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Intel NUC DC3217IYE (Ivy Bridge)

Seven Small (But Powerful) Mini-PCs, Reviewed

We're including Intel's previous-gen Ivy Bridge-based NUC DC3217IYE as a comparison point. Armed with a 1.8 GHz Core i3-3217U, it represents the lower-end of the performance spectrum, though it still shames the diminutive machines I was reviewing a couple of years back. The on-die HD Graphics 4000 engine matches what Acer's Revo, LGX's ML300, and Zotac's Zbox can do, too.

Although it employs an older architecture, this product remains relevant in today's market thanks to discounts; it's available from Newegg for as little as $268, which is significantly less than newer NUC and Brix models. Of course, because this is a barebones system, RAM, wireless connectivity, and storage aren't included. Add in Windows 8.1 Professional, an Intel SSD 525 180 GB SSD, and 8 GB of Adata DDR3. The total ends up just north of $700 as-tested, making this the second-cheapest option in our round-up.

Bundle And First Impression

The NUC includes the bare necessities: an AC adapter, VESA mounting plate, and some documentation. But the power cord in the image above isn't included. You have to buy it separately, in addition to the RAM, SSD, and Wi-Fi adapter.

At 4.6" x 4.4" x 1.6", this isn't a large PC. But it is noticeably thicker than the Haswell-based NUC and significantly larger than Gigabyte's Brix. The DC3217IYE weighs about 1.1 lbs in the configuration we used for testing. The black-on-black style conveys understated simplicity.

There's not much to see up front except for one USB port and the power button on top.

Around the back, we find two more USB ports, two HDMI outputs, and a GbE connector. Notice the lack of 1/8" audio jacks? The only audio output you get comes from HD Audio through HDMI.

The insides should be pretty familiar by now. This is a design that Intel (and Gigabyte) doesn't stray far from in this generation's hardware. The CPU and active cooling solution are on the top of the PCB. With the bottom of the case removed, you see the other end, which provides easy access to the RAM, mini-PCIe slot, and mSATA interface.

Whereas the Haswell-based mobile processors require 1.35 V DDR3L memory, this Ivy Bridge-based NUC does not; it is compatible with our 1.5 V SO-DIMMs.

Special Features And Livability

There's not much to talk about from the differentiation front. After all, this is a simple, barebones product on which some of Intel's more recent introductions are based.

Intel does have a derivative NUC, the DC3217BY, which gives up an HDMI port in exchange for Thunderbolt connectivity.

Intel NUC DC3217IYE (Ivy Bridge)
Intel QS77 Express
Intel Core i3-3217U, Dual-Core, Hyper-Threaded, 1.8 GHz, 3 MB Shared L3 Cache
Intel HD Graphics 4000, 350 MHz - 1.05 GHz
Graphics Memory
Shared with system memory
System Memory
Not Included
Hard Drive
Not Included
Optical Drive
Operating System
Not Included
Included Peripherals
Not Included
Internal Interfaces
Memory Support
Dual-Channel 2 x DDR3 SO-DIMM slots, 1.35/1.5 V, 1333/1600 MT/s, 16 GB Max
One slot
One slot
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA
1 x mSATA 6Gb/s
I/O Panel Connectors
Not Included
Not Included
Not Included
Not Included
MHSL Input
Not Included
3 x USB 2.0
Memory Card Reader
Not Included
Not Included
Digital Audio out
Analog Audio
Not Included
IR Sensor
Not Included
Ethernet & Wireless
Integrated Gigabit
Not Included
Not Included
HD Audio Codec
HDMI: Intel Display Audio
Audio Channels
7.1 Digital Audio over HDMI
Physical Specifications
116.6 x 112 x 39 mm
 (4.59" x 4.41" x 1.55")
500g (1.1 lbs)
As tested: $701.95 (with Windows 8.1 Pro x64, Intel SSD 525 180 GB SSD, Intel 7260 Wireless AC card, and 2 x 4 GB Adata DDR3 SO-DIMMs)

Barebone: $250.97 (Newegg)
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