I’m sick of* this huge PC case sitting here in my home office. (*Honestly it’s my wife who is REALLY sick of it.) So I’ve been researching other options lately.
Here is my requirements list:
- At least dual-core processor
- At least 8GB RAM
- Support for an SSD system disk
- Support for a USB3 external disk
- Support for at least two monitors
- Support for Bluetooth and WiFi
- Low power consumption
- A number of USB3 and USB3 ports
- >>>Small form factor<<<
I’ve followed the Xi3 product line for a long time now and that was the first device I seriously considered. A concern I have with that option though is that once you bump up the RAM and the SSD size to something reasonable, you’ve very quickly at a cost of almost $1,000 and you haven’t addressed the additional storage, CD writer, wifi, etc.
So I started looking around at other options. I looked at the Apple options, the Dell options, a number of generic brand options, etc. I also spent a good deal of time researching the Lenovo Tiny – which is actually quite impressive. While reading reviews about the Tiny I found a couple of sites that mentioned while it was a very nice device, it didn’t score as well as the Intel NUC (“next unit of computing”). Having never heard of the NUC before, I started researching that option.
So the current models of the Intel NUC include quad-core Haswell chips. One option comes with the i3 chip and the other with the i5 chip. Otherwise they appear to be the same. They also recently introduced an option that works with standard 2.5″ SSD drives (as opposed to mSATA SSD drives).
The NUC base “kit” includes a super-small motherboard with expansion ports of course, and a CPU. Everything else needs to be added. The case is about 4″ x 4″ x 2″ – super small! And the power consumption is really low – average is around 8.5 watts from what I’ve read in real-life usage reviews.
I pulled the trigger on one this weekend and will wait for the parts then put it together over the next week or two. I ordered the i3 core model, a wifi/bluetooth module, 8GB of RAM (it supports 16GB), a 2TB USB3 super-slim drive, a CD/DVD writable drive (also super-slim), and I’ll use an existing SSD drive (I have a spare sitting around collecting dust from a previous upgrade). It will already support my dual monitors.
I’m investing $510.74 into this project. Super-cheap right? If I had to buy an SSD drive that would be a couple hundred more, but still, I’d be all-in for under $1k for everything I need to replace my current desktop.
When everything arrives I’ll do another couple of posts and include some pictures. I’m looking forward to playing with this and seeing how things go!