Intel Optane memory is a new type of speedy, non-volatile solid state storage that can be used like an SSD… except that for now it’s way more expensive. So Intel’s first consumer versions of Optane memory are small modules meant to offer speedy cache performance when used alongside a larger hard drive or SSD.

And now Intel is bundling Optane memory with some of its NUC mini computers. Earlier this year the company launched a line of NUC PC kits with 7th-gen Intel Core “Kaby Lake” processors, and now there three versions that come with Optane memory pre-installed.

The Intel BOXNUC7I3BNHX1 NUC kit features an Intel Core i3-7100U processor, 16GB  of Optane memory, and a 2.5 inch drive bay for additional storage.

It has four USB 3.0 Type-A ports, a USB 3.1 Type-C port, HDMI 2.0, and Ethernet jacks, an audio jack, and an SD card reader.

While the system does have a processor and some storage, it’s still basically a barebones machine. You’ll need to add RAM, additional storage, and an operating system.

Amazon is currently selling the Core i3 + Optane model for $339.

Intel’s BOXNUC7I5BNHX1 NUC Kit also has Optane memory, but this model, which Amazon sells for $421 packs more punch thanks to an Intel Core i5-7260U processor with Intel Iris Plus 640 graphics and a Thunderbolt 3 port, where the Core i3 model has a USB 3.1 Type-C port.

The most powerful of the bunch is the BOXNUC7I7BNHX1 NUC Kit ($535 at Amazon) with a Core i7-7567U processor, Iris Plus 650 graphics, and Thunderbolt 3.

Of course, now that Intel’s Kaby Lake NUC kits have been on the market, it might be cheaper to buy one on sale and add Optane storage on your own. A 16GB module sells for $49, and a 32GB version is $80.

Note that not all Intel NUC kits officially support Optane Memory. But the NUC7i3BNH, NUC7i5BNH, and NUC7i7BNH that were released earlier this year should all work.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Intel eventually released updated NUC kits with quad-core, 8th-gen Kaby Lake Refresh chips. But the company hasn’t made any announcements along those lines yet.

via FanlessTech

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8 replies on “Intel’s Kaby Lake NUC mini PCs now available with Optane memory”

  1. The pricing of the i5 model ($421) is terrible considering the price of the standard i5 is $347. You’re paying $74 more to add a $49 product. Might as well get the standard model and buy the $80 Optane drive.

    I’m curious if Optane + SSD will be “better” than an NVMe drive. That’s what I’ve currently got in my NUC and I’ve been really happy with it.

  2. Agree with riddick here, too much coil whine with several NUC7i3BNHs.
    Strangely enough not present in the cheaper NUC6CAYH…

    1. Huh. I’ve got a NUC7i5BNK that hasn’t any coil whine as well as a NUC6i7KYK that actually does but it is currently paired with an aorus gaming box that has a fan louder than the whine. Also it doesn’t interfere with the 3.5mm jack which is where the dealbreaker would be.

  3. My largest regret in computing purchases has been my i3 nuc. I have used all my other devices so much more.

    1. Yeah, why’s that?
      I’ve got two Ivy Bridge i5 NUCs (D53427RKE) and they’re the bees knees IMO.
      Yeah, a bit more expensive than a standard desktop but they’re still my everyday computers today.

      1. I also have an i5 NUC that runs great. Mounted it on the back of my monitor to give my desktop that all in one look.

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