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Author Topic: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC  (Read 5988 times)

jmone

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Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« on: December 29, 2022, 04:04:33 am »

In my previous reviews of the various NUCs, their UHD video performance left a lot to be desired until the release of JRiver's own Video Renderer (JRVR).  JRVR breathed new life into these older NUCS allowing good support for UHD playback, and as a result I had no compelling reason to upgrade them till now.  Two issues however have made me look at the new line of NUCs. 
- Windows 11 Compatibility:  Intel look like that are getting stricter of what HW you can run Windows 11 on.  I'm now seeing a warning on my 6th and 7th gen CPU PC's that they are not in spec
- AV1 HW Decoding:  AV1 has arrived and none of my PC's could use HW acceleration to decode this videos let alone encode them.  After swapping a kidney for a RTX4090 to go into my video editing rig, I'd like to be able to play these back on my HTPCs.... and none of them could (note: I could play the videos but they would all drop a lot of frames as the decoding was all being done in the CPU).

I like the concept of the small form factor PC's for dedicated HTPCs but there are normally compromises that can make them problematic for general HTPC duties.  For reference I've previously done similar reviews for:
- Review : Intel NUC NUC8i5BEK & MC as an UHD HTPC
- Review : Intel NUC NUC7i5BNH & MC as an HTPC
- Review : Intel NUC NUC6i5SYK & MC as an HTPC
- Review : Intel NUC DN2820 & MC as a Low Cost Media Player
- Review: Intel Compute Stick (2016 Version)
- Review: Clone of Intel Compute Stick (MeeGoPad T01) with MC as Media Player

I've still got the same basic list of desirable for a good HTPC:
- Access and Quality Playback of all my media (Audio and Video) including High Frame Rate UHD HDR AV1 video!
- Smoothly run MC
- Low Power Usage
- Small and quiet unit
- (relatively) inexpensive

So, I again looked for a suitable NUC in the current range from Intel and settled on the thinner version of the NUC12WSKi5.  Looks promising as it has:
- HW Decode for AV1 as well as HEVC/AVC etc thanks to the Xe graphics
- Supports Windows 11
- even has HDMI 2.1 (more on this "fib" later)
- ...but cost has crept up again from the last NUC and is now about US$500 for the barebones (add memory, M2, Windows etc).  I used on old m2 256GB stick and new 16gb of RAM.

I also went for the i5 over the i7 version as several review mentioned that the additional CPU performace of the i7 was negated by it hitting thermal throttling making the i5 in some cases faster.  The downside with the i5 from a HTPC POV is that it also has less GPU Execution Units ( Comparison of the i7-1260P vs i5-1240P ).  It is also has about twice the processing power (both CPU and GPU) that my older NUC8i5 had ( i5-1240p vs i5-8259u )



Install:  This was the most time consuming Windows install I've done for many many years.  Tried the "trick" of just using an old NVME with Windows on it and letting it sort itself out.  Nope.  Would just keep crashing and no way to recover.  No to worry, clean install time.  Nope.  Got to the bit were you MUST connect to a network to continue.  But there was no network connection shown (wired or wireless).  Bit of googling later, I found out I needed to download the NW drivers, put them on a USB key, run up a CMD windows on the NUC, manually install the drivers, reboot the NUC, start again from the customisation screen and THEN continue on.  It was a PITA.  Then there was the rounds of Windows and Intel and BIOS Updates.  Then a manual install of the GPU Drivers (as they don't show up in the Intel Update utility).... go figure.  Overall, it felt like a Windows 3.11 install.  Then onto MC which is nice and easy.

Tweaks:
- BIOS:  To avoid EDID issues, you can set "Display Emulation" to "Persistent display emulation".  This will prevent Windows from resetting to basic display resolution settings when your TV/AVR gets turned off.  Had a poke around the rest of the BIOS and there is little of interest from a HTPC POV.  There are some power budgets and minimum GPU Memory settings that I thought may be of use but in the end I put it all back to stock.  You may want to tweak some of the LED lights but they are pretty subdued which I like. 
- MC Video Settings:  Enabled HW Acceleration, Auto Display Rate changer, selected JRVR (and loaded the "Performance Preset") and played a AV1 UHD HDR 50fps video.  5 Hours later I'm about to heave the NUC out the Window.  I've now tried all sorts of combinations of settings to get UHD 50/60fps video to play without it dropping frames.  It's odd.  It just randomly drops one or two.  Render times look OK(ish) on average but they jump all over the place.  I'm even creating different versions my test AV1 clip to see if the encoding settings are to blame.  Nope.  Finally found the culprit.  JRVR's "Trade Quality for Performance" has an "Allow HW decoder direct rendering on mismatched size" option that when checked really helped on the older NUCs.  On this one it makes the render time jump around.  UNCHECKING this option brought the render times down to under 5ms and they were nice and consistent.  I'll report this in the JRVR thread for Hendrik. 
- This NUC does not have a CEC IR receiver.  No big deal as I prefer to use BT anyway but if you are controlling it with a RC that only support IR you would need to add an IR USB Dongle.

Preliminary Results:  It is early days but so far my observations are:
- JRVR:  Now I've worked out the issue, I need to do further testing but the results looks promising.  I can certainly play all the video I have from DVD --> BD --> UHD HDR BD & all the various codecs MPG --> AVC --> HEVC --> AV1 & at various frame rates 23.976, 50, 59.94fps.  The next will be to use JRVR profiles to customise what can be done as for material up to and including UHD HDR BD @ 23.976fps ("normal" UHD BD) as it looks like the NUC could stretch to the Mid Range Settings!  High Frame Rate will need the Performance settings. 
- Heat & Noise:  It is a big improvement on the NUC8.  I left a HFR HDR Video playing for 30min and took a thermal shot and the hottest point (48.8c at the vent) which was over 20c cooler than the NUC8.  Fan noise was also pretty subdued and did not have the whine that the NUC8 had under load.  A good result on both fronts. 
- MC Benchmark:  A ~7K NUC!
Code: [Select]
== Running Benchmarks (please do not interrupt) ===

Running 'Math' benchmark...
    Single-threaded integer math... 1.835 seconds
    Single-threaded floating point math... 2.407 seconds
    Multi-threaded integer math... 0.309 seconds
    Multi-threaded mixed math... 0.405 seconds
Score: 3833

Running 'Image' benchmark...
    Image creation / destruction... 0.180 seconds
    Flood filling... 0.196 seconds
    Direct copying... 0.403 seconds
    Small renders... 0.549 seconds
    Bilinear rendering... 0.326 seconds
    Bicubic rendering... 0.926 seconds
Score: 8529

Running 'Database' benchmark...
    Create database... 0.053 seconds
    Populate database... 0.566 seconds
    Save database... 0.129 seconds
    Reload database... 0.052 seconds
    Search database... 0.819 seconds
    Sort database... 0.384 seconds
    Group database... 0.551 seconds
Score: 8419

JRMark (version 30.0.41 64 bit): 6927

Conclusion:  Well this unit was lucky to survive the day, but persistence has paid off and it looks like it could be a very good little HTPC for handling pretty much whatever content gets thrown at it.  I've now replaced a Shuttle SFF that had a Gen 6 CPU and a 1660Ti that drives the TV Rooms HDR OLED.  While it does not have the same sort of raw horsepower of the 1660Ti, it does not need to.  It just needs to render out a good looking image without dropping frames, and one thing the NUC can do that the 1660Ti could not is decode AV1.  The NUC is also tiny even compared to the Shuttle and uses much less power.  Lets see if anyone notices the difference (I doubt it).
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2022, 10:13:34 pm »

HDMI 2.1 : The Fib

I was pretty pleased to see the spec sheet for the NUC12Pro list the HDMI as 2.1 ... but oddly I'd seen some saying it was 2.0a ... So some digging.  Turns out that the HDMI Org has changed how certification works and you can no longer rely of the HDMI Version # to know what features you get.  In 2.1 many of the features are now "optional" to be implemented.  For example the NUC12Pro was advertised as supporting 2.0a in earlier material, but now lists it as HDMI 2.1 TMDS Compatible.  To cut a long story short it is the same 18gbp/s chipset and no different to 2.0a. 

You can read more about this change of licencing spec at - https://tftcentral.co.uk/articles/when-hdmi-2-1-isnt-hdmi-2-1

The bottom line is you can no longer use the HDMI Version designation to know what you devices support.  Want higher bandwidth, better check it has FRL... what about VRR, ALLM, eARC, SBTM.  Most don't even know what these even stand for.  I wonder if that is the idea.  This way you can have the latest HDMI 2.1a device that does nothing more than your 2.0a ones. 

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eve

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2022, 11:29:56 pm »

HDMI 2.1 : The Fib

I was pretty pleased to see the spec sheet for the NUC12Pro list the HDMI as 2.1 ... but oddly I'd seen some saying it was 2.0a ... So some digging.  Turns out that the HDMI Org has changed how certification works and you can no longer rely of the HDMI Version # to know what features you get.  In 2.1 many of the features are now "optional" to be implemented.  For example the NUC12Pro was advertised as supporting 2.0a in earlier material, but now lists it as HDMI 2.1 TMDS Compatible.  To cut a long story short it is the same 18gbp/s chipset and no different to 2.0a. 

You can read more about this change of licencing spec at - https://tftcentral.co.uk/articles/when-hdmi-2-1-isnt-hdmi-2-1

The bottom line is you can no longer use the HDMI Version designation to know what you devices support.  Want higher bandwidth, better check it has FRL... what about VRR, ALLM, eARC, SBTM.  Most don't even know what these even stand for.  I wonder if that is the idea.  This way you can have the latest HDMI 2.1a device that does nothing more than your 2.0a ones.

Super detailed write up. Thanks! <3

Wow, I'm actually really disappointed that it's only 18gbps at the end of the day. I require 4k 120hz 4:4:4 output (don't get me started on 'visually' lossless DSC) . Beyond more esoteric visual benefits, the ability to have smooth UI interactions AND 'native' 23/24fps playback simultaneously is indispensable.



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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2022, 12:01:46 am »

Well there are those that claim they can get 4K/120 over DP / Thunderbolt / USB from the XE ....but given the frame rate will be just 8ms I don't think the iGPU will handle it well.  Then again it's a US$500 barebones not a US$1,000 GPU.
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rec head

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2022, 07:06:54 am »

I've been doing a lot of searching for a new PC and this write may have swayed me to a NUC 12 to replace my NUC 5.
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2022, 02:05:56 pm »

Let me know if you have any questions or want me to test something out.
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ted_b

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2023, 11:40:56 am »

Wow, serpendipity strikes again!  I posted about needing to replace my Zidoo Z9X, and being a long-time JRiver user...but that was before JRVR.  And your wonderful review has got me piqued!!

Question: does this NUC, or one like it, come pre-installed with Win11 (your install hiccups gives me nightmares of all the Windows installs I've tried to do in my years :)  ).

Question 2: would you buy this again, or something slightly different?  I can spend more than $500, but like you don't want more horespower just for the sake of it (alkthough more powerful GPU is a good thing).  My use case is UHD 4K blurays (.m2ts's and MKVs) and immersive bluray music (Atmos and Auro-3D, decoded by my Lyngdorf MP-40).  And of course, any lesser movie files I may have on hand.

Thanks so much

And if you wanna PM with the best source for the NUC, I assume the forum doesn't want this info.
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HaWi

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2023, 01:38:29 pm »


And if you wanna PM with the best source for the NUC, I assume the forum doesn't want this info.

I'd be interested in that, too.
many thanks
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2023, 02:09:58 pm »

HI Ted,  Got your PM and it is OK to post links to equipment and deals.  That Amazon Link is for the same NUC I tested with the key differences being:
- has the i7-1260p vs the i5-1240p (see this comparison of the two).  As per my review, I decided to go the i5-1240p as I try to stick to the mid range and there are reports that in small form factors ,the NUC the i7 can thermal throttle leaving it with similar performance as the i5-1240p.  I try to hit the "value for money" point with the NUC (and the i5-1240p was 25% cheaper).  The good news is that the GPU in the i7-1260p is stronger than the i5-1240p with 90EU over 80EU. 
- Windows 11 preinstalled (so it will save you the pain of installation)
- 64GB of RAM : Unless you are doing something more that HTPC duties with the NUC, you will never need this amount of RAM, it simply will not be used.  16GB is fine
- 2TB NVME : I use my NUCs as Theaterview Clients and they hold no media locally, so space is not a concern (any sized NVME will be fine)

My main focus for the NUC is playback of UHD HDR Blurays (passthrough) and my own created videos (from a Sony FX6 shotting 4:2:2 SLog3/SGamut in UHD 500mbps AVC @50fps rendered out as either HEVC or AV1 4:2:0 HDR 100mbps @ 50fps).  My "stress" tests are high frame rate videos (eg my own created Videos (50fps) and the likes of Gemini Man / Billy Lynn (59.94) as these have much less time per frame to render).  The tested NUC does a great job on these and I'm very pleased with the NUC so far (no buyers remorse).  It does have limits.  It does "normal" 23.976 with ease and as I mentioned in the review, I'll end up with two JRVR profiles (one for <=30fps and one for >30fps). 

I forgot to put in my review, that this NUC does not have a CEC IR receiver.  No big deal as I prefer to use BT anyway but if you are controlling it with a RC that only support IR you would need to add an IR USB Dongle. 

If money / size etc is no object but you want to stay with NUCs there is the NUC13 Extreme that comes with full (not laptop) CPUs (i7 / i9 etc) and can take a discrete GPU, but these are much more of a full SFF PC and multiples more expensive. 

I've not tested it tonemapping the HDR (I'm just passing through HDR) but I'll do this shortly.

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ted_b

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2023, 02:19:03 pm »

Thanks.  Yes, I'll have local storage but not internal.  The 16GB i7 with 500Gb NVME is $999, the i5 version is $210 less (but might like the better GPU numbers of the i7?).

My T1 projector is known to show DV a bit dark (even DV's bright mode) so many send 4K SDR to it.  Would this kind of video rendering cause any more horsepower requirsments (I'm a vidiot)?
Thx
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2023, 03:09:58 pm »

Yup - I'm doing a quick Tonemapping test (sending SDR 2020), and it adds more load on the GPU and increases rendering times.  It is working well even on my high framerate material (50 / 59.94fps).  That said, it is close to the limit without dropping frames on this material.  From what I can see it works fine up till about 50% GPU Rendering load and after that it will start to drop frames.  You do not want anything else running in the background.  For example if I have Task Manager graphing the GPU performance, it adds another 10% to the GPU load and can cause dropped frames.  With "normal" 23.976 material it has much more headroom but you still don't want any unnecessary background "crap" running. 

Keep in mind that this is an iGPU and you will never get the ability to load up the most demanding JRVR upscaling and post processing filters.  If you want all these JRVR goodies then a SFF PC with a discreate GPU is a much better way to go, but this all comes at the trade off with size, cost, and complexity. 
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2023, 03:21:50 pm »

Was also doing some quick retests, as there was also a new GPU Driver drop from Intel in the last day or so and it seems to be a reasonable improvement.  While JRVR reported render times went up, the corresponding GPU Rendering load went down and now seems a bit more balanced from a performance POV.  I could push it a little harder without hitting dropped frames.  Nice! 

Overall - I'm still really pleased with this unit and it's a keeper especially on the setup where I'm using HDR Passthrough to my OLED and has replaced my old Shuttle with a 1660Ti.  For that duty it is perfect for me.  I've need to do the JRVR profiles, as this unit will even do Jinc for Chroma and 23.976 material but only basic chroma scaling on the high frame rate material. 

Now.... with my (also old) SFF / 1660Ti running to my 125" PJ I'm still thinking if I'll go this route or instead upgrade the Mobo & GPU in that box.  A new GPU would cost the same as the NUC but would open up all the JRVR processing options.....  Something like a run out 3060Ti Mini might be good value for money on this rig.
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ted_b

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2023, 06:13:30 pm »

Hmm...3060ti mini huh?  me thinks I am leaning now toward something that might need to go in the next room (not silent enough).  With high frame rates, will a 20 ft HDMI 2.1 cable be ok?  Or are there prebuilt 3060ti laden silent pcs, NUCs or sffs that can sit on my audio rack (I have room)?  I see the NUC 9 says it can take a 3060ti but darn $$$.  >:(

When not in video server mode this may be my HQPlayer server, too.  I need a new one and maybe can kill two birds (HQP and JRiver will NEVER be used at the same time).
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2023, 06:36:53 pm »

It depends on how much of a pixel peeper you want to be.  I'd call the NUC12 the entry level that can do everything we need today and do it surprisingly well.  If you want to squeeze as much "quality" as you can out of upscaling, chroma scaling, image enhancements etc then a discrete GPU is what you want.  The trade off is then on cost, heat, noise, size etc etc.  You need to land on that decision first. 
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2023, 07:11:38 pm »

Started looking at what profiles to use and as a starting point I'm trying out the presets.  This time I'm just playing a "normal" 23.976fps UHD BD Tonemapping to SDR2020

1: "Quality Preset, for faster dedicated graphics cards".   It can do it without continuously dropping frames, but as you can see the render times are getting pretty high (I'd not be surprised if it dropped the odd frame).  The GPU was running at around 80% overall but the Video Decoder was still fine at 20% (as that really does not change with the settings).

2: "Balanced Preset, for high-end integrated graphics and mid-range dedicated graphics cards" with "Allows HW decoder direct rendering...." unchecked.  It now has more headroom with much lower render times and the GPU dropped to around 50% with the Video Decoder still at 20%. 

So for "typical" use with "normal" UHD BD even tonemapping to SD2020 it is a pretty solid unit.
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ted_b

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2023, 07:24:11 pm »

  With "normal" 23.976 material it has much more headroom but you still don't want any unnecessary background "crap" running. 
Do you, or did you do any Windows 11 clean up or bare bones tweaking (removing processes and services manually or with a program like Fidelizer or something)?
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2023, 07:51:34 pm »

Nothing special.  All I did was use Windows "Start up Apps" to turn off stuff starting up that I don't want or need on a HTPC.

Edit: I'd also not recommend any "bare bones tweaking".  More likely to break something than get extra GPU performance.
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tjdavis1138

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2023, 10:27:41 pm »

Do you happen to bitstream to an Atmos capable receiver? I have an 11th gen Intel Nuc and i canít get it to bitstream without getting a playback error.
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #18 on: February 10, 2023, 12:46:32 am »

I can test and get back to you but I don't remember any issue (note: the NUC is driving a 5.1 system so I decode all audio).
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2023, 09:04:32 pm »

Sorry, been rebuilding PC's.....

Yup - something is up with bitstreaming.  Tried the usual stuff but no luck (like turning off display rate changing etc to ensure the connection is up).  Maybe Hendrik has a suggestion or I can send in a log.
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tjdavis1138

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2023, 02:20:27 pm »

Thank you so much! Thought it was just me. LOL.

I have no issues bitstreaming atmos with vlc so I figured it was MC but I just installed the trial so I'm a newb to all of this.
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2023, 04:27:05 pm »

Hi Hendrik,
Attached is a log showing the failure of creating an Audio output when selecting Bitstreaming on this device.  Any suggestions?
Thanks
Nathan
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #22 on: March 06, 2023, 04:44:08 pm »

Try replacing the LAV version with the latest from https://files.1f0.de/lavf/nightly/LAVFilters-0.77.1-9.exe
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jmone

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #23 on: March 06, 2023, 04:59:41 pm »

Thanks - that fixed it  ;D
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tjdavis1138

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #24 on: March 09, 2023, 12:34:25 pm »

Thanks so much! I'll try this later today.
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #25 on: March 09, 2023, 05:07:36 pm »

If you can wait the changes are incorporated in MC V30.0.75 or later which should hit the main board in a couple of days

Quote
30.0.75 (3/8/2023)

1. Changed: Updated LAV Filters to 0.77.2, fixing some issues with audio bitstreaming ....
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elprice7345

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #26 on: March 22, 2023, 12:38:46 am »

I don't want to hijack this thread, so I created my own thread here: https://yabb.jriver.com/interact/index.php/topic,135339.0.html

I'm documenting my results as I build and configure my NUC 12 based on @jmone's experience and counsel.  :)
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #27 on: April 09, 2023, 02:18:56 am »

I've been having EDID issues on this NUC (connected as a device via an AVR to the TV) where MC will be minimised, or the display resolution is wrong after some time of the AVR being on another source or after the AVR/TV being powered on/off.  I see there is a BIOS setting documented in an Intel Support Note that this NUC supports "Display Emulation" including "Persistent display emulation" that:

Quote
The system is trained with the EDID1 (Extended Display Identification Data) information provided by each display connected upon first starting with this option selected. It then retains these parameters regardless of display power or connectivity interruptions. The EDID information from each display will remain programmed through S3, S4, and S5 power states until the feature is disabled.

Lets see if this does the trick. 
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2023, 02:18:09 am »

Yup, working well!
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2023, 12:48:02 pm »

That looks very interesting, I'll check it out.
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #30 on: October 28, 2023, 03:40:33 pm »

I know this is an old thread but I'm wondering if @jmone is still happy with the NUC12? Any current issues? I've had too many movie nights ruined now by what I'm assuming is my old HTPC just not keeping up. I'm considering a NUC12 or 13. The NUCs don't have optical outs I'm assuming that I can get a USB adapter that will work.

I like NUCs as PCs. I barely use my HTPC anymore so I really don't want to get into building a new one from scratch.
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #31 on: October 30, 2023, 10:44:49 am »

I know this is an old thread but I'm wondering if @jmone is still happy with the NUC12? Any current issues? I've had too many movie nights ruined now by what I'm assuming is my old HTPC just not keeping up. I'm considering a NUC12 or 13. The NUCs don't have optical outs I'm assuming that I can get a USB adapter that will work.

I like NUCs as PCs. I barely use my HTPC anymore so I really don't want to get into building a new one from scratch.
I was annoyed when Intel removed the Optical interface from the NUC's.
This one works great with my Id.

Bus 003 Device 004: ID 0d8c:0171 C-Media Electronics, Inc. REIYIN Audio
DA-03 USB-C DAC. Around $30.


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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #32 on: October 30, 2023, 02:17:10 pm »

I was annoyed when Intel removed the Optical interface from the NUC's.
This one works great with my Id.

Bus 003 Device 004: ID 0d8c:0171 C-Media Electronics, Inc. REIYIN Audio
DA-03 USB-C DAC. Around $30.
Personally, not a big fan of TOSLINK (ADAT gets a pass) but yeah, this is the way to do it. There's lots of USB > Digital converters out there at different price points but I'd caution overspending on them. I lean towards XMOS for this. Something with an XMOS XU208 is what you're looking for usually.
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #33 on: October 31, 2023, 05:22:54 am »

I just use HDMI for audio, so I did not even notice it has lost it's Optical Out. 

The NUC is going fine, so much so, I just don't think about it.  It's no powerhouse but it very unobtrusive, good value for money and works well with JRVR across all the media types I have.  It works for what I need.  I still use a dedicated GPU on a SFF build on my PJ Setup so I have the GPU grunt to crank up the JRVR settings.

Edit - FWIW, both the NUC12 and 13 use the same iGPU.  No real talk on the next gen iGPU (Xe2-LPG) that one would hope had full HDMI2.1
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #34 on: October 31, 2023, 07:30:01 am »

Thanks for the update and info. I ordered a i7 NUC13 because there was a good deal on it. I'll get it setup today or tomorrow.

As for the USB to optical, I use it because it avoids HDCP when I don't want to turn the TV on. As for adapters I was looking at USB A models So I could leave the C ports open for future needs. Any reason to go with USB C?
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #35 on: October 31, 2023, 09:50:39 am »

Thanks for the update and info. I ordered a i7 NUC13 because there was a good deal on it. I'll get it setup today or tomorrow.

As for the USB to optical, I use it because it avoids HDCP when I don't want to turn the TV on. As for adapters I was looking at USB A models So I could leave the C ports open for future needs. Any reason to go with USB C?
Yeah, it's nice to not have to deal with HDMI EDID problems.
I don't see anything better about having a USB-C device. It's just that I didn't have another use for those ports.
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #36 on: October 31, 2023, 12:02:27 pm »

Worth noting at this point is that Intel is exiting the NUC business.  Asus has acquired a non-exclusive license to continue new development, production, and support of the platform.
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #37 on: October 31, 2023, 03:01:34 pm »

Any reason to go with USB C?

No reason really. If you found something you liked that was USB-C only? Sure. Otherwise, 2ch audio (at essentially any sample rate / bit depth) can't even saturate a USB 2.0 connection. You're fine.




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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #38 on: October 31, 2023, 03:02:56 pm »

Worth noting at this point is that Intel is exiting the NUC business.  Asus has acquired a non-exclusive license to continue new development, production, and support of the platform.

There's so many companies making tiny x86 systems that it doesn't surprise me.
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #39 on: November 01, 2023, 10:59:50 am »

JRiver can thank jmone for an upgrade sale. I figured if I was getting a new PC I might as well upgrade.
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #40 on: November 01, 2023, 02:50:05 pm »

Yeah, it's nice to not have to deal with HDMI EDID problems.

True, but turning on this BIOS setting is a must for taming EDID on the NUC:

Quote
The system is trained with the EDID1 (Extended Display Identification Data) information provided by each display connected upon first starting with this option selected. It then retains these parameters regardless of display power or connectivity interruptions. The EDID information from each display will remain programmed through S3, S4, and S5 power states until the feature is disabled.

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #41 on: November 01, 2023, 02:50:37 pm »

JRiver can thank jmone for an upgrade sale. I figured if I was getting a new PC I might as well upgrade.


:) Only if it works!
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #42 on: November 01, 2023, 04:46:19 pm »

I'll try that setting but I have found over the years that no matter what I do EDID problems come up. I got the optical adapter today. I plugged it in and it just worked. I made a new Zone for it et voila.

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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #43 on: November 01, 2023, 07:28:52 pm »

Yup EDID can be painful.  This setting seems to work well however.  I've not had any "funny" business since enabling it.  The screen resolution and audio setup stays consistent. 
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #44 on: November 03, 2023, 04:21:07 pm »

@rec head - How's it working?
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #45 on: November 03, 2023, 05:26:27 pm »

Thanks for asking. We watched my Guardians 3 UHD rip and it went perfectly. Well there were some hiccups but not related to the little NUC. First I had left it in the optical output zone so I wasn't getting any sound at all when I selected the movie in theater view. My processor uses the video from the last used HDMI input so it was a little confusing at first. Then I thought it was settled and we quickly realized that there was sound but no voices. That doesn't make sense right? Until I remembered that I was messing with my center channel I may not have plugged it in. Two easy fixes but not fun when sitting down together to watch something. Luckily my wife is very patient.

My infatuation with HT gear and setup  comes and goes and right now I'm deep in it. In addition to the new NUC I am rebuilding my center channel, making a new (3rd) sub, bought a new 10 channel amp for my surrounds and bought a Wiim Pro to replace the last Arylic streaming box in my house. I'm hoping that in the fairly near future my HTP-1 gets the Dirac ART upgrade and then I'll be done for a few years.
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #46 on: November 03, 2023, 05:57:47 pm »

Sounds about right!  My wife thinks I hit a "break everything button" when I leave the house.
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #47 on: November 03, 2023, 06:47:25 pm »

Sounds about right!  My wife thinks I hit a "break everything button" when I leave the house.
Job security
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #48 on: November 03, 2023, 06:51:35 pm »

Marriage Insecurity! 
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Re: Review : Intel NUC NUC12WSKi5 & MC as an UHD HTPC
« Reply #49 on: November 04, 2023, 07:57:24 am »

I changed the BIOS setting for EDID to persistent. My only test to see if it did anything was to turn the TV off while playing music. The music stopped. I have the optical adapter so I don't plan on doing much more trying to get the HDMI to work when I don't need it.
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