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Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) Review: A Beast in A Small Premium Box 2

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) Review: A Beast in A Small Premium Box

If the glowing skull isn’t a clue, you should know: The NUC kit The NUC8i7HVK that we’re reviewing here is the most powerful Next Unit of Computing (NUC) Intel has made so far. What is special about this NUC model, which became known under the code name “Hades Canyon” during development, is the exclusive Intel Core i7-8809G quad-core processor. This chip is the result of the first connection between AMD and Intel that connects the core CPU to the AMD’s on-chip graphics silicon, in this case, the Radeon RX Vega M GH. (Correct: AMD and Intel use the same processor!) The GPU has 4 GB of HBM2 memory and can experience virtual reality (VR). It not only helps this mini-PC to perform outstandingly but is also a practical computer with a small size, extensive connectivity, and quiet operation. Only its high price prevents us from giving it a recommendation.


  • Compact and quiet-running.
  • Outstanding overall CPU and GPU performance.
  • AMD Vega graphics are VR-ready.
  • Teeming with connectivity for its size.
  • Dual M.2 slots.
  • VESA-mountable case.


  • The steep price, once you factor in all components.
  • Huge external power adapter.
  • No 2.5-inch bay.


The “Kit” in the name “Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK” indicates that it is a basic computer like many Intel NUCs. Sounds like $ 899 without an operating system, memory or memory installed. E-retailers sell pre-defined models of this NUC. You can also purchase the kit and equip it yourself. Although you can choose cheaper parts, the market value of my test equipment was over $1,650. (Don’t forget that you may have to include the display, keyboard, and mouse in their final price equation).

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) Review: A Beast in A Small Premium Box 3

The Intel NUC NUC8i7HVK Series is 1.5×8.7×5.6 inches (HWD) small enough to fit in a large pocket. It weighs only 2.4 pounds, but remember that this only applies to the body of the device itself. The large external portable power supply significantly increases space requirements. The 230-watt adapter is about half the size of the NUC (and almost as heavy).

The case consists of a combination of metal and plastic. It feels like a steady hand with no signs of bending at the top or bottom. The rubber feet prevent it from slipping. Alternatively, you can use the supplied VESA board to mount it on the back of the screen.

The body looks industrial and simple until you turn it on. Then you see a blue and red skull with a scary backlight. It’s not everyone’s Java cup. Intel says additional frames are available for the case, but I didn’t see them as I wrote this review. If there are many previous Intel NUCs, it is possible to order a customized logo or other covers specially designed for this model if the machines are ordered in bulk.

NUC The NUC8i7HVK series has been developed for end-user configuration. Therefore, you can only buy it as a base unit. Six screws hold the lid and the other screw secures the panel below. The small motherboard has two M.2 Type 2280 slots for SSD memory and two 260-pin SO-DIMM slots for portable-style DDR4 memory. I would also have liked a 2.5-inch bay that would have allowed us to expand the storage space more economically and had a really high storage ceiling. However, with this NUC, you can only use SSD storage on the M.2 format factor.

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) Review: A Beast in A Small Premium Box 4

Of course, the All-SSD has the advantage of lacking moving parts (and therefore noise) and improved performance, but you need to make the effort to achieve high capacity. Note that the M.2 slots support a PCI Express bus with four PCIe lanes. For this reason, you will need to use the PCI Express M.2 SSD instead of the SATA M.2.


Due to the size of this decorative frame, the Intel NUC NUC8i7HVK swarming with ports. Physically, it would be difficult to get more of the edges. However, if you want to use the NUC kit as a virtual reality engine, you will be pleased with the required HDMI output and the redundant USB ports.

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) Review: A Beast in A Small Premium Box 5

The front has a power switch, a full-size SD card reader, A 3.0 and 3.1 USB ports, an HDMI 2.0a video output, a C 3.1 USB port, and a 3.5 mm audio jack (which is also compatible with Toslink) and a quad microphone group. Intel barely left an inch untouched.

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) Review: A Beast in A Small Premium Box 6

There is more to offer. From left to right, you’ll see the S/PDIF audio output connector, the power adapter connector, a pair of USB Type-C connectors that also support Thunderbolt 3, two mini DisplayPort outputs, two Gigabit Ethernet connectors, and a USB quartet -Connection type A 3.0 and other HDMI video output 2.0a. There is a Kensington cable lock slot on the left.

With all video output connections, the NUC NUC8i7HVK kit supports up to six 4K or 5K displays. The wireless connections come from an Intel 8265AC 802.11ac card that is also compatible with Bluetooth 4.2. This machine could serve as the ultimate engine for a deadly multi-monitor video wall with half a dozen very high-resolution screens. The most important thing, however, is that there are two HDMI outputs. You can connect an HDMI screen and a VR headset at the same time.

AMD and Intel…Are They Working Together?

Intel offers this NUC series in two basic configurations. The NUC8i7HVK tested is the most powerful of these two and is based on the Intel Core i7-8809G processor. The smaller model, the Intel NUC NUC8i7HNK Series, uses a slightly less efficient Core i7-8705G chip and costs $749 or $150 less as the base unit of the device being tested. Both Class G processors “Although equipped with AMD graphics cards, the Core i7-8809G’s RX Vega M GH chip is faster than the Core i7-8705G’s RX Vega M GL chip. (It has a higher clock rate and more computing units) .

With four cores, a 3.1GHz basic clock and a 4.2GHz turbo amplifier, the Core i7-8809G effortlessly handles almost all general productivity tasks and, as you’ll soon see, you can work hard on processing Media Run It’s not comparable to standard six-core desktops, such as Intel Core i7-8700K ($ 379.99), but you will need a real desktop tower and associated heat margin to use one of these Manage Chips.

Here you will get very reasonable CPU performance and incredible graphical performance, considering the limitations of this computer. Combined with the AMD RX Vega M GH graphics, the NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK is VR compatible and can play the latest AAA titles. Most should work fine with 1080p, but in some cases not with fine detail.

This is one reason why the NUC8i7HVK price seems a bit uncomfortable. At the same $1,600, this test unit ran (when it had all the necessary components) to get a powerful desktop that can handle 1080p or 1440p games without sacrificing detail. Or you could end up with a well-equipped laptop.

This NUC supports up to 32GB of dual-channel DDR4 memory. My unit is installed with a 16GB dual-channel configuration (two 8GB SO-DIMMs) and an expensive Kingston HyperX DDR4-3200, which certainly did not affect the benchmarks. In terms of storage, my unit is installed with Windows 10 Pro on an Intel Optane SSD with 120GB 800p as the boot drive, and with secondary storage on an Intel 545s SSD, 512GB. (The latest unit has a format factor of M.2; the unit tested through the link is the same but in 2.5-inch format). The Optane 800p is expensive due to the available capacity. If you build one of these NUC units, you can save money by selecting the more popular M.2 SSD application or by sticking to a single drive.

The cooling fans are located at the bottom of the NUC8i7HVK series and direct the air directly …

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) Review: A Beast in A Small Premium Box 7

My ears couldn’t hear a thing while the device was in idle The fans only became audible as I ran benchmarks and stress tests, but they were not loud or aggressive. Fortunately, no noise was heard from the fan motor. In short, they did well in the thermal section.


And so are the benchmarks. The devices I compare to this NUC series are generally much larger (but still small) desktops because you won’t find many computers of this size that are relatively efficient.

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) Review: A Beast in A Small Premium Box 8

First, an interesting victory: the NUC NUC8i7HVK series took the lead in conventional comparisons of PCMark 8 Work, although this general system test is not far from the characteristics of these machines. In multimedia tests restricted by the CPU, including the Cinebench R15 and the Handbrake, the NUC quad-core core i7-8809G could not keep up with the Core i7-8700 six-core in the MSI Vortex G25VR. Not even the quad-core Core i7 overclocked of the Corsair One Pro. These machines are not significantly larger than the NUC series and can process complete desktop components.

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) Review: A Beast in A Small Premium Box 9

Meanwhile, the 3DMark Fire Strike Extreme test highlights the outstanding performance of NUC’s AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics. The NUC’s AMD pixel reached almost half the value of the GeForce GTX 1080 GPU on the HP Omen X desktop computer. The circuit board graphics are subject to thermal restrictions. It’s a testament to the strength of the Radeon RX Vega M GH graphics here and the forging of Alliance, Intel and AMD to make this chip possible.

Although the AMD chip works very well in style in the integrated GPU, you can’t overlook the fact that you get a GeForce GTX desktop with a 1070 instrument or less laptop from what I configured NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK. With the GTX 1070, you can maximize the configuration of details in today’s games, which may not be the case with the NUC’s internal AMD chip, especially the most demanding titles.

Final Verdict

The NUC-Kit The NUC8i7HVK is the latest in compact PC technology and delivers excellent performance in a small format. Connectivity is top-notch throughout the system, perhaps exaggerated, but that means it has many options for end-user expansion and VR headset connectivity. Nor does it disappoint in optics, even if the illuminated skull panel is slightly polarized.

Intel NUC Kit NUC8i7HVK (Hades Canyon) Review: A Beast in A Small Premium Box 10

In the end, however, you should have a specific usage for this NUC model and its panel to justify your purchase. Placing premium equipment in such a small space is a huge challenge. Again, remember that the original price of $899 applies only to the base unit. Our PCMag tester costs over $ 1,650 (without display, keyboard, or mouse). Of course, you can get fewer components, but even basic workloads (such as Windows 10 Home license, 256GB PCI Express M.2 SSD, and 8GB DDR4 SO-DIMM) will still return it minus $250. You will then see a minimum access point for this computer of $ 1,150 with a base version of $899.

If you are looking for game performance, you can get a desktop computer or a larger graphics game with much better performance for the same money. However, if you want the best performance with the smallest desktop case and virtual reality support for boot, the Intel NUC NUC8i7HVK “Hades Canyon” package is just what you need.

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