Intel NUC DN2820FYKH Bay Trail System Review

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The Affordable Bay Trail Powered Intel NUC DN2820FYKH

What kind of DIY desktop computer kit can you get for just $128.00? The Intel NUC DN2820FYKH is so inexpensive and tiny (measures just 116.6mm x 112.0mm x 51.5mm) that it grabbed our attention and we just had to get our hands on one. The Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH is powered by an Intel Celeron N2820 processor (up to 2.4GHz dual-core, 1MB cache, 7.5W TDP) that also contains Intel HD Graphics that operates up to 756MHz with a single HDMI 1.4a video output. The kit comes with the processor, CPU cooler, power supply, motherboard, 802.11n WiFi card and the case. The only thing missing is a single 1066MHz DDR3L SO-DIMM memory module and a 2.5-inch notebook hard drive or solid-state drive. The final price of building up the NUC DN2820FYKH really depends on the hardware and OS that you install, but it shouldn’t be that bad.

Intel NUC DN2820FYKH Estimated Windows Build Cost:

  • Intel NUC DN2820FYKH – $128.00
  • 2.5″ Storage Drive – Starting at $39.99 shipped (320GB Hard Drive)
  • 1 – DDR3L SO-DIMM – Starting at $27.99 Shipped (2GB)
  • Windows 8.1 Pro  – $99.99

So, if you had to run out and buy everything you are looking at around ~$295 to get yourself into the Intel NUC DN2820FYKH. We highly suggest using Windows 8 or Windows 8.1 as Intel has yet to release all the drivers for Windows 7 let alone anything older than that.

Intel NUC DN2820FYKH Estimated OpenELEC (XBMC & Linux) Build Cost:

  • Intel NUC DN2820FYKH – $128.00
  • USB Flash Drive For Storage – Free? Who doesn’t have a pile of them!
  • 1 – DDR3L SO-DIMM – Starting at $27.99 Shipped (2GB)

The total build cost for building an OpenELEC powered HTPC with the Intel NUC DN2820FYKH would be around $156 if you already have something like an 8GB USB Flash drive laying around.

Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH

The code name for the Intel NUC DN2820FYKH is Forest Canyon and at one time Intel said they were going to send them out to be reviewed, but recently changed their mind. Legit Reviews went ahead and bought on through an online retailer so we can give you a look at this small form factor (SFF) system. The retail packaging was nicely done and shrink wrapped to ensure no one opens it before you bought it. 

Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH Retail Box

Once you remove the shrink wrap the box top lifts off and the NUC DN2820FYKH is sitting right on top in a plastic bag.

Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH Bundle

Under the Intel NUC there is the accessory kit that includes the a small AC 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 smallest Intel Inside case sticker that we have ever seen!

Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH AC Power Adapter

The 2-prong wall-mount AC Power Adapter included with the Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH is very different than the models we have seen included with higher-end Intel Core i3/i5 NUC models. This particular AC adapter is made by Asian Power Devices, INC. (APD) and is model number WA-36A12. This AC adapter outputs 12V / 3A power and is rated at 36 Watts. This means that the Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH will pull well under 36 Watts of power at the wall if that is the included power supply. Does this AC power adapter looks familiar? With the exception of the DC plug, it is identical to the model that LaCie uses for many of their external hard drive solutions!

Intel NUC DN2820FYKH Front

The Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH is an H-SKU, so that means it features the larger chassis that supports 2.5-inch hard drives that are up to 9.5mm in z-height. This chassis measures in at 116.6mm x 112.0mm x 51.5mm (4.59″x4.41″x2.03″), so even though it is bigger than some of the NUCs previously released, it is still small and will easily mount behind a monitor on its VESA mount. The NUC uses the new uCFF form factor (Ultra Compact Form Factor), which from what we can tell means that the motherboards are no larger than 4″x4″x2″, so the chassis can be any size.

This chassis uses an aluminum center section that left its natural color with a black colored plastic top and a black bottom cover with ventilation holes. Intel ships the NUC with clear plastic film to protect the black gloss finish on the plastic top piece. We highly recommend leaving it on for as long as possible as the top plastic is easily scratched. For example if you take the NUC and slide it a few inches across a piece of paper it will come up looking like you brushed it along a piece of sand paper. The power button and storage drive activity light are located on the top of the unit. Across the front bezel you’ll find the only SuperSpeed USB 3.0 port and the consumer infrared sensor.


Intel NUC Kit DN2820FYKH Back

When it comes to rear connectivity you’ll find the DC power plug, DMI 1.4a video output, Gigabit Ethernet, two USB 2.0 ports and finally a 3.5mm audio jack. It is worth mentioning that Intel went with Realtek solutions for both the audio controller (Realtek ALC283) and Gigabit Ethernet. 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. On this side of the NUC Kit DN2820FYKH chassis there is Kensignton lock to prevent it from being stolen in addition to the ventilation holes.


Flipping the DN2820FYKH over we see the plastic bottom 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 also more air ventilation holes on the bottom of the NUC, so airflow should be more than enough for such a small platform.

Let’s take a look inside the Intel NUC DN2820FYKH

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  • Mateo

    Thantk you a lot for your article, i’ve learned so much from you.
    Logiciels Marketing

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  • ledia

    Thanks for the review and insights. Definitely good as a space saver. Having wired ethernet available, I’d like to build this configuration myself. look coque galaxy note 3

  • KaziQ


    Something seems to be wrong with the power consumption results. My idle power consumption is at about ~11 Watts. When I disable Audio, IR Transciever and LAN it comes down to 9 Watts. 4.6 is way below anything I could see.


  • Kim Monberg

    Would really have loved to know if the unit can utilize the gbit LAN port 100%, as i thought of using this one as a NAS?

  • anonymous
  • Guy Carmeli

    Thanks Nathan for this wonderfully thorough review. This helped me make my final decision for picking one up to set up as my HTPC.

    Sadly though I’m not experiencing the video performance you were demonstrating here. All of my videos are pretty standard – MKV’s and MP4’s at 1080 and 720 resolution – but none are playing smoothly so far. They are laggy and choppy, and the CPU is maxing out at 100%, as if the hardware acceleration isn’t kicking in.

    My setup is pretty straightforward:
    – Intel NUC DN2820FYKH
    – 60Gb SSD
    – 4Gb RAM
    – Windows Pro 8.1
    * BIOS and drivers are all up to date (3/17/2014)
    * Changed video minimum memory to 512Mb
    * Media resides on a 2Tb WD Elements connected via USB
    * Connected to display directly via HDMI

    Tried using Plex, VLC, MPC…. installed K-Lite…….. nothing. Performance varies between players, but none manage to do the job properly.

    This is very frustrating as I have purchased this machine specifically for this purpose, and from your review it seems pretty clear that it should handle these files easily.
    I was wondering if perhaps I am missing something? Any additional software I should install or setting to lookup?


    • Peter Cordes

      Have you tried DISABLING hardware decode? The CPU can probably handle harder-to-decode videos than the GPU hardware. I’ve seen this with AMD and NVidia GPUs: some videos are too high bitrate for them, and they stutter.

  • Brett2142

    Great review. I’d love to hear how this performs running the Steam Streaming beta…it should be able to do hardware decoding, if so is it powerful enough to serve as a client streaming box?

  • Michal

    Hi Guys, I am looking for HTPC for my LG TV from 2012. I have to use PLEX server for transcoding movies from my NAS. All transfers are over gigabit home network. Plex dosen’t support HW decoding and I need pretty strong CPU. Does this NUC transcode high bit-rate 1080p 3D movies? Movies will be played by my TV set over my home network (gigabit LAN) .
    If I install XBMC or simple Windows Media Player with right codecs, does this NUC is able to play high bit-rate 3D movies from my home network at my TV via HDMI?
    Thanks for help in advance!

    • Nathan Kirsch

      If you’d like to share some media with me I can try out exactly what you are looking to do. My info is on the contact page.

  • Adam

    Thanks for the review! Do you have plans to review any Bay Trail-D motherboards that have been recently announced / released?

    I would expect similar performance, but i’m particularly interested in the J1900 flavors.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      I’ll look into it!

  • Joao Soares de Melo

    Great review! Will this be able to do some light gaming… for example i would like to play pro evolution soccer 2014 (doesnt need to have great fps or be high quality)

  • mervin39

    I don’t have much experience with ssd storage our mini-pcie devices, but do you think it’d be possible to remove the wireless and replace it with a mini-pcie ssd?

  • Exuperie

    Do you guys think the fanless Gigabyte Brix with Bay Trail-M will be more powerful CPU/GPU wise?

    • Guest

      I have asked Gigabyte if they know what CPU they will be offering in that system yet. It really depends on the CPU choice they make.

      Intel currently offers quite a few Bay Trail-M processors in the Celeron line:

      ModelCores /
      ThreadsFrequency /

      Celeron N2806
      2 / 2
      1.6 / 2 GHz
      1 MB
      311 / 756 MHz

      Celeron N2815
      2 / 2
      1.86 / 2.13 GHz
      1 MB
      311 / 756 MHz

      Celeron N2820
      2 / 2
      2.13 / 2.39 GHz
      1 MB
      311 / 756 MHz

      Celeron N2920
      4 / 4
      1.86 / 2 GHz
      2 MB
      311 / 844 MHz

      Pentium N3520
      4 / 4
      2.17 / 2.42 GHz
      2 MB
      313 / 854 MHz

    • Nathan Kirsch

      have asked Gigabyte if they know what CPU they will be offering in
      that system yet. It really depends on the CPU choice they make.

      Intel currently offers quite a few Bay Trail-M processors in the Celeron line:

      Celeron N2806
      Celeron N2815
      Celeron N2820
      Celeron N2920
      Celeron N3520

      • Nathan Kirsch

        The fanless Gigabyte BRIX would be the J1900 Baytrail processor

  • will3

    Nice review and at last we see the fan make & model number. There have been a lot of complaints about the noisy fan used in the D54250WYK on the Intel NUC forum you reviewed, yet never saw the fan make/model published. Any chance of letting us know if it is the same make and model number as on your Bay Trail one ?

    Also, are you able to test the WiFi speed versus distance so we get a measure of how good the NUC dual antenae system is ?

    Any chance of testing a range of Skype voice calls on it to see if free of stutter/dropouts ?

    Your D54250WYK review erroniously listed a DDR3L part no. which Intel state is not compatible (and isn’t). Do you know if the Bay Trail NUC is as fussy as to which DDR3L sticks work ?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Will3 – Thanks for the feedback and I’ll take a look at the crucial DDR3L part number. I e-mailed them last night to double check.

      The fans are different models. The Bay Trail-M uses a blower fan from SUNON and the Haswell NUCs use a blower fan from DELTA (model BSB05505HP). The fans are different as are the heatsinks, so there is nothing identical when it comes to cooling.

      When it comes to WiFi speeds please check this out. I think it will answer your question –

      I’ve moved on to testing some other items that need to get out the door, but if I get time I’ll try to circle back and give skype a try.

      • Nathan Kirsch

        I talked with Crucial and they said that everything is good with the DDR3L memory kit that I used in the Haswell review. “Both parts should be working just fine in the NUC “By both they mean the 2Gb density part and the newer 4Gb density “J” part (the one I have photographed and used in that review). If you have any ‘bad’ part numbers that are listed as good let me know and I’ll order a kit in to double check.

  • Christouf

    Thanks for this test.
    I’m very interested in this nuc because it’s energy efficient and silencious.
    I would like to listen to music, watch videos and thanks to your test I know it’s ok.
    I also would like to watch and record TV with a Usb stick, do You think that the nuc is powerfull enought for that ?
    thanks for your answer and sorry for my English 😉

  • tonyz

    I have totally depended on your reviews….Excellent Crew!

    • designer_boy

      I was looking at using this as an always on iTunes machine. Just want to load windows 7 and have only iTunes running 24/7 for access to music files (not using video at all) Will this little box be able to handle iTunes?

  • lannister

    I think HDMI is actually smart, because you want sound to go through it, having tons of cables on that tiny box is stupid .
    voir: offre galaxy note 3 & nouvel ipad air

  • jaypav

    How about running Plex and skype at the same time. I am still a little bit skeptical about these celeron processors running efficiently on full load and they get very unresponsive in those times.

    • basroil

      GFLOP wise these should be as good as a Core 2 Duo laptop chip, so you would expect about the same performance. In other words, nothing spectacular, but useable in the right context

  • ed

    A few things I’ve noticed from my own unit. As this will likely be a top search hit for the system, hopefully these will get some visibility to Intel engineers.

    – It has hardware decode, for one. Just fire up mpc-hc to verify. It is true that Youtube doesn’t seem to utilize it, which is probably an issue with the graphics drivers. The revamped Intel control panel also doesn’t support rgb / ycbcr or full / limited range switching, another oversight. The 24p bug has been fixed, though.
    – I found the default 3000rpm fan setting rather loud, but that’s easy to change. You can also make it completely silent.
    – The BIOS still has a lot of issues. The F10 boot select screen often doesn’t work. HDMI audio doesn’t work with legacy boot enabled, though they do acknowledge this one. And at least with my unit, plugging or unplugging flash drives into the USB 3.0 slot will occasionally hard shut down the entire system, which is bonkers. Also, an attached USB mouse will turn on the system from a complete off with any slight movement, and no BIOS setting to disable.

    Off the top of my head, those are the main issues. Windows 7 support is obviously a big miss at launch, but you can install an 8.1 enterprise trial until it’s sorted out. I still think it’s a solid, well-built machine and a good buy overall, if you’re not doing anything too strenuous on it.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Thanks for the feedback and yes they Intel engineers behind the NUC will be reading this and are aware that I bought one and was reviewing it. They sent over BIOS 0024 to try out and it did fix many of the problems I found in BIOS 0021 (BIOS 0015 was horrible). I hope when they release the next build many of the remaining issues are resolved.

      As for the fan noise… It isn’t that bad, but you are right you can adjust that in the Intel Visual BIOS in a few seconds.

      • will3

        As the case is still quite tiny, does it require any special types of SATA & Power cable to avoid overstuffing the small interior area ?

        • Nathan Kirsch

          It does and that is why Intel includes the cables with the purchase of all of the -H SKU NUC’s that support 2.5-inch storage drives like this model (DN2820FYKH).

    • Paramdeo Singh

      Thanks for the review and insights. Definitely good as a space saver.

      Wouldn’t dream of installing Windows though, a Linux flavor would really shine on this box.

    • Watercooled

      On the subject of hardware acceleration in Youtube, are you testing with Chrome? It seems to be broken with both HTML5 and PepperFlash, but works with the Flash plugin as it does on Firefox (and probably others, but I’ve not checked).
      Right-click video>stats for nerds. In Chrome it will probably say software decode. Note: It says software *rendering* in FF embedded view, but hardware when fullscreen.
      It’s been this way for quite some time now, and they don’t seem to be in any rush to fix it.