Intel Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK Review: Pint-Sized Gaming Powerhouse

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Intel NUC NUC8i7HVK Hades Canyon: BIOS/UEFI And Software Features

The Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK feature Intel’s Visual BIOS, which has an essentially identical design and layout to last year’s Skull Canyon NUC, and Intel’s older enthusiast-class motherboards. It can be navigated using either a mouse or keyboard (or touch if you’ve got a compatible display) and is home to array of information about the processor and memory configuration, as well as time/date and other basics.

NUC8i7HVK bios 2

NUC8i7HVK bios 1

All of the integrated peripherals can be enabled / disabled in the Visual BIOS, fan curves can be tweaked should you want to micro-manage temperatures and acoustics, and there are an array of overclocking and performance related options as well. For all intents and purposes, the Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK’s BIOS is designed for enthusiasts and it mimics what Intel used to offer in its full-sized HEDT motherboards, when it was making them.

LED manager

Over and above the hardware and BIOS, there’s some other software associated with the Hades Canyon NUC8i7HVK we should look at here. First up is the LED Manager for NUC application. The name of this app pretty much explains what it does – you can control all of the LEDs on the machine, not only in terms of their color, but when and how they’re lit. You could set some LEDs to show drive or network activity, others to light up solid when the machine is powered on, and they can all be set to light up solid or pulse, etc. The skull and eyes on the top of the machine are two difference zones, so those could be configured independently as well.

The LED Manager for NUC application has a basic user interface that’s not very flashy, but it does exactly what it was designed to do and just works.

radeon rx vega m drivers 1

radeon rx vega m drivers 2

And here are a couple of shots of the display drivers for the NUC8i7HVK’s integrated Radeon RX Vega M GPU. All told, the driver interface is virtually identical to the Radeon Adrenaline Edition drivers available on AMD.com for any Radeon owner, but they are skinned with blue trim and feature and Intel badge front and center in the menu bar.

We should note that the NUC8i7HVK also features an Intel UHD 630 graphics, courtesy of the 8th Gen Core processors on-die GPU, but for gaming and heavy graphics workloads the Radeon RX Vega M kicks in and takes over -- the graphics subsystem essentially behaves like an ultrabook with a discrete GPU.

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