Final Words

The Intel NUC5i5RYK provided us with the opportunity to take a look at what Broadwell-U can deliver when coupled with a motherboard providing premium features. The migration from 22nm to 14nm has allowed for higher base clocks while maintaining the same power envelop. The performance delta over the Haswell-U-based D54250WYKH (particularly, on the graphics side) is noticeable. That said, while migrating from Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge is a no-brainer, there is not enough on offer to recommend migrating from a Haswell-based UCFF PC.

The BIOS in our pre-production review kit had some quirks and the QVL could do with some additions (particularly, support for 2133 MHz DRAM kits would be very welcome). Hopefully, these get fixed as the official market availability date (sometime in March) draws near. We also covered aspects such as replaceable lids for added functionality (NFC and wireless chargining, for example) and customization in our launch piece. Similar to the previous generation NUCs, we also have a kit with support for a 2.5" drive.

The NUC5i5RYK provides an admirable UCFF PC option due to three major aspects:

  • Availability of a M.2 PCIe 2.0 x4 slot for SSDs while retaining compatibility with M.2 SATA SSDs
  • Presence of an I218-V GbE controller compared to the Realtek-based controllers in other UCFF / mini-PCs
  • Upgrade to the Intel AC7265 2x2 802.11ac solution for the WLAN component

There is scope for improvement in terms of the overall feature set. For the home-consumer focused kits, it would be nice if a mini-HDMI to HDMI adapter were to be bundled. Even better would be a full-sized HDMI port - GIGABYTE, ECS and Zotac have shown that it is possible to cram in a full-sized HDMI port even in the NUC form factor. While M.2 PCIe SSD support is a welcome addition, it would be great to get Thunderbolt support back into the NUC ecosystem. For cutting-edge HTPCs, the absence of HDMI 2.0 and full hardware decoding for HEVC streams is a drawback. However, we know that those will definitely be getting fixed in the upcoming generations.

The final aspect we talk about today is the pricing. The NUC5i5RYK seems to be available for $376 on PCConnection as of today (even though Intel indicated a street price slightly north of $400). M.2 SSDs (PCIe or SATA) still carry a premium. For users wishing to keep the build cost down, the NUC5i5RYH model with support for 2.5" drives might be a better option.

Power Consumption and Thermal Performance


View All Comments

  • seanleeforever - Monday, February 23, 2015 - link

    true, i suppose if your requirement is to play 4K UHD video no matter what encoding used, then you really have to step up to a faster processor. Reply
  • duploxxx - Monday, February 23, 2015 - link

    fixed with carrizo which will launch pritty soon. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    I must be the only person who is still using an Atom 330 from god-knows-how-many-years-ago.
    It's slow and it sucks.

    But with a Broadcom Crystal HD, it does *everything* I have asked of it, which is maintain my library and playback movies.
    One day I will upgrade... full-fledged Windows Tablets have now hit the $100 price point, you would think I could get a full blown Atom powered HTPC for half that, right? As it doesn't include a screen? Hahaha. Wrong.
  • kmmatney - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    Yeah - I just bought a Winbook 10" tablet for $149 at Microcenter. Specs: 10" IPS screen, 32GB "SSD", 2GM RAM, Win 8.1., USB and mini HDMI port. Runs movies great, and great for internet browsing, runs my programming environment, and can even run Minecraft (with optifine). I have both an Android tablet (with high density display) and an iPad4, and I can't really say the display on the Winbook as any worse - pixel size is fine. I ended up selling my Android tablet, and would sell my iPad if the rest of the family would let me. This $149 tablet blows them both away. It could easily be an HTPC with a blue tooth keyboard and mouse. It's doesn't compare to a Core i5 in speed, but it's fast enough. Reply
  • Antronman - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    A $728 dollar build is easily going to fit the A10-7850k

    The only advantage the NUC poses is power draw and operation volume.
  • Gadgety - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    For an HTPC which also would be used for light gaming, then I believe an AMD A8-7600 or the Carrizo version, in a passively cooled case is better than these Intel offerings. Mainly from a cost and size standpoint, as the Intel system would need a graphics card. For just movie/TV kind of usage then I believe the Intel offering handles the 23.976 better than AMD. Reply
  • yankeeDDL - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    Carrizo will have full H.265 support in hardware. Usually that makes just the world of difference in terms of efficiency. Reply
  • BlueBlazer - Saturday, February 21, 2015 - link

    But for Carrizo, does not mention support for VP9 (used by Google TV) or 10-bit H.265. Reply
  • Teknobug - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    In my experience, yes and no, enough power to play videos but hardly enough umph to do anything else. I tested an A4 5000, A6 1450, A8 5545M, A10 5750M and A10 7300, the A10's run hot but has a good enough GPU for low-mid range gaming and the lower end AMD's get beat out by Celeron N28** and Pentium N3530 and even the A8 gets beat out by i3's. Reply
  • Samus - Friday, February 20, 2015 - link

    The only downside of AMD htpc's is obviously higher power consumption. It will simply need more cooling. That may be negligible to you if a near silent fan in a quality case with proper ventilation is part of your build.

    I personally use a passive cooled shuttle j1900-based htpc. It has no moving parts, not even a fan. That was important to me because my TV room is dead silent... and I paid dearly for a clean amp to have no speaker hiss so having no fan noise is priceless.

    People with a projector or less demanding requirements should save their money and just build an inexpensive AMD htpc.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now