Intel NUC gaming 2021 – which graphics card should you buy?

Intel NUC gaming 2021
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What is good in Intel NUC gaming? Should you invest on it? It can handle 4K video games Wireless and Bluetooth works really well. Great machine for the at home office. Barely takes up any space. I can have dozens of applications open for work with zero issues. The fan stays really quiet but can get noisy when gaming. What is best Intel NUC gaming in 2021?

Price

The bare-bones kit costs a whopping $1150 approximately. And when you add storage, memory, GPU, and an OS on top of that, the total costs round out north of $1500. You may find them at lower price in amazon, eBay or Walmart if there is any promotion.

Which Intel NUC you should choose for gaming?

Casual Gamer – Intel® NUC 8 Performance Mini PC

Intel® Core™ i3 processor – Goodbye everyday. Hello awesome. Go from office work to out-of-this-world with a powerful PC that can handle both. With 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i3 processor and built-in Radeon* 540 graphics, you’ll get powerful everyday performance and incredible game play.

Hardcore Gamer – Intel® NUC 8 Extreme Mini PC

Intel® Core™ i7 processor – Perfect your game play with the virtually unbeatable 8th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-8809G processor. Get great performance for AAA games and step into Virtual Reality with the smallest VR ready PC available.

Power Gamer – Intel® NUC 8 Performance Mini PC

Intel® Core™ i5 & i7 processors – Boost your power and step up to the quad-core Intel® Core™ i5-8265U or i7-8565U processors for smooth game-play and stunning performance. You’ll see the difference with Radeon™ 540X graphics in detailed visuals and epic environments.

Compare Intel NUC gaming 2021

Intel NUC8i3BEH Mini PC , i3 Tall, with Kingston (8GB Ram + 256GB SSD)Intel NUC8i5BEK Mini PC , i5 Slim, with Kingston (16GB Ram + 512GB SSD)Intel NUC8i5BEH Mini PC , i5 Tall, with Kingston (8GB Ram + 256GB SSD)Intel NUC8i3BEK Mini PC , i3 Slim, with Kingston (16GB Ram + 512GB SSD)
Computer Memory Size8GB16GB8GB16GB
SSD256GB512GB256GB512GB
CPU ModelCore i3-8109UCore i5-8259UCore i5-8259UCore i3-8109U
Graphics CoprocessorIntel Iris Plus Graphics 655Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
Hardware PlatformPCPCPCPC
Operating SystemWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 HomeWindows 10 Home
Processor Count4444

What is the best Intel NUC gaming in 2021?

 1. Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast

At home or at a competition, the Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Mini PC’s new cooling system won’t heat up the room, no matter how intense the gameplay gets—and the new thermal design allows the system to be placed vertically or horizontally, so the Intel NUC 11 Enthusiast Mini PC is small enough to fit on any desk.

Take gaming to the next level with the ultra-fast, super small Intel® NUC 11 Enthusiast Mini PC. The mini PC and kit deliver incredible performance and are optimized for gaming with an 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor and discrete NVIDIA RTX 2060 Max-P graphics.

  • Powered by an 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7 processor to deliver game changing performance
  • Featuring discrete NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 Max-P graphics for exceptional visuals
  • Up to 64 GB of ultra-fast dual-channel DDR4-3200 memory
  • 2x M.2 slots for PCIe Gen3 NVMe SSDs
  • Wi-Fi 6, the latest, fastest generation, along with 2.5 Gbps Ethernet for lightning-fast connections
  • Two Thunderbolt™ 4 ports for additional displays, fast data transfer, charging, and connecting a range of peripherals
  • Cool and quiet with new thermal design that uses five heat pipes to move heat from the CPU and GPU to the fins
  • Customizable top RGB panel for your own signature design
  • Only 1.3 liters in size

2. Intel NUC 9 Pro

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Size (Inches): 9.4 x 8.5 x 3.8
  • Weight: 4.1 pounds
  • CPU: Intel Xeon E-2286M
  • Storage: 1TB SSD
  • Geekbench 5 Score: 7,985
REASONS TO BUY
  • +Powerful workstation processing and graphics
  • +Compact size with great port selection and upgradability
  • +Innovative tech inside
REASONS TO AVOID

-Seriously expensive

The Intel NUC 9 Pro is a workstation mini PC that offers huge power and a surprising amount of upgradability. A workstation desktop isn’t an uncommon offering in the PC world, as they’re the standard for many computationally demanding uses, ranging from architecture to animation. What is unusual is to see that level of performance packed into a tiny design that’s smaller than a 5-liter SFF desktop. 

Throw in room for huge amounts of RAM, added drives and up to an 8-inch graphics card, and the Intel NUC 9 Pro is a rare beast indeed. And that’s before discussing Intel’s innovative Compute Element motherboard, which weds the modularity of the motherboard with the built-in cooling and self-contained design of a GPU to create a unique basis for a truly potent PC. Add it all up, and it’s definitely the best workstation available in mini PCs today.

3. Intel NUC 8 VR

Intel NUC gaming 2021

A single cursory glance at the glowing blue skull logo on the NUC8i7HVK, and you can tell this is quite a drastic departure from Intel’s previous and even some new NUC Kits. These bare-bones mini-PCs have always been greyish & little square things. However, the new NUC –Hades Canyon – is slightly bigger, darker, and more focused on performance than before.

Right next to Intel’s quad-core, eight-thread 3.10 GHz Core i7 chip, the NUC8i7HVK is fitted with a Radeon RX Vega MGH graphics card. It is a slightly faster cousin of the RX Vega M GL found in HP’s top-rated Spectre 360 laptop. Moreover, it comes with a 32GB DDR4 2400 MHz Memory and 1TB (512GB x 2) NVMe SSD. Preinstalled 64bit Ubuntu is just icing on the cake, providing unlimited customization.

As for performance, VR gaming is a walk in the park for this mini machismo. The RX Vega M GH chip surprises with its potency. And it’s aided by Intel’s Core i7-8809G because of its ability to Turbo boost from 3.1 to 4.2 GHz. You should be able to play to most AAA VR titles at 90 or even above FPS on medium to high settings.

All in all, Intel’s NUC VR 8 NUC8i7HVK is an impressive bit of manufacturing. It does exceptionally well in rendering good quality video games. That’s why it’s included in our list of the Best Intel NUC for gaming. Yet squeezing that much power into a miniature-sized device does escalate the costs.

4. Intel Hades Canyon

SPECIFICATIONS
  • Size (Inches): 8.7 x 5.6 x 1.5
  • Weight: 4.75 pounds
  • CPU : Intel Core i7-8009G/AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH
  • Storage: Bring Your Own
REASONS TO BUY
  • +Impressive graphics performance
  • +Compact, attractive design
  • +Tons of ports
  • +Customizable RGB lighting
REASONS TO AVOID

-Expensive after adding parts

Intel’s Hades Canyon NUC is a mini PC that delivers desktop-gaming-grade performance in a chassis that’s about the size of a book. Thanks to its Intel Core i7-8009G/AMD Radeon RX Vega M GH hybrid chip, which combines processing and discrete graphics on a single chip, the Hades Canyon NUC can handle AAA games and VR in a small, black brick that can be tucked into a backpack or added to a home entertainment center.

Despite its small size, the Hades Canyon NUC is loaded with ports, including Thunderbolt 3 ports and HDMI output. If you buy the barebones kit, you’ll need to provide memory and storage, and your own installation of Windows, but this pint-sized gaming machine can go toe-to-toe with an Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti-powered gaming tower, and it even handled a bit of VR. It’s the best mini PC you can get for gaming without compromise.

5. Intel BOXNUC8i3CYSM1

The Intel BOXNUC8i3CYSM1 NUC 8 Home is ideal for people who cannot afford to spend upwards of 500 bucks on a mini gaming PC. Of course, that means compromising a little on some of the components. Fortunately, it is helped in a big way by AMD’s Radeon RX 540.

Those who want the system to be more responsive should seriously consider investing in a 2.5-inch SSD or an M.2 SSD. This is because the RAM is soldered in, and a 1TB HDD feels rather slow. You cannot bump your RAM up to 16 GB, and there are no other upgrade options available. Also, there is no USB-C or thunderbolt port on this unit.

Built with an 8th generation Intel Core i3 processor, Intel BOXNUC8i3CYSM1 NUC 8 Home does great with gaming. Other specifications include a 2 GB of GDDR5 graphics RAM, 8 GB of LPDDR4 memory, and a 1 TB SATA HDD installed along with an extra M.2 slot where you can add an optional SSD or Intel Optane Memory module for even more performance.

That said, Intel NUC8i3CYSM is a complete Mini PC ready to power on and play away for a casual gamer. Preinstalled with Windows 10, the NUC8i3CYSM also comes with enough assortment of ports for all your gaming peripherals. Therefore, you can jump right into the foray without wasting any time.

6. Intel 8 Performance-G (NUC8i7HVKVA)

Intel NUC gaming 2021

This is the same NUC8i7HVKVA – or Intel’s Hades Canyon – as we previously discussed. The only difference is that with this configuration, you can choose between a 100W Core i7 16GB RAM, 1TB SSD, and a 65W Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD options. It’s small, potent, and most importantly, it’s an overclockable VR gaming machine.

As we talked about previously, the CPU and GPU performance is pretty solid, thanks to its gameplay augmenting features like Freesync. There are various ports to give you peripheral connectivity. You can even run external graphics over the Thunderbolt 3 port for an additional performance boost.

The NUC8i7HVKVA’s Intel’s 8th-gen processor rides on the same chip as an AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics card and is accompanied by 4GB HBM2. This configuration alone should address Intel’s HD Graphics engine’s shortcomings, allowing mini-PC a smooth gaming experience. Plus, it provides 16GB of DDR4-2400 RAM & NVMe 760P SSD – all the storage you may need for digital media, video games, files, and more.

Intel’s old but tested Kaby Lake-G processors offer surprisingly decent performance in a small package. The NUC8i7HVK is swift in games and productivity, and it provides all the connectivity options to satisfy real enthusiasts. Just be ready to dole out some serious money for the privilege of owning this one.

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