Intel NUC DN2820FYKH Bay Trail System Review

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Inside The Intel NUC DN2820FYKH


When we pulled off the bottom cover we were shocked to see that Intel put a chrome finish on the plastic. The motherboard tray that Intel is using in this NUC is similar to the one we saw in the Intel NUC KIT D54250WYKH, but there were some obvious differences when it came to wiring.


The storage drive tray supports 2.5″ SATA notebook style drives that are up to 9.5mm in z-height. This is the only storage drive supported by this platform as Intel didn’t include an internal mSATA port on the motherboard due to costs and the target market for this platform. It should be noted that this is a SATA II 3Gbps header, so going with a high-end Solid-State Drive (SSD) with a SATA III interface would be a bit overkill for this platform as you wouldn’t be using all the performance it had to offer.
The lowest priced notebook hard drive that we could find was the Seagate Momentus 5400RPM 320GB drive for $39.99 shipped.  From there you can go all the way up to larger 1TB hard drives like the WD 1TB Blue SATA II 5400 RPM hard drive (WD10JPVT) that are 9.5mm in thickness and priced at $89.99 shipped. So, you are looking at between $40 to $90 for basic rotational storage drives if you are looking to build up a low cost system with a decent amount of storage space. You could also use a solid-state drive and then have your mass storage on an external USB drive or on network attached storage.

Intel NUC DN2820FYKH Tray

The drive tray can be carefully lifted out of the chassis, but you need to remove the SATA power and data cables to completely remove it. Intel includes the necessary cables to get a 2.5-inch drive installed. You don’t have to remove the drive to install the single DDR3L memory module, but we did to better show you this platform.


The Intel NUC DN2820FYKH comes with an Intel Wireless-N 7260BN WiFi card pre-installed along with the wireless antennas that are pre-routed inside the small enclosure. This half-length PCIe mini-card features support for 802.11n and Bluetooth 4.0. It should be noted that it takes up the onle PCIe slot inside the NUC, so there is no using a mSATA drive inside this version of the NUC. This wireless card retails for around $17 shipped, so it is nice that Intel included it with the NUC.

2/10/14 UPDATE: Would you like to know how the Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260HMW card performs in this system versus the Intel Wireless-N 7260BN WiFi card the 802.11AC? You can read that article here.


Here is a closer look at the standard SATA II 3Gbps header used on the DN2820FYB  motherboard. Notice that directly above the SATA header there is a small black power header that is used to supply power to the 2.5″ storage drive that you will be using.  Intel supplies all the cables needed to get the 2.5″ drive operational.


We wanted to take the DN2820FYB motherboard out of the NUC Kit DN2820FYKH to give you a better look at it. On the bottom side of the motherboard you’ll find one DDR3L SO-DIMM slot for up to 8GB of 1066MHz 1.35V Low Power DDR3L memory. On the other side of the board you’ll the  half size mini PCI express slot for a wireless card. It should be noted that the BIOS on this board is locked down to 1066MHz, so that is the only clock speed available to run the DDR3L SO-DIMM memory kit at. There aren’t too many DDR3L memory modules that are sold individually at that clock speed, but the board will downclock higher-end modules. Our suggestion on memory is to get the capacity you want and start shopping around for the best price on a 4GB or 8GB module.


Some of the internal Intel glamor shots of this motherboard showed internal VGA and USB headers, but those have been removed from the retail models for some reason. The yellow jumper is for the BIOS security pins that allow you to  run the BIOS in normal, lockdown and reset modes.


On the top side of the motherboard you’ll find the CPU Cooler, which consists of a notebook style fan and heatsink that help keep the Intel Celeron processor N2820 nice and cool. Intel went with a SUNON MagLev GB0555PDV1-A 1.1W 4-pin blower style fan to keep temperatures at bay. Intel said this is a ;ow-acoustics active cooling design, so we’ll have to see how quiet or loud it really is ourselves. The system battery can just be seen under the right edge of the blower. It should be noted that the Intel NUC DN2820FYKH does not have a HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) header on the motherboard (Only the more expensive D54250WYB and D34010WYB models have the HDMI CEC header).


The heatink that Intel is using the the Intel Celeron Processor N2820 is very small and it looks to be entirely aluminum with 13 fairly thick cooling fins.


With the motherboard entirely removed from the system, you can see how the wireless cards antennas are routed around the top cover and are terminated with what appears to be conductive copper tape.

Let’s install the memory and storage drive into the DN2820FYKH.

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  • Mateo

    Thantk you a lot for your article, i’ve learned so much from you.
    Logiciels Marketing

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  • ledia

    Thanks for the review and insights. Definitely good as a space saver. Having wired ethernet available, I’d like to build this configuration myself. look coque galaxy note 3

  • KaziQ


    Something seems to be wrong with the power consumption results. My idle power consumption is at about ~11 Watts. When I disable Audio, IR Transciever and LAN it comes down to 9 Watts. 4.6 is way below anything I could see.


  • Kim Monberg

    Would really have loved to know if the unit can utilize the gbit LAN port 100%, as i thought of using this one as a NAS?

  • anonymous
  • Guy Carmeli

    Thanks Nathan for this wonderfully thorough review. This helped me make my final decision for picking one up to set up as my HTPC.

    Sadly though I’m not experiencing the video performance you were demonstrating here. All of my videos are pretty standard – MKV’s and MP4’s at 1080 and 720 resolution – but none are playing smoothly so far. They are laggy and choppy, and the CPU is maxing out at 100%, as if the hardware acceleration isn’t kicking in.

    My setup is pretty straightforward:
    – Intel NUC DN2820FYKH
    – 60Gb SSD
    – 4Gb RAM
    – Windows Pro 8.1
    * BIOS and drivers are all up to date (3/17/2014)
    * Changed video minimum memory to 512Mb
    * Media resides on a 2Tb WD Elements connected via USB
    * Connected to display directly via HDMI

    Tried using Plex, VLC, MPC…. installed K-Lite…….. nothing. Performance varies between players, but none manage to do the job properly.

    This is very frustrating as I have purchased this machine specifically for this purpose, and from your review it seems pretty clear that it should handle these files easily.
    I was wondering if perhaps I am missing something? Any additional software I should install or setting to lookup?


    • Peter Cordes

      Have you tried DISABLING hardware decode? The CPU can probably handle harder-to-decode videos than the GPU hardware. I’ve seen this with AMD and NVidia GPUs: some videos are too high bitrate for them, and they stutter.

  • Brett2142

    Great review. I’d love to hear how this performs running the Steam Streaming beta…it should be able to do hardware decoding, if so is it powerful enough to serve as a client streaming box?

  • Michal

    Hi Guys, I am looking for HTPC for my LG TV from 2012. I have to use PLEX server for transcoding movies from my NAS. All transfers are over gigabit home network. Plex dosen’t support HW decoding and I need pretty strong CPU. Does this NUC transcode high bit-rate 1080p 3D movies? Movies will be played by my TV set over my home network (gigabit LAN) .
    If I install XBMC or simple Windows Media Player with right codecs, does this NUC is able to play high bit-rate 3D movies from my home network at my TV via HDMI?
    Thanks for help in advance!

    • Nathan Kirsch

      If you’d like to share some media with me I can try out exactly what you are looking to do. My info is on the contact page.

  • Adam

    Thanks for the review! Do you have plans to review any Bay Trail-D motherboards that have been recently announced / released?

    I would expect similar performance, but i’m particularly interested in the J1900 flavors.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      I’ll look into it!

  • Joao Soares de Melo

    Great review! Will this be able to do some light gaming… for example i would like to play pro evolution soccer 2014 (doesnt need to have great fps or be high quality)

  • mervin39

    I don’t have much experience with ssd storage our mini-pcie devices, but do you think it’d be possible to remove the wireless and replace it with a mini-pcie ssd?

  • Exuperie

    Do you guys think the fanless Gigabyte Brix with Bay Trail-M will be more powerful CPU/GPU wise?

    • Guest

      I have asked Gigabyte if they know what CPU they will be offering in that system yet. It really depends on the CPU choice they make.

      Intel currently offers quite a few Bay Trail-M processors in the Celeron line:

      ModelCores /
      ThreadsFrequency /

      Celeron N2806
      2 / 2
      1.6 / 2 GHz
      1 MB
      311 / 756 MHz

      Celeron N2815
      2 / 2
      1.86 / 2.13 GHz
      1 MB
      311 / 756 MHz

      Celeron N2820
      2 / 2
      2.13 / 2.39 GHz
      1 MB
      311 / 756 MHz

      Celeron N2920
      4 / 4
      1.86 / 2 GHz
      2 MB
      311 / 844 MHz

      Pentium N3520
      4 / 4
      2.17 / 2.42 GHz
      2 MB
      313 / 854 MHz

    • Nathan Kirsch

      have asked Gigabyte if they know what CPU they will be offering in
      that system yet. It really depends on the CPU choice they make.

      Intel currently offers quite a few Bay Trail-M processors in the Celeron line:

      Celeron N2806
      Celeron N2815
      Celeron N2820
      Celeron N2920
      Celeron N3520

      • Nathan Kirsch

        The fanless Gigabyte BRIX would be the J1900 Baytrail processor

  • will3

    Nice review and at last we see the fan make & model number. There have been a lot of complaints about the noisy fan used in the D54250WYK on the Intel NUC forum you reviewed, yet never saw the fan make/model published. Any chance of letting us know if it is the same make and model number as on your Bay Trail one ?

    Also, are you able to test the WiFi speed versus distance so we get a measure of how good the NUC dual antenae system is ?

    Any chance of testing a range of Skype voice calls on it to see if free of stutter/dropouts ?

    Your D54250WYK review erroniously listed a DDR3L part no. which Intel state is not compatible (and isn’t). Do you know if the Bay Trail NUC is as fussy as to which DDR3L sticks work ?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Will3 – Thanks for the feedback and I’ll take a look at the crucial DDR3L part number. I e-mailed them last night to double check.

      The fans are different models. The Bay Trail-M uses a blower fan from SUNON and the Haswell NUCs use a blower fan from DELTA (model BSB05505HP). The fans are different as are the heatsinks, so there is nothing identical when it comes to cooling.

      When it comes to WiFi speeds please check this out. I think it will answer your question –

      I’ve moved on to testing some other items that need to get out the door, but if I get time I’ll try to circle back and give skype a try.

      • Nathan Kirsch

        I talked with Crucial and they said that everything is good with the DDR3L memory kit that I used in the Haswell review. “Both parts should be working just fine in the NUC “By both they mean the 2Gb density part and the newer 4Gb density “J” part (the one I have photographed and used in that review). If you have any ‘bad’ part numbers that are listed as good let me know and I’ll order a kit in to double check.

  • Christouf

    Thanks for this test.
    I’m very interested in this nuc because it’s energy efficient and silencious.
    I would like to listen to music, watch videos and thanks to your test I know it’s ok.
    I also would like to watch and record TV with a Usb stick, do You think that the nuc is powerfull enought for that ?
    thanks for your answer and sorry for my English 😉

  • tonyz

    I have totally depended on your reviews….Excellent Crew!

    • designer_boy

      I was looking at using this as an always on iTunes machine. Just want to load windows 7 and have only iTunes running 24/7 for access to music files (not using video at all) Will this little box be able to handle iTunes?

  • lannister

    I think HDMI is actually smart, because you want sound to go through it, having tons of cables on that tiny box is stupid .
    voir: offre galaxy note 3 & nouvel ipad air

  • jaypav

    How about running Plex and skype at the same time. I am still a little bit skeptical about these celeron processors running efficiently on full load and they get very unresponsive in those times.

    • basroil

      GFLOP wise these should be as good as a Core 2 Duo laptop chip, so you would expect about the same performance. In other words, nothing spectacular, but useable in the right context

  • ed

    A few things I’ve noticed from my own unit. As this will likely be a top search hit for the system, hopefully these will get some visibility to Intel engineers.

    – It has hardware decode, for one. Just fire up mpc-hc to verify. It is true that Youtube doesn’t seem to utilize it, which is probably an issue with the graphics drivers. The revamped Intel control panel also doesn’t support rgb / ycbcr or full / limited range switching, another oversight. The 24p bug has been fixed, though.
    – I found the default 3000rpm fan setting rather loud, but that’s easy to change. You can also make it completely silent.
    – The BIOS still has a lot of issues. The F10 boot select screen often doesn’t work. HDMI audio doesn’t work with legacy boot enabled, though they do acknowledge this one. And at least with my unit, plugging or unplugging flash drives into the USB 3.0 slot will occasionally hard shut down the entire system, which is bonkers. Also, an attached USB mouse will turn on the system from a complete off with any slight movement, and no BIOS setting to disable.

    Off the top of my head, those are the main issues. Windows 7 support is obviously a big miss at launch, but you can install an 8.1 enterprise trial until it’s sorted out. I still think it’s a solid, well-built machine and a good buy overall, if you’re not doing anything too strenuous on it.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Thanks for the feedback and yes they Intel engineers behind the NUC will be reading this and are aware that I bought one and was reviewing it. They sent over BIOS 0024 to try out and it did fix many of the problems I found in BIOS 0021 (BIOS 0015 was horrible). I hope when they release the next build many of the remaining issues are resolved.

      As for the fan noise… It isn’t that bad, but you are right you can adjust that in the Intel Visual BIOS in a few seconds.

      • will3

        As the case is still quite tiny, does it require any special types of SATA & Power cable to avoid overstuffing the small interior area ?

        • Nathan Kirsch

          It does and that is why Intel includes the cables with the purchase of all of the -H SKU NUC’s that support 2.5-inch storage drives like this model (DN2820FYKH).

    • Paramdeo Singh

      Thanks for the review and insights. Definitely good as a space saver.

      Wouldn’t dream of installing Windows though, a Linux flavor would really shine on this box.

    • Watercooled

      On the subject of hardware acceleration in Youtube, are you testing with Chrome? It seems to be broken with both HTML5 and PepperFlash, but works with the Flash plugin as it does on Firefox (and probably others, but I’ve not checked).
      Right-click video>stats for nerds. In Chrome it will probably say software decode. Note: It says software *rendering* in FF embedded view, but hardware when fullscreen.
      It’s been this way for quite some time now, and they don’t seem to be in any rush to fix it.