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Intel NUC D54250WYK (Haswell)

Seven Small (But Powerful) Mini-PCs, Reviewed
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While the previous-gen NUC was limited to a 1.8 GHz Core i3, the Haswell-based models can be quite a bit quicker. The D54250WYK comes with a Core i5-4250U operating at 1.3 GHz. It spins up to 2.6 GHz under the right thermal conditions thanks to Turbo Boost, though. More important, it features Intel's HD Graphics 5000, yielding a big step up in mainstream gaming potential.

Newegg has the model listed for $375, though it's currently not in stock. Amazon does have the NUC available, albeit priced in excess of $400. And again, this is a barebones kit, so you still need memory, a Wi-Fi module, and an mSATA-based SSD. Adding Windows 8.1 Professional, Intel's SSD 525 180 GB, and 8 GB of DDR3 from Corair raises the total to $833.97, which is more than twice what you pay for the kit.

Bundle And First Impression

You would think that Intel received enough feedback from its NUC launch a year ago to start bundling a power cable. We talked to the company at CES 2014, and it does in fact plan to start including a cable. But the Haswell-based unit we have for review still doesn't come with one. For now, that cable you see in the picture above has to be purchased separately. The barebones kit comes with an AC adapter, a VESA mounting plate, documentation and, of course, the NUC, though.

I can't imagine anyone complaining about the size of Intel's first effort. It immediately impressed us with compact dimensions and very capable internals. However, Intel took about 15% of the D54250WYK's height compared to the Ivy Bridge-based models. At 4.6" x 4.4" x 1.4" and 1.05 lbs, the weight is down a bit as well. The metal sides are no longer the same color as the top; now they're silver. But the basic design remains the same. At the end of the day, it looks like Intel took a bit of direction from Zotac's Zbox Nano.

The front of the newer NUC sports more connectivity than last generation's. It offers two USB 3.0 ports, a combo input/output audio jack, and an IR sensor for your media center remote (purchased separately).

Around back you find the power connection, mini-DP output, a mini-HDMI interface, GbE networking, and two more USB 3.0 ports.

The interior looks a lot like the previous-gen NUC, except for the addition of SATA and the same as the original NUC with the addition of a SATA port that can't really be used anyway due to this unit's enclosure. By building it onto the motherboard, though, Intel paves the way for slightly taller configurations with room for a 2.5" hard drive or SSD. You still get two SO-DIMM memory slots on one side of the board and two mini-PCIe interfaces (one with mSATA drive support) on the other.

Once again, we know that Haswell-based mobile processors don't work with 1.5 V DDR3 memory. You need to make sure you seek out 1.35 V DDR3L to use with this platform.

Special Features And Livability

The D54250WYK is an evolved NUC. It's smaller than its predecessor with more functionality. Intel's prior effort lacked audio I/O, so that was added. The IR sensor is new too. We find a lot more ports to accommodate external peripherals. Without question, the new NUC is much more desirable than the Ivy Bridge-based version.


Intel NUC D54250WYK (Haswell)
Chipset
Intel QS77 Express
CPU
Intel Core i5-4250U, Dual-Core, Hyper-Threaded, 1.3 GHz (2.6 GHz Peak Turbo Boost), 3 MB L3 Cache
Graphics
Intel HD Graphics 5000, 200 MHz - 1 GHz
Graphics Memory
Shared with system memory
System Memory
Not Included
Hard Drive
Not Included
Optical Drive
N/A
Operating System
Not Included
Included Peripherals
Not Included
Internal Interfaces
Memory Support
Dual-Channel, 2 x DDR3L SO-DIMM slots, 1.35 V, 1333/1600 MT/s, 16 GB Max
Mini-PCIe
One slot
mSATA
One slot
Mass Storage Controllers
Chipset SATA
1 x SATA 3Gb/s (no space for 2.5" hard drive)
1 x mSATA 6Gb/s
I/O Panel Connectors
DVI
Not Included
VGA
Not Included
HDMI
1 (mini-HDMI)
DisplayPort
1 (mini-DP)
Thunderbolt
Not Included
MHSL Input
Not Included
USB
(2.0, 3.0, 2.0/eSATA combo)
4 x USB 3.0
Memory Card Reader
Not Included
Network
1
eSATA
Not Included
Digital Audio out
HDMI
Analog Audio
One front
IR Sensor
Yes
Ethernet & Wireless
LAN
Integrated Gigabit
Wi-Fi
Not Included
Bluetooth
Not Included
Audio
HD Audio Codec
Analog: Realtek ALC283
HDMI: Intel Display Audio
Audio Channels
unavailable
Physical Specifications
Size
116.6 x 112 x 34.5 mm
 (4.59" x 4.41" x 1.36")
Weight
478 g (1.05 lbs)
Price
As tested: $833.97 (with added Windows 8.1 Pro x64, Intel SSD 525 180 GB GB SSD, Intel 7260 Wireless AC card, and 2 x 4 GB Crucial DDR3 SO-DIMMs)

Barebone: $375 (Newegg)
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