Published in Reviews

Frost Canyon NUC NUC10i7FNH impresses

by on06 May 2020

Index

Intel NUC10i7FNH PC

Let me be clear. We got to review the whole PC based on Frost Canyon platform packed with Core i7 10710U, 16GB SO-DIMM DDR4 RAM, 256GB NVMe SSD boot drive, 1TB 2.5-inch SATA drive and Windows 10 Home preinstalled. It is the whole system and not the do it yourself NUC machine. Traditionally Intel ships barebone NUC and let you buy the memory, hard drive, and the operating system, and in our case, it was the retail ready competent PC.

AidaABOUTNUCFrost

The 16GB comes from Kingston in the form of 2x8 DDR4 2666 modules. The 256GB NVMo M2 drive also comes from Kingston, and we are talking about an OEM drive that is not easy to buy in the wild. The 1TB second 2.5-inch drive comes from Seagate, and it is a blast from the mechanical past. At first, it was surprising to see the 2.5-inch standard SATA 3 hard drive inside, but then when we compared the pricing of flash-based solutions versions mechanical, we learned that there is almost three times the price difference. Bear in mind that this is not an enthusiast system, but it still packs incredible performance for the form factor. Since it is targeting the somewhat price-sensitive market, Intel had to be aware of the pricing and saving money at some ends.

Ports

A very compact machine comes with plenty of ports and WiFi6 support. The front of the machine packs a USB Type C and standard USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A port, headphone/microphone 3.5 slot and an illuminated small power button. The Type-C USB supports 3.1 Gen2 speeds and 5V/9V fast charging.

NUCFrostFront

The left-side has a full-size SD card reader as well as a mesh side cover that helps the ventilation. The right hand side doesn't have any ports. It only has the mesh metal side cover that helps cooling.

NucFrostSIde
The back of the machine has a charging port, HDMI 2.0a port, Intel I219-V 1000 Mbps ethernet, two USB 3.1 Type-A Gen 2 ports, a Type C USB 3.1 Gen two and a Kensington lock. It supports a Thunderbolt 3 port.  

NucFrostBack

The wireless part of the NUC helps you connect with Bluetooth 5, as well as Intel WiFi 6 AX200 2x2. The WiFi 6 is based on 802.11ax and supports two by two simultaneous streams on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz 160MHz. At peak, it will support up to 2600 Mbps as long as you have the router on the other side that supports WiFi 6 at these speeds and a fast enough internet from the other side to benefit from this excellent speed potential.

The charger is not small but since it will be sitting below the desk, should not concern you that much.

NUCwhatsinthebox

The machine itself measures 4.6 x 4.4 x 2 inches or 117x112x51 mm. There is a slimmer version that doesn't support 2.5-inch drives, but despite that, this is one powerful machine that weighs just under 500 grams or 1.1 pounds. In case anyone wants a slimmer machine, the K version doesn't have the 2.5-inch disk bay, but it slims the system down to 1.5 inches or 38mm.

Who is the target audience?

This NUC is not meant for super high end performance enthusiasts, bear that in mind. The target group includes everyone who likes a small neat PC. To give you some examples, junior creator, students, home theater enthusiasts, and anyone who needs a reliable home office machine and wants to connect it to a big monitor or a big-screen TV. There is a counter-argument that people like to have notebooks. However, the notebook with such CPU power is heavy and bulky, and most people still prefer 27 or even 34 inch and larger monitors, something that notebooks still cannot touch.

Six core and twelve thread CPU will offer enough firepower for just about anyone's home office these days. The Intel integrated GPU supports 4K 60 Hz easily, and it will let you connect to any monitor or TV, providing you have sufficient desktop space. The Intel® Core™ i7-10710U Processor offers 12M Cache, up to 4.70 GHz.

Windows 10 Home

The first thing you need to do is to set up Windows 10, and if you've done it before, it is the same old dance. A couple of next clicks, connect to a WiFi network or LAN based internet, and the machine is ready to go. After booting up, Intel has a neat web-based tool that will help you update drivers and bios on the NUC NUC10i7FNH. It lists your options available for upgrade, and you can do them one by one. Of course, in our case, Windows 1909 was optionally available, and we installed that and all the other available updates too.

nucUPDATE

The NUC comes with an excellent web-based Intel drive and support assistant that compares software you have installed to the new drivers available on the net. With just a few clicks, you can update the BIOS or drivers.

Use

The overall six-core powered NUC machine will play any video content local, storage or streaming including 4K like a piece of cake and will do that in a rather quiet fan mode. The machine has a fan, but it will only get loud under heavy load, mainly benchmarking.

In regular use, the machine remains rather quiet. There is a mechanical spinning drive that you can hear if the machine is very close to you on the desk, but it is still very subtle. The general conclusion is that any modern traditional laptop will be noisier in office mode compared to Intel NUC10i7FNHAA 

If one monitor doesn't fit your bill, the system supports up to three 4K60 displays, via external USB-C extender.

The machine is easy to disassemble, and the test unit had both SODIMM, M2 SATA drive, and 2.5-inch bay populated, so upgrading would mean swapping the existing hardware. The machine, as is, with all the goodies, sells for $960, which is quite a good deal for a pack high performing mini PC with Windows 10 Home inside.


Last modified on 06 May 2020
Rate this item
(1 Vote)

Read more about: