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Intel NUC 13 Extreme review: Compact powerhouse

Intel NUC 13 Extreme

It may be comparatively small, but the Intel NUC 13 Extreme packs plenty of punch. Size-wise, it's comparable to a mini-ITX case. However, Intel has tweaked the chassis design for maximum airflow, and there's even space for a triple-slot graphics card. It's hard not to be impressed by the amount of performance it's packing.

Quick specs

  • Intel 13th-gen Core i5, i7, or i9
  • Up to 64GB DDR5 RAM, 3x M.2 slots, Wi-Fi 6 and Intel 2.5GbE LAN/10GbE (AQC113) LAN
  • 750W 80+ Gold PSU
  • No storage, GPU, RAM, or OS included

With up to a 13th-gen Intel Core i9-13900K, and a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 card, the NUC 13 Extreme has performance in spades. There are also Core i5 and Core i7 versions available. Our test unit is the Core i9 model, with 32GB DDR5 RAM, and 1TB storage. Powering it all is a 750W 80+ Gold PSU. For the uninitiated, this just means the NUC offers a heck load of computing power for intensive tasks like gaming or live-streaming. There's also Wi-Fi 6, two LAN ports (2.5GbE and 10GbE), and two Thunderbolt 4 ports. Note that the retail units do not come with storage, RAM, GPU, or OS. You'll have to get those separately.

Intel NUC 13 Extreme
You will have to get your own graphics card, RAM, storage, and OS.
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

Our benchmarks tests had impressive numbers, but there are thermal constraints. In Cinebench R23, I noticed the PC throttling to keep temps at 90 degrees — it hit 100 degrees right from the get go. This does affect the score — it scored 30,550, compared to our test rig's benchmark of 34,992. It's not an issue with single-core performance, but it does slightly impact the video encoding test, which was 20 seconds slower than our test rig. This case will put out a lot of hot air when you're gaming. Internally, it's running somewhat cool — the GPU was around 60 to 70 degrees Celsius on load, while CPU was around 60 degrees (not at load).

Intel NUC 13 Extreme
Credit: Aloysius Low/Can Buy or Not

If you're gaming, there's really no issues. Sure, you'll get blasted with toasty waves of air if the unit is right next to you. But your games will run smooth as silk with high frame rates. It's pretty comparable to the test AMD rig with the 6800XT (which is comparable to the RTX 3080). Even on Ray Tracing Ultra settings, Cyberpunk 2077 ran at 66fps. We tested on 1080p, but you'll probably be fine on 1440p. 4K may be an issue for some games, though, but remember, this NUC has space for a full triple-slot GPU.

Retailing between US$1,179 and US$1,549 (~S$1,619 to S$2,127), the Intel NUC 13 Extreme is all about performance in relatively small size. You will still need to buy RAM, GPU, and storage, which all adds up. It's available this month, and we will update with buying links when available. In the meantime, check it out on Intel's site.

See Also
Razer Pro Click Mini

Note: Review unit provided by Intel.


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Verdict



CAN BUY

Powerful performance but you'll need to get extra parts.

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