21 Aug 2021 - by 'Maurits van der Schee'
Five years ago (2015) I have built a completely silent (no moving parts nor coil whine) PC: A 5th gen Intel NUC i7 with 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB NVMe drive. Those parts have been discontinued, but if you would build something like that again today you could: A 10th gen Intel NUC i7 with 64 GB RAM and a 2 TB NVMe drive.
This 2015 NUC had an 8 watt idle power usage and a 30 watt max sustained usage under full load (measured on the wall socket), allowing for a nice thermal "budget" when under normal load (web browsing). The 2015 NUC came with a 65 watt power supply (built into the plug).
- 5th gen Intel NUC (NUC5i7RYH) with dual core i7-5557U CPU - 2x 8GB Kingston HyperX DDR3L RAM at 1600MHz (1.35 V) memory - Samsung 960 PRO 512GB M.2 SSD drive - Akasa Plato X (A-NUC23-A1B) fanless case
I'm not sure what I paid 5 years ago, but I think it is comparable to what one would pay today for the 10th gen Intel NUC (in EUR):
699 10th gen Intel NUC (NUC10i7FNH) with hexa core i7-10710U CPU 349 2x 32GB Kingston HyperX (HX426S16IBK2/64) DDR4 at 2666 MHz memory 399 Samsung 980 PRO (MZ-V8P2T0BW) 2TB M.2 SSD drive 139 Akasa Turing FX (A-NUC52-M1B) fanless case ---- 1586 Total
As you can see the current machine is much more powerful, sporting 6 CPU cores instead of 2 and 64GB of RAM instead of 16 and 2048 GB of NVMe storage instead of 512.
The 2019 NUC (NUC10i7FNH) uses 6 watt on the wall socket when idle and 102 under load (according to Hot Hardware). This machine may be faster, but it's 120 watt power supply (brick type) is worrying. Fortunately you can adjust the Package Power Limit 1 and 2 (PPL1 and PPL2) in the BIOS to keep the (sustained and peak) power usage down.
The NUC's BIOS has a setting specifically for running your NUC fanless. To set it follow these instructions:
- Press F2 during start to enter BIOS Setup. - Select Advanced > Cooling. - Choose "Fan Control Mode". - Set this to "Fanless". - Press F10 to exit BIOS Setup.
This will disable the fan options and all related warnings.