE from a SD, USB or SSD?

    5. I can’t get my HDMI working, but I guess it’s that my HDMI cable is old. It’s just black on the TV…


    • soder says:

      EDIT: Remove 3 and 4. On 5. Still can’t get the HDMI working on my TV. Doesn’t work with a newer 1.4 cable for me. It might be some handshake failure?

      • Olli says:

        Some handshake issue is possible. Try switching on the TV before the NUC or the other way around. Try also replugging the HDMI cable when the system is on. Other than that, I don’t have much idea.

        Manual EDID creation, custom xorg.conf, these can be tried, but I really don’t have first hand experience.

        • soder says:

          It works with my TV if I use the same HDMI port as I used for my older custom HTPC. But there is still some problem with the handshake since I get no screen when entering the “bios”.

          Also, I tried the whole thing with the manual EDID yesterday, mostly to be able to have the TV turned off on the main switch during boot of the NUC, but even that didn’t fixed that problem.

          At least I got it working now, only the TV isn’t powered off on the main switch.

    • gringott says:

      If you saw this, fine, but I did read this at the link you posted. Maybe your TV isn’t sending a signal back to the NUC?

      Note: Make sure your TV is on and the HDMI channel you have connected your NUC to is selected as input before you turn on your NUC. If there is no valid HDMI connection at the time of boot the HDMI subsystem of the NUC will not turn on and you will have a black screen.

  13. Calico says:

    Just had a brand new pp5yh this week. Unfortunately, I can’t make this SD installation work correctly as you did Olli.

    I have an hard disk (for a future Windows install), and a SD card for OpenELEC.

    2 observations :
    – SD boot is not automatically done at boot. I have to force SD boot by pressing F10. I thought that it was just an order problem, but by default, UEFI and legacy boot are activated. UEFI is primary and Legacy at second place. In UEFI, there is not SDHC choice available, it is only available in Legacy boot items. Did you completely remove UEFI boot mode ?

    – I always keep getting an error, just a few seconds after SD boot, telling me this : “Error in mount_flash: mount_common: Could not mount LABEL:System”. Same problem with Latest beta or official build.

    There is not problem if I install OpenElec on the hard disk, but that’s not my objective here.

    Did you have to touch BIOS settings or did it work with default ones ?

    Thanks for your help

    • Calico says:

      Finally no problems with your experimental disk image. Only stable and beta releases of OpenElec do this on a SD card. Hope it will help people who made the same thing as me.

      There is only this *boot order*-thing at startup. I have to press F10 to force SD boot at startup.

      • Olli says:

        Hi Calico,

        Just checked this. I have Windows 10 and Ubuntu installed on a hard drive and OpenELEC on an SD card. In the BIOS in the first screen I have UEFI Boot enabled and I can see two UEFI SATA Port 0 entries. The other entry is the SD card and the other is the SATA hard drive. With mouse I dragged the other one in front of the other and the system booted from the SD card directly to OpenELEC. No need to press F10 to boot from the card.

        I also have legacy boot enabled. There I have SATA : Port 0 : SDHC before SATA : Port 0 : Hard disk. But I think this setting is redundant as the system is doing an UEFI boot.

        • Calico says:

          OK thanks for your help it’s working correctly, I was only looking for a entry which contains the term “SDHC”. I didn’t think that it could be named in an other way.

        • soder says:

          I only got an SD-card in my NUC, and in BIOS boot menu I only got one SATA Port 0, then two of some kind of network boot I think, and then some UEFI boot.

  14. Eric S says:

    I know you work with linux on this but I was wondering if the NUC5CPYH could handle windows media center recording 3 or 4 shows at the same time? I have to stick with WMC due to DRM issues.

    • Olli says:

      Hi Eric,

      The recording itself does not require much CPU capacity, so I’d say in theory it should be ok. It would also probably depend on the rest of the hardware. Windows likes memory and an SSD drive definitely would not hurt. However, I’d seriously consider the NUC5PPYH instead – it’s not much more expensive (like $40/€40) and has a quad core CPU instead of the dual-core in NUC5CPYH. My experience is that this makes quite a big difference in Windows. There are also other variables in the puzzle: Are you planning to use 4 different TV tuners connected to the NUC or is it just 1 tuner and 4 channels from the same frequency? Do you want to do something else at the same time when the Media Center is recording? Are you talking about HD or SD channels? Unfortunately I’ve only got Windows 10 (with no MCE) on the NUC, so I cannot test that in any way…

      • Eric S says:

        Thanks for the info Olli.
        I’m planning on just using it for media center. and it would be accessing up to 6 tuners that are on a gigabit network and they would be mostly HD channels

  15. Tbird says:

    This looks very interesting as a replament for our Dune Base player.

    Regarding the audio part, on the Intel website it states: ‘up to 7.1 surround audio via HDMI’ but what about the audio formats if you use the toslink jack?

    • Olli says:

      Intel states here: “With both Toslink 5.1* optical audio and 7.1 surround sound via HDMI,* you can hear music and movies just the way they were meant to sound.” I’d guess it’s the good old DD 5.1 / DTS 5.1 that’s supported, but not 100% sure though.

  16. Tbird says:

    Thank you Olli for your quick response. This will need some more digging to be sure.

  17. paul says:


    Can you please let me know if these NUC support network boot?

  18. JF Pichette says:

    Hi ! Wow. Very good review. Very interesting blog. Thx a lot. :)
    I look at the 4-core pentium version: 5PP.
    Is it able to play 3D full BD ISO (in openelec for example) ?
    Where I can found a final answer about the TOSLINK (is it DTS and Dolby passthrough able?). Cause my old Denon AVR have not HDMI port.
    Please forget my poor English :(
    Merci beaucoup !

    • Olli says:

      Hello there,

      First of all, nothing wrong with your English! The NUC5PPYH is definitely able to decode a 4k video at very high bitrates, which is more than a full HD 3D video would be. If you can point me to a specific video though, I can test for you – I did not specifically test BluRay rips, only H.264 and HEVC videos.

      SPDIF has only 2 PCM channels. DTS, AC3 are encoded via those 2 channels. No S/PDIF has 6 channels – they all have 2. They can only play “virtual formats” that compress 6 channels over those two PCM channels. 5.1 should be what you can get with the S/PDIF, DD or DTS. But if you have an older receiver, maybe that’s all it supports.

      • JF Pichette says:

        Very fast ! :)
        Ok !! It’s all about the bandwidth after all !
        If I understand: (on a NUC5PPYH with OpenElec on a SDCard i could).

        – Build a very good system (stability / reliability), dedicated to HTPC. (8go DDR3L / Corsair SSD)
        – Build a dual boot system (Win 10 on an SSD, OpenElec on SDCard SDXC 94mbps).
        – Stream FULL HD H.264 and HEVC from any NAS on a gig wired network. (hi bitrates / no compression)
        – Play vids files flawlessly with a good picture quality to a HDTV or a 4k TV. (1.4b HDMI).
        – Play the ISO BluRay Rips (or the equivalent not compressed, main m2ts)
        – Stream 4K video @30.
        – Remote control Openelec via the InfraredPort.
        – Hardware Decode H.264 n’ HEVC (and let de Pentium breath!).
        – Play the HD Audio tracks (DTS-HD / DD-HD) via the HDMI.
        – Play Compressed Audio (DD 5.1 / DTS 5.1) via the TOSLINK (S/PDIF protocol).

        * You have right. My old Denon Receiver cant decode DTS-HD. So. I will use the optical input on it. And it’s for this reason that im interested in buying the Intel NUC with TOSLINK out. Good move Intel !

        * No needs to pick-up and test a specific video, BUT THANKS ! :)

        If the NUC can do ALL the points, I build a 10 or more terabytes NAS populated with my old BD collection ripped in FULL ISO BD (approx. 35-45gig files) and stream them to the NUC.

        Just a last question: is it easy (no lags, no bugs) to fast forward; rewind or go-to ? (with large Hi bitrates files)

        Merci beaucoup Olli. Bonne soirée.

        ps: if i build it, i will posts my own tests here. maybe it should help.

  19. JF Pichette says:

    I just receive my 5pp. Very small, very nice. Seems work perfectly.

    I want to install Openelec from a USB to SD card but always getting this after trying to boot from SD after the installation: “Error in mount_flash: mount_common: Could not mount LABEL:System”.

    Any idea to resolve this ? (bios setting ?)

    I tried to install the three different version available on the website. same error.

    Plz help !

    Merci !


    • Calico says:

      I already wrote something about it in the comments earlier : you must use the development image provided on this article, and not the stable or unstable build on openelec download page of their website.

      Calico (French too ;-))

      • JF Pichette says:

        Hi Calico !! Merci ! Je vais essayer ça après ma journée de travail sans faute! Très bonne nouvelle. Je commençais à me décourager..
        Sur quel modèle de NUC as-tu installé OpenElec?

        • Calico says:

          I’ll continue in English for nucblog readers. It’s a PPYH, great machine… and a real time-consuming device for all Geeks ;-) Don’t know how to exchange private messages from here sorry JF Pichette.
          My Twitter account for people who wants to contact me in PM for NUC questions : @Calicodesiles

          • JF Pichette says:

            Thank you Calico. Yeah.. it seems that it’s a great machine, effectively. I will try the Development Image this evening and i will post my results here for the NUCblog. Maybe it could help someone.
            Thanks for the help.
            Merci pour les coordonnées perso.

  20. JF Pichette says:

    Hi Olli, Hi Calico.
    Hi readers,
    – OpenElec “Isengard” (6.0 devel) img insalled” and working well on my NUC PPYH.
    – Use the same method as this article. USBKEY — SDCard. smooth install.
    – Boot on SanDisk Extreme 80mbps and its really fast!
    – Logitech Harmony MicroCode compatible with NUC infrared port. Work Well too !
    – SPDIF Passthrough DD and DTS: All great. (need Optical Toslink to Mini Toslink M/M 5.0mm)
    – Hardware decode activated. CPU usage very low !
    – Stream from NAS BD.ISO with star-up menu: work well.
    – OpenElec is stable, easy to set, easy to navigate through, fast, reliable.

    – No need to buy i5 or i7 if you just want a Home Theater. The HardwareDecode chip on-board do the job for all your videos.

    A great machine. HTPC 1080p/High Bitrates* with great image quality.
    *I havent tested 4k yet. (i dont have a 4k tv so…)

    Olli and Calico: THANKS FOR THE HELP.


    • Olli says:

      Great to hear that you’ve got your system running up to your liking! Personally, I think that NUC5PPYH is one of the most balanced options available for a Linux-based HTPC.

  1. August 20, 2015

    […] […]

  2. October 15, 2015

    […] The motherboard will ship with two I/O Panel Shields, a WiFi Module Screw, a Quick Installation Guide, and a support CD. It may also optionally come with two SATA data cables and one SATA 1 to 2 power cable. The company only lists Microsoft Windows 10 64-bit, Windows 8.1 64-bit, and Windows 7 64-bit (with modified installation disk) operating systems, but Linux distributions should also work, just as they do on Intel Braswell NUCs. […]