MiniKnight

The NUC based home lab

MiniKnight

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Mar 30, 2012
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MiniKnight submitted a new resource:

The NUC based home lab - Low power, low cost home lab nodes

The Intel NUC is a very popular platform for home labs. The small Intel NUCs are intended to be HTPCs, business PCs and similar productivity tools. Many of the Intel NUCs (and similar NUC-like machines) can be used as virtualization hosts (ESXi, VirtualBox, KVM, Hyper-V), Docker Swarm nodes, video encoding nodes or even as shared storage.

Intel NUC Pros
  • Low cost and integrated
  • Usually have Wi-Fi built-in or it can be added easily
  • Intel NICs
  • vPro on many Core i5 and...
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Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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6th gen i3 with 2.5" no Coro (NUC6i3SYH) is on Amazon, newegg, b&h etc for ~$300 and g.skill and crucial have 26gb ddr4 dimms st ~100 each but not 16gb dimms on the Intel certified yet.

I will be ordering one or 2 this weekend to play with for my new home lab.
 

RobertFontaine

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Dec 17, 2015
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I'm surprised these are being considered. You can buy an awful lot of compute for the price of 4 nucs. I quite like them as a desktop replacement but the lack of networking, pcie, memory, disk make them an odd choice for a lab tool? Almost better off by 20 raspberry pi' and a couple of parallelas or maybe some of the other development boards that have extensibility options for networking/disk/smp/distributed processing etc.
 
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Chuntzu

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Jun 30, 2013
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I have purchased a number of the nucd 53427 i5 used for $150 each. They are great! I have cheap 32-64gb ssds to boot from and usb3.0 gigabit nics 2-3x and run iscsi drives or use smb multichannel for extra storage. I even have a a 4x 54250 nucs with dual m550 ssds that I am running scaleio and s2d on and they are working out well using a usb 3.0 flash drive to boot windows server from. Only problem with the 54250 is that the ethernet drive has to be modified to work with server 2012. I really like these for playing with bare metal deployment scenarios.
 

Patrick

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I have purchased a number of the nucd 53427 i5 used for $150 each. They are great! I have cheap 32-64gb ssds to boot from and usb3.0 gigabit nics 2-3x and run iscsi drives or use smb multichannel for extra storage. I even have a a 4x 54250 nucs with dual m550 ssds that I am running scaleio and s2d on and they are working out well using a usb 3.0 flash drive to boot windows server from. Only problem with the 54250 is that the ethernet drive has to be modified to work with server 2012. I really like these for playing with bare metal deployment scenarios.
Do these have vPro?

@Evan - I would like to hear your thoughts on speed v. the 5th gen i5's.

@RobertFontaine I will admit to having 4 NUCs at home and one in the datacenter (I use it as my "uh oh" local admin node)

@MiniKnight great job. I did a review on your resource.
 

Chuntzu

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Jun 30, 2013
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The 53427 do have vpro. And they are roughly the same performance as the 54250 node +/- 1-3%
 

Patrick

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@RobertFontaine I will admit to having 4 NUCs at home and one in the datacenter (I use it as my "uh oh" local admin node)

You appear to have 4 of just about everything.
I am pretty sure the original 4x 400GB Intel SAS SSDs and the 4x S3700 400GB's have grown so numerous due to replication.

I think I just do things in RAID 10 sets.
 

Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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does NUC have intel AMT?
I assume the vPro ones would but the 6th gen yet has a vPro version.

I have not had time to try mine out yet. Ended up getting crucial memory rather than g.skill.
Probably spend most time setting it back up next week after I am back home from holidays.
 
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Evan

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@Evan - I would like to hear your thoughts on speed v. the 5th gen i5's.
I don't have a 5th gen to compare to but all the other CPU benchmarks put the new i3 at the old i5 speed. GPU being generally much better.
There is a few good reviews on the web now where people have tested.

I don't do any cpu intensive testing so the 32gb memory is really what got me to wait for 6th gen.

Did you want me to try any specific benchmarks ? (Sorry I only am using sata Ssd as cost for capacity was more important than the extra speed of nvme pcie)
 

canta

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I assume the vPro ones would but the 6th gen yet has a vPro version.

I have not had time to try mine out yet. Ended up getting crucial memory rather than g.skill.
Probably spend most time setting it back up next week after I am back home from holidays.
Thanks!!!

just a head of planning..
I am okay with Intel AMT for checking off-on, turn off-on, and sensor monitoring (fans and temps) for low power entry level server that not very crucial.

my conclusion, as long as vPro on NuC, AMT should be ready to use.

thanks again.
 

Evan

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Jan 6, 2016
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I had a similar problem and glad to see the solution here.
Since Brad bumped the old thread worth to mention now the 8th gen is quad core and higher TDP cpu. For a small KVM or K8’s cluster or similar it’s probably not bad option again.
 

WANg

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Jun 10, 2018
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Man, one thing I've found rather upsetting about the Intel NUCs is how heavily they depreciate, and how they are the "good but no cigar" machines of the homelab world - a used Intel NUC or its clone equivalent have almost no resell value on the secondary market whatsoever, and that's even provided that you buy something fairly beefy in the first place.

I have a Gigabyte BRIX i7 5775R machine that I spent almost $600 on last year (one that I am honestly not too thrilled about, due to its inferior (read: noisy) cooling setup), and it's already beaten down by the flood of Corporate NUCs coming off lease (Dell Optiplex 70x0 Minis, the HP EliteDesk 800G2/3s, the Lenovo M9xp) on eBay. Hell, for the price of outfitting a single new 8th Gen core machine, I could probably pick up 2 of the Skylakes or almost 3 of the Haswell corporate NUCs.
 
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Evan

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Certianly a buy and hold option, of re-use for family members desktops.

If you don’t need to run things 24x7 then just get some E5 boxes for a lab type cluster.

The place I see them is the small home cluster than runs a few services that need to be 24x7, like firewall, AD, maybe OpenHAB for home automation, wireless controller etc.
 

WANg

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Even for those edge cases there are arguably better choices out there, and they are certainly cheaper than picking up the NUCs brand new.
The HP t620 Plus/t730 thin clients, for example - they are able to squeeze in PCIe slots but keep the system acoustics down to an almost-invisible level like the Intel NUCs. Like I said before - if it's for homelabs, don't buy Intel NUCs brand-new, get an off-lease Corporate NUC as you're making someone else pay for their depreciation/taking advantage of their economies of scale.
 
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I_D

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Aug 3, 2017
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Good idea to start a resource and consolidate all the info we have on these.
To those of you who own one, please report the power usage, as well as the spec you have? (what is in your NUC)

I plan to get me some NUCS as well to start a low-power cluster with.

Some cool links I found while browsing the web:

Build a DIY rack for NUCS

ESXI tips & tricks
 
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