Phantom Canyon NUC Review (NUC11PHKi7C)

Fan, Electricity, Linux & Conclusions

Let’s start by talking fan noise. The fan management in this NUC is fantastic. It’s very close to being silent when you’re not stressing the CPU and the GPU and even under heavier loads it doesn’t get annoyingly loud. I guess a lot of this is due to the larger diameter fans but it is apparent that Intel spent some time optimizing the acoustics of this NUC.

This probably isn’t the NUC you’re thinking of if you’re concerned about the power consumption. I recorded 17-20 watts at idle Windows desktop and during high stress there were peaks up to 225 watts where the consumption usually hovered around 100 watt mark. The power brick does get quite warm under heavy stress.

Linux on Phantom Canyon

I often get asked whether a certain Linux distribution works on a particular NUC. While I cannot test everything, I’d say the chances are fairly good if you use a recent version of your distro and it contains a fresh kernel. There used to be times when you had to tinker for a week to get a Linux Desktop up and running at least somewhat decently. However, it wasn’t that smooth sailing with the Phantom Canyon. I installed Ubuntu Linux 21.10 on it which initially seemed to work just fine. However, it soon became apparent that the GPU driver was crashing every now and then as can be seen in this dmesg printout. Likely something that will be fixed in the coming GPU driver versions though.

I did execute the Basemark GPU test for Linux and the Phantom Canyon was able to score 4978 points.


It’s a shame that the availability of the Phantom Canyon has been so shaky. However, it seems it’s finally starting to properly hit the shelves globally. It’s a very well-built NUC that seems very refined. At the same time the performance is unlike anything seen in such a small box before. A mere standard RTX 2060 GPU is approximately the same size as this NUC. Yet the fan noise is still kept at bay.

What do you think about this NUC? Let everyone know below in the comments section. Or if you know where to source one let others know too!

I liked

  • The CPU and GPU performance
  • Build quality
  • Fan management
  • Tons of ports for such a small chassis

Could be improved

  • Availability
  • Access to the internal components
  • The bulky power brick
  • Two Ethernet ports would be nice

Recommended System

  • The NUC: Phantom Canyon i7 NUC with RTX 2060 GPU, $1,439.99
  • RAM: 2x8GB (16GB total) DDR4-3200, $70.99
  • Storage: Samsung 980 SSD 1TB M.2 NVMe drive, $109.99

Check out the total price of the whole setup on!

And don’t forget to check out our Build Your Own NUC tool and create a custom system that suits your needs!

Intel NUC NUC11PHKi7C Gaming Computer,Intel Core i7-1165G7,2.8–4.7GHz,28W Intel Iris Xe Graphics,NVI-Dia GeForce RTX2060 Discrete Graphics w/6GB GDDR6,NO RAM, NO SSD, NO OS, Add't Components Needed.
  • Intel NUC11 NUC11PAHi7C Mini PC, 11th Generation Intel Core i7-1165G7, 2.8 GHz – 4.7 GHz Turbo, 4 core, 8 thread, 12MB Cache.
  • 28W Intel Iris Xe Graphics, up to 1.3 GHz, 96 EU units, NVI-DIA GeForce RTX2060 Discrete Graphics w/ 6GB GDDR6.
  • Intel Optane Memory H10 (32GB) Storage.
  • HDMI 2.0b, Mini DisplayPort 1.4 ports,HDMI 2.0b and Mini DisplayPort 1.4 ports support 8K graphics and four monitors,Intel 2.5Gb (i225-LM) Ethernet port, Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX411, 802.11ax 2x2 3.0 Gbps w/ 6GHz & DCT + Bluetooth 5.2, with internal antennas.
  • Three-year original warranty from Intel. For more information please visit Intel official website.


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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