Intel NUC NUC6i7KYK Skull Canyon Mini PC Review

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Final Thoughts On The NUC6i7KYK

The Intel NUC6i7KYK ‘Skull Canyon’ Mini PC kit is without a doubt the fastest NUC system ever developed. For years enthusiasts have begged Intel to put a more powerful quad-core processor in a NUC with more bells and whistles and that is exactly what they have done on this model. Having this much performance in such a small form-factor is tremendously impressive and it really is amazing how much performance this tiny box can deliver. Playing Battlefield 4 with medium on a 1080P display with Intel integrated graphics was something we didn’t think we’d be doing on a NUC. Thanks to Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580 (GT4e) you can actually play a wide selection of game titles without the need of a discrete graphics card. If you really want to play GPU intensive game titles like Fallout 4 we found that you need to use an external graphics solution, but the good news is the Intel NUC6i7KYK has Thunderbolt 3 and supports such a solution.

The NUC6i7KYK Front Panel

The NUC6i7KYK Front Panel

The NUC6i7KYK that we focused on in this review is priced at $635.77 shipped and is backed by a 3-year warranty. The Samsung SSD 950 Pro M.2 512GB drive was $317.00 and the Kingston HyperX Impact 32GB 2400MHz DDR4 CL14 SO-DIMM memory kit was $133.99 shipped. The total hardware cost for the setup that we tested was $1086.76. At nearly $1,100 this turned out being a fairly expensive build and that price will be too high for many. If you are a critic of the price you just have to remember that this is the flagship model and that is reflected in the price point. We expect to see some of the new technologies trickle down to the more affordable Core i5 models in the next generation NUCs, but for now you’ll have to pay to get them!

Our Intel NUC6i7KYK Build

Our Intel NUC6i7KYK Build w/ 32GB of memory and 512GB SSD


LR Recommended Award

Legit Bottom Line: The Intel NUC Mini PC Kit NUC6i7KYK is the most powerful NUC every released!

NUC6i7KYK Price

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  • Intel says it supports DDR4 2133+, but mostly it talks about simply 2133. Are there benefits from using 2400?

  • Joe Schmoe

    Still waiting on the 6770HQ to be released for 3rd parties… especially for the triple-fan Z Canvas. At least that thing would keep this from ever throttling.

  • B Brad

    Not terrible, but the GPU isn’t as fast as I expected. Anyone seen numbers to compare the Skylake integrated graphics (Intel Pro 540/580) to the previous best integrated GPU in the broadwell (i5-5675c and i7-5775c)? LegitReviews has a i5-5775c review, but don’t cover any of the same games for an apples to apples comparison.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      What would you like to see exactly? We have an office PC running a 5775C, so can run some benchmarks for you if you’d like.

      • B Brad

        Recreating any of the above published game benchmarks would be great. I just want a general idea of how the new skylake iris pros compare to the previous generation equivalents with intel’s in package video memory. From what I can tell the new iris pro 580 isn’t delivering the expected performance increase that you would expect from the published specifications.

        • Mariano Ruiz

          Did you find any direct comparison between the Iris 580 and the 6200?

          I’ve done some research but couldn’t find any direct comparison. I would say they are very even, even though the Iris 580 has more EUs.

  • KurtKrampmeier

    Can Undervolting achieve significantly better thermals and less
    cpu throttling? And if so, by how much? I want to use this as a 24/7
    load and very small and light portable cpu package. Thank you!

  • Charles Borner

    “This is the first Intel NUC to feature a mighty Intel Core i7”

    Uh. No. No it isn’t.

    The 5th Gen BOXNUC5I7RYH came with an i7…

    • Nathan Kirsch

      You are correct… I forgot to put in there ‘quad-core’ after Core i7! Thanks!

      • Charles Borner

        Ah HAAAAAA!!!!

        Don’t ever let it happen again!


  • Paul

    I wouldn’t recommend these Intel NUC’s. Filled with Bios bugs and hardware failures. Intel should just stick to what they are good at. Making cpu’s.

  • Can you try running the decent and non-naive Intel SGEMM example on the Skull Canyon? It’s a quick compile.

    Results for 64-bit VS2013 build and .4444 drivers

    A Core i7-4790 HD4600 peaks at ~280 GFLOPS which is ~75% of theoretical (160 FMA @ 1.2 GHz)

    A NUC 5i5RYH HD6000 peaks at ~480 GFLOPS which is ~66% of theoretical (384 FMA @ 950 MHz)

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Got some KISS (keep it stupid simple) instructions as it looks like there many options you can run and don’t see any examples online on how to run it. I’ve installed VS2013 Update 5 and am running .4444 drivers.

      • You just run it with no arguments (“C:…> GEMM.exe”) and it will iterate through all of the possible kernels. The article identifies the kernels that are expected to be more performant. For example, The “block_read” kernels perform more efficient loads using an Intel OpenCL extension.

        The best result for each matrix size is probably a fair measure as it seems pretty consistent.

        • Nathan Kirsch

          send me an e-mail to nate at the sites url if you could

        • Nathan Kirsch

          Here are the results that I worked out with Allan for SGEMM! Will add these to the review for all that are interested in compiler performance of Intel Iris Pro Graphics 580!

        • Achieving over 70% of theoretical (1094.4 GFLOPS) and nearly reaching 800 GFLOPS with such a clean OpenCL implementation is a very respectable result.

          One of the neat things about the HD580 is that it can also perform lower resolution 16-bit floating point operations with doubled throughput over 32-bit floats.

          Perhaps Intel will update their benchmark to reflect this as fp16x2 support is quite interesting to some people.