I recently purchased an Intel NUC, NUC8i7HNK, to use as my home office PC. Here’s a little bit of information about my experience.
Need To Upgrade
I’ve been using a HP micro-tower for around 6-7 years as my home office PC. It was an i5 with 16 GB RAM, originally purchased as part of a pair to use as a lab kit when I started writing Mastering Hyper-V 2012 R2. After that book, I re-purposed the machine as my home PC and it’s been where many of my articles were written and where I work when I work from home.
When Microsoft introduced a workaround security fix for Meltdown/Spectre I noticed the slowdown quite a bit. Over the year, the PC has just felt slower and slower. I don’t do anything that unusual with it, I don’t use it for development, it’s not running Hyper-V – Office, Chrome, Visio, and VS Code are my main tools of the trade. The machine is 6-7 years old, so it was time to upgrade.
Some will ask “wasn’t the Surface Studio the perfect choice?”. No, not for me. The price is crazy, the Studio 1 needs a hard disk replacement, the Studio 2 isn’t available yet, and I need a nice dual monitor supply and I don’t like working with mismatched monitors – Microsoft doesn’t make additional matching monitors for the Studio.
I did look at Dell/Lenovo/HP but nothing there suited me. Some were too lower spec. Some had the spec but a Surface-like price to go with them. I considered home-builds. Most of the PC’s I have owned have been either home-built or customised. But I don’t have time for that malarkey. I looked at custom-builds but they are expensive options for gamers – I don’t have time to play the X-Box games that I already have.
At work, we use Intel NUCs for our training room. They’re small, high spec, and have an acceptable price. So that’s what I went for.
One of my colleagues showed me some of the new 8th generation NUC models and I opted for the NUC8i7HNK (Amazon USA / Amazon UK). A machine with an i7, Radeon graphics instead of the usual Intel HD, USB C and Thunderbolt, TPM 2.0 (not listed on the Intel site, I found), and oodles of ports. Here’s the front:
And here’s the back:
Look at that: 2 x HDMI, 2 x mini-DP, USB C, 6 x USB 3.0, 2 x Ethernet, and there’s the Radeon graphics, speaker, built-in mic, and more. It supports 2 x M.2/NVMe disks and 2 x DIMM slots for up to 32 GB RAM.
The machine is quite tidy and small. It comes with a plate allowing you to mount it to the back of a monitor – if the monitor supports mounting.
The NUC kits come built, but you have to add your disk and RAM. I went with:
- Adata SX6000 M.2 SSD, capable of up to 1000 MB/S read and 800 MB/S write.
- 2 x Adata DDR4 2400 8 GB RAM
I installed Windows 10 1809 in no time, added the half dozen or so required Windows updates, and installed Office 365 from the cloud. A quick blast of Ninite and I had most of the extra bits that I needed. In terms of data, all of my docs are is either in OneDrive or Office 365 so there was no data migration. My media (movies & photos) are on a pair of USB 3.0 drives configured with Storage Spaces so all I’ll have to do is move the drives over. To be honest, the biggest thing I have to do is buy a pair of video cables to replace my old ones!
Going with a smaller machine will clear up a lot of space from under my desk, and help reduce some of the clutter – there’s a lot of clutter to clear!