Joined on 07/11/03
Very happy with this considering my issues with the 6i5SYK
Pros: - Compared to the previous NUCs, this one looks better - With a Samsung 950 Pro NVMe, this thing boots up in under 2 seconds after POST - Great Plex home media server/player
Cons: - Fan can get loud under heavy load, but not a problem when playing a movie since movie playback is a relatively low CPU consumer.
Overall Review: - This is actually my second NUC this year. I was one of the unfortunate early adopters of the NUC6i5SYKs that was subject to the WHEA errors. Intel has since solved the issue, but at the time I had mine, it was unusable. To Intel's credit, they responded very will and took care of me. If you read my review of the 6i5SYK, you'll see that I commented on the look of the other NUCs. Never was a fan, and even stated a black case would be better for home stereo setups. Well, lo and behold the Skull Canyon is black and looks way better. This machine is way overkill as a Plex media server/player, but it was a wash for me when replacing the 6i5SYK. - I can't comment on gaming, but this machine is fast. I recently updated my desktop PC with a ASRock Extreme 4/i7 and the Intel box feels faster. It boots up lickity split and is ready to go faster than my desktop (they both have Samsung 950s as boot drives). Crystaldisk says they're comparable in speed, so I'm not sure why the ASRock takes 20-30 seconds. Maybe it's all the extra bits added to the board. - Video quality out of the Iris 580 Pro is very good. It looks like Intel also defaulted a lot of the video enhancements in their latest drivers to disabled which I was happy to see. They get in the way of movie playback. - So far movie playback is great. Video quality is good and no driver issues compared to Feb/Mar drivers (fingers crossed).
Good HTPC replacement with immature drivers
Pros: - Small<br>- Quiet<br>- Easy installation of memory & drive (4 screws and bob's your uncle)<br>- Blazingly fast bootup with the right drive
Cons: - A bit on the ugly side if you want to show it off in your stereo cabinet<br>- Would love to see an all black setup<br>- Video drivers need work
Overall Review: I bought this to replace my 3 year old AMD A10-5800k home theater setup. The AMD system is big. It was being used as a Windows Media Center with 6-channel DVR capability. With Microsoft abandoning that, I ultimately went back to a TiVO for the DVR and only used the PC for movie playback from my Synology RAID system. I switched from MyMovies/Total Home Theater to Plex and really enjoy the Plex setup. So, I figured it was a good time to upgrade hardware while shrinking real estate. As I state in the pros, installation of memory and M.2 was easy. Windows 10 install is simple, but basic drivers like LAN and graphics are not built into the Windows 10 install. I downloaded all necessary drivers from Intel website and had no issues with installation.<br><br>Plex setup, on the other hand, was frustrating at best. I wanted full HD audio format playback and switching screen rates (60p/24p) to be as simple and automatic like it was on the AMD. After much internet and forum help from Intel, AVS and Plex, I was able to get just about everything to work. When I start a movie and Plex switches to 24p, the movie plays slow or stutters. A simple hit of the pause and playback or jumping ahead and then jumping back a chapter fixes that. Never had that problem on the AMD system. I'm attributing that to driver immaturity and hope that it gets fixed.<br><br>I got the SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 256GB PCI-Express 3.0 x4 Internal Solid State Drive (SSD) MZ-V5P256BW for this box and bootup times are phenomenal. After BIOS post, the bootup is less than 5 seconds, really about 2 seconds. So fast, in fact, my network drive connect always reports back as failed.<br><br>Since Skylake is relatively new, I'll give Intel a few more months to get graphics drivers better before I give this a 5-star. Aside from that, I'm real happy with it.<br><br>Edit 2016-01-25 - Grammar fixes<br><br>Edit 2016-02-19 - Don't know what's happening, but this box is getting worse. Don't know if it's the driver updates or Windows updates, but I'm getting more disappointed in this box. I keep getting the new Windows blue screen with the big sad face emoji.<br><br>Edit 2016-02-23<br>I'm downgrading to 1 egg until Intel gets their act together. This thread: https://communities.intel.com/thread/96821?tstart=0 and several others is growing, and Intel's response is awful ("look through a bunch of threads to figure out your problem"). In all the years (over 20) of building and working with PCs, I haven't had problems like this. Will have to see about returning this. Edit 2016-04-27 It seems as if Intel finally got wind of the problems with these boxes (lookup WHEA error). They have been working very hard to fix the problem and were able to issue an update. Now be aware there is a BIOS update (0042) that fixes the voltage regulator initialization and a hardware revision to accommodate more memory choices. So, if these fixes do work then I would recommend this box. When it was working, it was fast and quiet. I'll probably raise the egg rating the more I see people are happy with it. I actually sent my box to Intel as part of there root cause analysis, which means I don't have it anymore. I decided to take a chance on the new Skull Canyon NUC. Fingers crossed.