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Intel NUC

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Home icon grey.png   ▶ Devices ▶ x86 hardware ▶ Intel NUC

The Intel NUC is a series of small, awesome, x86-based PCs that works fantastically as an HTPC. Can run a full desktop OS if desired. Reasonable starting price considering size and power. Uses Celeron to Core i5 CPUs. Can run fanless with a replacement heatsink case.

Contents

1 Installing KODI on an Intel NUC

2 About the Intel NUC

NUCs are available with either Celeron, Core i3 or Core i5 processors. You will need to purchase your own DDR3 SO-DIMM RAM, mSATA SSD, and if desired, MiniPCIe WiFi card. All current NUCs have 2x DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, allowing a maximum of 16GB of RAM (8 GB per slot). Newest models based on the 4th-Generation Core processor require DDR3L SO-DIMMs (1.35V). Although NUC boards will work with DC power ranging from 12VDC~19VDC, NUC kits come with a 19VDC 65W switching power adapter. However, not all SKUs have the AC power cord included. There are multiple SKUs of the latest NUC models, each of which has a different type of AC power cord, depending on the country/region/plug type.

All NUCs are x86 and x64 OS capable. You can install Windows 7, 8 or just XBMCbuntu or OpenELEC. It doesn't matter. But if you don't need Netflix, SkyGO, then stick with OpenELEC or XBMCbuntu. They even have the internal pin headers for extra USB ports, but also for power switch, LEDs etc. More on this later.

2.1 Atom-based

There is one NUC model based on an Atom processor: DE3815TYKHE.

Model Number DE3815TYKHE
CPU Intel® Atom(TM) E3815 w/ HD Graphics (4 EUs)
RAM DDR3L SO-DIMM 1.35V, 1333/1600 MHz (down clocked to 1066 MHz)
1x SO-DIMMs, 8 GB total max.
Display 1x HDMI 1.4a, full-size
1x Embedded DisplayPort* (eDP) 1.3 (2 lanes with backlight and adjustable voltage/timings)
1x VGA
Mass Storage 4-GB eMMC storage device built in
Internal support for 2.5-inch HDD or SSD (up to 9.5mm thickness)
Ethernet 1x RJ45, 10/100/1000 Mbps
WiFi Half-length PCIe* mini-card slot and wireless antennas pre-assembled
Audio Intel HD Audio; 7.1 digital audio via HDMI
Back panel headphone/microphone jack
USB 2.0 Ports 2x rear, 3x via internal pin header
USB 3.0 Ports 1x front
Consumer IR Port None
MiniPCIe Slots 1x half-length
Included in-box 12V, 36W wall-mount AC-DC power adapter (12-19V DC back panel power connector)
Multi-country plugs (IEC types A/C/G/I)
Vertical stand
VESA mount bracket (75 x 75mm and 100 x 100mm compatible)
Chassis / Enclosure Passive/fanless design
Metallic gray plastic ring with black sides
(190mm x 116mm x 40mm)
AC Power Cord Not included
Manufacturer Links Technical Documentation

Even with limited GPU power, this Atom-based Intel NUC works well with XBMC. There are few formats this device can't properly decode. This is a great fanless replacement of the Raspberry Pi. Compared to the other NUC models this ends up much cheaper (no additional harddrive is required because of the internal 4GB mSATA drive which without problems holds GNU/Linux with XBMC) and passive (totally silent) at the cost of CPU/GPU power.

A more comprehensive test can be found here: http://intelnuc.blogspot.se/2014/05/de3815tykhe-bay-trail-nuc-runs-openelec.html

Demonstation with OpenELEC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXIYZjlrFic

2.2 Celeron-based

There are two NUC's based on a Celeron processor: the first-generation DCCP847DYE and the third-generation DN2820FYKH.

DCCP847DYE.png
Intel Celeron-based NUC, DCCP847DYE
DN2820FYKH.png
Intel Baytrail Celeron-based NUC, DN2820FYKH
Model Number DCCP847DYE DN2820FYKH
CPU Celeron 847 w/ HD Graphics (6 EUs) Celeron N2820 w/ HD Graphics (756 MHz)
RAM Dual-channel DDR3 1333 MHz
2x SO-DIMMs, 16 GB total max.
Single-channel DDR3L 1066 MHz
1x SO-DIMMs, 8 GB total max.
Chipset Intel QS77 N/A; CPU is an SoC
Display 2x HDMI 1.4a, full-size 1x HDMI 1.4a, full-size
Mass Storage mSATA SSD support via 1x full-length MiniPCIe slot 2.5" SSD or HDD w/ 9.5mm max height
SATA data and power connectors provided
Ethernet 1x RJ45, 10/100/1000 Mbps
WiFi 2x dual-band WiFi antennas
embedded in enclosure
Intel Wireless-N 7260BN w/ BT 4.0 preinstalled
2x dual-band WiFi antennas embedded in enclosure
Audio Intel HD Audio; 7.1 digital audio via HDMI Intel HD Audio; 7.1 digital audio via HDMI
Rear-panel 3.5mm headset jack
USB 2.0 Ports 2x rear, 1x front, 2x via internal pin header 2x rear
USB 3.0 Ports None 1x front
Consumer IR Port None Front Panel
MiniPCIe Slots 1x full-length, 1x half-length 1x half-length, used by WiFi card
Included in-box Fan/heatsink, 19VDC 65W AC adapter, VESA mount Fan/heatsink, 12VDC 36W wall-mount AC adapter
w/ 4x multi-country plugs, VESA mount
Chassis / Enclosure Plastic & aluminum, 4.59” × 4.41” × 1.55”
(116.6mm × 112.0mm × 39.0mm)
Plastic & aluminum, 4.59” × 4.41” × 2.03”
(116.6mm × 112.0mm × 51.5mm)
AC Power Cord Not included NA; AC adapter is wall-mount
Manufacturer Links Technical Documentation

Latest BIOS and Drivers
Interactive Product Layout

Technical Documentation

Latest BIOS and Drivers

  • The 2820 Baytrail will not bitstream HD Audio under Windows OS. This is a driver limitation as they don't support the PAP [Protected Audio Path] But under Linux, Ubuntu, openELEC. They work fine!


The Celeron-based NUC can play everything XBMC can including 1080p SBS 3D. It will struggle with full frame packed 3D. Boot up time direct into XBMC is less than 10 seconds. It is entirely possible to create a system with an 32GB mSATA SSD and 4GB RAM, which will be overkill when you want to run OpenELEC but might be interesting in case you are considering a Windows build. For a cheap alternative with upgrade potential, you could use the internal USB headers to run the entire system from a USB stick. If you read the NUC thread, there are screen caps of prices to help you compare to today's prices.

Skinswise, Confluence, Ace or Bello are wonderful to use and very fluid. Once you start using the heavier skins that utilise many addons, such as Aeon Nox, MQ3, MQ4 you will notice they run smooth but not as fluid as what can be enjoyed on the i3 & i5 models.

2.3 Core i3-based

There are four different NUCs equipped with Core i3 processors. The table below shows the similarities and differences:

Model Number DC3217BY DC3217IYE D34010WYK D34010WYKH
CPU i3-3217U w/ HD Graphics 4000 i3-4010U w/ HD Graphics 4400
RAM Dual-channel DDR3 1333/1600 MHz
2x SO-DIMMs, 16 GB total max.
Dual-channel 1.35V DDR3L 1333/1600 MHz
2x SO-DIMMs, 16 GB total max.
Chipset Intel QS77 N/A; CPU is an SoC
Display 1x HDMI 1.4a, full-size
1x Thunderbolt / Mini DisplayPort 1.1a
2x HDMI 1.4a, full-size 1x MiniHDMI 1.4a
1x Mini DisplayPort 1.2
Mass storage mSATA SSD support via 1x full-length MiniPCIe slot mSATA SSD support via 1x full-length MiniPCIe slot mSATA SSD support via 1x full-length MiniPCIe slot 2.5" SSD or HDD w/ 9.5mm max height SATA data and power connectors provided and mSATA SSD support via 1x full-length MiniPCIe slot
Ethernet None 1x RJ45, 10/100/1000 Mbps
Consumer IR Receiver None Front panel
WiFi Antennae 2x dual-band, embedded in enclosure
Audio Intel HD Audio; 7.1 digital audio
via HDMI and

Thunderbolt/Mini DisplayPort

Intel HD Audio;
7.1 digital audio via HDMI
Intel HD Audio; 7.1 digital audio via
HDMI,Mini DisplayPort,
and front-panel 3.5mm headset jack
USB 2.0 Ports 2x rear, 1x front 2x rear, 1x front
2x via internal pin header
2x via internal pin header
USB 3.0 Ports None None 2x rear, 2x front
MiniPCIe Slots 1x full-length w/ mSATA support, 1x half-length
Included in-box Fan/heatsink, 19VDC 65W AC adapter, VESA mount
Chassis / Enclosure Plastic & aluminum, 4.59” × 4.41” × 1.55”
(116.6mm × 112.0mm × 39.0mm)
Plastic & aluminum, 4.59" x 4.41" x 1.36"
(116.6mm x 112.0mm x 34.5mm)
Plastic & aluminum, 4.59" x 4.41" x 1.95"
(116.6mm x 112.0mm x 49.5mm)
AC Power Cord Not included Included in some SKUs
Manufacturer Links Technical Documentation

Latest BIOS and Drivers
Interactive Product Layout

Technical Documentation
Latest BIOS and Drivers
Interactive Product Layout
Technical Documentation
Latest BIOS and Drivers
Interactive Product Layout
Technical Documentation
Latest BIOS and Drivers
Interactive Product Layout

Can software decode most formats if needed. Does everything the Celeron can do and full frame packed 3D. Good for an HTPC that also needs light gaming and maybe some more heavy Windows applications. If you don't need those things, then you might want to stick with the Celeron to save some money.

DC3217BY.png
Intel NUC based on the 3rd-Gen Core i3
DC3217BY
DC3217IYE.png
Intel NUC based on the 3rd-Gen Core i3
DC3217IYE
D34010WYK.png
Intel NUC based on the 4th-Gen Core i3
D34010WYK
D34010WYKH.png
Intel NUC based on the 4th-Gen Core i3
D34010WYKH

2.4 Core i5-based

There are three NUCs models with Core i5 processors. The table below shows the similarities and differences:

Model Number DC53427HYE D54250WYK D54250WYKH
CPU i5-3427U vPro w/ HD Graphics 4000 i5-4250U w/ HD Graphics 5000
RAM Dual-channel DDR3 1333/1600 MHz
2x SO-DIMMs, 16 GB total max.
Dual-channel 1.35V DDR3L 1333/1600 MHz
2x SO-DIMMs, 16 GB total max.
Chipset Intel QS77 N/A; CPU is an SoC
Display 1x HDMI 1.4a, full-size
2x Mini DisplayPort 1.1a
1x MiniHDMI 1.4a
1x Mini DisplayPort 1.2
Ethernet 1x RJ45, 10/100/1000 Mbps
Consumer IR Receiver None Front panel
WiFi Antennae 2x dual-band, embedded in enclosure
Audio Intel HD Audio; 7.1 digital audio via
HDMI and Mini DisplayPort
Intel HD Audio; 7.1 digital audio via
HDMI, Mini DisplayPort
and front-panel 3.5mm headset jack
USB 2.0 Ports 2x rear, 2x via internal pin header 2x via internal pin header
USB 3.0 Ports 1x front 2x rear, 2x front
MiniPCIe Slots 1x full-length w/ mSATA support, 1x half-length
Included in-box Fan/heatsink, 19VDC 65W AC adapter, VESA mount
Chassis / Enclosure Plastic & aluminum, 4.59” × 4.41” × 1.55”
(116.6mm × 112.0mm × 39.0mm)
Plastic & aluminum, 4.59" x 4.41" x 1.36"
(116.6mm x 112.0mm x 34.5mm)
Plastic & aluminum, 4.59" x 4.41" x 1.95"
(116.6mm x 112.0mm x 49.5mm)
AC Power Cord Not included Included in some SKUs
Manufacturer Links Technical Documentation
Latest BIOS and Drivers
Interactive Product Layout
Technical Documentation
Latest BIOS and Drivers
Interactive Product Layout
Technical Documentation
Latest BIOS and Drivers
Interactive Product Layout
DC53427HYE.png
Intel NUC based on the 3rd-Gen Core i5
DC53427HYE
D54250WYK.png
Intel NUC based on the 4th-Gen Core i5
D54250WYK
D54250WYKH.png
Intel NUC based on the 4th-Gen Core i5
D54250WYKH

3 Known issues

3.1 Windows

  • Having graphical UI corruption with a NUC that uses Intel HD4000 graphics? Try these beta graphics drivers: 32-bit64-bit. [1]
  • The 2820 Baytrail will not bitstream HD Audio under Windows OS. This is a driver limitation as they don't support the PAP [Protected Audio Path] But under Linux, Ubuntu, openELEC. They work fine!

3.2 Hi10P / 10bit

The first stable version with Hi10P support is XBMC v12 (Frodo). Multi-core software decoding is essential on the Celeron NUC, which is available in normal OpenELEC builds and development builds for Windows.

The Celeron 847 NUC can play most 10bit anime near flawlessly (as shown here ). Frames might start dropping at around 18Mbps, but common anime releases seem to have no significant issues. For more info, see this thread on the XBMC forum.

4 Mods

Here are some mods the community has done.

4.1 IR mods

Here's one user's mod to add IR: http://forum.xbmc.org/showthread.php?tid=166886

He added http://www.simerec.com which is ON/OFF capability via remote, and added in IR from a Microsoft USB RC6 IR receiver. Plenty of pics and detailed description. Even the holes were covered with LightDims, which worked fantastically.

4.2 Fanless cases

There are several fanless cases available for the NUC:

Logic Supply offers a fanless case, the ML300, compatible with the following Intel NUC motherboards: DCP847SKE, D33217GKE, and D53427RKE. The fully configured system is also available, the Core-ML300.

The Haswell version, the ML320 is in production available to pre-order as well as the fully configured system version, the Core-ML320.

You can also buy fanless cases for these NUCs: http://www.impactics.com/d1nu1-b/

White model with RC6 USB receiver plugged into front of it: http://postimg.org/image/klk0h6yp3/

5 Other tips, tricks, and advice

5.1 Linux

5.1.1 Bootloader

info on what you choose when installing archboot when you do a UEFI install?

I used a GPT layout with GRUB as bootloader. Here's my partition info:

$ sudo gdisk -l /dev/sda

GPT fdisk (gdisk) version 0.8.7

Partition table scan:
  MBR: protective
  BSD: not present
  APM: not present
  GPT: present

Found valid GPT with protective MBR; using GPT.
Disk /dev/sda: 125045424 sectors, 59.6 GiB
Logical sector size: 512 bytes
Disk identifier (GUID): 783A3002-626F-49A1-85D1-12225885803E
Partition table holds up to 128 entries
First usable sector is 34, last usable sector is 125045390
Partitions will be aligned on 2048-sector boundaries
Total free space is 4062 sectors (2.0 MiB)

Number Start (sector) End (sector) Size Code Name
   1 2048 6143 2.0 MiB EF02 BIOS_GRUB
   2 8192 1056767 512.0 MiB EF00 UEFI_SYSTEM
   3 1056768 3153919 1024.0 MiB 8300 SWAP
   4 3153920 125045390 58.1 GiB 8300 BTRFS[/code]

The BIOS_GRUB partition is not really needed, I just added it in case I wanted to install to MBR and still use GPT. The UEFI_SYSTEM partition is mounted to /boot/efi. Look at the GRUB page in the Arch wiki, it has pretty good instructions.

5.1.2 Consumer IR

Enabling the build-in Consumer IR (CIR) is not (completely) straightforward and needs some editing in the configuration files. Most of the commands below must be run as root, or using `sudo`.

The Intel NUC CIR is supported by the nuvoton_cir kernel module. Some (required) updates to this module are added to Linux kernel 3.15 [2]. So first update to Linux 3.15, if required.

For Ubuntu the kernel packages are available at http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline. Download either the amd64 or i386 version of the generic image and the all headers packages in a separate directory. Download and install using:

$ mkdir linux3.15
$ cd linux3.15
$ wget -O headers.deb http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.15-utopic/linux-headers-3.15.0-031500_3.15.0-031500.201406131105_all.deb
$ wget -O image.deb http://kernel.ubuntu.com/~kernel-ppa/mainline/v3.15-utopic/linux-image-3.15.0-031500-generic_3.15.0-031500.201406131105_amd64.deb
$ dpkg -i *.deb

You will need to change the download URLs to match the correct version and processor type. Reboot and you should be running the Linux kernel 3.15, check with

$ uname -r
3.15.0-031500rc8-generic

The same Intel forum thread also shows the workaround to actually enable the novuton_cir driver for the CIR. Create a new file /etc/rc2.d/S18fix-cir using your favorite editor with this content:

#! /bin/sh
#
# Fix for Consumer IR device, see https://communities.intel.com/thread/46259
modprobe -r nuvoton-cir
echo "auto" > /sys/bus/acpi/devices/NTN0530\:00/physical_node/resources
modprobe nuvoton-cir

Make the new file executable using:

$ chmod +x /etc/rc2.d/S18fix-cir

The system log should show something similar to these lines after rebooting:

$ dmesg | grep -i Nuvoton
[    3.491310] nuvoton-cir 00:08: [io  0x0240-0x024f]
[    3.491326] nuvoton-cir 00:08: unable to assign resources
[    3.491330] nuvoton-cir 00:08: Could not activate PNP device!
# Note that at this point the S18fix-cir script kicks in, reloading the nuvoton_cir module with the 'fix'
[    4.147173] nuvoton-cir 00:08: [io  0x0240-0x024f]
[    4.147217] nuvoton-cir 00:08: [irq 3]
[    4.147223] nuvoton-cir 00:08: [io  0x0250-0x025f]
[    4.147862] nuvoton-cir 00:08: activated
[    4.174957] input: Nuvoton w836x7hg Infrared Remote Transceiver as /devices/pnp0/00:08/rc/rc0/input10
[    4.175091] rc0: Nuvoton w836x7hg Infrared Remote Transceiver as /devices/pnp0/00:08/rc/rc0
[    4.203370] nuvoton_cir: driver has been successfully loaded
[    4.208858] input: MCE IR Keyboard/Mouse (nuvoton-cir) as /devices/virtual/input/input11
[    4.217123] rc rc0: lirc_dev: driver ir-lirc-codec (nuvoton-cir) registered at minor = 0

Next install lirc:

$ apt-get install lirc

It does not really matter what IR receiver is chosen as the required one is not available, so choose None for both the receiver and the transmitter.

Now open /etc/lirc/hardware.conf in you favorite editor and modify it, so it contains these settings (find the correct locations and modify them):

REMOTE="Nuvoton Transceivers/Remotes"
REMOTE_MODULES="lirc_dev nuvoton_cir"
REMOTE_DRIVER="default"
REMOTE_DEVICE="/dev/lirc0"
REMOTE_SOCKET=""
REMOTE_LIRCD_CONF=""
REMOTE_LIRCD_ARGS=""
START_LIRCD="true"
LOAD_MODULES="false"

(the other settings are not important)

Now the CIR device should be supported by lirc. Time to configure your remote

6 Links

7 Random notes

Feel free to place various notes, tips, and links here. As this section of the wiki gets more organized, those notes will be properly sorted. Consider this like a dumping ground for when you're not sure where to put something.

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