Upgrading my old NUC

After about 4 years with my old NUC (used mainly as a Kodi media player, plus some Steam InHome Streaming), it was time for an upgrade. The CPU in it seemed to be struggling with some emulation (slight input delays), despite being an i5 (albeit a low powered unit limited to 15W power consumption). In September I ordered the new unit plus memory and an SSD. Little did I know it would take almost 2 MONTHS for the order to ship… seems Intel had a bit of trouble with supplies. Early November I finally received the package on a Friday, so I had the weekend free for tinkering.

Old vs New

old NUC (left) vs new (right)

The big difference between the 2 NUCs is of course the CPU: the old one had an i5 4250U which is a dual-core with 1.3 GHz (2.6 GHz Turbo), while the new one is an i7 8559U (quad-core with 2.7/4.5 GHz). Besides that, obviously the ports are more up to date on the new unit (all USB ports have 3.0, the HDMI port is 2.0a and there’s a Thunderbolt 3 port).

Setting Up

Getting the hardware ready for use was easy as can be, just inserting the RAM and SSD after opening the case with 4 screws and closing the case again. A nice change compared to the old NUC is the full-size HDMI port (instead of the Mini variant), so I didn’t need the adapter anymore. Installing Windows is easy, though before you have network and thus internet access, you need to install at least the appropriate (wired or wireless network) driver from a USB drive. After that, Windows Update and the Intel Driver & Support Assistant can handle the rest (though for some reason it did not recognize that there was a new BIOS available, so I manually downloaded and updated it).
When the OS and basic software setup was done, I added another SSD into the NUC (the case of my model has an additional 2.5 inch SATA drive slot, though there’s a smaller one without it if you prefer a more compact device) and modded my Razer Raiju. The USB port does not work with standard cables because there are “rails” to the left and right of the port, so I used some small tools to get rid of them.

To Do

At this time I don’t have my Logitech Harmony remote set up for the NUC yet, the profile I used for the old NUC does not seem to work at all. Thankfully I do have a mini-keyboard that makes controlling the NUC easy even without the remote (with some of the things I do I need it anyway since the NUC isn’t going to be used as a largely Kodi-exclusive media player anymore).

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