January 20, 2020

New NUC

My old desktop becomes sluggish as I deploy multiple test environment on it. As I also use various desktop applications for my daily works on the same desktop machine, sometimes resource insufficiency freeze the all the applications, interfering my work flows. I am always a fan of small low-energy NUC devices so I take this chance to buy a new NUC device solve my resource issue.

Before buying new device, I had some considerations for a NUC.
  • Whether it's good time to buy a NUC? If yes, what version should I buy?
  • Whether it works with my 4K Dell Monitor?
  • Whether it generates too much heat?
  • Whether it supports enough resource for my daily work flows (I need a lot of Linux/Windows virtual machines)
  • How I should use 

It is a good timing?
At CES 2020, Intel announced an impressive NUC 9 and it made me think for a while whether I should wait for the release of this device. However, after checking around for price/performance ratio, I realize that it's not a good time to wait as newly released device will have a price premium, which is easily over my budget. Moreover, I probably don't need a device with such high performance. So I persuade myself to go with a NUC 8. Since NUC8, it seems that the heat problem has gone much better so I should have no issue with heat issue. As I am going to build software on my desktop, for energy saving purpose I went with an Corei5 model.


Whether it works with my 4K Monitor? 
I want the NUC should support 4K resolution with at least 60Hz refresh rate. I confirmed the tech spec for my NUC at Intel Nuc Tech Spec. Any model on the list should support 4K HDR. I went to the model field in the product page and saw BOXNUC8I5BEH as the device model, so this model supports 4K. All I need is a HDR 4K HDMI cable, so I bought this NUC device with a HDMI cable from Amazon.


Does it generate heat?
Memory does not generate much heat so I bought 2 Silicon Power DDR4 Laptop Memory, whose memory size is 16GB each. I wanted to buy memory from more well-known vendors like Kingston, but as my NUC transfer speed is 2400Hz and the only memory with the same transfer speed at the time I search for is from Silicon Power, I decided to buy these 2. If it breaks, I can easy replace them as memory now is inexpensive.

Resource Sufficiency?
I don't think I will have performance bottleneck with cpu and memory resources. For hard disk, I wondered between a standard SATA SSD device and a NVME device. NVME SSD is known to generate heat but with higher read/write performance. For a NUC, a normal SATA should be fine. However, I want to see whether I have a heat bottleneck, so I decided to go for a nvme device.


Setup
With some helps from Youtube, I could install SSD and RAM without any issue. I boot the device, plugged in a bootable USB with Ubuntu LTS 18.04. The OS install goes as usual with mouse clicks.

After the device boots, I realize that by default Ubuntu only generates display resolution of 4k at 30Hz, which is unacceptable for me. As 4K resolution is unreadable for my eyes even in 27-inches display, I performed following step to generate 2K resolution at 60Hz

$ cvt 2560 1440 60

# 2560x1440 59.96 Hz (CVT 3.69M9) hsync: 89.52 kHz; pclk: 312.25 MHz Modeline "2560x1440_60.00" 312.25 2560 2752 3024 3488 1440 1443 1448 1493 -hsync +vsync 

After that I add the following lines to ~/.xprofile
xrandr --newmode "2560x1440_60.00"  312.25  2560 2752 3024 3488  1440 1443 1448 1493 -hsync +vsync<br />
xrandr --addmode DP-1 2560x1440_60.00<br />

Where DP-1 is my display device. Now my display could show 2K resolution at 60Hz.

Other settings are as usual and will be topics for another blog post.

Conclusion
I bought a new NUC device and I am totally satisfied with it.  


No comments: