The name says it all. Late last year, Intel quietly introduced the Next Unit of Computing (NUC): a miniature, barebones desktop PC that represents a modern take on the traditional beige box. The NUC sits a mere two inches tall and comes nestled within a 4-inch square chassis. It also retails for just shy of $300. Don’t let its diminutive size or price fool you, though. The Core i3 system is speedy, stable and more than capable of handling day-to-day computing tasks. Yes, it’s a hell of a departure from the noisy monstrosities we lusted after just a few years ago. And it’s a lot quieter, too.
Before you get too excited, though, let’s temper that enthusiasm just a bit. As with any bare-bones kit, you’ll need to install your own memory, storage, wireless networking components and operating system. In other words, unless you’re willing to get your hands a bit dirty, the NUC isn’t for you. And then there’s the question of its price, which becomes a lot less tempting once you factor in the laundry list of necessary components. So, is the NUC deserving of its “Next Unit of Computing” title? Let’s explore this question together.
Gallery: Intel NUC review