Intel NUC i5 HTPC Review

The Intel NUC looked appealing ever since I first saw it – it provides HD 4000 graphics, an i3 or i5 processor, an SSD, HDMI output, and 1Gb LAN all in a 4″ by 4″ by 1″ package that can even mount on the back of a monitor with a VESA mount. Here’s the Intel reference page:

When my son started crawling and pulling himself up on things, he became VERY interested in buttons and lights and breaking EVERYTHING. That being said, we needed to downsize our primary TV. Using the existing HTPC really didn’t work – he could still press buttons and the wires were pretty ugly:

So I decided to make the Intel NUC i5 an HTPC and mount it to the back of the TV. Here’s the box contents:

Please note that there’s not a C5 power cable in the box to power the brick…but the box makes the stupid Intel jingle instead….really Intel? Come on man. I decided on some Crucial memory – 2x4GB PC3-12800 and a Mushkin Enhanced Atlas 60GB SSD – it’s an mSATA interface.


The Rosewill remote is for an IR receiver. Removing the 4 screws in the NUC exposes the bottom of the board:

And here’s everything installed:

Ended up tucking the antenna wires down into the side of the NUC – I thought about removing them, but then thought there might be some use for them later. Once booted, the Intel Visual BIOS is pretty slick and gets everything configured:

Here’s what the back of the TV looks like – no wires hanging down. The IR receiver is mounted to the bottom of the TV with 3M double stick tape.

Here are a few notes about the setup:

  • This isn’t exactly using the VESA mount on the back of the TV or mount just due to the way the mount works…but it’s still mounted to the TV and is not visible.
  • There are known issues with the onboard NIC and the HDMI port directly next to it. I am using a mini-displayport to HDMI adapter to use the port that is the farthest from the NIC. Otherwise, the NIC would drop connection several times when waking from sleep.
  • The IR Receiver that came with the Rosewill RHRC-11001 frequently prevented the system from waking from sleep…it simply stopped responding to IR commands. Using a different receiver worked perfect – keep in mind this is S3.


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