[HELP] Intel Skull Canyon NUC or ASRock mini-STX DeskMini 110 with I7-6700?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by firas, Aug 22, 2016.

  1. firas

    firas 2[H]4U

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    Edit: please see post #11 for final results


    If I were to upgrade the PC in my signature I would go for a small case (Ncase M1, DAN A4, Fractal Node, Lian Li Q series, etc), ITX motherboard, SFX PSU, i5-6600K or I7-6700K, GTX 1070, 16GB DDR4.

    But right now the plan is to buy (build) 2-3 small (mini) PC’s for work so we can take the unit home when we need.

    - mainly for trading
    - supports 2 monitors (3 is better to be future proof)
    - as small as possible
    - as fast as possible
    - 120GB SSD storage is more than enough

    it's normal to have 3 trading platforms, a multi account management platform, 4 youtube videos, 50 webpages, 2 PDF files, 2 MS Word files, Telegram, LAN messenger, etc. all running. and the current old low budget ATX towers we have now are too slow to handle this and it's annoying to keep exporting and importing work between home and work.

    I never followed the mini PC scene and after a lot of research I still can't find what's the best choice

    Intel NUC .... the top model NUC6i7KYK supports 3 monitors and they had trading in mind, it also has the latest mobile CPU (I7 6770HQ) and the latest Intel Iris 580. some reviews are saying it runs loud and hot though.
    Alienware Alpha .... nice but targeted at gamers with lots of unneeded expensive GPU power.
    Gigabyte BRIX. too many models! will try to filter them later.
    Asus Vivomini.... up to intel i7-6500U, Integrated Graphics 520/GeForce 930M
    Zotac ZBOX ... too many models.
    ASRock Mini PC
    HP EliteDesk


    the new mini-STX form factor is an option between the NUC and the ITX
    the only option I can find is the MSI Cubi 2, but it sounds great, I can build a nice little PC around this thing and forget about the small units with laptop parts I listed above. any thoughts?
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  2. Keljian

    Keljian Limp Gawd

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    I would be buying NUCs.. but you'll get more cpu power from ITX - how important is it?
     
  3. evilwon

    evilwon Limp Gawd

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    If you are taking it home, I'd look at a laptop and some monitors or hook it up to a 60+" TV. Something like a Clevo, no need for the gaming graphics card...bump up the RAM and slap in a Samsung 850 EVO SSD. Meets everything but the 3 monitors. However you could get one with a better graphics card and a 4k TV and have most of the same screen space with that.
     
  4. firas

    firas 2[H]4U

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    we already have laptops, they're good to a point. but as mentioned the goal is to replace the old full tower desktops with something smaller and faster. going with a mini ITX is case is a step forward from what we have now but will still be a pain to carry around. so what I need now is try to find the fastest non-gaming choice from the list I mentioned.

    should I have the Intel NUC6i7KYK as a base , then go through the ZBOX, BRIX, Vivo models and find the fastest (most expensive) model and compare it to the Intel .
    should I find which one of these CPU's is the best for my needs I7-6770HQ, I7-6700T, i7-6600U, then find the models that has it?
    no need for a discrete GPU but should I try to have the best integrated GPU I can find or it doesn't matter as long as I'm not working with 3D stuff?
     
  5. Keljian

    Keljian Limp Gawd

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    Personally, being that it's trading, and probably working on smallish datasets, I'd be looking for cache (eg the HQ).
     
  6. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    I would go the Nuc skull trail route and load it up with 16-32gb ddr4, and nvme drives. Basically the i7-6770HQ is one of the best processors you can get atm in that form factor and it has the expanded igpu. If you can find the g1 Alienware Alpha's for a good deal <350, you can upgrade them to 4790k's if you are needing raw cpu power (and they have a GTX 860m as a bonus if you ever need the 3d stuff).

    I have had a few of the others like an Asus U62 Vivo, and while not too bad for a basic box the msata ssd was a deal killer. I had an old Zotac mini with a e-350 AMD that was pretty solid for its day, and watch out for some of the Brix models as they can sound like little jets from the reviews I have heard.

    Just my 2c though :)
     
  7. firas

    firas 2[H]4U

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    true, the Skull Canyon is hard to beat. it already has a place here on [H]


    I did more research and narrowed the list to this (the best non-gaming models I found):

    Skull Canyon NUC (with this case) ---------------- I7-6770HQ with Iris pro 580 ------------------------------------- $584
    GIGABYTE BRIX GB-BSi7H(A/AL/T)-6600 ------ Intel 6th generation (i7-6600U, HD Graphics 520) --------- $530
    Gigabyte BRIX GB-BXi7-5775 ----------------------- Intel 5th generation (i7-5775R, Iris Pro graphics 6200) --- $620
    Zotac ZBOX EI751 PLUS ------------------------------ Intel 5th generation (i7-5775R, Iris Pro graphics 6200) ---- $650
    Asus VivoMini UN65H ----------------------------------- Intel 6th generation (i7-6500U, HD Graphics 520) --------- $450
    the Alienware Alpha, Asus VivoMini VM65, Zotac ZBOX MAGNUS EN980 are gaming units.

    I know the 6600U cant but does the i7-5775R (desktop cpu) compete with the I7-6770HQ?

    this Lini PC looks tempting (without the extra memory, big SSD, OS) but other than this video I can't find anything about it :banghead:
     
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2016
  8. Keljian

    Keljian Limp Gawd

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    Generally speaking the i7-5775C should beat the i7-6700HQ. The i7-5775R isn't much different from the i7-5775c (100mhz)
     
  9. firas

    firas 2[H]4U

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    Hard to find direct comparisons between the two but even if the i7-5775R was slightly faster in terms of raw CPU power the Intel is a far superior unit

    Intel Skull Canyon -------- 45w TDP (less power/ heat) ---- DDR4 ---- better GPU --- better M2 NVMe SSD --- Thunderbolt 3 ----- better looking

    Other (i7-5775R) units --- 65w TDP ---------------------------- DDR3 ---- older GPU ---- SATA3/mSATA ------------- no Thunderbolt ---

    time to select the memory and SSD (y)
     
  10. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Have you see this: ASRock Deskmini 110W Intel Socket LGA1151 Intel H110 2 x 260Pin SO-DIMM * Intel HD Graphics Built-in Visuals and the VGA outputs can be supported only with processors which are GPU integrated. - Supports Intel HD Graphics Built-in Visuals: - Newegg.com
    Basically Asrock's mini-stx box...
    you could then do a 65w cpu like the i7-6700, 32gb (2x16GB) ddr4 sodimms, and a Samsung 850 pro M.2 256gb, for about $770 on newegg, which should smoke the other boxes especially if you are not needing the igpu. It is also 6.1"x6.1"x3.5" vs the brix unit you have which is 4.5x4.5x3" so not that much bigger.
    Passmark Compare
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2016
  11. firas

    firas 2[H]4U

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    that was my question in the first post, to take the NUC road and find the fastest one or take the limited mini-STX road.

    the only available mini-stx options are the MSI Cubi 2 and the Asrock DeskMini 110 and tbh I thought the best CPU the DeskMini 110 can take is the I7-6700T like the Cubi 2. but now that you mentioned the i7-6700, the game has changed

    all are easily portable (pic)
    the Skull Canyon is a little better than the DeskMini 110 with I5-6500 (because of hyperthreading) review 1, review 2 (other deskmini review 1 ... 2)
    but I'm sure the DeskMini 110 with I7-6700 will smoke the Skull Canyon
    and there is a chance for non-stock CPU cooler (only one I found installed is this, but I think anything sub 45mm will work)

    close call, what do you guys think? :ninja:
     
  12. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Cool, maybe I will learn to read one day ;)

    FYI I am just going by ASrock's QVL: here But I am pretty sure 65w cpu's are okay in there.

    As for choice that is a tough call, I would almost take the 6700 i7 vs the 6770hq except for the igpu and the portability enhancement. It is kind of hard to stick a 6" cube in a backpack sometimes ;)

    On a side note I know you do not want to be doing any gaming, but there is a 200 AR off deal right now on the Alienware alpha r2 HERE , I know still over priced but more reasonable. Only has a 6400t in it, but it has a graphics amplifier port and a 960gtx and they are apparently quiet.
     
  13. Ruoh

    Ruoh [H]ardness Supreme

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    If you want portability, and speed, but don't mind a fan spinning up from time to time, go for the Skull Canyon. For processor intensive tasks it'll eat the others alive. Later on after the manufacturers have caught up, you'll likely be able to get a slightly larger case with better cooling capability... making it an even better box for the size and price.
     
  14. firas

    firas 2[H]4U

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    rhansen5_99, Alienware is my childhood dream but I don't want to explain why I bought a pc with gaming labels and lid lights to the man paying for all this.
    I even made this table and will show it to him and let him decide

    [​IMG]

    Ruoh, thanks, I don't know about M.2 SSD's, should I only be looking for NVMe disks like these for best performance?
    Samsung SSD 950 PRO 512GB NVMe M.2 Series PCI-Express 3.0 Internal MZ-V5P512BW with 2.5" SSD Plastic case - Newegg.com
    Samsung SSD 950 PRO 256GB NVMe M.2 Series PCI-Express 3.0 Internal MZ-V5P256BW with 2.5" SSD plastic case-Newegg.com
     
  15. Ruoh

    Ruoh [H]ardness Supreme

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    Don't have time to look atm, but I bet the NUC uses less juice.
     
  16. firas

    firas 2[H]4U

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    ok that's it I'll go with the Skull Canyon (y)
    I compared its CPU score to our single best PC at work (core 2 quad Q9550) and to my home PC (I7 3770K) and I’m certain we will not feel the need to get anything faster than the Skull Canyon for many decades. so I don’t care about the extra CPU power (~20%) and upgradability the DeskMini 110 has.

    The mini-STX is a great new form factor, I think that very soon we may see a new sub-forum here about it, many case options (Corsair, Lian Li, etc) and many motherboards with much better features than what ASRock did with the DeskMini (even from Asrock themselves). And I don’t want to feel stuck with the first (and ugliest) mini-stx pc when that happens because I jumped too early.

    true
     
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2016
  17. firas

    firas 2[H]4U

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    Intel Skull Canyon NUC NUC6i7KYK $584
    Samsung 950 PRO Series M.2 SSD PCIe NVMe (256GB) $188
    Kingston HyperX Impact 16GB (2 x 8GB) 2400MHz DDR4 CL14 SODIMM $75
    AmazonBasics Universal Travel Case $9
    Total: $856


    I wanted a cheaper and smaller M.2 SSD but looks like the Samsung 950 pro (256GB and 512 GB) are the best and most popular options with the Skull Canyon.

    the 2400MHz memory costs exactly the same as the 2133MHz version, and according to this review it should add some extra performance. and according to this review anything faster (2800MHz) won't make a noticeable difference.

    lots of review sites and costumer reviews (on newegg and amazon) used the exact same SSD model (950 pro 256gb & 512gb) and the exact same memory model (specially the 2133mhz version) with the Skull Canyon and other Intel NUC's with no problems. and they're in the Intel Skull Canyon tested peripherals and compatibility list.
     
  18. rhansen5_99

    rhansen5_99 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Cool choice. I remember reading that there is a bios update to unlock the full potential of nvme drives.