3 Replies Latest reply on Apr 1, 2015 2:27 PM by rguevara

    Is there any chance Intel might make a NUC-style mini PC for server purposes


      Through my experiences in IT, I've often been a little stumped when I see small businesses using a Mac Mini as a server.  For anyone who doesn't work in IT, its a little more common than you might think.  Its not a terrible choice, but a low-wattage U-series CPU doesnt exactly keep up with some higher-demand server tasks.  I see lots of small businesses using a Mac Mini, usually connected via Thunderbolt or USB3 to a 4bay NAS.  With an 8-12tb drive configuration, such a setup costs around $2000, and its pretty low in the CPU performance department (this is subjective of course, but find a business running an exchange server, along with several web servers for internal productivity tools, and you will see how far an i5-4260U goes).  I know alot of people will think I'm being elitist, but an ultrabook CPU doesn't belong in a server.  There I said it. 


      I've often inquired about their choice of server hardware, and its usually that they have someone in the office who just happens to know the most about computers, and acts as the office IT person.  Don't get me wrong, the Mac Mini is a great product.  But I think most people who run servers with high CPU demand (outside of the RAID-related resources, because ofcourse, in their situation the standalone NAS handles this).  I actually saw a graphic design office last week running an exchange server, and a file server on an iMac running Windows 7 (they made a bulk order, so they figured it was worth it).


      Having said all this, the Mac Mini has a few things going for it, that make valid arguments for small servers with appropriate expectations.

      - power consumption

      - warranty (its only 1 year, but being able to take it to an Apple store appeals to businesses with few/no IT staff)

      - small footprint


      Its tempting to suggest a NUC would be a better value.  An i5 NUC could probably come in about $100 less (configured to 8tb RAM, and an SSD/HDD).  But the NUC is still in the same boat with CPU power.


      I can think of a few candidate CPUs that would serve well in such a scenario (Avoton C2750, or some of the HQ/MX laptop CPUs like the i7-4700HQ and up). 


      I'm imagining something about the same footprint as a NUC, with an Avoton C2750, or maybe one of the upcoming Denverton CPUs.  Would be nice to have a low-wattage, small footprint server, with room for 4x 2.5" drives.  Something like that could be about 5-7" tall.  You could even make room for 3.5" drives, and make it 6x6, and 10-12" high.


      I know Intel isn't out to defeat Apple, being an Intel partner, but surely a better product can be made for server use when people want something easy to setup, low power, and small footprint.

        • 1. Re: Is there any chance Intel might make a NUC-style mini PC for server purposes

          We have in our server room both Mac Mini as well as Intel NUC in additional to rackfuls of normal rack mount boxes and blade servers.  We run ESXi on the Mac Mini and Hyper-V on the NUC.  With the Mac Mini, we replaced the built-in HDD with SSD, and for the NUC, we replaced the case with a fanless one.  The Mac Mini has been running for 2 years+ and NUC about one year now,  Neither has given us any problem.  But given that the NUC is fanless we feel we will get a better longevity from it and less trouble.


          The only trouble we had with setting up NUC as server is the NIC driver, when we put it together, the NIC driver from Intel site did not work with the Windows server OS.  We eventually got around that issue by messing with the drivers.


          We consider NUC to be a suitable server platform and preferable as long as the workload you place on it is suitable for the processor:

          No moving parts, impossible to fail due to mechanical failure

          SSD storage

          Low power consumption -- lasts days on a small UPS during power failure


          Small footprint -- we put them on a tray and can pack many of them in 1U, given they are much smaller than mac mini, you can achieve a much higher density than Mac Minis

          vPro/AMT - this for us was the compelling reason NUC is a better platform than Mac Mini


          Officially, I do not believe Intel supports any server OS on these NUCs judging by the available drivers -- no drivers provided for any version of Windows Servers -- so that will be a small risk if you take this route.

          • 2. Re: Is there any chance Intel might make a NUC-style mini PC for server purposes

            I will pass this information to our engineering department. Your feedback is very valuable for us.

            Thank you.


            Kevin m

            • 3. Re: Is there any chance Intel might make a NUC-style mini PC for server purposes

              Hi LifeIsOnTheWire,


              As Kevin_intel said on the previous post, we are passing your feedback to our engineering and marketing groups however, I would also like to let you know that NUC5i5MYHE, NUC5i5MYBE, DC53427HYE and D53427RKE are supported with Server Operating Systems such as: Windows Server 2012 R2*, 64-bit and Windows Server 2008 R2*, 64-bit.

              You can find the list of supported Operating Systems here: http://www.intel.com/support/motherboards/desktop/sb/CS-034034.htm

              Please let us know if you can think of any server functionality not available on these systems that we can communicate back to our product developing team, we appreciate your feedback.