Phantom Canyon NUC Review (NUC11PHKi7C)

Performance and Benchmarks

For this review BIOS version 0063 and Nvidia GeForce driver version 496.13 were used. Some might remember the driver hassles there were with the AMD-based GPU in the Hades Canyon when Intel stopped updating the drivers and you had to jump through various hoops to get the AMD driver working. Well, on this Phantom Canyon NUC you can just download the latest NVIDIA GeForce drivers and install them without a problem. This is a welcome change and means that the lifecycle management of the drivers likely won’t be an issue.

Synthetic Benchmarks


3DMark is a benchmark that tests both the CPU and the GPU performance. The results correlate pretty well to real world gaming results.

I started taking the benchmarks pretty excited and found out that 3DMark was complaining about rendering device not being connected directly to the display. I came to realize that the Thunderbolt/Type-C ports are actually directly connected to the Iris Graphics Xe GPU and the HDMI and the MiniDP ports are connected to the RTX 2060 GPU. After changing to the HDMI port the following notification disappeared.

The Fire Strike benchmark I’ve ran for a lot of different NUCs. We can see that the Phantom Canyon wipes the floor with the other NUCs in this test. Only Hades Canyon can put up a fight but still the Phantom Canyon is 67% faster.

I’ve got no test result for the Night Raid benchmark for the Hades Canyon but the trend continues here.

Cinebench R20

The Cinebench R20 purely stresses the CPU. We can see that the Core i7-1165G7 CPU in the Phantom Canyon does a bit worse than the same CPU in the Panther Canyon NUC.

PCMark 10

The performance of Phantom Canyon NUC is in line with the other i7 NUCs of the this and last generation. Productivity and Content Creation tests yield a bit better results than the others.


Dirt 3

Just for fun I decided to run the Dirt 3 benchmark on this NUC too. 1920×1080 resolution with high details, 2xMSAA resulted in a ridiculously high frame rate.

Dirt 5 would be much more appropriate test for this NUC with min/avg/max frame rate being 58.4/86.1/107.1.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider

The Phantom Canyon NUC is the first NUC that I’ve seen running the Shadow of the Tomb Raider in a satisfactory way. Graphics were set to 1920×1080, High details, TAA.

Far Cry New Dawn

Far Cry New Dawn wasn’t a big challenge for the Phantom Canyon either when settings were 1920×1080 resolution, high details, TAA, motion blur.


The Phantom Canyon NUC provides significant performance for such a small box. It beats every other NUC I’ve tried hands down. If you’re looking for a gaming PC that you can easily throw in your backpack or hide behind your screen this is just about as good as it gets.


10 Responses

  1. Olli says:

    Honestly, this has been a frustrating year. It was next to impossible to get hold of the new NUCs and even if I could get one it still wasn’t possible for you, readers, to buy one. And it’s not very motivating to write about something you know won’t be available in the stores.

    Hell, Panther Canyon NUC was actually good and so is the Phantom Canyon. Panther: already discontinued. Phantom: somewhat available currently, but prices are what they are…

  2. Vlado says:

    Thanks. Better late than never.

  3. sahin xilen says:

    thanks gents for all the reviews, though after this year I will stop buying cannon PCs for my family. It got to the point where building a mini ATM line nCase is cheaper, more reliable and more maintainable than the NUCs… which used to have price, size and power on their size with Skull canyon

  4. Ale says:

    Thanks for the review. Here in Switzerland I was able to get it for around 950 Euro.
    I am loving the much quieter fan compared to hades canyon.
    Quick question: as I am using it mainly for office work, using a Thunderbolt video connection (which is attached to the Intel integrated graphic) would consume less resources as compared to me using it with the DP cable?

  5. Clara the great says:

    I personally dont recommend this NUC. It’s not a nuc but a skull. Scary for kids and christians.

    • nucblognet says:

      Personally I fail to see how a picture of a skull would be scary for Christians in particular. But if you want to avoid your kids having nightmares you can remove that plastic skull screen while assembling the NUC or replace it with a home-cut image of Sponge Bob.

  6. Thomas says:

    thanks for the review. I have some questions though.

    1. Does the system have an Nvidia Optimus configuration, where the dedicated GPU is only used when needed, and the INtel iGPU is primarily active during light desktop use?

    2. if it’s not Nvidia Optimus, is it still possible to seamlessly switch between the two GPUs when the display is connected to the DP or HDMI port?

    3. Could you please try to compare the fan noise with the classic NUC formats like the 6i5-SYH or the current 11-i7PAH?

    • burnsidhe says:

      It’s a whisper under idle. A gentle susurrus that is drowned out by your AC running, by road noise, by your mate talking on the other side of the house, by a copier machine or printer running, whatever. Nearly silent.
      Under load it does spin up, but it’s still about half as loud as your AC running, if that.

      i7PAH runs up to 54.5 db, Phantom Canyon idles at 25db up to a maximum under load (for a brief period) of 47.9. So even at its loudest it’s about half as loud as an i7PAH, and it takes more of a load to get there.

  7. Mtenga says:

    I find the fan annoyingly loud under load. From the various reviews I was expecting it to be quieter but it’s aggravating. I’ve got a full size 3070ti in my main PC and rarely hear it. Go figure.

  8. JapeX says:

    How does it compare to the Dell Mini PC Optiplex 7000 with Core i7 12700T?

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