Comet Lake i5 NUC Review (NUC10i5FNK / NUC10i5FNH)
Since the i5 model is the last Frost Canyon NUC for me to review we’ll be able to compare all Frost Canyon NUCs to each other. In addition I’ve included the results from the previous generation (NUC8) for comparison.
All tests were done using the BIOS version 0039.
3DMark is a benchmarking tool that measures the performance of the computer especially when it comes to DirectX and CPU performance. I’ve used it for years so I can compare the performance of various NUC models to each other reliably.
Compared to Bean Canyon NUCs the performance is rather depressing in the Sky Diver test. You can really see how big of an impact the omission of the Iris Plus GPU has made. Results of the various Frost Canyon models are not that far from each other and especially the i5 is very close to the i7.
In the Fire Strike test the results are similar.
Cinebench R15 is another benchmark tool for the GPU and CPU performance. There’s also Cinebench R20 that I’m already using to collect results, but as I don’t have comparative data yet for the previous generation, I’ve left it out from this review.
The OpenGL test is a GPU test so the results don’t look too good for Frost Canyon here.
Whereas the CPU test is not impacted by the lesser GPU, so the results are pretty good. But still, only on par with the previous generation i5 model. You can see the difference between the i3 and the i5 model here. The i5 has twice as much cores as the i3 and thus approximately twice as good result. The i7 has again 2 more cores.
Geekbench is a cross-platform processor benchmark, with a scoring system that separates single-core and multi-core performance, and workloads that simulate real-world scenarios. Good thing about Geekbench is that it’s available for a lot of different platforms including iOS and Android so it’s easy to compare performance widely.
In the Geekbench 3 test the Frost Canyon i5 does slightly better than the Bean Canyon i5 and sits quite nicely in the middle between the i3 and the i7.
As always, I ran the Dirt 3 benchmark sequence to get an idea if the benchmark results are reflected also to real-world gaming.
As seen from the results above, they indeed are. Bean Canyon beats Frost Canyon in Dirt 3 hands down. There’s virtually no difference between the i5 and the i7 Frost Canyon models in this game.
The power consumption figures I’ve taken with a consumer grade powermeter so they’re not exact science.
|Idle, Windows 10 desktop||8 W|
|Watching a 4K60 video in YouTube||14 W|
|CPU-Z stress test||64 W initially, drops to 55 W|
|3DMark Time Spy||Around 40 W|
The Frost Canyon NUC utilizes the same large fan that was used in Bean Canyon, which is good news since I found it relatively quiet compared to the older and smaller fan solution used previously. As expected the NUC is relatively quiet although the fan does spin up when the CPU is being stressed. It’s not silent, but relatively quiet. Comparable to many laptops I would say. The fan behaviour can be configured in the BIOS options either by selecting from a few preconfigured presets (such as quiet, balanced, cool) or by tweaking the individual fan speed and temperature parameters. If you want complete silence there’s always a fanless case from Akasa (Turing FX case).
Having reviewed the i3 and the i7 model already there were very little unexpected with the i5. Performance-wise it sits right between the other two models. The NUC10i5FNH or NUC10i5FNK would make a good desktop replacement if you don’t need to use any applications that require GPU power, such as games.
I said it in the reviews of the other models and I’ll say it here. The performance of the NUC10i5 is bit of a disappointment. In many benchmarks there’s only a little to none improvement over the previous generation and in the tests that utilize the GPU there’s a big step backwards. There is the support for 64 gigs of RAM and an improved Wi-Fi adapter but those changes will not manage to tip the scale for me. The possibility to equip it with 64 gigabytes of RAM might make it interesting as a micro server.
Of course a lot of the things we like about the Intel NUC product line are still there: the build quality is solid, the unit is tiny in size, the fan is not too noisy and its behaviour can be customized and it features latest Intel CPUs. It’s just that there’s not much we didn’t already see and have in the unit that has been on the market since last year.
That’s it for the NUC10i5FNK review. If you think I missed something important or if you want to tell your feelings about the NUC10 please use the comments box below.
- Target Usage Home Office Home Theater PC Casual Gaming
- 10th Generation Intel Core i5-10210U (NUC10i5FNK1) with Intel UHD Graphics 300 MHz – 1 1 GHz
- Supports Microsoft Windows* 10 logo’d compatible with various Linux distros
- Supports up to 3 displays HDMI 2 0a USB-C (DP1 2) 6 USB Ports