Intel NUC DN2820FYKH Bay Trail System Review

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Final Thoughts & Conclusions

 The Intel NUC DN2820FYKH proved to be a very decent desktop PC that can be built on a shoe string budget.  It is fairly evident that this Intel Bay Trail powered system wasn’t designed to be a multi-tasking beast, but it does pretty good with one task at a time. The Intel NUC DN2820FYKH felt fairly responsive when we used it and should be a good desktop PC for those with basic computing tasks and even for those wanting to build a streaming box or HTPC. It was able to surf the web, play 720p and 1080p video and run office applications, which is all that we required from a system that can be built for well under $300 if you shop around and don’t go overkill on the DDR3L memory module and storage drive. Our Windows 8 installation worked without issues as did OpenELEC and XBMC.

Intel NUC Kit Comparison Table For Haswell SKUs
Model DN2820FYKH D34010WYKH D54250WYKH
Codename Forest Canyon Wilson Canyon Wilson Canyon
CPU Intel Celeron N2820 Intel Core i3-4010U Intel Core i5-4250U
Clock Speed Up to 2.39GHz Dual-Core 1.7GHz Dual-Core Up To 2.6GHz Dual-Core
Turbo / Hyper Threading No / No No / Yes Yes / Yes
GPU Intel HD Graphics Intel HD Graphics 4400 Intel HD Graphics 5000
RAM 1 x DDR3L SO-DIMM slot 2 x DDR3L SO-DIMM slots 2 x DDR3L SO-DIMM slots
Mini HDMI Output 1 x 1.4a 1 x 1.4a 1 x 1.4a
Mini DisplayPort Output No 1 x 1.2 1 x 1.2
USB 1 USB 3.0 & 2 USB 2.0 4 x USB 3.0 4 x USB 3.0
Gigabit Ethernet Yes Yes Yes
mini PCIe (half-height) 1 1 1
mini PCIe (full-height, mSATA support) 0 1 1
Chassis Color Black Black Black
Power Supply External 19V 36W DC External 19V 65W DC External 19V 65W DC
Overall Unit Size 116.6mm x 112.0mm x 50.5mm 116.6mm x 112.0mm x 49.5mm 116.6mm x 112.0mm x 49.5mm
Warranty 3-Years 3-Years 3-Years
MSRP Guidance By Intel ~$128 ~$295 ~$373

If you were looking for a little more power or wanted the ability to run Intel WiDi or multiple displays (need Displayport) you can step up to one of the more power Intel Core i3 or Core i5 ‘Haswell’ models.

Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH

After purchasing and building an Intel NUC DN2820FYKH we did learn a few things and we’ll touch on those again here. For starters the Intel NUC DN2820FYKH uses a single 2.5″ SATA notebook drive that operates on the SATA II 3Gbps interface. You don’t have to go out and buy a high-end SATA III 6Gbps drive as you are limited to SATA II speeds, so save yourself a few bucks there. We used a Kingston 8GB DDR3L SO-DIMM and found that too was overkill as you can dedicate just 512MB of memory to the Intel HD Graphics. This isn’t a multi-tasking machine, so you can get away with a lower cost 2 or 4 GB memory module.  There is no option for memory timing or clock frequency adjustments in the Intel Visual BIOS, so pay no attention to clock speeds and timings as the DN2820FYKH will downclock the memory to 1066MHz.  We also discovered after buying this system that Intel only has a full driver set for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Intel is working on getting all the drivers up and running properly for Windows 7, but as of 2/5/2014 those drivers weren’t done yet. Finally, we thought that Intel Wireless Display (Intel WiDi) would work, but we found that Intel WiDi is not supported on the Intel NUC DN2820FYKH. This was confusing as Intel lists that Intel Wireless Display is supported by the Intel Wireless-N 7260BN on the tech specs, but this system does not support Intel WiDi as the processor is not on the supported list.


Intel NUC DN2820FYKH Estimated Windows 8 System Build Cost:

  • Intel NUC DN2820FYKH – $128.00
  • 2.5″ Storage Drive – Starting at $39.99 shipped (320GB Hard Drive)
  • 1 – DDR3L SO-DIMM – Starting at $27.99 Shipped (2GB)
  • Windows 8.1 Pro  – $99.99

At the end of the day the Intel NUC DN2820FYKH meet our expectations and it should be ‘good enough’ for many of the people that are looking for an affordable system that can play back their video libraries. If you have to run out and buy everything you are looking at around ~$295 to get yourself into the Intel NUC DN2820FYKH, but it can be done for less than that if you have a hard drive sitting around or can get away with using a Flash drive for the OS. We like the Intel NUC DN2820FYKH and hope our review helped answer some of the questions that you have about it. If you have any additional questions please let us know and we’ll try our best to get them answered. We are not HTPC experts, so if you have specific clip or CODEC requests please be sure to leave us detailed instructions on what you want tested and we’ll give it a shot if there is time.


LR Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The Intel NUC DN2820FYKH is a budget friendly desktop PC that could make for a great HTPC or stream box depending on your video library. Right now it is best to run Windows 8 or 8.1 on the DN2820FYKH due to fact that Intel has not released Windows 7 drivers for this platform yet.


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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.