Intel NUC NUC6i7KYK Skull Canyon Mini PC Review

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NUC6i7KYK Gaming Performance

Intel says that the Intel NUC KIT NUC6i7KYK doesn’t need an add-in graphics card for amazing 3D graphics performance, so we put those claims to the test! We used Intel Graphics Driver version for Windows 10 to do our testing with. These drivers just came out on April 29, 2016 and are the latest graphics drivers for the 6th Generation Intel Core i5/i7 processor series.

Battlefield 4


Battlefield 4 is a first-person shooter video game developed by EA Digital Illusions CE (DICE) and published by Electronic Arts. It is a sequel to 2011’s Battlefield 3 and was released on October 29, 2013 in North America. Battlefield 4’s single-player Campaign takes place in 2020, six years after the events of its predecessor. Tensions between Russia and the United States have been running at a record high. On top of this, China is also on the brink of war, as Admiral Chang, the main antagonist, plans to overthrow China’s current government; and, if successful, the Russians will have full support from the Chinese, bringing China into a war with the United States.


This game title uses the Frostbite 3 game engine and looks great. We tested Battlefield 4 with the medium graphics quality preset . We used FRAPS to benchmark with these settings on the Shanghai level. All tests were done with the DirectX 11 API.


Benchmark Results: Battlefield 4 with medium image quality settings ran pretty well on the NUC6i5SYK with Intel Iris Graphics 540 as the average frame rate was found to be 30.1 GPS with dips down to 25 FPS. On the NUC6i7KYK that has Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580 we found the average frame rate to be 38.4 FPS with the minimum being one dip down to 29 FPS and the maximum being 55 FPS. Battlefield 4 was playable on the NUC6i7KYK on a 1080P display with medium image quality settings! Intel has really improved their graphics performance in recent years and playing BF4 on a NUC sized device without a discrete graphics card once once unimaginable! 

Fallout 4


Fallout 4 is an open world action role-playing video game developed by Bethesda Game Studios and published by Bethesda Softworks. Fallout 4 is set in a post-apocalyptic Boston in the year 2287, 210 years after a devastating nuclear war, in which the player character emerges from an underground bunker known as a Vault. Gameplay is similar to Fallout 3.  The title is the fifth major installment in the Fallout series and was released worldwide on November 10th, 2015.


Fallout 4 was benchmarked with low image quality settings. V-Sync can’t be disabled in the games options, so we edited the necessary INI files and disabled vsync in the driver software as well. We used FRAPS to benchmark Fallout 4 after you emerge from the vault and are in The Commonwealth.


Benchmark Results: We had troubled launching Fallout 4 on both the Intel NUC6i5SYK and NUC6i7KYK. If we could get it to launch we were getting below 10 FPS with low image quality settings and serious driver issues. This game title was found to be unplayable. 

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a third-person action-adventure video game developed by Crystal Dynamics and published by Square Enix. It is the sequel to the 2013 video game Tomb Raider, which was itself, the second reboot to its series. It was released for Microsoft Windows in January 2016. Players control Lara Croft through various environments, battling enemies, and completing puzzle platforming sections, while using improvised weapons and gadgets in order to progress through the story.



Crystal Dynamics used a proprietary game engine called ‘Foundation’ for Rise of the Tomb Raider and it is able to create some pretty nice looking graphics. We tested Rise of the Tomb Raider with the lowest preset and left  VSync enabled.

Once we had the graphics and display settings figured out we used FRAPS to manually benchmark a section of the Siberian Wilderness that is about 10% into the game for a couple minutes. Rise of the Tomb Raider does not have a built-in benchmark, so this is one of the only ways you can benchmark this particular game title.


1080P Benchmark Results: Rise of the Tom Raider is a very tough game title, but it ran on the NUC6i7KYK and we were able to get an average of 18.1 FPS during our benchmark run with a minimum frame rate of 14. We wouldn’t call this enjoyable gaming by any means, but if you lowered the resolution you might be able to get acceptable frame rates if you are willing to game at 1280×1024 or 1680×1050.


Star Wars: Battlefront

Star Wars Battlefront

Star Wars: Battlefront is a series of first- and third-person shooter video games based on the Star Wars films. Players take the role of soldiers in either of two opposing armies in different time periods of the Star Wars universe. Star Wars: Battlefront is built on the Frostbite 3 engine. Thief is the fourth title in the Thief series, developed by Digital Illusions CE and published by EA DICE/Disney Interactive on November 17, 2015.


We ran Star Wars: Battlefront with the image quality settings set at low and VSYNC  was disabled. We used FRAPS to benchmark with these settings on Battle on Tatooine.

starwars battlefront

1080P Benchmark Results: The NUC6i5SYK averaged 28.04 FPS in Star Wars: Battlefront with a low of 22 FPS and a max of 36 FPS. The Intel NUC6i7KYK was able to average 38.48 FPS with a low of 32 FPS and a max of 48 FPS. Performance is actually pretty good with the latest drivers with low image quality settings.


Undoubtly someone will ask if the  NUC6i7KYK will be able to handle Virtual Reality (VR) and we ran the SteamVR benchmark and found that the Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580 couldn’t provide any frames in the test above 90 FPS and failed. This mini PC will not be able to handle VR content out of the box, but that is what the Intel Apline Ridge controller is for and why there is a USB Type C (USB 3.1 Gen 2) port on the NUC. This is your way to run external graphics if you’d like to purchase a third party enclosure and discrete add-in card!

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