Intel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC Review

The Intel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC is a great diminutive PC with a stylish metal design and powerful features. It is meant for home use or on the road to run all basic applications and utilities. Just like most Intel Next Unit of Computing (NUC), the Intel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC combines versatility, upgradability, and affordability in one miniature package. It comes with everything you need including 8GB memory, 128GB SSD, fast 7th Generation processor and even Windows 10. It earns our Editor’s Choice for budget desktop PCs.

Pros

  • Simple design and compact built
  • Fast laudable performance
  • Fast boot and shutdowns
  • Great port system with Thunderbolt 3

Cons

  • Price is on the higher end
  • Lights configured through BIOS pain for inexperienced users

As someone who frequently travels for work, I understand how much a notebook or laptop can weigh you down. You would think at 2 to 3 kgs the weight would be trivial. But it slowly starts piling on you and after a whole day of walking around with your backpack covering events, it eventually dawns on you just how much your back needs a rest.

Intel’s NUC kit program is whole-heartedly based on portability, versatility, and upgradability. Their whole PC line focuses on finding replacement PCs for laptops and desktops so customers can have power even while on the road. The Intel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC comes in a package smaller than most PCs. It’s unobtrusive and compact and one of the most space-saving travel-friendly PCs you’ll find. It packs an Intel Dual-Core i5-7260U processor, 8GB RAM and 128GB SSD. In this review, we find out whether this is a worthy purchase or not.

Intel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC Specs

Processor 7th Generation Intel Dual-Core i5-7260U 2.2 GHz
RAM8GB DDR4 2133MHz
Storage128GB SSD M.2 SATA
Graphics CardIntel Iris Plus Graphics 460
Operating SystemWindows 10 Pro
Dimensions4.5 x 1.4 x 4.4 inches
Weight2 pounds
Ports1x Thunderbolt 3, 4x USB 3.0, 1x HDMI, 1x Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack . Bluetooth 4.2, Gigabit Ethernet

Design and Features

The Intel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC doesn’t brag of drop-dead beautiful but it does gain a few points for being the most space-saving, travel-friendly PCs out there.

 

Ports

For a tiny box PC, the Intel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC is loaded with connectivity options. We noted a robust selection but most importantly some futuristic port options available. I’m glad to note that the selection is better than the suite of ports you’ll find in many laptops and desktops. The front side houses two USB 3.0 ports (one with charging capability), a headset jack and power button. This whole front section is encircled by an LED ring which makes the PC stand out.

Meanwhile, the right side is empty except for some vents for bringing in cool air. The left side also has a matching venting airway, an SD card slot, and a Kensington security slot. Up to this point it easy to know the Intel NUC kit is packaged both as a laptop and a desktop. Moving on, the rear has two more USB 3.0 ports, an HDMI port with 4K support, an Ethernet jack, and an optical audio line. It’s great that the system comes with Thunderbolt 3 as it helps mostly in daisy-chaining displays and other peripherals.

Generally, this PCs port system is healthy for this budget price range. But should you ever want more sophisticated and futuristic ports such as USB Type-C the HP Z2 Mini G4 Workstation? It also comes with three DisplayPorts (1.2) for connecting to the latest external displays. But you will have to part with an extra $300 to get this baby.

Other connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.2 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi.

Performance

The Intel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC comes with a 7th Generation Intel Dual-Core i5-7260U processor which is the highlight of this PC. The processor has a sold base clock speed of 2.6GHz and a turbo speed of up to 3.4GHz. The processor is based on the Kaby Lake architecture with 2 cores and four threads which work great while Hyper-Threading. Simply put, thanks to the processor, this Intel NUC Kit has enough power to muscle you through most, if not all productivity apps. I’m talking about Word, Excel, PowerPoint. In short, this is not a gaming PC, so quit trying to use it for gaming purposes.

What you should probably focus on more is light photo editing and light video editing like Adobe Premiere. The PC should run the video editing but begrudgingly. The system should run it but it will be at its very limit.

Memory and Storage

Other than the processor, the other hardware available is on our unit is the 8GB DDR4 memory and 128GB solid-state drive. It’s worth noting that there are different configurations available and you can choose whichever iteration suits you best. The options range between more memory or storage.

 

Configuration list:

With 8GB Ram + 128GB SSDIntel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC
8GB Ram + 256GB SSDIntel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC
Packs an 8GB Ram + 512GB SSDIntel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC
16GB Ram + 256GB SSDIntel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC
A 16GB Ram + 512GB SSDIntel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC

8GB is usually considered the sweet spot of memory capacity as it allows the most common tasks to be done. You should be able to handle a lot of multitasking such as office productivity, web browsing, media streaming, and some photo editing. The 128GB SSD storage is pretty sweet too. Since the Windows 10 OS is installed on the SSD drive, booting up takes less than 30 seconds and loading software is fast too. Overall, between the memory and solid-state drive storage, the PC should be capable of handling everyday tasks with aplomb.

Conclusion

If you’re looking for a gaming PC, I would suggest looking elsewhere. The Intel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC is neither a gaming PC nor a PC intended to make your work or media projects process faster or multitask harder. On the contrary, it is a PC meant for daily activities and one you can quickly pack and travel around with at moments notice. It certainly can’t also serve as the main desktop for most users with heavy loads and gaming needs. But the value and versatility it offers at $500 are impeccable. It should handle most of your tasks, and run demanding applications without breaking a sweat. For that reason, the Intel NUC NUC7i5BNK Mini PC easily takes our Editor’s Choice for small, affordable desktop PCs.

About Liam Weisman

A lover of MacBook Air and the Dell XPS line of laptops, Liam has been researching and writing guest blogger for numerous websites for over 10 years. Now, he blogs about tech trends, PCs, laptops, gadgets, and other emerging gadgets

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