I thought I would summarize approx. 2 weeks of experience with a new NUC5i5RYH is case it helps others.
The unboxing was uneventful as was the installation of 4GB of Crucial RAM and an old Intel X25-M 2.5inch 80GB SSD. New users would be well advised to purchase only the Intel recommended RAM:
Next, I used a USB DVD drive to install Windows 7 Pro SP1. This was easy enough although you'll want to grab the Intel Driver Bundle to get network support:
After finishing Windows Update everything seemed okay.
I wasn't really interested in running Windows but I imaged the system drive so I could slam that back at a later date for testing, curiosity or whatever.
Next, I moved on to Linux and specifically Lubuntu 14.10. This didn't go so well. Most of the stable Linux releases are not yet ready for prime time of the 5th Gen NUC. Looks like a lot of issues with the X-server and HD6000 graphics. It seems that you'll need at least a 3.18 kernel but that alone is probably not sufficient. I wasn't able to make any flavor of Mint 17 to work fully, even with the 3.19 kernel. You can get it to run with "nosetmode xforcevesa" but that uses software rendering for all the graphics.
However, the good news is that the Lubuntu (and Xubuntu) 15.04 betas work just fine. Installation is a breeze!
Working off that base, I've largely succeeded in building the HTPC of my dreams based on Kodi. However, I still have two outstanding technical issues:
1. The infra-red sensor (CIR) makes the Intel NUC very attractive for HTPC applications. However, the CIR does not appear to work at all with Linux on the Broadwell NUC's. The workarounds that helped 4th Gen NUC owners do not work on the Broadwell devices. Intel say the CIR works with Windows (I haven't verified). Fingers have been pointed at the Linux kernel although I'm more inclined to believe the BIOS has an ACPI compliance issue. Intel appear to acknowledge the problem and maybe they're looking at it. But they're certainly not making any bold promises of a fix.
Meanwhile, I went and splashed $20 on a FLIRC:
And this works pretty much perfectly. I'm really quite impressed and for any impatient folks out there, I highly recommend it. I even have my IR remote powering on the NUC from the S5 state.
2. My NUC will randomly power itself on from the S5 (off) state after two or three hours, even in the middle of the night, or with nobody in the house. I have tried numerous things including BIOS settings to:
* Disable WoL
* Disable wake on RTC
* Disable wake on IR
* Disable PCIe ASPM
Again, I suspect a BIOS issue although I can't rule out the possibility that this problem is specific to my sample. So I'm agonizing over whether to RMA this unit.
I wanted to love my new NUC, but overall, I'm a little disappointed. The CIR and random power-on issues are quite irritating. I'm also less than thrilled with Intel's stance on Linux support. I think it's a little disingenuous to advertize, market and promote "Linux compatibility" but then deny all support obligations at the first hint of a problem.
Right now, I'll give the 5th Gen NUC a C+. Fixing the CIR and random power on will raise the grade quite a bit. And if new stable Linux distros work well out-of-the-box with the HD6000 graphics an A grade is still achievable by the late spring or early summer. Fingers crossed....