The Intel NUC6i5SYK Mini PC kit was found to be a very capable system that is super slim and won’t break the bank. Intel keeps improving the NUC with every generation that they release and the move to Skylake processors with much improved graphics and DDR4 memory is great. The only features that we wish the NUC6i5SYK had would be HDMI 2.0 and full hardware-accelerated decoding of 10-bit HEVC. The Intel Core i5-6260U processor with Intel Iris 540 Graphics supports full hardware-accelerated decoding of 8-bit HEVC, but only GPU-accelerated decoding of 10-bit HEVC. If HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 and 10-bit HEVC decoding with full hardware support are something you need for your 4K HTPC build then you’ll need to wait until the next-generation NUC comes out with ‘Kaby Lake’ processors.
Overall performance left us happy with NUC6i5SYK as the WiFi was solid, the USB 3.0 performance was fast and even the audio sounded solid. The Bluetooth worked perfectly with the keyboard and mouse that we connected it to and the power consumption wasn’t that bad. We didn’t talk about many of those topics in the review as here in 2016 we expect features like USB 3.0 and Bluetooth to simply work.
When it came to gaming performance we found that the NUC6i5SYK had pretty long game load times despite the M.2 PCIe SSD and some game titles like Fallout 4 were unable to be played due to driver issues. Older game titles like Battlefield 4 turned out to be playable with low or medium image quality settings though, so Intel is making major improvements on the graphics performance. We wouldn’t call this a mainstream gaming solution by any means, but it can most certainly do light gaming and will be a hit for those playing DOTA 2, Team Fortress 2, Heroes of the Storm or Dirt 3 at medium or low image quality presets.
The NUC6i5SYK that we focused on in this review is priced at $376.99 and is backed by a 3-year warranty. If you are looking for a solid performing NUC and are okay with assembling the missing parts the NUC6i5SYK should be a pretty good option for you. This isn’t the least expensive or the fastest NUC model out there, but it will give you solid CPU performance and the GPU should allow for light gaming. If you are a MOBA gamer you should be able to do so on this Skylake powered NUC, but other more graphic intensive game titles are still too much for the Intel Iris 540 graphics solution.
Legit Bottom Line: The Intel NUC Mini PC Kit NUC6i5SYK won’t meet the needs for serious gamers, but it should be a good solution for casual gamers and mainstream users!