When it comes to performance there are a few aspects that I wanted to consider when testing the NUC. There is the overall experience you get as well as its performance numbers. To start things off I ran the NUC through a couple of our standard CPU benchmarks to see how it compares to the CPUs we have recently tested. For the onboard video I used the latest 3DMark. As you can see below we ended up with a graphics score of 656, to give this a little perspective the i7-4790K pulled an 817 when I tested it a little over a month ago.
Passmark had a total score of 1752.2 and PCMark 8 came in with 2090, but I can’t compare them to our past benchmarks because I was using the onboard video where on our CPU reviews these tests are ran with a dedicated GPU. You are still welcome to see how it compares to your current configuration.
The biggest limitation of the i3 NUC is its onboard video performance. While I feel confident in using it for playing less demanding games and watching video I would never try to use it to play anything more demanding. If you are looking for better gaming performance in a similar form factor Gigabyte has a BRIX with an i7 and a dedicated GPU.
While the performance of the NUC is great, it is the NUCs size that really stands out the most. I talked a little about that in the previous sections, but I think that the only way to really understand how small it is would be to hold it in your hand. This is what makes the NUC a great HTPC and also why I think it is a much better option than a lot of the prebuilt PCs that you see in retailers. Sure you can’t add a large capacity hard drive, but for someone who plays a few online games, browses the internet, and does their taxes on their PC (aka the average person) you could save a lot of room on your desk without losing any power. This is especially true if you use the VESA mount that is included with the NUC. You can mount it directly to the back of your monitor or TV. When paired up with the Logitech Smart Keyboard I was able to mount it to the back of our bedroom television. The NUC replaced a Sapphire Edge-HD that has been running non-stop for the past three and a half years! While the Edge-HD did us well, the NUC is a major step up in performance.