Intel NUC 8 VR (NUC8i7HVK) Review: Core i7, AMD Vega Meet in Hades Canyon

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Office & Productivity

Test Setup

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NUC 8 VRNUC8i7HVKNUC 8 VRStockCPU 4.2 GHz (1250/900)CPU 4.5 GHz
Core i7-8809GStock4.2 GHz All-Core (1.05V)4.5 GHz All-Core (1.05V)
Vega GraphicsStock1250 MHz (1V)Stock
HBM2Stock900 MHz (1V)Stock
System MemoryStockDDR4-3200DDR4-3200

We include our stock and tuned CPU/GPU/HBM2 results in this round of benchmarks, along with data from our 4.5 GHz run. That overclocked setting turned out to be stable during all CPU stress tests and our application suite, but proved flaky through our game benchmarks (even with the Vega GPU at stock settings). Still, we include it as a demonstration of peak application performance if you optimize the NUC specifically for these workloads. 

Adobe Creative Cloud

The NUC 8 VR lands in the middle of our expanded line-up for Adobe's Creative Cloud aggregate score. The 4C/8T CPU provides a nice balance between lightly- and heavily-threaded tasks. As expected, overclocking helps substantially, though the jump from 4.2 GHz to 4.5 GHz is smaller than we expected.

Web Browser

The Krakken suite tests JavaScript performance using several workloads, including audio, imaging, and cryptography. Intel's NUC 8 VR is competitive throughout, placing third at its stock settings. Overclocked to 4.5 GHz, it leads the field.

The MotionMark benchmarks, which emphasize graphics performance (rather than JavaScript), are also sensitive to CPU clock rates. Whereas a moderate CPU/GPU overclock helps improve performance a little bit, the 4.5 GHz setup lands in first place, reminding us that host processing resources still play a large role in driving the graphics subsystem.


The application start-up metric measures load time snappiness in word processors, GIMP, and Web browsers under warm- and cold-start conditions. Naturally, that's particularly relevant to what we all do with our PCs every day. The test benefits from a refined storage subsystem and higher clock rates, affording the 4.5 GHz configuration an easy win. Even at stock settings, the NUC 8 VR matches Intel's quad-core Core i3-8100.

Video conferencing measures performance in single- and multi-user applications that utilize the Windows Media Foundation for video playback and encoding. It also performs facial detection during the workload to model real-world usage. The stock NUC fares even better in this test, rivaling Intel's Core i5-8600K.

The photo editing benchmark measures performance with Futuremark's binaries that use the ImageMagick library. Common photo processing workloads also tend to be parallelized, so we see many of the same behaviors, albeit with less performance uplift from our balanced CPU/GPU overclock.

Spreadsheet-heavy tests emphasize clock rates even more, so it's no surprise that the agile 4.5 GHz configuration takes the lead over competing stock processors.

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Paul Alcorn
Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech

Paul Alcorn is the Managing Editor: News and Emerging Tech for Tom's Hardware US. He also writes news and reviews on CPUs, storage, and enterprise hardware.

  • rgd1101
    Should the dedicated gpu be a 1030 or 1050, not a 1060.
  • AgentLozen
    I would liked to have seen it compared to the 1050Ti also. I imagine that the Intel 8809GH performs right between the two of them but I would like to see the benchmarks just to be sure.

    For $1000, how much do you get with this box? A case, power supply, motherboard, GPU, and CPU. You need to supply several hundred dollars in components to finish it off. The performance is decent, but not great compared to a i3 8350K + GTX 1060. So what advantage does this offer over building your own MicroATX computer?

    You could argue that graphics cards are over priced right now but what happens when they come down in price? The NUC8i7HVK would be REALLY cool if the final price of a complete system was $1000, but I feel like it doesn't offer enough as it is right now.
  • Gigahertz20
    I've built two Intel NUC's for family members in the past couple of years and they love them. Fast, quiet and so far reliable. They don't game at all which is why I convinced them to buy them. I'm not sure if this NUC is going to be popular at all though at $1,000 barebones. Who is going to buy it? The gaming performance of this NUC is nothing special, gamers and enthusiasts are going to stick with desktops, alot of people are just waiting for the cryptocurrency craze to die down so we can get video cards at decent prices again. If that takes another year or 2 so be it.

    Your average person that just needs an office computer won't buy this at $1k, you can get a much cheaper NUC and throw in a SSD and that will work fine. Why pay a premium for a cute little powerful box, if you want small and portable you can get a laptop for cheaper. If they would have priced this at $600 barebones it would have been much more appealing to your average user that might want to play the occasional game at 1080P.
  • Eximo
    There are i7-7700HQ laptops with GTX1060 for comparable prices.

    Great product, pricing is just too off to make sense. For this money I would look at ASRock's STX form factor.
  • bit_user
    I wish they sold standalone Vega 24 dGPUs as a replacement for the RX 560.
  • bit_user
    20839276 said:
    Should the dedicated gpu be a 1030 or 1050, not a 1060.
    Intel claims its new chips should serve up similar graphics performance as Nvidia's GeForce GTX 1060 Max-Q.

    Test System & ConfigurationGigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 G1 Gaming 6G
    So, it seems the legit complaint is that they used a standard GTX 1060, instead of something closer to the Max-Q model. Here's how they compare:

    I think the Quadro P2000 would be pretty close to the GTX 1060 Max-Q:

    But, it's not a perfect match, and it would make for a slightly awkward comparison, probably raising more fuss than the card they chose. Still, they should've at least used a slower GTX 1060, like one of the ITX-friendly single-fan cards.
  • bit_user
    20839877 said:
    You can get a laptop with a 1060 for around $1000 all-in. It costs even less for a 1050ti which I agree seems closer in performance.
    ... something about equating desktop and laptop GPUs.
  • zodiacfml
    Glad to see products though I want to see even more such as integrated RAM.

    I wonder how AMD APUs would fare with HBM memory available to its CPU and GPU.
  • FD2Raptor
    20839276 said:
    Should the dedicated gpu be a 1030 or 1050, not a 1060.

    The dedicated comparison should have been the RX 570/580 4GB GDDR5 to remove any nvidia vs amd optimizations difference from the equation.
  • redgarl
    The GPU is really similar to a RX 570. Well, it is impressive for an IGPU. I am surprised AMD is not doing anything for that market on mobile.

    Probably next year with Zen 2.

    20841016 said:
    20839276 said:
    Should the dedicated gpu be a 1030 or 1050, not a 1060.

    The dedicated comparison should have been the RX 570/580 4GB GDDR5 to remove any nvidia vs amd optimizations difference from the equation.

    I totally agree. As of now it is impossible to know what this VEGA 11 chip really is in comparison to APU.