Building a Media PC using the Intel NUC

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Intel’s Next Unit of Computing, NUC as its affectionately called, is a 3rd gen i3-3217U processor in a small 4 inch x 4 inch x 1.5 inch box. Its size and power gives it great potential as a compact media PC. The model I opted to try was the D33217GKE (Black top) as it came with dual HDMI and Gigabit LAN. The DC3217BY (Red top), drops the Gigabit Ethernet and 2nd HDMI in favour for a Thunderbolt port.

 

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Opening the box triggered a sensor (bottom right of pic) that cause the playback of the Intel chime. A nice little touch, I’m sure that’s one product box my boys would have a blast playing with LOL.

 

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Removed from the box and sitting next to a Telstra 3G WiFi device, you can get an idea of how small this really is. It’s not as tiny as an Apple TV 2 or 3 but who really cares when you have an i3 under the hood. 😎 The unit also has holes for an optional VESA mount (not pictured) so you can mount directly to the back of your screen if you wish.

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The front of the unit has a single USB 2.0 port. The rear of the unit has a range of ports:

  • 2 x USB 2.0
  • 2 x HDMI
  • 1 x 10/100/100 Ethernet
  • 1 x Security lock hole
  • 1 x Power

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The cover is extremely easy to remove, just 4 star/Phillips screws to remove from the base. Here is the NUC bare bones in all its glory. The bottom of the screen are the SO-DIMM slots which support up to a total of 16GB of DDR3-1066/1333 modules. Further up the top are 2 PCIe Mini Card Slots, full size for an SSD and half size for a WiFi card. The 2 cables you can also see on top that are taped up are for the WiFi card. One of the great things of this little unit is that Intel have built in the WiFi antennae into the case so all you need is the card.

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As this will be a media centre, I chose to install only 8GB of RAM. The modules I elected to use were Corsair CMSO4GX3M1A1333C9 4GB PC-10600 (1333MHz) 204-pin SO-DIMM DDR3 RAM. All of my media content are on a server so I didn’t really need a huge drive and went with the OCZ Nocti Series mSATA 60G SSD. For WiFi, I selected the Intel Centrino Advanced-N 6235 Mini PCI Express as it supported 802.11n and Bluetooth on the same card.

Next will be the OS and XBMC install and configuration.

NoGi (58 Posts)


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