Intel NUC 13 Extreme

What makes an NUC, an NUC? The acronym stands for the Subsequent Unit of Computing, and it was created as an try by Intel to utterly reinvent what a pc is at its core. Principally NUCs have been about squeezing an entire PC’s value of elements right into a tiny, compact chassis. However that is not strictly true of the brand new Intel NUC 13 Excessive. It is comparatively huge in comparison with the NUCs we have seen earlier than.

The NUC 13 Excessive is about as massive as some weak-hearted enterprise PCs—consider your run-of-the-mill HP workplace unit. Which means it is undoubtedly smaller than your common gaming PC however an enormous dimension creeps on the small kind issue Hades Canyon NUC I’ve tried out up to now. That Hades Canyon NUC actually was a wonderful piece of package, but it surely wasn’t half as highly effective because the NUC 13 Excessive.

The NUC 13 Excessive is extraordinarily well-provisioned for one thing of a small kind issue PC. That is partially attributable to its cleverly routed case, which provides ample room for a high-end graphics card, a 750W PSU, and the Compute Ingredient.

The Compute Ingredient throughout the NUC 13 Excessive is the extra NUC-like piece of the NUC 13 Excessive. It encompasses an Intel Core i9 13900K CPU, customized motherboard, 32GB DDR5 SO-DIMM RAM, Wi-Fi card, 1TB SSD, and I/O supplied by the Z690 chipset. That is all on a single, detachable board, and is mainly what contains some other NUC in its entirety, however the NUC 13 Excessive additionally sees Intel jam an entire RTX 3080 Ti inside for severe gaming efficiency.

NUC 13 Excessive specs

(Picture credit score: Future)

CPU: Intel Core i9 13900K
GPU: Nvidia RTX 3080 Ti
RAM: 32GB DDR5-4800 Kingston SO-DIMM
SSD: 1TB Kingston FURY Renegade PCIe 4.0
Connectivity: 2x Thunderbolt 4/USB4 Sort-C ports | 6x USB 3.2 Gen2 Sort-A (rear) | 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 Sort-A (entrance) | 1x USB Gen2 x 2 Sort-C (entrance) | Wi-Fi 6E | 3.5mm jack
Value: $1,698 (opens in new tab) for barebones package (no GPU, SSD, Reminiscence, or OS) / $3,368 (opens in new tab) for RTX 4070 Ti model

That is what you get with the NUC 13 Excessive: beefy gaming efficiency. This NUC provides up a slot for a discrete graphics card, as much as a size of 313mm, a triple-slot, and 450W energy demand. Which means you may simply match just about Any trendy graphics card within the NUC 13 Excessive, even an RTX 4080 Founders Version, which I’ll have put in for leisure functions. It even has a 12VHPWR connector that ought to be of any use to your alternative of GPU.

Intel’s provisioned the actual NUC I’ve for testing with an RTX 3080 Ti. It is no slouch. That card is a little bit of a menace in relation to 4K gaming, delivering 1440p simply in extra of a 144Hz refresh charge for probably the most half, and greater than playable 4K body charges. I like the NUC 13 Excessive for its unassuming and diminutive design however the way it additionally rips by most video games you throw at it.

I am unable to discover some ways to fault the NUC 13’s design. The graphics card is mounted outwards on the opposite facet to heat your toes whilst you recreation, however usually runs fairly cool. It undoubtedly advantages from being a really compartmentalised PC—the graphics card is not choking for air—although admittedly there isn’t any case fan truly blowing over the graphics card, which might make it run just a little hotter with elevated ambient temperature.

There are additionally two 120mm followers exhausting out one facet, alongside the PSU exhaust, to maintain the Compute Ingredient comparatively cool. Although that is the place I can discover one fault on the NUC 13 Excessive: the Core i9 13900K on the coronary heart of it runs fairly sizzling. The entire CPU bundle will often warmth as much as across the 92–98°C mark below load, generally 100°C, and whereas that is not essentially operating it out of spec, it’s hotter than I am snug with day-to -day.

These excessive temps are inflicting the CPU to throttle efficiency, too. Not solely does HWinfo word that the chip is thermal throttling, you may see the throttling for your self within the benchmark outcomes. Versus our Core i9 13900K outcomes from our open take a look at bench—which has no case followers however does use a big AiO cooler—the multithreaded rating of the NUC 13 Excessive is kind of a bit off the tempo. Equally, the NUC’s X264 fps is decrease.

It is harking back to the temperatures I bumped into with Corsair’s mini PC, the Corsair One a200 (opens in new tab). That AMD-powered machine additionally struggled to handle CPU temps, which have been usually in extra of 90°C below load. The a200 did, nonetheless, handle GPU temps simply superb. That is additionally one thing we noticed when testing the brand new Razer Blade 16 (opens in new tab). Its CPU temps have been generally off the charts whereas the GPU remained comparatively cool. Which all confirms the CPU is the true troublemaker in confined areas—bear that in thoughts in the event you’re constructing your personal small kind issue PC.

Admittedly I do not hear the NUC 13 an excessive amount of in operation. No extra so than most high-end graphics playing cards whirring to life in any tower case. Maybe that goes some solution to explaining these CPU temps. Its noise stage below load is definitely a lot quieter than my fan-laden PC tower subsequent to it at idle, in order that’s saying one thing. This may rely upon which graphics card you drop into the NUC 13 Excessive, nonetheless. The Asus TUF’s triple-fan design retains quantity to a minimal.

A PC as well-designed as this, in such a small body, is tough to come back by.

The NUC 13 Excessive does have lots going for it. A compact chassis that is surprisingly simple to entry and with help for an especially high-end GPU is tough to come back by, it is only a disgrace these CPU temps could not be higher stored below management.

After which there’s the value. For the Intel NUC 13 Excessive barebones package—that is sans graphics card, SSD, reminiscence or OS—you are round $1,698 (opens in new tab). Which means you are spending lots earlier than you drop more cash on the opposite necessary elements to go in it. You would not essentially purchase an RTX 3080 Ti to go on this anymore, however inclusive of a more recent RTX 4080 the construct shoots as much as across the $3,000 mark. Probably past with 32GB of DDR5 and a decently sized SSD.

That is not a completely absurd asking value for an RTX 4080 gaming PC but it surely’s not the form of moderately-priced machine we’re actually in search of proper now. And if you’d like this machine to reach at your home fully-assembled, SimplyNUC have a equally provisioned model of the NUC 13 Excessive with an RTX 4070 Ti inside it for $3,368. (opens in new tab)which actually is a premium over different prebuilt gaming PCs.

With that in thoughts, the Intel NUC 13 Excessive turns into a extra area of interest possibility.

But a PC as well-designed as this, in such a small body, is tough to come back by with out pouring in hours of analysis into constructing one for your self. For that form of ease of entry, I am certain it should discover its adoring followers. I feel I may very well be certainly one of them supplied the Core i7 13700K/Core i5 13600K possibility runs just a little extra sensibly below load.

This little NUC is a glimpse of what PC gaming may very well be like if every thing simply form of… clicked. It is neat, understated, and intelligent. Possibly that is what the NUC truly stands for. See what I did there?

Now if Intel can jam all that high-end {hardware} into this factor and never run up towards a thermal wall. I will be much more onboard with the whole idea.

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