The Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Kit (NUC11PHKi7C) could be the petite desktop for you if you’re looking for a small, unassuming, yet surprisingly powerful mini PC to hide some gaming prowess in your living room (or, yawn, provide a new level of horsepower for your 8K corporate signage).
While not the most powerful NUC we’ve ever tested, it punches well above its weight class, expertly balancing bulk and brawn. If you need serious discrete-GPU power and exceptionally flexible display output in a PC that’s barely there, it’s in a class by itself among mini PCs.
If you go the kit route, keep in mind the total cost of components and operating system. (You can buy it as a bare-bones model for $1,075 or as a slightly more expensive preconfigured unit.) In any case, it’s a powerhouse and our new Editors’ Choice for power-user mini PCs.
NUC is an abbreviation for “Next Unit of Computing,” Intel’s long-running brand aimed at pushing innovation in (and the limits of) small desktop PCs that can use its mobile processors.
This new NUC we tested is Intel’s model NUC11PHKi7C, which was dubbed the “Phantom Canyon” NUC during its development and is based on the company’s newest CPUs (the 11th Generation “Tiger Lake” mobile chips). It is Intel’s top-tier bare-bones model in this line.
The body measures 5.7 inches front to back, 8.75 inches wide, and 1.6 inches tall when laid flat. You can also use the included vertical stand to reduce the desk footprint to almost nothing. The “NUC11PHKi7CAA” is a fully configured Windows 10-equipped option that comes with an Intel Optane Memory H10 SSD (with 32GB of caching and 512GB of storage) and 16GB of DDR4 3,200MHz RAM.
Our test model, which is part of Intel’s “Kit” line of NUCs and starts at $1,075 MSRP, lacks storage, RAM, and an operating system. The Intel NUC11PHKi7C is equipped with an Intel Core i7-1165G7, a four-core/eight-thread 11th Generation CPU with a maximum boost clock of 4.7GHz.
Most NUC buyers are unlikely to require more cores than this, as this category of PC is typically reserved for displaying content rather than creating it. However, as demonstrated in our tests, this mighty mite was surprisingly good at bursty, quick tasks like Photoshop editing.
Leave a Reply