Intel NUC 11 Pro (NUC11TNKi5) Review: Tiny Package, Big Potential


Tiny PCs make a number of sense in houses and workplaces the place there is not sufficient area for full-sized desktop towers. Not everybody wants top-end {hardware} with elaborate cooling mechanisms and a number of onerous drives – and far of the amount inside at the moment’s PC cupboards is definitely empty because of elevated integration. If you will get all of your work achieved on a laptop computer, you are already utilizing parts that may be packed into a lot smaller areas. So why aren’t tiny PCs, reminiscent of Intel’s NUC lineup, extra fashionable?

It’s a little bit of a chicken-and-egg scenario. Not lots of people know that such choices exist, and retailers do not make such PCs available to retail patrons. As such, there’s not a number of demand from both finish. Another issue is that these PCs are typically offered barebones with no RAM or storage – the person has so as to add their very own, after which set up an OS and set every part up. Such gadgets are broadly utilized in workplaces the place they’re deployed in giant numbers, and so they’re additionally nice for powering kiosks and enormous info shows. This is a distinct segment phase, however f you wish to discover one for private use, it is not not possible.

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The NUC 11 Pro will probably be unobtrusive on any desk, or will be mounted behind a appropriate monitor


Intel’s NUC (Next Unit of Computing) model has been round for almost a decade now. The vary has expanded to cater to varied niches spanning every part from gaming to fanless industrial deployments. Over the years, we have seen tiny HDMI sticks, dockable playing cards, modular gaming PCs, and even barebones laptop computer kits. Today, now we have a comparatively easy mannequin for overview, however it’s loaded up with a contemporary 11th Gen Intel Core CPU that includes built-in Iris Xe graphics. We’re going to see how such a PC can match into individuals’s lives and whether or not it could possibly be best for you.

Intel NUC 11 Pro NUC11TNKi5 design and setup

From the skin, the NUC 11 Pro (codenamed Tiger Canyon) seems to be like a lot any latest NUC mannequin, which isn’t any shock since these items are supposed to be utilitarian and can normally be tucked out of sight anyway. The physique measures 117x112x37mm which is roughly 4.5 inches sq. and about as tall as the common desktop mouse. Larger fashions can be found, with area to accommodate a 2.5-inch SATA onerous drive or SSD, or extra highly effective {hardware}.

You can place the NUC 11 Pro on a desk, and it is going to be fairly unobtrusive. A VESA mounting bracket is included within the field so it’s also possible to screw it to the again of a appropriate monitor or use all kinds of industry-standard mounts. You might additionally simply use robust Velcro or double-sided tape – it is not too heavy, at simply over half a kilo. You must cope with a slightly giant exterior energy brick, although.

Despite its diminutive measurement, there are a number of choices for connectivity. The entrance panel has two USB 3.2 Gen1 (5Gbps) Type-A ports. and on the again you will discover the DC energy inlet; yet another USB 3.2 Type-A port; one legacy USB 2.0 port; one Thunderbolt 4 Type-C and one Thunderbolt 3 Type-C port (each supporting DisplayPort 1.4 video output and 40Gbps USB4 information); two HDMI 2.0b ports with CEC; and a couple of.5Gigabit Ethernet. Strangely, there is no 3.5mm audio socket so you will must route audio by way of HDMI or DisplayPort, or go wi-fi. Sadly, you may’t run this mini PC utilizing USB Type-C energy supply.

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Think of the NUC 11 Pro as the center of a laptop computer with out an connected show, battery, keyboard or trackpad


You can technically have as much as 4 shows on the similar time, both utilizing all 4 video outputs (HDMI and Thunderbolt) or by daisy-chaining Thunderbolt-compatible displays. All 4 can run at 4K 3840×2160 and at 60Hz. Alternatively, you possibly can have two of these plus one 5120×3200 60Hz show. The Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 ports are totally different when it comes to supported PCIe information charges and a few feature-level performance, however there are not any exterior markings telling you which of them one is which.

The backside panel comes off in the event you loosen the captive screws in every of the 4 rubber legs. You’ll be capable to entry the 2 SO-DIMM RAM slots with no hassle. There’s a regular M.2 2280 slot (which is keyed just for NVMe SSDs) and a second, shorter M.2 2242 slot which can be utilized for a SATA SSD or PCIe x1 module. There are additionally two inner USB 2.0 headers and even a serial port header for hobbyists to use. The high panel will be popped off with a fingernail however nothing beneath it’s accessible – solely the inside fan shroud and Wi-Fi antennas will be seen.

Intel NUC 11 Pro NUC11TNKi5 specs and options

At the guts of this specific NUC 11 Pro is a Core i5-1135G7 processor, from Intel’s 11th Gen ‘Tiger Lake’ household. This CPU is especially supposed to be used in slim laptops and has a nominal 15W TDP, however will be scaled between 12W and 28W and Intel has chosen the latter possibility right here. This takes benefit of the higher cooling that is potential in a chassis like this, in comparison with a slim laptop computer, and can enable it to run at peak speeds for longer. The Core i5-1135G7 has 4 cores with Hyper-Threading, and on this implementation, the CPU will run at a 2.4GHz base pace with a single-core increase pace of as much as 4.2GHz.

The built-in Iris Xe GPU is a giant draw right here – that is certainly one of Intel’s large pushes for its cell 11th Gen CPUs and is constructed off a brand new structure that has been taking form for years. It guarantees a big efficiency soar over Intel’s earlier built-in GPUs, which have had a status for nearly with the ability to cowl the fundamentals. The G7 suffix on the CPU’s mannequin quantity signifies that the GPU is comparatively highly effective, with 80 execution items.

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You get a shocking quantity and number of helpful ports on the again


In addition to the ports listed above, you additionally get Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5. Up to 64GB of DDR4-3200 RAM is supported throughout the 2 SO-DIMM slots. 7.1 channel audio is supported, however solely over HDMI or DisplayPort.

Intel lists a number of different unusual options – the NUC 11 Pro is alleged to be appropriate for 24×7 operation, and might run “headless”, ie with solely an emulated show. It also can deal with DC enter voltage fluctuations to some extent. You’ll discover a little bit nub on the again to anchor the DC energy wire to so it does not get yanked out (or stolen), and a Kensington safety slot on the left. The guarantee is three years, and Intel additionally lists a assured three-year availability window. These issues all cater to the business target market, greater than the common house person.

Intel NUC 11 Pro NUC11TNKi5 efficiency and utilization

Intel’s NUC bins are typically offered barebones, with no RAM or storage. It’s as much as system integrators to configure and resell them, or for patrons so as to add their very own {hardware} and working system. For the aim of this overview, Intel loaded up the NUC 11 Pro overview unit with a single 16GB DDR4-3200 Kingston ValueRAM module and a 512GB Transcend SATA SSD within the M.2 2242 slot, with Windows 10 already put in. This was a shock, contemplating that an NVMe SSD in the usual M.2 slot would have perfored much better, however that was left clean. If you select to make use of this slot (which you’ll most likely must, given the rarity of retail M.2 2242 SSDs), your SSD will sit proper on high of the Wi-Fi module, which could have an effect on thermals.

After permitting Windows 10 to download all the newest updates, I started with benchmark checks. The Core i5 CPU put up an honest present in PCMark’s customary and Extreme runs, with scores of 4,543 and three,853 respectively. It additionally scored 523 and a couple of,166 respectively in Cinebench R20’s single-threaded and multi-threaded checks. POVRay ran its render benchmark in 2 minutes, 29 seconds, whereas VRay’s CPU and GPU scores had been 6,229 and 33 respectively. The NUC 11 Pro additionally managed 1,385 and 4,555 factors in Geekbench 5’s single-core and multi-core runs. These numbers are predictably a little bit beneath what we noticed from the MSI Prestige 14 Evo laptop computer, powered by an 11th Gen Core i7-1185G7 primarily based on the identical structure and with the identical Iris Xe built-in GPU, earlier this yr.

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The base pops off simply to disclose the 2 SODIMM slots, M.2 2242 and 2280 slots, and modular Wi-Fi adapter


If you wish to examine scores towards the current-gen Mac mini, we are able to have a look at some browser-based cross-platform scores. The NUC 11 Pro bought 249 in WebXprt and 165.321 in Jetstream 2, in comparison with 286 and 177.110 respectively for Apple’s in-house M1 processor.

The preinstalled SATA SSD does not exhibit the full potential of the Tiger Lake CPU, which helps PCIe Gen4 speeds. CrystalDiskMark reported sequential reads and writes of solely 560.1MBps and 507.9MBps however this PC is able to significantly better. It additionally took 2 minutes, 59 seconds to compress a 3.24GB folder of various recordsdata utilizing 7zip, and 1 minute, 4 seconds to transcode a 1.3GB AVI file to H.265.

As for graphics, you should not count on to run heavy 3D video games. 3DMark’s Time Spy and Night Raid checks confirmed scores of 1,196 and 10,177 respectively. The Unigine Superposition check managed 1,480 factors working at 1080p at Medium high quality. Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which isn’t very latest anymore, solely ran at a mean of 17fps at 1280×720 utilizing its Medium preset, which made it unplayable. Far Cry 5 averaged 24fps at its Normal preset on the similar decision. You’ll must restrict your self to a lot easier video games or experiment with cloud streaming choices in the event that they turn out to be viable in India sooner or later.

In on a regular basis use, the NUC 11 Pro was snappy and responsive. It ran productiveness apps and Web browsers with dozens of tabs open, and the expertise was completely clean. As benchmarks present, this {hardware} is not the quickest at heavy content material creation duties or gaming, however it’s superb for widespread utilization conditions. Streaming HD and 4K video was no downside. With regular use, you will not hear the cooling fan spin up in any respect. Even when the NUC 11 Pro was underneath heavy load, I used to be solely nearly in a position to hear a slight hum as sizzling air was pushed out the big vent on the again. The plastic physique will get solely about as heat as you’d count on any laptop computer to.

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Looks won’t be a precedence, however efficiency is nice sufficient for on a regular basis use instances



A tiny PC will be rather more versatile and cost-effective than a laptop computer or all-in-one – you do not have to throw out a superbly purposeful monitor, keyboard, trackpad, and many others once you want a efficiency improve. You also can select your individual RAM and storage, and make the most of a number of giant desktop displays. It’s a terrific center floor – no cumbersome desktop tower, however it could’t be used on the go – and that ought to be simply superb for loads of individuals of their houses and workplaces.

The NUC 11 Pro particularly gives all these conveniences, plus a lot of ports and connectivity, and affordable improve potential. It’s clearly designed extra for business deployment than house or client use, however that does not imply it could not serve for all of your on a regular basis productiveness, leisure and communication wants – with perhaps even a little bit mild gaming thrown in.

The large challenges are availability and price. While corporations reminiscent of Gigabyte with its NUC-based Brix line and Zotac with its Zbox and Mek mini PCs do promote on to retail patrons, Apple’s significantly bigger Mac mini is probably one of the best identified such machine. Asus, Lenovo and others goal workplaces and colleges with their business fashions however a few of these do discover their approach to retail channels. There’s a market to be tapped, for barebones in addition to totally constructed mini PCs, and Intel ought to actually take into consideration selling the NUC lineup both instantly or by way of system integrators.

It’s potential to search out the NUC 11 Pro on-line and order it, however do take a look at the number of different fashions accessible – some with 2.5-inch SATA bays, some with extra connectivity, and a few which might be simply the naked motherboard to be used in your individual initiatives.

As for the worth, the NUC 11 Pro sells for almost Rs. 40,000 (barely much less in the event you’re shopping for in bulk) and you will have to consider the price of your RAM, storage, OS, monitor, keyboard, and mouse. For what it’s going to all come to, you possibly can purchase an honest laptop computer, so any shopping for resolution must come all the way down to your particular person wants.

Intel NUC 11 Pro (NUC11TNKi5) 
 Rs. 38,972 (barebones)


  • Good total efficiency
  • Lots of ports and connectivity
  • Compact, quiet, and versatile
  • Easy entry to RAM and storage


  • Relatively costly and onerous to search out
  • Bulky exterior energy adapter

Ratings (out of 5)
Design: 3
Performance: 4
Value for Money: 4
Overall: 4


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