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Intel NUC 10 is a mini powerhouse
4.6Overall Score
Name: Intel NUC 10 series
Price (RRP): $from 529-2289
Manufacturer: Intel

The Intel NUC 10 is a mini powerhouse contained in an 11.7 x 12.2cm diminutive ‘Next Unit of Computing’ chassis. It has a powerful Intel Core 10th generation processor, Thunderbolt 3, HDMI 2.0, Wi-Fi 6 AX/BT 5.0 and all the go-fast bits you could want.

The Intel NUC 10 is for people that need power in a small space. Its main uses are as a media PC for home theatre, as a thick client to attach to a monitor back, commercial signage and anyone that wants a small, unobtrusive PC. I have seen them used in aircraft, tractors, mining trucks/rigs, caravans/motorhomes and more. The no fan and rugged design makes them ideal.

To review it requires you to understand its flexibility – a smorgasbord of options.

NUC 10 is the series, and we will put all the options at the end of the article.

Chassis

Two sizes – both 117 x 112mm x 38mm (no room for a hard disk) or 51mm (for a hard disk)

Intel NUC 10 inside

But wait there is more. You can get a kit with the chassis and motherboard only – call that FNH (51mm) or FNK (38mm) or a fully built mini PC

Intel NUC 10

Power

240V – 19V/6.32A’ brick’ (120W) for i7 and 19V/4.2A (90W) for i3/i5. The only problem is that it’s almost as big as the NUC.

Processor (all with 25W TPD) Passmark is a reference to speed (higher is better)

  • i7-10710U, 1.1/4.7GHz, 6-core (NUC 10i7) PassMark 10418
  • i5-10210U, 1.6/4.2GHz, 4-core (NUC 10i5) PassMark 6635
  • i3-10110U, 2.1/4.1GHz, 2-core (NUC 10i3) PassMark 4303

RAM

  • Two SODIMM slots (notebook size) for DDR4 dual-channel 1333 (2666Mhz) to a maximum of 64GB in total

Storage

  • M2.2242/80 PCIe NVMe Gen 3×4 (takes SATA III, NVMe or Intel Optane M10 and H10 Hybrid)
  • 2.5″ SATA 3 bay (on 51mm chassis)
  • Full-sized SDXC UHS-III slot

Windows

  • None
  • Home

Ports (All)

  • HDMI 2.0a ([email protected])
  • Thunderbolt 3 (40Gbps) supports ALT DP for two external 60Hz displays
  • USB-C 3.1 Gen 2 PD 2.0 (10Gbps)
  • 3 x USB-A 3.1 Gen 2 (10Gbps)
  • 3.5mm combo audio
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • There are to USB 2.0 via internal headers

Features (All) – there are no PCI expansion ports

  • Intel 4K UHD Graphics
  • Wi-Fi 6 AX 20 VHT 160 2×2 MIMO
  • BT 5.0
  • 7.1 multichannel audio over HDMI or Thunderbolt 3
  • Beamforming far-field quad mic array (presumably for Cortana or Alexa)

To kit or not to NUCkit?

Intel usually bundles the complete mini PCs at quite competitive prices, but for my last two, I have built from the kit. As there is only the cost of Windows (or Linux), memory and storage its pretty easy to compare.

Price: NUK 10

As these are a new line (earlier models are still available), the pricing here is indicative only form mmwave.

  • i3 kit FNK/FNH $529
  • i5 kit FNK/FNH $649/659
  • i7 kit FNH $939

A top specified i5/i7/64GB/2TB/Win10 Pro is $1969/2289.

Review – Intel NUC 10i7FNH

Because of the flexibility, it is tough to review the NUC so we will test what we can.

HDMI 2.0 – EXCEED

It can render and transfer a [email protected] movie in 10-bit colour with Dolby Vision and Atmos, so it is definitely faster than HDMI 1.4 that tops out at 24fps and 8-bit colour.

Thunderbolt 3 – EXCEED

Docks – The unit needs 120W power from its dedicated brick supply.

You can use any Thunderbolt 3 (don’t use the passthrough power feature) and have 40Gbps bandwidth to share. It runs twin [email protected] monitors and supports external SSDs to their maximum data transfer rates. Here any Thunderbolt dock is fine – We tested with Kensington and ATEN. It supports dual [email protected] monitors (one via the dock and the other via USB-C) and a single [email protected]

We tested with an Aten USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 5Gbps dock – again ignoring the power passthrough and could run dual [email protected] monitors and all USB peripherals at maximum rated speed.