Intel NUC with Haswell Close To Launching - D54250WYK Seen at PAX Prime
Have you been waiting for the Intel Haswell NUC units to show up? Intel has tons of good stuff on display at PAX Prime this year and one of the more interesting things on display was the upcoming 'Haswell' version of the NUC that is not released just yet. We ran across a number of these systems in the Intel BYOC gaming area at the show and we got right to gaming on these new systems.
Yes, you heard that correctly. Intel was letting gamers play current games on the Intel NUC D54250WYK DIY kit that uses the Intel NUC Board D54250WYB. Intel told Legit Reviews that they will be offering the Intel NUC Kits D54250WYK, D34010WYK and Boards D54250WYB, D34010WYKB when these units are released later this year. It looks like the original NUC w/ Thunderbolt support didn't do too well as none of the new Haswell based versions will have a Thunderbolt option!
Inside the Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK you'll find the Intel Core i5 4250U processor (1.3GHz w/ turbo capability to achieve 2.6GHz, Dual-Core processor w/ 3MB smart cache) with Intel HD Graphics 5000 (base clock 200MHz to a maximum clock of 1Ghz). This is a 4th Generation Intel Core i5 'Haswell' processor folks! This dual-core 22nm processor has a max TDP of just 15 Watts!
The front of the NUC Kit D54250WYK has two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, a 3.5mm audio jack for the Intel HD analog stereo and we were told that there is an IR sensor just to the right of that! The original NUC has just a single USB port on the front panel, so Intel has added quite a bit of support to this tiny platform.
The new Intel NUC w/ Haswell is also smaller than the Ivy Bridge versions, which is a bit of a shock. The motherboard inside still measures 4"x4" (101.6mm x 101.6mm), but the outside chassis is not 4.59" x 4.41" x 1.36" (116.6mm x 112.0mm x 34.5 mm). The original was 4.59" x 4.41" x 1.55", so Intel shaved off 0.19" or about 12% of the thickness of the unit. This is impressive as they also added more copper fins to the cooling solution. Intel admitted that heat was a bit of concern on the original NUC, so they put more time and effort into the cooling solution on the new Haswell based NUC models.
While we were on the topic of size and dimensions, here is a shot of the Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK with a standard business card.
When it comes to the back panel you have an integrated Intel 10/100/1000 Network connection, two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, mini HDMI 1.4a, DisplayPort 1.2 (Both supporting 8-channel [7.1] digital audi0) and of course the power connector.
The Haswell based NUC kits should all use a 65W power brick like the originals. Intel informed us that a fully loaded NUC kit (Max memory, highest power draw for mSATA, transmitting both wirelessly and over the integrated NIC with a program that causes full CPU and GPU load) would be pulling about 64.32W of power according to their internal calculations.
Intel is considering making an Iris Pro version and if that ever comes to market it will need a larger power adapter. If Intel were to make an Iris Pro version with say a 47W TDP processor they would need to go above a 65W power brick
Let's take a look inside!
Inside the Intel NUC Kit D54250WYK for Haswell
Inside the NUC Kit D54250WYK you'll find the Intel NUC Board D54250WYB. This board supports dual-channel DDR3L memory with two slots for 1600/1333 MHz memory modules. Intel says that this NUC will support up to 16GB of SO-DIMM memory, so get those 2x8GB memory kits ready! You also have one PCI Express half-mini card connector and a PCIe full-mini card connector to fulfill your SSD and Wireless card needs. With the release of Haswell CPUs, Intel also released new wireless cards. The Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 is now the flagship WiFi card from Intel and is the way to go if you want 802.11ac support.
Intel also included a single SATA III header, so you can add another storage drive or an optical drive if you wish. The only issue is that there is no way to fit something like a 2.5" SATA storage drive in this super small enclosure. It would have been nice if Intel included enough room for a 7mm z-height drive, but that didn't happen. Even if they did include a way to mount a drive in this chassis, they don't have a way to power it. The 65W power adapter that comes with the NUC Kit is nearly maxed out as it is and adding more devices isn't really an option. What do you do for that?
Intel is working on a NUC model that supports 2.5" drives, but for now you'll have to rely on solutions from 3rd party companies like Chebro.
The Intel NUC case from Chenbro is called the Chenbro Cubicom200 and it is available in various colors, designs and even has an option for an interchangeable rear window.
Intel did not have the Chenbro NUC chassis on display for Haswell, but they did have one for the Ivy Bridge NUCs that are currently on the market right now. As you can see the chassis is much thicker and longer, but you need the extra room for the 2.5" SSD or HDD, mounting system and of course the SATA data and power cables.
We wouldn't be surprised if we see the Haswell versions of the NUC hitting the streets sometime in late October 2013. It feels like that is still so far away, but it will be here before you know it. Intel wouldn't give us any information on pricing, but we expected them to be around the same MSRPs as the original Ivy Bridge NUCs. So, expect to see something in the $329-$399 price range for the kits!
There might also be a version coming out with Intel's Iris Pro 5200 graphics inside, which would make for one heck of a desktop PC!
After playing some games and getting spend some time with the new NUCs we couldn't be more excited about them coming to market. The added USB 3.0 ports and SATA III header were much needed and we are glad to hear that the heat concerns were addressed by a beefed up heatsink. The original NUC did very well, but we expect the Haswell versions to see even better!
Expect to hear more about these systems at IDF 2013, which takes place in San Francisco in just a couple weeks!