Intel NUC Gets It's Very First Core i7 Processor!

Intel NUC5i7RYH Core i7 NUC The Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC) was released in 2012 to little fanfare, but Legit Reviews quickly fell in love with the tiny little PC and thought that there was potential in the potent little systems after the first time we used one. Over the past several years Intel has devoted more time and resources to the NUC team and despite increasing sales and millions in profit, the Intel NUC was never blessed with the opportunity to house an Intel Core i7 processor. We'll never know why it took this long to It could have had to do with thermals, price points, not wanting to hurt other core markets or a whole slew of other reasons. All we know is that higher ups at Intel have had a change of heart this year and have put an Intel Core i7 processor inside the Intel NUC for the first since it came to market in 2012.
Broadwell NUC Model Key Features  Street Pricing
NUC5i7RYH Intel Core i7-5557U Intel Iris Graphics 6100 115 x 111 x 48.7 mm chassis M.2 and 2.5" SATA support  $549.95 Shipped
NUC5i5RYK Intel Core i5-5250U Intel HD Graphics 6000 115 x 111 x 32.7 mm chassis M.2 Support Only  $369.06 Shipped
NUC5i5RYH Intel Core i7-5250U Intel HD Graphics 6000 115 x 111 x 48.7 mm chassis M.2 and 2.5" SATA support  $368.99 Shipped
NUC5i3RYK Intel Core i3-5010U Intel HD Graphics 5500 115 x 111 x 32.7 mm chassis M.2 Support Only  $299.99 Shipped
NUC5i3RYH Intel Core i3-5010U Intel HD Graphics 5500 115 x 111 x 48.7 mm chassis M.2 and 2.5" SATA support  $278.86 Shipped
  From what we have been told by our engineering friends at Intel the only difference between the NUC5i7RYH and the NUC5i5RYH is the processor itself as nothing else was changed on the mainboard, chassis or even the CPU cooler itself. In fact both the the Core i5 and Core i7 versions share the same exact UEFI/BIOS and drivers, so the processor is really the only difference. The NUC5i7RYH is only available in the larger 115mm x 111mm x 48.7mm thick chassis as it offers the best thermal environment for the processor. This means it supports both PCIe M.2 storage that is located on the board itself and a 2.5-inch SATA III drive in the enclosure.
Processor Cache Base Clock Boost Clock Cores/Threads Max TDP Graphics GPU EUs GPU Clock
Core i7-5557U 4MB 3.1GHz 3.4 GHz 2/4 28W Iris Graphics 6100 48 300-1100MHz
Core i5-5250U 3MB 1.6 GHz 2.7 GHz 2/4 15W HD Graphcis 6000 48 300-950MHz
  Since the processor is the only real difference between the NUC5i5RYH and NUC5i7RYH we need to take a closer look at the two processors that are being used in these models as there is a $181 difference in price between the models. The Intel NUC5i5RYH and NUC5i5RYK that we looked at earlier this year are both powered by the Intel Core i5 5250U Dual-Core processor with Hyper-Threading and 3MB of cache. The Core i5-5250U is a 15W TDP processor based on the 14nm Broadwell microarchitecture. It comes with a base clock of 1.6GHz and thanks to Intel Turbo Boost Technology it can get up to 2.7GHz when needed. The Core i5-5250U also has Intel HD 6000 Graphics that is dynamically clocked between 300 and 950MHz. The new Intel NUC5i7RYH features the Intel Core i7-5557U dual-core processor with Hyper-Threading and 4MB of cache. Besides having more cache the clock speeds have been greatly increased as the base clock is 3.1GHz with a boost clock that is capable of reaching 3.4GHz! Even those Broadwell has some amazing low-power characteristics, this increase in clock speed and cache pushes the Max TDP up to 28W. The Intel Iris Graphics 6100 (GT3) integrated graphics solution is also clocked higher as it can go up to 1100MHz. Intel Iris Graphics 6100 is similar to Intel HD Graphics 6000 as it has 48 Execution Units, but the clock speed are greater. Intel nuc5i7ryh inside We opted to go with hardware that we used in NUC5i5RYK review so we could directly compare the units performance numbers. This means that we used the Samsung XP941 PCIe 2.0 x4 M.2 SSD and Kingston HyperX Impact 8GB 1600MHz DDR3L SO-DIMM memory kit. Since the units are virtually identical we ask you to go back and look at the NUC5i5RYK review as it better details the internals and has benchmark results for the Intel Wireless-AC 7265 802.11AC wireless card, SATA and M.2 PCIe storage drive testing and frant and rear USB 3.0 port testing. We also talked about how to install the hardware, went over dozens of pages of the BIOS and had some Windows 8.1 setup tips. Hopefully you'll be able to go back and read that review and then can come back to this review and look at the difference in just the processor. Intel NUC NUC5i7RYH Estimated Windows Build Cost: If you had to run out and buy all the hardware we are using today you are looking at spending around $873 on the hardware and then another $90 or so for a full copy of Microsoft Windows 8.1. Spending nearly $963 makes this a pricey little system and if we were building one today we'd opt to go with the newer Samsung SM951 M.2 PCIe SSD! Let's take a closer look at the NUC5i7RYH and get on to benchmarking!

Intel NUC5i7RYH External and Internal Overview

The Intel NUC NUC5i7RYH comes in the silver and black colored chassis with protective film covering the finish of the top of the unit. This particular model measures in at 115mm x 111mm x 48.7mm. It supports a 2.5" storage drive that is up to 9.5mm.  The second generation Intel NUC with a 2.5-inch drive was 116.6mm x 112.0mm x 51.5mm, so Intel has managed to shrink all the dimensions of the third generation NUC. The Intel NUC comes with a AC top DC power adapter with a 4-plug universal wall outlet kit (IEC types A/C/G/I), VESA mounting plate w/ mounting screws, storage drive screws and the instructions (not pictured). Our Intel NUC5i7RYH was not a retail boxed unit, so we don't have any of those images to share with you today Intel NUC5i7RYH This chassis uses an aluminum center section that left its natural color with a black colored plastic top and a black bottom cover. On the front panel you’ll find two SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports (one is charging capable) the headphone/microphone jack and the consumer infrared sensor. Intel NUC5i7RYH Angle The top cover is removable and there are 3rd party lids coming later this year that support new functionalities like wireless charging, near field communications (NFC), or 4G/LTE. There are even covers coming out that bolster the I/O ports, so you can add USB 2.0, VGA, RS232C COM, SDXC card reader, or other ports.  The top cover has a diamond cut around the top to add some extra flare and it also houses the power button and activity/power LED. Intel NUC5i7RYH Back
When it comes to rear connectivity you’ll find the DC power plug, Mini DisplatPort 1.2, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 3.0 ports and the Mini HDMI 1.4a video output. Above the rear I/O ports there are a pair of exhaust ports to expel the hot air from the CPU cooler that is ducted to this vent.
Intel NUC5i7RYH Bottom
Flipping the NUC NUC5i7RYH over we see the metal bottom plate is held on by four Philips screws that are recessed down inside four rubber feet that ensure the NUC doesn't slide or scrape the finish of your desk if you choose not to use the VESA mount. There are no air ventilation holes on the bottom of the NUC, but there are some on the two sides to ensure some air is able to move around. There is a Kensignton lock on one side of the NUC to prevent it from being stolen. fsp065-10aaba The 2-prong wall-mount AC Power Adapter included with the Intel NUC Kit NUC5i7RYH is made by FSP Technology, INC. (FSP) and is model number FSP065-10AABA. This AC to DC adapter operates at 90 to 264 Vac and outputs 19V / 3.43A power with an overall power rating of 65 Watts. You can change out the wall plug depending on your region and it comes with IEC world plug types A/C/G/I. Intel nuc5i7ryh inside Inside the NUC you'll find the Intel NUC5i5RYB motherboard. The bottom of the board has two DDR3L memory slots and a M.2 PCIe slot for your SSD. The NUC5i7RYH enclosure comes with a slot for a 2.5" SSD and it also comes with the SATA power and data cable wiring already pre-routed and ready for use. nuc5i5ryb motherboard
On the top side of the motherboard you’ll find the CPU Cooler, which consists of a notebook style fan and heatsink that help keep the Intel Core i57-5557U processor temperatures at bay. Intel went with a SUNON MagLev GB0555PDV1-A 1.1W 4-pin blower style fan to keep temperatures at bay. Intel has used this cooler on the previous generation NUC and is said to be a low-acoustics active cooling design. The system battery can just be seen just to the left of the blower. It should be noted that this board does not have a HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) header on it. There is a USB 2.0 header along the edge of the board that adds a pair of USB 2.0 ports if needed.
Now that we know the basics let's take a look at performance!

General NUC NUC5i7RYH Performance

3dmark corei7 nuc When we reviewed the Intel NUC5i5RYK we ran 3DMark and got scores of 5,381 in Cloud Gate, 3,634 in Sky Diver and 870 in Fire Strike. The Intel NUC5i7RYH was able to score 6,428 in Cloud Gate, 4,037 in Sky Diver and 954 in Fire Strike. This is an improvement of 19.5% in Cloud Gate where the average FPS in both graphics test was now over 30 FPS. metro-ll The Intel NUC5i5RYH might have Intel Iris Graphics 6100 inside, but if you are a gamer don't think you'll be playing the latest game titles at 1080P with low image quality settings. Basic games run fine, but games like Metro Last Light are just too much. We see huge improvements in the maximum and minimum frame rates, but the average framerate was only 1FPS or 10% higher. pcmark8-corei7 In PCMark 8 we found the Intel NUC NUC5i7RYH had an overall score of 3,756 with a casual gaming score of 31.4 FPS. The Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK had an overall score of 3,173 with a casual gaming score of 26.1 FPS for those that are curious. x264 The x264 HD v5.0.1 32-bit benchmark averaged 34 FPS on the first pass and then around 7.7 FPS on the second pass.  The Intel NUC5i5RYK averaged 26 FPS on the first pass and 5.7 FPS on the second pass, so this is a 35% improvement on the second pass. sandra-7zip-corei7 The benchmark built-in 7-zip showed that Intel NUC5i7RYH had a total MIPS rating of 10,089, which is 37% better than the NUC5i5RYK and its total MIPS rating of 7,350. keyshot-corei7 Some readers are using these tiny systems as mobile render nodes, so we ran KeyShot 5.2 Pro (website) to see how CPU rendering works on the new Broadwell powered Intel NUC. When running KeyShot 5.2 to do some benchmarking and real-world stress testing and found that we were averaging 28.5 FPS on a scene that had nearly 42,000 triangles on the NUC with the Core i7-5557U. Not bad as the NUC with the Core i5-5250U scored just 20FPS. sandra-memory-corei7 A quick look at the memory performance showed 15.7 GB/s of bandwidth. This is about where we expect it to be for a dual-channel DDR3L memory kit running at 1600MHz with 9-9-9-27 1T memory timings. aida64-corei7 AIDA64 v5.20.3435 Beta showed memory read speeds of ~21,000 MB/s and write speeds of ~22,800 MB/s with a memory latency of 69.0ns. sandra-processor-corei7 In Sandra Processor Arithmetic the aggregate native performance score was 55.7 GOPS, which is 35% faster than the 41.3 GOPS that we saw on the Core i5 Broadwell NUC! sandra-multi-corei7 The Sandra Processor Multi-Media aggregate performance score was 128 MPix/s. sandra-crypto-corei7 The Sandra processor Cryptographic score was 4 GB/s! sunspider-corei7 We ran the SunSpider 1.0.2 JavaScript Benchmark on Google Chrome 40 and received a score of 170.2ms. corei7-truecrypt In the Encryption Algorithm Benchmark that comes inside TrueCrypt we found an AES mean score of 2.1 GB/s. bootracer-corei7 The last performance test that we wanted to run was Bootracer 4.9 to see how fast the system is able to boot Windows 8.1 64-bit. We found that it took 3 seconds to get to the logon screen and in just 15 seconds everything was up and running on the desktop!

Power Consumption and CPU Temperatures

nuc5i7ryh power With the Intel NUC NUC5i7RYH running the default BIOS settings with our hardware we find our Windows 8.1 system was consuming 7.1 Watts of power from the wall outlet at an idle and 1.0 Watts when in Sleep mode. When playing Metro Last Light at 1920x1080 with low image quality settings on the Intel NUC NUC5i7RYH we hit right around 45 Watts of power being used as both the CPU and GPU were under load. Our top number was 51 Watts and that was observed running the AIDA64 system stability test. load-temp With regards to temperature testing we used AIDA64 and found the processor would idle around 38C and under the AIDA64 stress test we hit 105C on one of the CPU cores and encountered CPU Throttling as 105C is the top temperature allowed by Intel for this specific processor. The fan peaked at 6398 RPM during this stress test! cpu-throttle Here is a closer look at the CPU Throttling and how the CPU clock speed was dropping to help reduce the thermal envelope. We only encountered CPU throttling with the synthetic stress tests and when running X264 HD for long periods of time. noise-idle When the Intel NUC NUC5i7RYH at idle we found the noise level to be 38.4dB with the sound meter about six inches above the side of the case. sound-high When running the AIDA64 stress test we got up to 50.8dB. When the fan ramps up you will certainly hear it as the fan is spinning at over 6,000 RPM!

Final Thoughts & Conclusions

Intel NUC Core i7 The Intel NUC5i7RYH with the Intel Core i7-5557U processor shows the maximum amount of processing power that can be stuffed inside this tiny 0.62 liter enclosure. The Intel NUC5i7RYH was found to be significantly faster than the NUC5i5RYH and NUC5i5RYK as we saw 40% performance gains in a number of benchmarks thanks to the higher clock speeds of both the CPU and GPU being used.  The Intel Iris Graphics 6100 helped improve the graphics power and everyday computing tasks, web surfing and online video streaming were all found to work great. When doing some heavy video encoding we saw some nice performance gains, but we also encountered some CPU throttling while doing so. It appears that Intel tried to stuff as much performance into the NUC as possible and the Intel Core i7-5557U with it's 28W TDP is using all of it up! When the system is fully loaded the fan is a bit loud since it's running over 6,000 RPM and the CPU temperature could top 100C depending on your room temperature and the workload you are putting it under.   Intel NUC5i7RYH Core i7 NUC   At the end of the day it as with most things it life it comes down to money. The Intel NUC5i7RYH runs $549.95 shipped by itself and you will be looking at spending close to $1,000 to end up with the tiny desktop rig that we built up for this review. Intel NUC NUC5i7RYH Estimated Windows Build Cost: The other thing you need to question is do you really need to spend the extra money on the NUC5i7RYH? The Intel NUC5i5RYH or NUC5i5RYK are both solid systems and while they have slightly lower CPU/GPU performance they run $180 less and are quieter and use less power. We've begged Intel to put a Core i7 processor into the Intel NUC for years, but now that we have it we are questioning if it is worth it or not. It's almost too bad that Intel didn't put in a better CPU cooler or something to keep the noise and temperatures down a bit better. The NUC5i7RYH is a solid little system, but we hate to see any systems CPU throttling out of the box without any overclocking or tweaking! Too bad Intel didn't ditch the 2.5" drive slot and install a thicker CPU cooler that would have allowed for a quieter fan and better thermals.
Broadwell NUC Model Key Features  Street Pricing
NUC5i7RYH Intel Core i7-5557U Intel Iris Graphics 6100 115 x 111 x 48.7 mm chassis M.2 and 2.5" SATA support  $549.95 Shipped
NUC5i5RYH Intel Core i7-5250U Intel HD Graphics 6000 115 x 111 x 48.7 mm chassis M.2 and 2.5" SATA support  $368.99 Shipped
  At the end of the day the NUC5i7RYH pushes the envelope for the NUC program and we like that. We crave performance and the small NUC form factor yearns for a powerful CPU and GPU inside. The Intel Core i7-5557U looks to be the fastest processor that Intel can shoehorn into the NUC without major overheating issues. LR Recommended Award   Legit Bottom Line: The Intel NUC NUC5i7RYH is the fastest and most feature rich NUC that has ever been released!  
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