NUC boxes? Anyone had any experience with them?


I see quite a few running the Celeron Chips and claiming 2.4+ ghz speeds from the processor? What do you guys and gals think about using a Celeron for VST and audio work? I always thought an i5 or better was the only way to go…but NUC boxes wtih i anything are really expensaive for what they are IMO. I think the prices are definitely inflated by popularity!

Im trying to ditch the laptop from the setup and the NUCs look a lot smaller and less obtrusive. I mean I run everything with the laptop lid shut anyway, so its not llike I need a screen or keyboard (qwerty) for live work.


I’m also curious about NUC performance. I’m in the process of building my first C3 based rig and I’m torn between a laptop, NUC, Surface Pro or a custom rack system. I’ve read that the NUCs can get hot and throttle down, and I don’t know if that has too much of a negative impact on audio. I suppose any mobile system could do that too. A custom rack system with integrated audio interface could be nice too (similar to the Seelake AudioStation).

To start, I’ll be using 2 keyboard controllers (Roland A-88 + Akai MPK261) and using Omnisphere/KeyScape, UVI library, HALion, various u-he synths, PianoTeq, Blue3, Dexed, OP-X Pro II, and several other synths and effects that I’ve been buying over the years (way more than I really need :slight_smile:) . I don’t know if a laptop class processor is good enough or if a desktop class processor is really needed to handle anything I might throw at it.

I was looking at a Skull Canyon NUC with 32GB RAM and a Samsung 960 PRO drive along with either a BabyFace Pro or Apollo Twin MKII Solo. I probably need some sort of a small touch screen too. I would hate to invest in all of that and it not work well because of heat issues (if any).

What would those of you that have been through this consider the ideal compact system these days?


I own the skull canyon as well as the much smaller (regarding cpu-power) NUC7i3bnh. I haven’t worked with the Skull yet. I just set it up, installed all plugins but didn’t play with it much. But yes: especially when activating turbo boost in the BIOS and disabling core parking, the skull definitely gets hot! I ran a few CPU-tests on hit and it nearly hits 100°C. I wouldn’t put it in an unventilated enclosure. It needs fresh air!
I have a 960 PRO installed.

Anyway: I’m very impressed by the power of the i3 machine! The i3 has a 960 EVO installed. It’s very very fast. But you have to do some compromises at some points to be honest. At the moment I run it at 256 samples with ASIO4all and a MOTU MicroBook IIc. Cantabile shows me 5,80ms. To save CPU-performance I set my plugins in ECO-mode if available (MASSIVE has it, and a lot FX-plugins too). I don’t hear a big difference anyway. For live performance totally sufficient in my opinion.
But if you don’t want to care about voices, CPU-performance and stuff, you should go with the Skull :wink:
A friend of mine bought an even faster machine from HP. I think it’s called EliteDesk. It has a desktop-CPU installed and even more power… but also more expensive because it comes with SSD and RAM installed, which I personally (at least the SSD) do not need.


Cool. Great info and much appreciated. Had not heard of the HP unit. TBH I’d prefer one ready to go (albeit no OS or software)…even though more exxy, it might be comparable in price after a bare bones in configured up with hardware perhaps??

Anyhoo, thanks again!


Well, yes sure. The price for a skull canyon + SSD + ram should be nearly the same as in the HP. I can find no information about what kind of SSD is installed in the HP regarding speed. The Samsung 960PRO is the fastest SSD around at the moment and I can not imagine, that they will put this piece into the G3.


I just stumbled upon a couple NUC guides that look interesting.

The Intel NUC Ultra-Compact PC Build

It links to their mini-STX guide that can use the Core i7-7700 which looks interesting.

The $500 Home Office Theater Mini-STX PC Build
The PC Builder’s Guides Assembling a Mini-STX Bookshelf PC (2017)


Last night I ended up pulling the trigger on a Skull Canyon NUC with 32GB Kingston HyperX Impact RAM and a Samsung 960 Pro 2TB drive. Also got a GeChic On-Lap 1503i 15.6" Touch Monitor that should fit nicely on the laptop rest on the K&M Spider Pro that is also on it’s way. Went with the RME Babyface Pro too. Everything should be here Saturday (yay!) except for the RAM on Tuesday (boo!).

Expensive little project this has turned into! :money_mouth_face:


Fesick -

Let me know how you like the GeChic touch monitor. I’ve been looking at getting one for a few months but just couldn’t pull the trigger.



I have one. Pull the trigger. Expensive, but beautiful!