Intel NUC 13 Extreme review

Intel NUC 13 Extreme review

Intel NUC 13 Extreme

Intel NUC 13 Extreme has nothing to do with the original NUC concept and is simply a very powerful and compact stripped-down game. You can choose a large video card, memory and storage yourself, but the processor is already built in. The version we tested has an i9 13900K as the CPU and it actually takes a lot for this small system; Throttle leaves a quarter of the performance unused. Versions with i7 or even i5 are much cheaper and probably provide a more interesting overall picture.

With the Intel NUC, you’re no doubt thinking of an impressive little box in which you’ll find a mobile processor on a motherboard measuring ten by ten centimeters. So you’re very wrong about the NUC 13 Extreme, because this computer has a Core i9 13900K processor and fits a 30cm 3-slot video card. In this review you’ll find out how Intel manages that in a 14-liter box.

The distant predecessor of the NUC 13 Extreme

As for the story behind the NUC Extreme, we have to go back to CES 2020, yeah, the last big tech show before the pandemic hit. There, Intel introduced the NUC 9 Extreme, with pretty much the same concept as the new NUC 13 Extreme; The processor and all related hardware is located on a plug-in card, the so-called Compute Element, which plugs into a motherboard with additional slots, including a PCIe slot for a discrete video card. The box around it was much smaller at five liters and the processor used was still one of the laptop versions, but the concept was already there.

The idea then was for other manufacturers to design cabinets around the computing element themselves. For the NUC 9 Extreme, Cooler Master and Razer, among others, have already done that, but for the last few releases that hasn’t happened as far as we know. We also don’t find the discrete computing element in any store; Actively buying the full bare bone is the only way to get NUC 13 Extreme Compute Element.

The NUC 13 Extreme Kit we received from Intel contains a Core i9 13900K processor and must be completed with at least one working memory (DDR5 sodimm) and an SSD (3x M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4). The box contains space for a video card with three 8-pin PEG connectors measuring 31.3 cm long and three bays high. Fits RTX 4080 or 4090 Founders Edition in theory, but cannot be installed in a regular way. The complete box would have to be disassembled and there would be a lot of stress on the 16-pin connector. That’s why we tested the NUC 13 Extreme with a top model in smaller proportions: the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XTX.

Intel NUC 13 Extreme NUC13RNGi9 Cluster
Healer Intel Core i9 13900K (8P+16E, Boost 5.8GHz)
GPU Intel UHD Graphics 770, PCIe 5.0 x16 slot
The memory is there no
memory slots 2x DDR5 SO-DIMMs
Storage is available no
storage slots 3 M.2 PCIe 4.0 x4 + 2 x 2.5″ SATA slots
power supply FSP750-27SCB 850 Watt 80 Plus Gold SFX 12VO
OS no
Dimensions 33.7 x 31.8 x 12.9 cm
front links 2x USB-A 5Gb/s, 1x USB-C 20Gb/s, 3.5mm jack
Backlinks 2x Thunderbolt 4, 6x USB-A 10Gb/s, 1x HDMI 2.1, 10Gb/s Ethernet (Marvell AQC113), 2.5Gb/s Ethernet (Intel I226-V), 3x 3.5mm audio jack, Power Delivery
Wifi Wi-Fi 6E + Bluetooth 5.3 (Intel AX1690i)
price 1,549 euros (when published: 1,549 euros)

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