Intel NUC

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Next Unit of Computing (NUC) is a small-form-factor (SFF) PC designed by Intel and is based on soldered-on low-power i3, i5 and i7 CPUs. Its motherboard measures 4 × 4 inches (10.16 × 10.16 cm).

The barebone kits consist of the board, in a plastic case with a fan, an external power supply and VESA mounting plate. Intel does offer for sale just the NUC motherboards, which have a built-in CPU, although (as of 2013) the price of a NUC motherboard is very close to the corresponding cased kit; third-party cases for the NUC boards are also available.

Installation

Follow usual installation guide procedures.

It is highly recommended to update the board BIOS prior to installation. See official Intel BIOS update instructions for details.

Note: Prior to BIOS update, review the community response to the latest BIOS version compatability with the specific NUC model, as some versions are known to cause new regressions.

NVMe

Intel NUCs support NVMe drives connected to the PCIe M.2 connector. See Solid State Drives/NVMe.

Note: In latest BIOS version 0033 (and possibly in later versions as well), M.2 is disabled by default due to a bug.

Graphics

Most NUCs use integrated Intel graphics. See Hardware video acceleration to enjoy it on supported NUC models.

Skylake

Warning: The i915 Intel DRM driver suffers from various bugs that can result in kernel errors, GPU crashes and even complete system freezes.

Some promising fixes are pending in kernel 4.6. In the meantime, see Intel graphics#Skylake Support for useful workarounds.

Wireless

Most NUC wireless adapters should work out of the box. Make sure relevant firmware is loaded. See Wireless network configuration#iwlwifi for details.

Performance

Boot

Fastest boot times are achieved with UEFI boot and disabling legacy boot in the BIOS settings.

Troubleshooting

NUC brick-by-suspend issue

Warning: There is a widely reported issue [1][2][3] where Intel NUCs running Linux can become bricked by going into sleep, suspend and/or hibernate. The source of this issue in unclear but according to some reports Arch Linux is affected as well.

The current recommended workaround is to never wake up the NUC from hibernation via the power button but only through alternative means such as Wake-on-LAN or wake-on-USB.

If your NUC has become bricked, it might be possible to restore it by momentarily disconnecting the CMOS battery on the bottom side of the motherboard.

Audio plug

The PulseAudio#Switch on connect module is buggy and in some cases might cause pulseaudio to stop playing audio when disconnecting the plug, until pulse is restarted. In this case, comment out the module:

/etc/pulse/default.pa
#load-module module-switch-on-port-available

TPM

NUC devices have TPM capabilites that are currently blocked due to a few bugs in tpm_crb[4][5].

Poweroff

After issuing a shutdown, the NUC might remain in some state which isn't completely shut down, as indicated by a remaining blue power LED. In this case it's neccesary to power off the unit by holding the power button for a few seconds.

The workaround for this issue is to disable all wake-on-CIR (infrared sensor) options in the BIOS. In some cases it might be required to disable the CIR sensor completely to fix the issue.

Resources