Intel NUC Kit NUC5i5RYK Review – Broadwell Comes to NUC!

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5th Generation Intel Core ‘Broadwell’ Processors Come To The NUC Series

Intel Broadwell NUC Systems

The Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC) is something we’ve been talking about since the models first came to market in 2012. We loved the design concept that Intel came up with in 2012 and saw that there was a growing market for such a system. Over the past several years we’ve watched the NUC mature into a very robust platform that easily has the power needed to be the desktop replacement for the vast majority of PC users around the world. The latest Intel NUC won’t be replacing high-end gaming or prosumer systems anytime soon, but thanks to the latest Intel 5th Gen Core i3/i5/i7 processors the NUC is packing more horse power than ever.

Consumer Focused Commercial Focused
NUC5i7RYH Kit, i7, M.2 and SATA support
NUC5i5RYK Kit, i5, M.2 support only NUC5i5MYHE Kit, i5, M.2 and SATA support
NUC5i5RYH Kit, i5, M.2 and SATA support NUC5i5MYBE Board, i5, M.2 and SATA support
NUC5i3RYK Kit, i3, M.2 support only NUC5i3MYHE Kit, i3, M.2 and SATA support
NUC5i3RYH Kit, i3, M.2 and SATA support NUC5i3MYBE Board, i3, M.2 and SATA support

Like the generations that came before, the third generation of the Intel NUC comes as a barebone kit. This means Intel has done 95% of the work for you to ensure you have a rock solid system and all you have to do is supply the memory, storage drive and all of the software. There are nine Intel NUC models coming to market in the weeks ahead. One of the major changes this time around is that Intel has thankfully ditched the mSASTA storage drive interface and moved over to the much faster PCIe Gen 2.0 x4 interface. This will drive build costs up some, but they still over a number of models that have room for a 2.5-inch SATA III drive for those looking to build on a strict budget. The other major change Intel made with this generation was that they went with a soldered down wireless card. All of the models feature the Intel Wireless-AC 7265 solution, which is a dual-band 2×2 card that has a maximum throughput of 867Mbps along with Bluetooth 4.0 and Intel Wireless Display.

Intel NUC Kit NUC5i5RYK

Today, we’ll be looking at an early production sample of the Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK that runs $398.47 shipped. This model is currently the flagship model as it comes with the mainstream Intel Core i5 5250U Dual-Core processor with Hyper-Threading. The Core i5-5250U is a 15W TDP processor based on the Broadwell microarchitecture, which means it is made using the 14nm process node. 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. This processor supports up to 16GB of dual-channel DDR3L memory (1333, 1600 & 1866MHz) and has Intel HD 6000 Graphics that is dynamically clocked between 300 and 950MHz.

Intel NUC Kit NUC5i5RYK System Build

There are a number of DDR3L memory cards and M.2 PCIe SSDs that you could pair with the NUC5i5RYK, but we opted to go with the Samsung XP941 PCIe 2.0 x4 M.2 SSD and a Kingston HyperX Impact DDR3L SO-DIMM memory kit. If you had to run out and buy all the hardware we are using today you are looking at spending around $730 on the hardware and then another $100 or so for a full copy of Microsoft Windows 8.1.

Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK Estimated Windows Build Cost:

Intel NUC Kit NUC5i5RYK Retail Box

The code name for the Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK is Rock Canyon and inside the retail box you’ll find 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 32.7mm. If you wanted to go with a model that could fit a 2.5″ storage drive that is up to 9.5mm thick you are looking at a model that is 115mm x 111mm x 48.7mm. 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.

Intel NUC5i5RYK 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 instructions (not pictured).


The 2-prong wall-mount AC Power Adapter included with the Intel NUC Kit NUC5i5RYK is very different than the ones used on previous Intel Core i3/i5 NUC models. This particular AC adapter 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 NUC Kit NUC5i5RYK

This chassis uses an aluminum center section that left its natural color with a black colored plastic top and a black bottom cover. The look of the NUC hasn’t really changed since it was introduced in 2012, but it doesn’t look dated by any means.

Intel NUC Kit NUC5i5RYK Power Button

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 NUC Kit NUC5i5RYK Front

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 NUC Kit NUC5i5RYK 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 NUC Kit NUC5i5RYK Bottom Lid

Flipping the NUC NUC5i5RYK 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. You can also see the Kensignton lock in the image above that is on one side of the NUC to prevent it from being stolen.

Let’s take a look inside the Intel NUC NUC5i5RYK

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  • Patrik Lindgren

    About the price of this machine.
    this machine is a barebone system that comes without ram, harddrive and OS, these things you would have to add for yourselves and it adds a couple of hundred dollars to the base price som to save money I strongly recommend to run Gnu/Linux on this system because the intel NUC is not really a gaming PC so there is no real advantage to run MS Windows 8 or 10 on it and it is much cheaper to have it running Gnu/Linux. You would save at least about 90 dollars for the windows license.
    Some of you might of course still want to run Windows on this for some reason and if you do then you have to be aware of a few things
    Since MS Windows normally comes on a dvd, (as the Windows 8.1 System Builder OEM DVD 64-Bit you mention in the text), it might be a good idea to get an external DVD player as well, it makes things a lot easier when installing MS Windows and MS Windows software like antivirus and MS office (witch of course might add jet another couple of hundred dollars to the total price.

    Most Gnu/Linux based systems on the other hand can easily be installed from an usb drive and most of them already have office programs pre installed, and there isn’t really a need to get an antivirus program due to lack of viruses on the Gnu/Linux platform.
    This might save you another couple of hundred dollars if you have access to another computer to create the usb installation drive from an iso image on otherwise you would still need that external DVD drive to install from a burned Linux dvd as well. this is not mentioned in the review.

    I run Ubuntu Mate 16.04 LTS on my Intel NUC and it works very fast and boots up in about an eye blink, I go to the TV, press the ON button on my NUC and then go to sit down in my couch, and during the few seconds it takes to do that, the system gets completely booted up and the login screen is up.
    I have 8 GB of ram, a normal SSD drive in it, not a super fast M.2 Drive, it was to expensivefor me.

    I have the NUC connected to my 40” Samsung UHD TV with HDMI and surprisingly it does UHD resolution on Ubuntu, but when I sit in my couch a few meters away from the TV, I can hardly see the menus in that resolution so I changed it down to 1920X1080 witch works better when I surf on the internet.

    The only problem I have is that I couldn’t get the sound to work through the HDMI cable but it works fine when I connect it with the analog cable, I have a Logitech Z906 sound system so I don’t know if it is the Z906, the NUC or Ubuntu Mate that is coursing this, but at least I have sound so its not a big problem.

    I hope this is helpful for someone thinking of buying one of these machines.

  • Robert Valentine

    I am working on a project and I am trying to power this NUC using the 4-pin auxiliary power connector. Can someone please tell me what the pin out is? I am not sure if the pins from left to right are 1234 or from right to left 1234. The image above is what I am referring to. I am have an auxiliary power supply that use the positive and negative pins but I am not sure what ones they are. Any help would be really appreciated.

  • ATS

    Has there been any issues with electrical arcing from the power adaptors. I am using the 230 volt UK adaptor.

  • Touya Dono

    Can anyone offer suggestions on what to cool this unit with? At least 3 please.

  • Sas Sam

    Is it possible to run VirtualBox on NUC5i5RYH/K? Or is it available only on NUC5i5MYHE? Thanks!

    • solara

      Definitely possible. I run Virtualbox 5 (on Linux) on the NUC5i3RYH for a Windows 7 x64 Guest.

  • Nos

    Can these be used as a Windows Server 2012 lab machine? Is the Ethernet card compatible?

  • MattMe

    I’m thinking about getting the i3 version of the NUC for desktop computers at work to replace the full-sized towers we currently buy.
    I’d really like to mount them behind the monitors to keep everything tidy, but my only concern is users being able to power the units on in the morning without reaching behind the screens.
    Not that much of a concern, granted, but a real one in an office environment.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or solutions?

    • peter

      power on keypress (bios)

      • MattMe

        That sounds exactly like what I’m after, however my experience of this feature is only to wake a computer from sleep.
        Some machines I’ve used have had the ability to power a machine on with the keyboard but it was PS/2 only, and required a physical jumper change on the board.

        Any experience of this working with USB from a cold boot?

        • Bobo2211

          Yes itcan boot from usb keyboard. I have an older NUC.

        • MattMe

          Ace. Can you tell me what I have to do to utilise this feature please? Is it a BIOS setting? Would it work from any key press on any USB keyboard?

  • Muhammad

    Your Windows wasn’t running in UEFI mode, which is a mistake.

  • Dan Barkley

    38 watts at load is still more than I was expecting for a 15 watt CPU.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Keep in mind that the TDP rating is for just the SoC and not the entire platform. You need to factor in the memory, SSD, wireless card (and all the other board components) and then all the USB devices that are plugged in.

  • indoubt

    From article: *then you have the operating system and software costs.*
    It seems that Legit is saving in software costs at least.
    Or are my eyes decieving, page5: *keyshot 5.1 (DEMO) not for commercial use.*

    Maybe Legit ain’t commercial though, don’t know….

    • AndyT83

      Your eyes must be deceiving you because they missed the “(Our screenshot of KeyShot 5.1 shows that it is unregistered, but we did get permission from Luxion Inc. ahead of time to include it in our review.)” right under that screen shot.

      • Nathan Kirsch

        indoubt –

        We contacted Luxion Inc. before the article was published and they actually saw the screenshot and text before the article was published. After seeing what we were using they approved the use. We have since acquired a license for the software. Feel free to contact Luxion to confirm if you’d like –

  • kgh00007

    Hi, can this nuc run 2133MHz RAM like the D54250WYK haswell nuc?

    And more importantly can the TDP be adjusted in the bios from 15W to 25 or 30W like the haswell nuc?

    Cheers, great review, I’m just deciding whether its worth upgrading my haswell nuc which has been serving me really well as a HTPC for the last year or so!

    • kgh00007

      Any chance you can let us know if this has a configurable TDP like the D54250WYK haswell nuc?

      • Nathan Kirsch

        You can change ‘modes’ in the UEFI and I have been able to get 1600MHz and 1866MHz kits to work in this model. I haven’t tried 2133MHz just yet, but I will give it a shot.

  • AndyT83

    “The highest speed officially supported by Intel is 1600MHz, but faster kits might be supported unofficially.”

    Is that correct? The Intel site ( says 1866MHz is supported, but the memory page you referenced says 1333 or 1600 MHz even though 1866MHz is listed. Just trying to figure out what to buy so I have everything ready for when this thing ships. Thanks for the review.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Intel told us that DDR3L 1333MHz and 1600MHz in 4GB and 8GB modules are officially supported. They also noted that some memory is able to run at DDR3L 1866MHz and they even have some 16GB modules working in it, but none of those speeds/capacities are validated.

  • tkuhs

    Thanks for the review. Can’t wait until it is available and until the first passive cooled cases show up 🙂

    btw. the “Legit Bottom Line” is is talking about the DN2820FYKH

  • GibMonkey

    What is the SATA connection for?

    • tkuhs

      For the NUC5i5RYH and aftermarket cases which allow you to install a 2.5″ drive