Setup Notes and Platform Analysis

Our review sample of the NUC13ANKi7 came with all necessary components pre-installed - we only had to load up the OS to start our evaluation process. Prior to that, we took some time to look into the BIOS interface. The video below presents the entire gamut of available options for the Arena Canyon NUC13ANKi7.

The interface is no different from the earlier NUCs. The most interesting part (that was also in the Wall Street Canyon NUCs) is related to the PL1 and PL2 values. Intel configures these based on the ambient temperature tolerance specified (35C - default, or 40C). Setting the ambient temperature to custom allows independent control of PL1 and PL2. For 35C, the PL1 and PL2 are set at 40W and 64W respectively. Another important point to note is the absence of an 'in-band ECC' option that we saw in the ASRock Industrial NUC BOX-1360P/D4. It is likely that ASRock Industrial will also be removing the option on systems which don't officially support in-band ECC. Given the reliability requirements for business deployments, it would not be a bad idea for Intel to enable the feature that is already present in the silicon for better protection against bit flips in the main memory.

The block diagram below presents the overall high-speed I/O distribution in the Arena Canyon NUC.

There is a lack of flexibility on the board design side to get creative with the HSIO lanes allocation due to the integration of the PCH inside the package. That said, the diagram above expectedly looks very similar to that of the Wall Street Canyon NUC - the only changes involve the updating of the HDMI port to 2.1 and the change in the Ethernet controller from I225-V to I226-V.

In today's review, we compare the Intel NUC13ANKi7 and a host of other UCFF systems. The systems do not target the same market segments - for example, the Panther Canyon NUC is targeted more towards power users in a home setting. However, many aspects lie in common, making the comparisons relevant.

Comparative PC Configurations
Aspect Intel NUC13ANKi7 (Arena Canyon)
CPU Intel Core i7-1360P
Alder Lake 4P + 8e / 16T, up to 5.0 GHz (P) / 3.7 GHz (e)
Intel 7, 18MB L2, 35W
(PL1 = 40W, PL2 = 64W)
Intel Core i7-1360P
Alder Lake 4P + 8e / 16T, up to 5.0 GHz (P) / 3.7 GHz (e)
Intel 7, 18MB L2, 35W
(PL1 = 40W, PL2 = 64W)
GPU Intel Iris Xe Graphics
(96EU @ 1.50 GHz)
Intel Iris Xe Graphics
(96EU @ 1.50 GHz)
RAM Kingston ValueRAM KVR32S22D8/16 DDR4-3200 SODIMM
22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz
2x16 GB
Kingston ValueRAM KVR32S22D8/16 DDR4-3200 SODIMM
22-22-22-52 @ 3200 MHz
2x16 GB
Storage Samsung PM9A1 MZVL2512HCJQ
(512 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe;)
(Samsung 6th Gen. V-NAND 128L (136T) 3D TLC; Samsung Elpis S4LV003 Controller; OEM version of 980 PRO)
Samsung PM9A1 MZVL2512HCJQ
(512 GB; M.2 2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe;)
(Samsung 6th Gen. V-NAND 128L (136T) 3D TLC; Samsung Elpis S4LV003 Controller; OEM version of 980 PRO)
Wi-Fi 1x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 (Intel I226-V)
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX211 (2x2 802.11ax - 2.4 Gbps)
1x 2.5 GbE RJ-45 (Intel I226-V)
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX211 (2x2 802.11ax - 2.4 Gbps)
Price (in USD, when built) (Street Pricing on March 27th, 2023)
US TBD (barebones)
$(148 + TBD) (as configured, no OS)
(Street Pricing on March 27th, 2023)
US TBD (barebones)
$(148 + TBD) (as configured, no OS)

Benchmarks were processed afresh on all of the above systems with the latest BIOS for each. The next few sections will deal with comparative benchmarks for the above systems.

Introduction and Product Impressions System Performance: UL and BAPCo Benchmarks
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  • hmurchison - Monday, March 27, 2023 - link

    NUC are useless. Plastic computers with huge external power supplies yet people are actually trying to defend this shit. There's a reason why PC sales are in the sh***ter. For decades PC fanboys vomited out how much PC they could buy/build for the price we bought our Mac. Now PC aren't even that affordable. I'd rather buy a M2 Mini as well. I got Thunderbolt, easy upgrade to 10G networking. The PC industry is beyond boring right now.
  • meacupla - Monday, March 27, 2023 - link

    I think it's funny you think PC sales are being eaten up by macs.
    They're not.
    The largest market share is from smartphones, and it's primarily Android that has been eating Windows PC market share.

    The breakdown of share is basically this
    43.9% Android
    27.7% Windows
    17.1% iOS
    6.2% OSX
    5.1% Other and Unknown
  • MrCommunistGen - Monday, March 27, 2023 - link

    I don't understand the animosity that exists in the Mac vs non-Mac camps. I have and have used both platforms -- Macs since around 1990 and Windows PCs since around 2002 and continue to use both in my professional career. Each has their place and use cases.

    Just because a product doesn't match your world-view, regardless of which platform you prefer, doesn't make the other worthless or useless.

    Regardless of which platform ultimately takes the performance crown, M2, M2 Pro, etc or Raptor Lake, there's no denying that the various iterations of Apple Silicon have amazing perf/W which is especially beneficial in laptop form-factors. It's also really nice for quiet, high performance computing in small form factors, whether that's a SFF desktop or a laptop.

    That said, there are also advantages to the upgradeability of non-Apple devices. The ability to upgrade RAM or storage down the road, whether due to budget limitations at the original time or purchase, or whether you're taking advantage of lower prices in the future can help REDUCE eWaste by allowing an otherwise adequate machine to continue to be used rather than discarded.
    It doesn't help Apple's case that in addition to being non-upgradeable they DO charge pretty high prices for upgrading RAM or storage on their machines. +$200 for upgrading from 8GB of RAM to 16GB, or from 256GB of SSD to 512GB is pretty steep (especially since Apple is paying bulk prices) when as an individual you can buy either a 64GB DDR4 3200 SO-DIMM kit or 2TB NVMe SSD for less than $150 at retail.

    To directly address the claim that NUCs are useless:
    These aren't designed for your average home user. That's not to say that an average home user can't or shouldn't buy a NUC. But really, one of the major intended audience is big corporate offices where the NUC can be VESA mounted to the back of a display and the power brick can be stashed away under a desk.

    Also, MOST non-Atom/Pentium/Celeron NUCs (including the 13th generation models in this article) have Thunderbolt.

    Circling back to what I hope my key takeaway is:
    Can't we all just agree that we all like tech and that new technology is cool rather than just needing to bash on whoever has a different opinion than us?
  • Samus - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - link

    Ditto. I use both. In fact I have an iPhone, iPad, Intel i7 custom-built gaming PC, Ryzen 5600G HTPC for media, 8th Gen Dell Latitude work laptop and my old Macbook Air for when I need OSX for something like testing a clients software. I have a Pixel 3 without cellular connection to fly my drone (because frankly the iPad and iPhone suck for this) and use Android and Raspberry Pi's for projects of all kinds. I've considered getting an M2-based laptop as soon as they are financially viable to replace my aging iPad Pro as my kitchen table media toy.

    This is the definition of a competitive industry benefiting the consumer and pushing technology forward. EVERYTHING HAS ITS APPLICATION.
  • ingwe - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - link

    Spot on. I also don't understand the need to be a fanboy of these gigantic companies that care nothing for individuals.

    I'm perfectly happy to use whatever fits my application.
  • block2 - Tuesday, April 4, 2023 - link

    Been building PCs since 1999 and do not recall upgrading any. Once they need more RAM the CPU is also too slow. I replaced HD with SSD many years ago before many people had SSD which was huge upgrade. Still using that PC (2.8Ghz AMD Phenom II)!!!
  • Pixol22 - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - link

    I'm pretty sure this is bait, but I'll bite. NUCs are not useless, because NUCs are real computers. Mac minis are gimmick computers more alike to an iPhone than a desktop computer. If you buy a NUC, you can use it to run or host anything you'd like, between multiple operating systems. Yes it matters to me if hardware is supported by Linux or not. You can also upgrade components using industry standard technologies like M.2, SODIMM, SATA. Apple exists in this strange bubble outside the industry and at every single opportunity they will screw over their customers with crazy pricing, hostile repair practices, and expertly designed price brackets designed to cause distress in customers so they just spend $200 more...$200 more...$100 more. Also, I am not sure how you came to the conclusion that PCs are more expensive, as AMD and Intel have caught up to Apple Silicon, and PC manufacturers offer more competitive upgradeable components for a lower cost.
  • Pixol22 - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - link

    As a M1 Mac mini owner, been there, done that. There is a lot to like about that computer, but a lot more limitations that make it so infuriating. First, Apple starts those machines at $600 but Apple charges a whopping $200 for an extra 8 GB of ram, which is ridiculous. Then you have to pay $200 extra for 512gb of storage instead of 256gb of storage. Apple's flash isn't even particularly fast, and it is soldered. So all those people that would worry about SSD failure, I hope you are comfortable de-soldering flash. (If such a thing is possible.) Another annoyance is the base configuration with the M2 has a very limited display engine on the GPU, which means you only get two monitors, and the built in HDMI port is more problematic than its worth as it constantly limits resolution, refresh rate, HDR, and variable refresh rate. Perhaps worst of all, the Mac mini comes with macOS and there is no choice to change the operating system, even though there has been some progress on reverse engineering, it is not useful. Running a server or something on a Mac mini is simply painful. I suggest that most people avoid the Mac mini even though the marketing seems appealing.
  • abufrejoval - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - link

    My oranges have 64GB of RAM not 8GB, and 2TB of NVMe not 250GB.

    And I use 10Gbit networking via TB, because they run containers and VMs as µ-servers, not sure if Apple allows NICs they don't sell.

    You can't even get 64GB of RAM from a Mini, while it's €120 including taxes on Intel or AMD.

    You fancy 8TB of NVMe next year, no issue swapping the stick, some NUCalikes offer a 2nd slot.

    I seriously wouldn't mind an Apple SoC in my Linux systems, but not with the ballast of MacOS or the prices they charge for meaningful configurations.
  • Fenturi - Tuesday, March 28, 2023 - link

    Until the SSD runs out. Apple needs to not make systems that can't swap the SSD and RAM, none upgradeability on the SSD is a deal breaker.

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