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Review Shuttle XPC Nano NC03U Mini PC – Same Guts as a Chromebox


hey everybody its LAN Simon and we’re taking a look today at a computer from shuttle a mini PC this is the NC 0 3u and I was interested in testing this because this is one of the few open-ended mini pcs powered by an Intel 3 8 6 5 u processor and the reason why that processor is interesting to me is that it is from the KB Lake line of chips so a lot of the mid to high end laptops we’ve looked at have the more powerful versions of this processor inside of it namely the i3 i5 and i7 chips this is the chip that sits below the i3 in that family and Intel’s always had a seller on from there mainstream laptop chipset line available for uses like this in fact the chrome boxes have been using these chips for a long time and the current generation of chrome boxes is also using this very same processor so I wanted to get this one in from shuttle just because it’s a unrestricted box we can install Windows and Linux on it and see how it compares to other machines out there and I was very interested to see how this machine might compare to some of the Gemini Lake devices we’ve looked at recently here on the channel the Intel nook and a few of the other lesser-known brands of mini pcs that we’ve explored a bit because what I found in my testing is that the high end of the low end is very much catching up with the low end of the high end if that makes sense there’s less of a dividing line between these two families of processors now and we’re at a point where I think you could actually do pretty well with a lower powered mini PC and get very similar performance and we’re going to be exploring that a bit in this video now I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure at this PC came in on loan from shuttle so when we’re done with this it goes back to them all the opinions are about to here are my own nobody is paying for this review

and no one has reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get to it now and see what this computer is all about and then we’ll do some analysis so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware now because this device is running with a KB Lake processor they have four different versions available one for each chip in the product line these are all seventh generation chips so they’re all dual-core the 8th gen version of these chips now is quad-core so maybe at some point we’ll see a new version of this PC with more cores but at the moment it is seventh generation only again this has a three eight six five you built in this starts at a hundred and seventy seven dollars bare-bones which means there is no RAM or storage included you have to add that yourself I’m going to pop it open in a minute to show you where to do all of that but they also have an i3 version available and at the time that I’m recording this video the i3 version is selling for about the same price around one hundred and seventy seven dollars for the i3 or the Celeron and of course if you have that choice the i3 is the better option because it will be a little bit faster that might change as time goes on here but right now that’s what I’m seeing so if you see this one get the i3 at the same price that’s a better deal they also have an i-5 at four hundred and $59 bare-bones so the price escalates very quickly here and there’s an i7 version available for 512 dollars of course the i-5 and the

i7 will deliver much better performance especially for video streaming and other kinds of activities but if you’re looking for something low end I think 177 bucks for a bare-bones PC with this chipset is not a bad deal especially if you can find the i3 for that price now to put the RAM and whatnot into this device there are two ways to get into the computer so you can pop off the top portion here and you can also do the same here with the bottom portion I’ve already unscrewed everything so it just kind of pops right off so it’s not hard to get into it to start installing stuff and this one came with a SSD hard drive installed already so you have for storage the option to use a regular SATA drive if you wish but there is also an m2 slot here on the top for one of those longer m2 drives it supports both the m2 SATA format so you can run a SATA Drive in that slot or you can use a PCI Express hard drive in that same slaw and nvme drive for better performance said in a video comparing those two technologies a little bit earlier this month so you can check that out but those just go right into that slot the SATA or the nvme will work in there and you’re good to go so you have two storage options available to you what’s funny is the RAM installs on two different parts of the motherboard so one stick goes over here and the

other one goes on the bottom the supports ddr4 Ram and it will support dual channel configuration for better graphics performance to so altogether a pretty nice computer from the standpoint of getting inside and messing around with it and it’s nice that you don’t have to take the whole motherboard out to add storage or RAM to the mix the maximum Ram on this one is 32 gigabytes so you can have two sticks of 16 in here if you want to go that far or you can run it with eight gigs like we’re doing here and that seems to be working just fine let’s take a look now and see what kind of ports we have on this after I put it back together so on the front of the computer here you’ve got a USB 3.0 port next to it is a USB type-c port but this one is just a data port running at Gen 1 five gigabit per second speeds it’s essentially the same port as this larger one just in a USB form factor it is not a full service port either so no video or power delivery here just data out to your devices and that is it it’ll probably charge something like this port will but you’re not going to be able to run a single cable dock for example to the device here to get everything up and running right here you have a SD card slot you can stick a card in there it’ll stick out a little bit but you’ve got that available to you power button is over here on this side you just have a Kensington lock slot and you have a vent for the built-in fan and heatsink

it doesn’t generate that much noise at all probably one of the quieter fans I’ve seen on a fan equipped mini PC it really is quite quiet which is good if you are looking for relatively close to silence operation here your power supply goes in here it has an HDMI port but unfortunately this port maxes out at 30 frames per second at 4k we’re always looking for 60 frames-per-second performance out of these devices and we’re not seeing it here at least with the HDMI port this will also not work with Netflix is DRM either at least off of the HDMI we did try to get that working so I think this might be a version 1.4 report that they chose to put on here the chipset of course does support 60 Hertz but this one just does not the DisplayPort port we had better luck with so that does support 4k at 60 Hertz so if you are connecting up a 4k display be sure to use DisplayPort for that you got Gigabit Ethernet here and 2 USB 3.0 2.0 ports excuse me the slower USB ports on the back so this is probably where you’ll want to attach your keyboards and mice and that sort of thing and right here you have your headphone jack there’s also a VESA mount in the box that you will attach here on the side if you want to mount it on the back of your monitor and then right here is a serial port we don’t see these too often these days on modern pcs but shuttle often includes these because I think they have a lot of these mini pcs and industrial environments where they’re controlling

machinery and that kind of thing and serial ports are still very relevant there so you do have that port built right in so you can get your serial devices going on it so that is it for the overall pricing and hardware configuration let’s take a look now and see how it performs so we’re gonna kick things off with some web browsing you can see we’re going to the nasa.

gov site and everything is very snappy as it typically is with a KB Lake processor even the low-end one we’re playing with here so all was good on that front we also visited my youtube channel and watched a 1080p 60 frames per second video we did have a couple of dropped frames but I think that was just something happening with the system in the background we typically see these chips performing just fine on 60 frames per second video and the frame drops are not something I am concerned about they weren’t consistently dropping so overall I think a good Netflix and YouTube streaming device provided you’re only doing that at 1080p if you’re looking for the maximum frame rate so not bad as a general use kind of PC but again I was a little disappointed we didn’t have better 4k performance out of the back of that HDMI port and on the browser bench dorg speedometer test we got a score of 73 point seven on the 1.0 version of that test that

compares to sixty five point eight on the high-end Gemini Lake chip we had on an Intel nook we looked at recently so they’re very close here on that benchmark and we also have a chewy G box on the list which represents some of the Chinese boxes we get in from time to time that has a lower-end Gemini Lake processor an N 4100 and that one came in at forty nine point seven on version 1.0 and then at the higher end is this same computer with the i5 processor they called it the nc0 3u5 that one came in at a hundred and six on the version one of that test so you can see how things can escalate in performance as you spend more money but nonetheless there are basically stops along the way here at just about every performance level on that speedometer benchmark so let’s take a look now at some gaming we’ve got minecraft running on it the Java version of Minecraft and most people still run we installed the Optifine performance enhancer at 1080p we’re getting about 20 to 30 frames per second but seeing a lot of lag mixed into the gameplay there’s not a great minecraft experience we’ll probably do better with the Windows 10 version of Minecraft we ran rocket League at its lowest settings at 1080p and there we were seeing frame rates at around 30 frames per second so it was playable but a little ugly given that you can’t put a lot of nice graphical enhancements into the mix without killing the performance completely but you can get there a little bit with it

we also ran fortnight on it because that’s what everybody’s playing these days that game was getting about 20 to 30 frames per second but like minecraft we were seeing some lag mixed in as new textures and other things were coming into play there so just like many other low-cost mini pcs this thing is not going to be very well-suited for playing modern games but it will do very well with older games along with retro emulation it’ll even run the dolphin emulator fairly well at around 30 frames per second on most of the lower impact games that might be out there so it’s not a bad little chipset here just don’t expect to do anything beyond playing some of that older stuff or streaming games from a more powerful gaming PC from somewhere else your house we also ran the 3dmark cloud gate benchmark test and we got a surprising result there on the Celeron version of the shuttle the score we got was three thousand two hundred and eighteen which is lower than what we saw out of the Intel Gemini Lake nook with the J five thousand five processor that one came in at around the same graphical performance as the three eight six five u shuttle here but the CPU performance on the nook was a little better and that’s because that nook is powered by a quad core processor whereas this one is just a dual-core chip so this one will do better in single core kind of operations but if you got

more cores you’re going to get better performance and we certainly saw that with the test as you can see here on screen we also compared it with the shuttle that has the i5 processor built in you can see it does much better with that ship for that test so you might be able to play a few more games on the i5 version versus the Celeron here and then the chewy gbox you can see is a lot lower coming in at scores that you would maybe expect from a PC that cost around 150 bucks fully equipped so generally I think it performs well but again the lines are blurring between Gemini Lake here and KB Lake and that the low-end stuff is actually starting to catch up a bit and that was a bit of a surprise when we were testing this particular computer now this does have a fan inside as we mentioned earlier that’s not very loud so we’ll attempt to keep the computer cool and we ran the 3d mark stress test to see whether or not the computer throttles even though it has the fan built-in as computers get hotter nowadays they slow down to prevent overheating there we got a score of 95.5% on that test which means there’s going to be a little bit of throttling probably nothing noticeable a passing grade on that test is 97% and the i5 chip came in at 94% but as you can see it runs a lot hotter than the seller on version does but nonetheless it came in close to the same score insofar as what kind of throttling was detected on the machine while it was under loads so all in not bad let’s take a look now though at home theater and that’s an area where as I mentioned

that HDMI port might become a bit problematic the first issue of course is that we can’t get 60 per second output on it but it was able to pass digital audio over to my receiver just fine including lossless audio we had some Dolby true HD audio passing through in our tests earlier DTS HD also worked and it was able to playback HEV C blu-ray movies without any issues either at 4k you can see a test running here that we like to run which is a 140 megabit per second HEV see 4k file that one decoded without any drop frames either because these chips even the seller on here have the ability to the code heb see video very efficiently so altogether good playback experience but that hdmi port is going to be limiting and that it won’t support Netflix 4k it won’t support 60 Hertz and it certainly doesn’t support unfortunately HDR either alright one last thing to check out here and that is it’s Linux performance we’re running in Bude to 18.04 right now seems to be running just fine Wi-Fi works video works audio works on it as well so all the things that typically trip you up are not tripping us up here I did notice though that Bluetooth didn’t work and I initially thought it was a compatibility issue it just doesn’t have bluetooth built-in by default and also the wireless radio on here whether you’re in Windows or Linux only supports 2.4 gigahertz radios so it’s a B G and N but no AC so it’s a very

limited bare-bones computer but I think if you can get the i3 around 150 or 170 bucks bare-bones that’s not a bad deal it’ll be a nicely performing computer you will have the issues with the 4k port I’m not getting you 60 Hertz but you can hook up the DisplayPort to your monitor for example for that so it’s probably not the most ideal home theater PC unfortunately but I think for the price point you might be able to get yourself a good deal on a nicely performing computer so if you were looking at a Chrome box and you liked the form factor and you liked the performance you’ve seen in reviews but you want something more open-ended this certainly will give you that flexibility in a similar form factor with the same chip you can run Windows and Linux and whatever else you can possibly think of on here it’s really an open book with zero restrictions whereas the chromeboxes certainly will limit you to Chrome OS unless you do some real serious shoehorning and it’s just so much easier to buy something that’s out of the box ready to go with your operating system of choice than it is to try to get a chrome box to cooperate oh it really surprised me though it’s just how close the low and mid-range processors are getting to each other that je 5005 nook really performed quite well against this one to the point where I think an average user really can’t tell the difference between two different types of

processor families and that was really a surprising thing to me I was still expecting to see a broader performance gain here out of this one than we saw versus the J 5005 nook we reviewed that said if you can get the i3 version of this it’s probably a much better deal right now because it’s the same price versus the three eight six five you in here and that will certainly give you a broader performance boost over the Gemini Lake equipped nook but there are a lot of choices out there now and I think what you have to do is look for what your needs are if you’re running a DisplayPort monitor and you don’t mind the HDMI being limited on this thing then this is probably the way to go but if you’ve got HDMI displays you want 60 Hertz going out to them at 4k then the nook might be a better option to pursue in addition to the fact that the Nook has better Bluetooth and Wi-Fi built into so there’s no just one go to mini PC for me at the moment we’ll keep looking around and trying to find some more and let me know if there’s any I should look at down in the comments below until next time this is LAN Simon thanks for watching this channel was brought to you by the lime tv supporters including gold level supporters Chris Allegretto the four guys with quarters podcast Tom Albrecht Gerard Newberg and Kellyanne Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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