Some familiar scenery

This time we have the latest NUC on the test bench that features a faster Broadwell CPU and Iris graphics!

If you thought that Intel was going to slow down on its iteration in the SFF (small form factor) system design, you were sadly mistaken. It was February when Intel first sent us a NUC based on Broadwell, an iterative upgrade over a couple of generations for this very small platform, 4" x 4", that showed proved to be interesting from a technology stand point but didn't shift expectations of the puck-sized PC business.

Today we are looking at yet another NUC, also using a Broadwell processor, though this time the CPU is running quite a bit faster, with Intel Iris 6100 graphics and a noticeably higher TDP. The Core i7-5557U is still a dual-core / HyperThreaded processor but it increases base and Turbo clocks by wide margins, offering as much as 35% better CPU performance and mainstream gaming performance boosts in the same range. This doesn't mean the NUC 5i7RYH will overtake your custom built desktop but it does make it a lot more palatable for everyday PC users.

Oh, and we have an NVMe PCI Express SSD inside this beast as well. (Waaaaaa??)

Even though we have seen more than our fair share of Intel NUC systems we still need to take a look around this device to see if anything has changed. Here are the quick specs of the DIY mini PC.

  Intel NUC5i7RYH Specifications
Processor Intel Core i7-5557U Dual-core, HyperThreaded (3.1 GHz Base, 3.4 GHz Turbo)
Motherboard Custom
Memory Dual Channel DDR3L SODIMMs (empty)
Graphics Card Intel Iris Graphics 6100
Storage Internal support for M.2 SSD (AHCI, NVMe)
Internal SATA 6.0 Gbps 2.5-in HDD/SSD 9.5mm
Networking Intel Pro Gigabit Ethernet
Intel 7265 802.11ac
Bluetooth 4.0
Intel Wireless Display Support
Power Supply 19V, 65 watt wall adapter
Connections 4 x USB 3.0
2 x Internal USB 2.0 header
1 x Mini HDMI 1.4a
1 x Mini DisplayPort 1.2
Enclosure 155mm x 111mm x 48.7mm

For a couple of generations now the Intel NUC systems have included two variants - a thinner and thicker option, the latter of which can support a 2.5-in hard drive or solid state drive. The design otherwise is pretty much the same - a silver exterior with a plastic black top that can be removed and replaced. My one gripe about the lid is that it appears to be easily scratched so avoid placing your phone or keys or anything else on it.

On the front we find a pair of USB 3.0 ports, the yellow colored one supports fast charging while the system is powered down. The 3.5mm plug on the right hand side is for both headphones and microphone connections.

Rotating around to the back of the NUC you find the remaining connectivity for this model. That includes two display output options (mini HDMI and mini DisplayPort) as well as two additional USB 3.0 ports and a Gigabit Ethernet connection. The power input is on the left hand side and along the top is space for the small fan on the processor heatsink to ventilate.

The NUC5i7RYH is a taller variant of the NUC chassis (seen on the left, NUC5i5RYK on the right) that allows for the installation of a 2.5-in hard drive or SSD. As of this writing there isn't any indication that a Core i7 version with the slimmer design is incoming, possibly due to the added TDP of the Core i7 processor.

Of course you can still remove the top plastic cover of the NUC and replace it with either a design of your own or one of the upcoming add-ons that Intel has been talking about since CES in January. There is both power and data connectivity through the top of the design and that should allow for devices like NFC readers, pico projectors or more unique technology options to expand on the design of this SFF system.

For a little flair, you can create your own 3D printed NUC lid, assuming you have access to such a device. Thanks goes out to Matt C. for sending along this custom built PC Perspective top for our NUCs!

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