Hi bobjj and mgilbert,
It is better to run Intel® NUC Kits with default BIOS settings. Games demands a lot of resources from the system, specially Video. Make sure you are using the latest BIOS version 0033 and Windows® 10 updates.
For better performance, I recommend you to use 8GB of RAM or more.
If you want to setup your own configuration, there are a few things that you need to understand...
- Most processors publish a Control Temperature (called Tcontrol) that specifies the temperature limit that the fan speed control system is supposed to keep the temperature at or below. Provided the temperature is kept at of below this limit, no degradation due to temperature will occur. If you allow the temperature to rise above this limit, thermal degradation could occur over time. If the temperature rises too far above this limit (i.e. to the next limit, the Maximum Junction Temperature (called Tjmax)), the processor's Thermal Control Circuit (TCC) will power off the processor to protect it (this is called a ThermTrip). While it varies from one individual processor to another, Tjmax is somewhere in the vicinity of 100°C and Tcontrol is somewhere in the vicinity of 80°C. By definition, the fan should be at full speed (100% duty cycle) at and above the Tcontrol limit.
- Your fan speed control algorithm consists of three parameters, a minimum temperature (Min-Temp), a minimum duty cycle (Min-Duty) and a per-degree increment in duty cycle (Rise) to occur above this minimum temperature. The (implied) maximum temperature should be your processor's Tcontrol temperature (use 80°C if you don't know it exactly) and the maximum duty cycle is (obviously) 100%. To calculate the per-degree rise necessary, use this algorithm:
Rise = (100 - Min-Duty) / (Tcontrol - Min-Temp)
- By default, the BIOS automatically ascertains your processor's Tcontrol temperature and adjusts the Rise setting accordingly. It then gives you three automatic modes, Cool, Balanced and Quiet, that you can choose from (alternatively, you can choose Manual if you want to set the parameters your self). The difference between these three automatic modes is the Min-Temp value used:
- The Cool setting uses a lower Min-Temp value, so that, as temperatures rise above it, the Rise (per degree) is smaller. The advantage of this approach is that, the smaller the Rise, the less noticeable changes in fan speed are. Bigger changes in fan speed are more noticeable and could become a source of irritation (this is the field of psycho-acoustics, which studies how changes in acoustics (noise level) affect people). The disadvantage of this approach is that fan speed begins increasing at a lower temperature.
- The Quiet setting uses a higher Min-Temp value. The advantage of this approach is that increases in fan speed don't happen until a much higher temperature. The disadvantage of this approach is that, when temperatures rise and fan speed increases do occur, these increases are larger and more noticeable.
- The Balanced setting uses an in-between Min-Temp value, playing off the advantages and disadvantages of the other two schemes against each other.
- The fan on the processor is a 4-wire Pulse-Width Modulated (PWM) fan. That is, duty cycle values are transmitted to the fan via a PWM signal and the fan speed is accurately controlled from there. This fan should be used with a minimum duty cycle of 25% or higher. Lower settings could cause fan to operate unreliably (struggle) and could affect its overall lifetime.
Hope this helps,