Intel NUC 9 professional mini PC review — crazy speed beats Mac mini m1

The Intel NUC 9 professional provides something exciting within the mini Computer globe, with a powerful workstation crammed into among the desktop that is smallest designs you’ll ever see with a discrete graphics card inside. The PC that is mini is defined by little sizes and Intel’s Next device of Computing (NUC) has generally speaking followed the essential template of small systems, nevertheless the NUC 9 Pro (beginning at $1,305, $2,868 as tested) actions things up in a huge method with Intel Xeon processing, Nvidia Quadro P2200 photos and space for storage space and expansion cards.

Not Everyone will need the professional-grade power of a workstation desktop – these systems are best suited to users doing professional work in engineering, finance, medicine and animation – but our Intel NUC 9 Pro review makes it clear that the NUC that is latest is a compact powerhouse and one of the best mini PCs for power users that’s worth the investment.

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review: Price and configurations

The NUC 9 Pro is generally sold as a kit by Intel, but you can also buy it as a system that is preconfigured with all the necessary elements and pc software to get going. The Quartz Canyon setup we useful for an Intel Xeon E-2286M to our review processor, 32GB of RAM, the Nvidia Quadro P2200 graphics card and 1TB of SSD storage, with Windows 10 Pro pre-installed – sells for $2,868.

The NUC 9 Pro is available as a barebones kit, with no RAM, no storage and no operating system. Equipped with a less powerful Intel Core i7-9850H processor and integrated graphics, it sells for $1,305. With the Xeon that is same E-2286M as our review model, it offers for $1,640.

Other non-Pro variations associated with NUC 9 are available to you, such as the gaming-oriented NUC 9 Extreme (Ghost Canyon), which begins at $999 with an Intel Core i5 9th Gen processor that is i5-9300H but scales up to a potent Intel Core i9-9980HK system for $1,649.

Finally, if you want to put the Intel Compute Element into your own case of choice, it’s available as a product that is standalone both in the Intel Core i7 and Xeon variations available in the NUC kits, attempting to sell for $1153 and $1473, correspondingly.

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review: Design

The Intel NUC 9 professional is significantly larger than past NUC designs, with a boxy mini tower setup that toes the line between mini PCs and form that is small desktops. This 9.4 x 8.5 x 3.8-inch desktop is made for performance.

(Image with grills on both sides of the compact chassis credit: Tom’s Guide)

However, where lots of the littlest desktop PCs depend on mini-ITX motherboards, The Intel NUC 9 Pro makes use of Intel’s brand new Compute Element, a cartridge-like board that is enclosed contains the motherboard, processor, and other internal components. (More on that below.)

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review

But where the NUC 9 really diverges from previous models is the ability to add a graphics that are discrete. A workstation GPU that offers plenty of muscle for things like media editing and rendering complex models.

(Image in our case that’s an Nvidia Quadro P2200 credit: Tom’s Guide)

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review

It also features a case that can easily be fairly exposed, supplied you have got a screwdriver. Eliminate a few tiny screws within the straight back and you will slip from the cover that is top and then remove the vented side panel for access to all of the internals.

Additional storage can also be accommodated in the larger case – the NUC 9 Pro has both dual M.2 slots for drives – and PCIe connectivity for a graphics that are discrete as much as 8 ins in total. The NUC 9 has most of its ports on the back of the system, complete with slots for the additional ports afforded by the GPU.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review

The Intel NUC 9 Pro seems less like Intel’s take on the Apple Mac mini – which is what defined many of the early NUC designs – and instead looks like an attempt to wed the NUC concept with the most extreme small form factor systems like a traditional desktop tower. The result is a workstation that is potent desktop crammed into 4.92 liters of real room, providing more energy per cubic inches than virtually any desktop we have seen.

That stated, the Intel NUC 9 professional instance is actually just suitable to your NUC, plus it would simply take a separate enthusiast builder to gather exactly the same elements such a case that is compact. If you’re more interested in owning a tiny but PC that is powerful building one, this is certainly certainly the higher approach to take.

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review: Ports

On the front and straight back of this NUC 9 Pro you will discover a large amount of ports. A complete of 6 USB 3.1 Gen 2 slots provide a lot of connectivity for peripherals, also two Thunderbolt 3 connectors and two USB 2.0 ports. In the front side can also be an SD card slot and a stereo that is 3.5mm jack.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

On the back, you’ll also find one HDMI port coming off of the board that is main along side two 1 Gigabit Ethernet ports. The Nvidia Quadro P2200 photos card additionally provides a complete of four DisplayPort connections.

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review

(Image Credit: Tom’s Guide)

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review

Wireless capability is also built in with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax wireless supporting up to Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth v5 for connecting wireless headphones, keyboards and mice, and whatever else.

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review: Intel Compute Element

The version that is latest of the NUC is built around the Intel Compute Element, a modular system that is essentially a small motherboard packaged more like a graphics card, with the CPU soldered to the board, thermal management built in, and an enclosed design that keeps everything safe and secure. Our unit came equipped with an Intel Xeon processor, packing some intense power into an design that is extremely compact. Within the Compute Element you will find a pair also of SO-DIMM RAM slots, as well as two M.2 slots for storage.

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

The modular design of the Compute Element means it can even be slotted into a separate PC, connecting with a PCIe slot on an motherboard that is existing. There isn’t any information transfer between your two, nonetheless it provides an unbiased PC that is full-powered enough to slot into another desktop tower. The NUC 9 Pro offers a huge range of power with the Intel Compute Element available with processors ranging from a Core i5 up to the Xeon we see in our own test unit. The Compute Element operates with a TDP of 95 watts, and it is also available as a standalone device split through the NUC housing.Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review: PerformanceOur device is equipped with an Intel Xeon E-2286M processor, a potent 8-core CPU able to handle 16 processing that is discrete. Paired with Nvidia Quadro P2200 graphics, that puts the NUC 9 Pro firmly in the workstation category, packing the sort of power you might need for engineering and other 3D that is professional. This is the sort of tiny PC you’ll want.(Image if you need to design a bridge, or a new hip replacement joint, or need to edit lots of high-resolution video credit: Tom’s Guide)While the processor itself can handle up to 128 GB of RAM, the NUC and the Intel Compute Element inside are limited to 64 GB. Our unit that is own boasts respectable 32 GBof RAM, but while that gives a lot of memory for smooth operations, it is nowhere near because impressive as either the board or processor will be able to manage.

In our evaluating of this NUC 9 professional, we had been effortlessly in a position to stream video that is 4K simultaneously browsing on more than a dozen open Chrome tabs at once without a hint of slowing down. Even it all without any noticeable lag.

(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)

In Geekbench 5.0, the Intel NUC 9 Pro had a category-leading score of 7,985, easily outpacing the likes of the new

Apple Mac mini with the M1 processor

, which scored 6,005 points, and blowing the doors off of low-powered mini PCs like the Lenovo ThinkCentre M90N Nano, which managed 3,265 with an Intel Core i5-8365U processor.

Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review

For as we expanded this to 20, 30 and up to 50 individual chrome tabs, the system handled a far more real-world example of performance, we additionally went the NUC 9 Pro through our Handbrake test, testing just how quickly a method can transcode a video that is 4K to 1080p. The Intel NUC 9 Pro offered results that are speedy doing the test in 8 mins 23 moments. The Mac mini had been simply a hair faster (8:11) with all the Apple-optimized form of the test (and just 12:38 when operating the version that is standard Rosetta 2), but both were well ahead of the Lenovo ThinkCentre M90n (20:23). That said, other mini PCs that offer workstation-grade performance have done better – the

Asus ProArt* that is PA90( did exactly the same task in five minutes 48 moments.(*)To get another real-world way of measuring the machine abilities, we utilize PugetBench’s scripted Photoshop test, which chews through lots of resource intensive tasks and creates a score that is final. The Intel NUC 9 Pro produced a blistering 849 points, beating out both the Mac mini (566) and the Lenovo M90n Nano (390).(*)Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review: Graphics(*)With the workstation-grade Nvidia Quadro P2200 graphics card inside, the NUC 9 Pro is outfitted with some firepower that is serious expert users doing anything from complex economic modeling to engineering and design. The Quadro P2200 has the power to drive up to four 5K displays and offers real rendering muscle for pros with 1280 CUDA Cores and 5GB of dedicated VRAM. It’s also certified on dozens of professional applications, with independent software vendor certifications for tools as varied as design and engineering applications like Dassault Systèmes SOLIDWORKS, architectural software like Nemetschek Vectorworks, animation and VFX tools like Maxon CINEMA 4D, video editing programs like Magix Vegas Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro CC, and image editors like Adobe Photoshop.(*)In the graphics-oriented 3DMark Pro Fire Strike, the NUC 9 Pro scored 9,944 points, putting it ahead of other workstation mini PCs like the (*)HP Z2 Mini* that is g4( (4,609), but dropping behind the Asus ProArt PA90 (13,897), leading the category. The Apple Mac mini could not run this test that is windows-only. Regardless, this score makes the NUC 9 Pro one of the more mini that are powerful we’ve seen.(*)The Same thing was seen when the NUC was tested by us 9 Pro’s gaming capabilities. The combined processing power and graphics muscle let it notch 100 frames per second in the Civilization VI benchmark test when running at 1080p resolution though it’s not built to be a gaming machine. Set alongside the Lenovo M90n (73.6) additionally the Mac mini (31.5 fps), the NUC 9 professional is in a league that is different than most mini PCs we review – which is to be expected.(*)Intel NUC 9 Pro (Quartz Canyon) review: Verdict(*)When it comes to the Intel NUC 9 Pro, this is one PC that is mini provides a lot of energy, nevertheless the genuine trick is suitable all that energy into such a little room while nevertheless providing some upgradability, an attribute seldom observed in the mini Computer globe. But suitable a much larger workstation desktop’s might into a mini Computer does not come inexpensive, and also the $2,800 price of our review model is high indeed.(*)Compared to your Apple Mac mini or the Lenovo ThinkCentre M90N Nano, which offer for $699 and $449, correspondingly, the Intel NUC 9 professional is absurdly high priced. And also for the majority that is vast of, those more affordable models will be the better choice. But Intel didn’t make the NUC 9 Pro for the shopper that is average and now we are not suggesting it for them.(*)(Image credit: Tom’s Guide)(*)For a segment that is certain of, the powerful capabilities offered by the NUC 9 Pro as a compact workstation desktop are more than worth the price. And while you can probably find a tower that is standard design that gives comparable specifications and energy on the cheap, you are additionally spending money on the compact design, and the following is where Intel’s small task actually takes care of. Getting a desktop with a Xeon processor and Quadro photos is something, but getting them into the case that is 5-liter defines the brand new NUC desktop? Well, that’s one thing types of special.(*)

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