Intel NUC5i5RYK Broadwell-U Mini-PC Review

Introduction and Specifications

As Intel (and other chip makers) have been able to shrink its processors, integrate more features, and reduce power requirements over the years, manufacturers have been able to fit them into smaller and smaller form factors. That means notebooks and tablets have gotten thinner, lighter, faster and more portable over the years, of course, but it also means that desktop systems no longer need to be big boxes crammed with numerous components and cooling hardware.

In some ways, Intel’s NUC series of products are the epitome of this dynamic. Intel’s NUC systems are ultra-small form factor systems that pack almost all of the features of a full sized desktop, but with minimal expansion options.

Intel recently released its latest generation of NUC small form factor systems, based on the company’s low-power Broadwell-U series processors. The primary advantages of Intel’s 5th Generation Core Series Broadwell-U-based processors are better performance-per-watt, stronger integrated graphics, and a smaller footprint, all things that are perfectly suited to the NUC (Next Unit of Computing) products.

We got our hands on a Core i5-powered version dubbed the NUC5i5RYK. To be more specific, this little machine is packing a Core i5-5250U processor with on-die Intel HD 6000 series graphics. The system also sports built-in 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and USB 2.0, M.2 SSD support, and a host of other features. The machines full specifications are listed below...
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Intel NUC5i5RYK Small Form Factor System
Specifications & Features
  • Intel 5th Generation Core i5-5250U (1.6 GHz up to 2.7 GHz Turbo, Dual Core , 3 MB Cache, 15W TDP)
  • Dual-channel DDR3L SODIMMs
  • 1.35V, 1333/1600/1866 MHz, 16GB maximum
  • Intel HD Graphics 6000
  • 1 x mini HDMI 1.4a
  • 1 x mini DisplayPort 1.2
  • Up to 7.1 surround audio via Mini HDMI and Mini DisplayPort
  • Headphone/Microphone jack on the front panel
Peripheral Connectivity
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports on the back panel
  • 2 x USB 3.0 ports on the front panel (1 x charging capable)
  • 2 x Internal USB 2.0 via header
  • Consumer Infrared sensor on the front panel
  • Internal support for M.2 SSD card (22x42, 22x60, or 22x80)
  • Intel 10/100/1000Mbps Network Connection
  • Intel Wireless-AC 7265 M.2 soldered-down, wireless antennas (IEEE 802.11ac, Bluetooth* 4, Intel® Wireless Display)
  • Silver with Black Top and Diamond Cut around the Top
  • Aluminum and Plastic
  • Dimensions : 115mm x 111mm x 32.7mm
Power Adapter
  • 19V, 65W wall-mount AC-DC power adapter
  • Multi-country plugs (IEC types A/C/G/I)
Additional Features
  • Support for user-replaceable 3rd party lids
  • NFC and AUX_PWR headers
  • OS certs: Windows 8 & 8.1 Logo
  • VESA mount bracket and mounting hole support
  • Low-acoustics active cooling design
  • Kensington lock support
  • Integration Guide
  • 12-19V DC Power Input
  • 3-year Advanced Warranty Replacement

The NUC5i5RYK’s specifications read like a cutting-edge mobile PC. There’s a 5th-gen CPU inside the box, support for dual-channel memory, M.2 SSDs, 802.1ac and Gigabit networking, USB 3.0, and various other connectivity options, including Bluetooth. Where these tiny machines fall short of full-sized systems is in the expandability department—if it doesn’t fit in the 115mm x 111mm x 32.7mm enclosure, it must be plugged in externally into one of the available IO ports, like USB.

Above is a short video demo of the Intel NUC5i5RYK in action. Since this particular model is a barebones unit, it must be built up with a drive and memory before it can be used. We show that process in the video. We also talk a bit about the bundle and performance, but have more detailed numbers on the pages ahead.

As you’ll see in the video, the Intel NUC5i5RYK includes a basic accessory bundle: there’s some documentation, a VESA mount, and a power-brick in the box. We should note, however, that Intel does include tips for the power adapter for multiple regions. Some previous NUC systems didn’t even ship with power cords (they had to be bought separately, depending on the region), so Intel’s has solved that problem this time around.

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