Can You Replace a Laptop With a Tiny Computer?!


j[Intro Music] Hey, how’s it going, guys? This is Dave 2D, and this is the Intel Skull Canyon NUC. So I picked this thing up about 4 or 5 months ago. Super cool device, but I kind of wasted its powers. I connected it to a TV and used it as a media device. It’s capable of so much more, but because it had an IR receiver up front, I thought it would be kind of cool to just use it as a media center. I totally squandered its powers. Now, a month ago, I decided, “Why don’t I just use this thing as my main device?” because I use a laptop normally, and I thought, “I have a screen, a mouse, and a keyboard at work, “and I have a screen, a mouse, and a keyboard at home. “Why don’t I just bring this thing back and forth “and use it as if it were a ‘laptop’ without it actually being a laptop?” So I tried it. These are my thoughts. Aside from emails and regular work,
I edit videos and I play games, so port selection is important to me. The important ones are the SD card reader for my video files, four USB 3 ports, display outputs (including an HDMI 2), and a Thunderbolt 3. This is super important for me
for what I want to do with this because I need an external GPU. On the inside, we have two RAM slots.
I have 32 GB of DDR4. Then there are two M.2 drive slots. Having two drives is really clutch
for editing in Premier, and then not having to use external ones is even better. The CPU and the internal GPU can’t be upgraded;
those are soldered on. It’s running an Intel 6770HQ
and an Intel Iris Pro 580 graphics chip. This thing is a powerful computer in a tiny package. So, performance wise, for regular work stuff, obviously, it just burns through it, but the big question I had was
how it handles 4K video edits, and I was pleasantly surprised. Importing the footage, working with the footage, everything in terms of the editing process was fast, as long as you had two drives installed, but renders were slow. The integrated GPU isn’t an Nvidia chip,
so it has no CUDA cores, and it ends up using OpenCL to render. The solution is the Razer Core. I have a GTX 1080 in there, and when you plug this thing up, it just flies. I’m getting similar render times to a quad core desktop with the GTX 1080, so something like a five minute video would render in 10 or 12 minutes with the Razer Core, or an hour without it. So in my particular case, I leave the Razer Core at home When I can, I edit videos at work, but then when I get home, I can render those videos a lot faster using the Razer Core if I want to. Gaming is also not bad. Obviously, with the Razer Core and a GTX 1080, this thing crushes games,
but even if you want to use the integrated chip, the Iris Pro 580 is capable of
pushing out decent frame rates. It’s not for hardcore gaming, but if you want to play stuff like
Overwatch or Starcraft, you can get some playable frame rates, even at 1080p. I wouldn’t recommend competing at
tournaments with this thing, but the occasional casual game runs reasonably well. Fan noise on idle is audible, but relatively quiet. Fan noise on load is louder, but because it’s a tiny PC,
you can position it further away from you, unlike a laptop. I didn’t experience any thermal throttling even when I was editing videos or gaming, but running certain benchmarks,
it does get hot enough to throttle. It comes with a backplate
to mount it behind monitors and stuff, and it also has a second top cover without the skull if you find it too spooky or something. So this uses a 120 watt AC adapter,
and it’s not huge or anything, but if you want to bring this thing back and forth, it’s a pain in the butt. So what I did is I actually purchased a second AC adapter, just a generic, $30 AC adapter, and it just makes the whole process a lot easier. So now, the only thing you have to bring back and forth is just the unit itself. The last thing I want to mention is pricing. This thing retails for around $600 right now
as a barebones kit, so you’ll need to pop in your own storage and memory. So it’s not the cheapest computer out there. I mean, barebones kits are
never going to be the best value, but you’re getting a really unique form factor and for the $150 price premium
that you’re paying for this, it’s not a bad value. So overall, I really like the Skull Canyon NUC. It’s not something I can recommend to everyone
who’s looking for a laptop. The usage scenario is really specific, but I’m sure there are certain people out there who can totally fit this into their workflow, and I’m glad that I could
share this experience with you guys. Hope you guys enjoyed this video! Thumbs if you liked it,
Subs if you loved it. It’s been nice, and I’ll see you guys next time! [Outro music]
[CC provided by Sam Medley]

34 thoughts on “Can You Replace a Laptop With a Tiny Computer?!

  1. $600 for the box, plus RAM, AC adaptor, OS, external GPU, cables, etc. If you are only using the box are work for non-rendering, you are likely within the price range of just buying two boxes (with a less powerful unit at work). A fairly inexpensive portable hard drive would allow you to take files to/from work as would a good Internet file sharing solution — which could likely sync 10GB+ in an hour commute time if needed. Seems a better solution even in your case — your files are backed-up vs. loss, failure, or stolen, you have two machines (so if one fails you aren't out for days/weeks), someone else can use the machine at home/work when you aren't there (or you can leave it running to render footage while away), it is cheaper to fix/replace, neither is likely to be stolen, you can use RAID (either) or add a graphics card at work if needed later, etc.

  2. No keyboard, no CPU, no OS, no memory, no mouse , and no monitor. The only it capable of is the Intel for $600 dollar. Wow. I'm not gonna get one.

  3. I use my 2012 i7 MacMini the same way for over 6 months now. It works great, as I don’t need to carry any external drives or cables – just “the box”.
    Added benefit – I do one backup at home and another in the office.
    For trips to the clients or meetings outside my 11 inch MacBook Air is good enough.

  4. What is the point of carrying this thing when you can get a laptop witch is going to perform way Better!! It has a battery so you can use it everywhere and you don’t have to connect all the wires each time you arrive to your work/home!! Even though it’s pretty nice design and it looks cool but nah bro I think you should not even review it 🙃

  5. Hi Dave. I like very much this Nuc. I'll buy it to run War Thunder. How many FPS do you think i can archieve?

  6. I am planning on not only getting one NUC, but several. Not having clunky PC boxes everywhere is attractive and the NUC has power enough to do the job since I use Linux as my one-and-only O/S. I also plan on carrying a NUC box instead of a laptop.

  7. Should that be a beast gaming computer if you would add 2 corsair ddr4 in that or should i get some of those normal nucs and put those ddr4 in there?

  8. Dave, what do you think about using this or a like NUC device for a projection unit PC? By projection unit PC, I mean a device used for lecture hall (or small church) where we would like to project sides and videos to a projector, two (front-back) projectors, and one or two monitors at the media booth (table)? In short, "How many displays can it support, and can two of the displays (projectors) be mirrored?

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