Intel Bean Canyon NUC Review: 8th Gen CPU With Iris Plus Graphics

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Intel NUC NUC8i7BEH1: Mini, But Mighty 8th Gen Core

Intel has embraced small form factor systems for many years. Whether it be high-end mini-PCs like the Hades Canyon NUC, complete with discrete graphics for gamers, or ultra-tiny devices like the Compute Card, Intel has consistently pushed small form factor markets forward, for just about as long as ‘performance per watt’ has been a thing.

The Hades Canyon NUC and Compute Card target some rather niche markets, however. For more mainstream, everyday computing applications, Intel’s standard 4"x4” NUC (Next Unit of Computing) systems are much more apropos, and the Intel NUC8i7BEH we’ll be showing you here may just be the best all-around unit yet.

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The Intel NUC8i7BEH features a full quad-core 8th generation Core i7 processor, support for up to 32GB of DDR4 RAM (in a dual-channel configuration), accommodations for both SATA and M.2 storage devices, and enough IO for just about any mainstream desktop user – including Thunderbolt 3. Intel has also updated the chassis and designs of these latest NUC systems to improve thermals and enhance the overall aesthetic.

The exact model system we have on hand here today is Intel model BOXNUC8i7BEH1. This particular machine is a barebones model that does not include memory, storage, or an operating system. Models with the same processor and base configuration are also available with a shorter chassis height (that omit the 2.5” drive bay), or which include memory and storage, but those will riff off of the NUC8xxxx naming convention. There are Core i5 based models as well.

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The Intel Core i7-8559U With Iris Plus 655 Graphics

Intel NUC NUC8i7BEH
Specifications & Features

The system’s main features and specifications are outlined in the tabled above. This mini machine is built around the Intel Core i7-8559U 4C/8T processor, which has a base clock of 2.7 GHz and a turbo boost clock of 4.5 GHz, along with 8MB of shared cache. Handling graphics duties is Intel’s Iris Plus Graphics 655 graphics engine, which is packing 48 execution units and 128MB of embedded DRAM. And the whole package has just a 28W TDP.

Other goodies integrated into the system include Intel Gigabit LAN, Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9560 (802.11 ac, 2x2, up to 1.73Gbps), Bluetooth 5.0, Thunderbolt 3, and an array of USB 3.1 ports, including a charging port that still works when the system is asleep.
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We’ll dive further into the hardware and build on the pages ahead, but before we do, we should also quickly cover what’s included with the Intel NUC8i7BEH. Inside the box, along with the system itself, you’ll find a VESA mount (to affix the system to the back of most monitors), an 8th Gen Core case badge, various screws for mounting drives, etc., some basic literature and warranty information, and a19V / 90w AC adapter power brick.

intel nuc 8i7beh front

The overall design of the NUC8i7BEH doesn’t stray too far from previous models, but it does feature a darker gun-metal finish, and more ventilation, thanks to its mesh side panels. The front of the Intel NUC8i7BEH is home to a pair of USB Type A ports (USB 3.1, including the aforementioned charging port), a 3.5mm audio jack, a power button, and an activity LED (not lit in the photo).

intel nuc 8i7beh back

The back of the system features a circular power port, a full-sized HDMI output (capable of powering a 4K display), an RJ45 LAN jack, two more USB 3.1 Type A ports with power share, and a Type C Thunderbolt 3 port. With this IO configuration, some users may be left wanting for additional USB ports, but it’s probably enough for most office / casual desktop users who aren’t likely to have much more than input devices and maybe a printer plugged in.

intel nuc 8i7beh angle

Eagle eyed observers will also notice something nestled on the left side of the system. Along with an obvious lock port, there’s also a microSDXC slot on the NUC8i7BEH, just the thing for external storage access or expansion.

There’s also some cool stuff to see inside this little rig, which we'll look at next...

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