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Intel NUC 8th Generation - Thumbs Up!

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DuncanS

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I hear you. With these "branded" laptops you almost have to strip out the OS and reinstall everything to get it working well, with all the bloatware and crap they install.
I did that with my i7 Asus and it has improved a bit (I only use it when I'm away, so just irritating), I think I'll swap the HDD for an SSD at some point - did that with my old i5 desktop and its stopped it going to the great PC pile in the sky!
 

bluelightning

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Its Windows 10 Pro (I know that has Bitlocker encryption, not sure what other features it has, or for that matter what it doesn't contain compared to Home), so Windows 10 Home is possibly better for a media player. You probably don't require the oomph of an i7, and I would go for a bigger SSD and a 1TB HDD as well.

I'm looking to buy from the UK offshoot of Simply NUC USA as they offer a 5yr guarantee for a modest cost, as I can't be bothered to fix things! I'll probably make it dual boot so Linux & Windows.

However, the cost of the box bluelightning has is really good. There was an issue with multichannel PCM on some intel i3/i5/i7 but I can't remember which Gen it was, but it looks like the 4th Gen i5 in that box works OK.
I know it does 5.1 just fine. Though I haven't tried DTS-HD, Dolby True HD. I will try those later today. I think it was the 6th or 7th gen that had that issue. I installed Kodi on it, so I wil try and report back.
 

bluelightning

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Upon further reading, I might be incorrect in my understanding on HDR capabilities & 8 th Gen NUCs. They wont do Dolby Vision for sure, but might actually handle HDR out over HDMI. After all the specs do show HDMI 2.0 a, which does HDR. If this were a criteria to you'll, I would want some member to confirm this first. Scant information out there as is.
 

HomerJAU

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To me a big drawback of the latest NUCs are the HDMI interface. It does not support 4K HDR/Vision etc, only 4K 60 Hz.
That's not quite correct. I am playing 4K UHD rips at 24Hz using LibreElec/Kodi 18.2. This does not yet display true HDR (its displays remapped HDR as SDR) but Intel, LibreElec and Kodi developers are working on new HDR drivers as I type this so we'll see 8th gen NUCs with HDR later this year.

If you're buying a NUC to use as a media player I'd recommend 8th gen (future proofing)
 

HomerJAU

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I believe the MCH issue on gen 6 and 7 is now solved if using Kodi. Definitley ok on 8th including 7.1 96/24 FLAC, HDMI Pass-through for Atmos, TrueHD, DTS:X, DTS-HDMA etc
 

bluelightning

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That's not quite correct. I am playing 4K UHD rips at 24Hz using LibreElec/Kodi 18.2. This does not yet display true HDR (its displays remapped HDR as SDR) but Intel, LibreElec and Kodi developers are working on new HDR drivers as I type this so we'll see 8th gen NUCs with HDR later this year.

If you're buying a NUC to use as a media player I'd recommend 8th gen (future proofing)
This is pretty much what I said earlier in my above post. It plays 4k up to 60 Hz, just not HDR. HDR to SDR to me is pointless, it takes away the whole reason for 4k (to me at least). As for drivers being developed, I think it is a wait and see. I am actually uncertain whether the hardware can actually support it. It certainly will not support it over the Thunderbolt connection. A direct HDMI out may just work if it is HDMI 2.0a at least. Future proofing is a moot point because the 8th Gen NUC will likely never support Dolby Vision, HDR10+ or any of the other HDR schemes.

My high end 4k Coffee Lake (8th Gen) based i7 XPS 15 laptop doesn't support HDR either (at least I haven't yet got it to work. It does do a HDR to SDR conversion (with madVR) for on screen display.

I will be very curious and excited to hear if you are able to get it to transmit 4k HDR to your TV through the HDMI out.


As for audio based formats, any older i3 based system is more than sufficient. For that matter, my 2011 Intel Pentium G630 low power processor is more than sufficient in dealing with on the fly multichannel SACD decoding.
 

bluelightning

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I know it does 5.1 just fine. Though I haven't tried DTS-HD, Dolby True HD. I will try those later today. I think it was the 6th or 7th gen that had that issue. I installed Kodi on it, so I wil try and report back.
I checked. DTS-HD/Dolby True HD work just fine after setting up correctly.
 

sbrom

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Do these configurations support a DLNA server? I like to use a DLNA streaming app on an iPad to control playback remotely. An example of such a DLNA app is Media:connect.
 

HomerJAU

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Do these configurations support a DLNA server?
Yes.

An Intel NUC is just a very small (100mm square) PC without @ screen or keyboard. It has USB ports, HDMI and LAN plus wifi and Bluetooth. You can install any operating system Windows or Linux and load you own apps.

I use an iPad app or a RF remote control to control my NUC (It’s Kodi running on Linux = LibreElec which is free). But you could load Windows (not free) and run whatever app you want.

There’s many many Media Player programs you could use, some free, some paid.
 

sbrom

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I like foobar2000. The thought of using foobar2K to play through my audio system/TV using an RF remote is VERY interesting.
 

HomerJAU

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You’d need to check an RF remote works on Windows (or Linux). Support for the RF remote I’m using is part of the standard LibreElec install.
 

kvsawilson

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I like foobar2000. The thought of using foobar2K to play through my audio system/TV using an RF remote is VERY interesting.
I use foobarcon, available on Google play, and it's just like having a remote. Just load to your phone or tablet and you can search your library and play,pause,whatever. Still use your rf remote for volume, but i love controlling my computer from another room.
K
 

LuvMyQuad

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I bought one of these recently off of ebay. Another member had mentioned it earlier and I thought it was a good idea, so I tried it. It is cheap enough to try. I got it mainly so that I could have a dedicated machine connected to my TV so that I could display that fantastic Foobar skin that you use. It does fine playing MCH SACD ISOs/ DSD/DST/DSF files. At steady state while decoding these files it utilizes around 34% CPU for all 4 different SACD decoder 1.11 modes. The seller has i3 & i5 based configs. They are based on older (4th gen ) intel processors.


I would not yet go with a newer NUC. To me, they don't add anything to the box I mentioned above's capabilities, especially for music playback.

To me a big drawback of the latest NUCs are the HDMI interface. It does not support 4K HDR/Vision etc, only 4K 60 Hz.
That was me who originally posted about these. I use mine regularly and have had no issues at all. You simply cant beat the price. It even comes with a valid version of Windows 10 Pro. They are unbranded but everything in mine is Intel. I use it for music playback and REW analysis. Mine is an i5.

Maybe something that hasn't been mentioned till now, is fan noise. The fanless design is what attracted me to this unit in the first place. My unit sits right in my equipment cabinet, only 12 feet or so from my ears. You can easily hear a standard fan ( I know because I had a fan design prior to this one). I guess I don't really understand how they do it. It runs an i5 with no cooling fan and it never gets past being barely warm to the touch. Go try to find another similarly performing mini PC that is fanless for anywhere near the price.
 

bluelightning

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That was me who originally posted about these. I use mine regularly and have had no issues at all. You simply cant beat the price. It even comes with a valid version of Windows 10 Pro. They are unbranded but everything in mine is Intel. I use it for music playback and REW analysis. Mine is an i5.

Maybe something that hasn't been mentioned till now, is fan noise. The fanless design is what attracted me to this unit in the first place. My unit sits right in my equipment cabinet, only 12 feet or so from my ears. You can easily hear a standard fan ( I know because I had a fan design prior to this one). I guess I don't really understand how they do it. It runs an i5 with no cooling fan and it never gets past being barely warm to the touch. Go try to find another similarly performing mini PC that is fanless for anywhere near the price.
Thank you for recommending it. I agree with you . I was unable to find anything like it for anywhere near the price. I bought the i5 also. Has more than plenty power for DSD/multichannel audio / 1080p video etc.
Only thing I haven't had luck with is getting this Darkone foobar skin to work the way I like.
 

bluelightning

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Thank you for recommending it. I agree with you . I was unable to find anything like it for anywhere near the price. I bought the i5 also. Has more than plenty power for DSD/multichannel audio / 1080p video etc.
Only thing I haven't had luck with is getting this Darkone foobar skin to work the way I like.
Also, I use mine either through RDP or with a wireless mini keyboard.
 

DuncanS

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Arriving on Friday an Intel NUC8i7BEH with 32GB DDR, 1TB SSD & 2TB HDD then I'll need the time to set it all up, a nice problem to have :)
My NUC arrived, but I didn't have time to switch it on. It is going to have to do a few tasks work related, and being surround capable is actually a positive bonus! So as I'm Mother Sitting again this week I've brought it up here to load with software (sadly I can't try listening in surround as that little bit of kit is 100 miles away!). I got it preassembled and it came with Windows 10 Home preloaded. I've loaded foobar2000, but what add-ons should I get for that and where do I get them from?
 

bluelightning

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My NUC arrived, but I didn't have time to switch it on. It is going to have to do a few tasks work related, and being surround capable is actually a positive bonus! So as I'm Mother Sitting again this week I've brought it up here to load with software (sadly I can't try listening in surround as that little bit of kit is 100 miles away!). I got it preassembled and it came with Windows 10 Home preloaded. I've loaded foobar2000, but what add-ons should I get for that and where do I get them from?
It is somewhat of a pain finding all the foobar plugins and downloading them. You have to download each one individually. I will try to post a screenshot from my components section later. Off the top of my head, you will need the sacd decoder (1.11 or 1.12), DVDA, & DTS plugins. Most components except for the sacd decoder are available from the foobar components page.
 
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