Gemini Lake Pentium NUC Review (NUC7PJYH) – Overview (1/3)

Ok, time for a review of the NUC7PJYH NUC also known as the Gemini Lake NUC with Pentium Silver CPU. Now this is going to be a very similar story compared to the NUC7CJYH review and there’s a good reason for that. The only difference in these two NUCs is the CPU. Disclaimer: I’ve even reused some photos from the NUC7CJYH review if the particular view of the NUC was identical for both models.

For those not familiar with the Intel NUC line of products, NUC7PJYH is a miniature computer that has a footprint of approximately 10×10 cm (4×4 inch). The form factor has been pretty much the same since the introduction of the first NUCs about five years ago. The Gemini Lake in the name refers to the SoC (system on chip) that powers this computer. It contains a quad-core Intel Pentium Silver J5005 CPU. The earlier released NUC7CJYH has a dual core version of the same CPU, the Celeron J4005.

The CPU in the unit is a quad-core Pentium J5005 CPU that is clocked up to 2.8 GHz and the GPU has 18 execution units (EUs). There’s no fanless model in Intel’s lineup, but third parties most probably will manufacture a fanless case for this.

The NUC7PJYH is delivered as a barebones system, so you’ll need to bring your own memory modules and the storage media. The Gemini Lake NUC has 2 SO-DIMM slots for DDR4-2400 RAM, but a bit disappointingly the maximum amount of memory supported is only 8 gigabytes although there are reports that 16 gigs will work just fine. For storage you’ll need to bring a 2.5″ SATA drive. I wholeheartedly recommend installing an SSD drive instead of a conventional hard drive. The installation of the components is really quite simple even if you have never done it before. If you’re worried about getting the right parts you can use our NUC Guru tool that will prepare a complete shopping list for you.

For this generation of NUCs Intel has adopted a two-tier strategy for the entry level devices. Back in 2017 there was a single quad-core Celeron (NUC6CAYH) and a generation before that we saw both a dual-core Celeron (NUC5CPYH) and a quad-core Pentium (NUC5PPYH). Now there’s a dual-core Celeron (NUC7CJYH) and a quad-core Pentium (NUC7PJYH) again.


Features

Processor Intel Pentium Silver J5005 CPU, quad-core, up to 2.80 GHz, 10W TDP
RAM 2 slots for DDR4-2400 1.2V SO-DIMM, max. 8 GB, dual-channel
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics 605, 250 MHz base frequency, 800 MHz max, 18 EUs, 4k up to 60 Hz
2 full-size HDMI 2.0a ports
Storage One SATA 6.0 Gbps port, supports one 2.5″ drive up to 9.5mm
One full-sized SDXC slot
Networking Gigabit Ethernet port, Realtek 8111H-CG
Intel Wireless-AC 9462-D2W 802.11ac WiFi module soldered-down, Bluetooth 5
Audio Intel HD Audio via HDMI port, supporting 7.1 audio streams
Realtek ALC233 HD Audio via a microphone/headphone 3.5 mm jack on the front panel
Compressed 5.1 digital audio through a mini-TOSLINK jack on the back panel
Digital microphone array for support of digital voice assistants (Cortana, Alexa)
Ports 2 USB 3.0 ports on the front panel (one charging capable)
2 USB 3.0 ports on the back panel
Other Consumer infrared receiver
HDMI CEC header
Simple HDMI CEC functionality in-built
Price Approx. $179 / €179 / £169

There’s also a full technical product specification document available as PDF here.

Hardware Overview

Included in the usual blue NUC box is the main unit itself and a power adapter that has only a plug for one region this time (for last couple of years NUCs were delivered with a multi-country power adapter). The product name denotes the power adapter type: BOXNUC7PJYH1 for US plug, BOXNUC7PJYH2 for EU and BOXNUC7PJYH3 for UK. The only difference is just the type of the Mickey Mouse cable, so you can buy the NUC from another market and just borrow the cable from your old laptop. Also VESA mounting hardware (you can mount the NUC behind your monitor or TV with these), a quick start guide/poster and some warranty papers are included in the box.

On the front panel we find two USB 3.0 ports (the yellow one is charging capable), a microphone/headphone jack, an the power switch and LED, the infrared receiver. The two small holes are for the dual microphone array. Intel chose not to include the ring LED this time. Instead there’s a conventional HDD LED.

On the back panel there are 2 HDMI connectors, Gigabit Ethernet port, TOSLINK stereo jack, two USB 3.0 ports and the 12-19V DC input jack for the power brick.

On the left side of the unit there’s an SDXC card reader and the Kensington security key lock hole.

Assembly

In order to install the components you’ll need to open the bottom cover of the NUC. And to do that you’ll need to unscrew 4 standard Phillips screws. There’s a 2.5″ drive slot in the cover where you plug in your SSD drive. No screws are needed for fastening the SATA drive as a drive fits the slot rather tightly. Under the cover plate you’ll find the mainboard. The two memory slots dominate the scenery here.

Here’s how it looks with the memory installed and a 2.5″ drive in the slot. The RAM modules are just clipped into place. Installation is actually very easy. It’s worth noting that this NUC does not seem to work with 2400 MHz RAM modules with CAS latency less than 16. I did use the Kingston KVR24S17S6/4 that is a 2400 MHz DDR4 SO-DIMM module with CL17. This module is also on Intel’s verified hardware list, so it’s a safe choice in that sense.

If you’re interested in how the CPU and other things under the mainboard look like, take a look at my NUC7CJYH review. I did not bother dismantiling this NUC that much as it’s identical…

BIOS

BIOS version 0037 was used for this review. Intel Visual BIOS is pretty much the same as it was on every other NUC before this. It works ok, but only a limited amount of options can be changed on this NUC. Interestingly there are BIOS options for ring LED even if this NUC doesn’t have one.

It’s worth noting that you can set the fan speed to 0 if the temperature falls below a configurable threshold.

Continue Reading

7 Responses

  1. Scott Emery says:

    Minor edit: in the “Features” table you list the J5005 as dual-core. It is quad-core.

  2. Tomm says:

    Yup use either KVR type memory from Kingston (CL 17) or G.Skill RAM (CL 16), I think G.Skill RAM is cheaper in general, just check memory support site.

    2.5 SSDs are pretty much supported (obviously not added on support page, as too many to include), I would prefer 860 EVO (got price cut while ago)

  3. Adrian84481 says:

    Built this with some PC4-2400T 4GB Samsung modules and a 1TB 840 EVO, works like a charm. Surprisingly, it manages to play back H265/HEVC @50mbps 60fps without a glitch (although GPU usage peaked at 85%). Great little box for HTPC.

  4. Tomm says:

    According to: https://www.cnx-software.com/2018/05/16/intel-nuc-kit-nuc7pjyh-review/

    “F4-2400C16D-16GRS” is supported, 2x 8GB (total of 16GB RAM!) 😮

    Yeah it’s been long on Intel supported list, but very strange they say it support max 8GB RAM, but then some RAM kits are supported for more than 8GB D:

  5. I need dual channel memory that works in this. Bought 2 sets now and not working in dual channel. Any ideas what works in dual channel please?

  1. May 30, 2018

    […] Review on the NUC Blog, including photos of the NUC disassembled for installation of RAM and SSD: nucblog.net/… […]

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.