Review of Asus NUC 14 Pro

Review of Asus NUC 14 Pro

Since Intel ceased producing NUCs with Core processors from the thirteenth generation, Asus has assumed the role of premium brand and created the Asus NUC 14 Pro with the latest Core Ultra silicon. The hardware examined here has an extended case, an Intel Core Ultra 7 165H processor with 16GB of DDR5 memory, and 512GB of NVMe storage. It is available in a wide range of SKUs.

The memory and storage on this hardware are internally accessible for upgrades since the engineers who created it wanted it to be as versatile as possible. To add more USB and LAN ports, an additional daughter board is also available. The NUC 14 Pro is one of the few Core Ultra systems we have seen with Thunderbolt pre-installed, and we have tested a ton of the best tiny PCs. For users who want to connect quickly to another machine or use external storage, this could be essential.

The Asus NUC 14 Pro’s drawbacks include that it is more costly than other brands and that its casing is made of plastic rather than metal. Asus might need to provide more than the NUC 14 Pro does, and at a more affordable price, to win over users in light of cutting-edge devices like the AtomMan X7 Ti, which will hit the market with even more potent processors and distinctive features.

PRICE AND AVAILABILITY

It was difficult to find the specific product that Asus had supplied us for evaluation because it does not seem to be one that the company is currently selling through retail channels. Few online merchants carry the “Tall” design, which is represented by the NUC14RVH hardware that we reviewed, but the majority carry the “Slim” variants with Core Ultra 5 processors.

The closest we could locate was the ASUS NUC 14 Pro Tall Barebone Kit (RNUC14RVHU70000UI) available at B&H Photo Video. This barebones device, which costs $699, has the Ultra 7 155H processor and has no memory or storage. The cost of a filled version with 512GB RAM and 16GB of memory using the Core Ultra 5 125H is $869. That suggests that the hardware we received will be either under $1,000 or over $1,000 when it reaches the shelf. We will wager $1,100.

That is over twice what some brands are asking for a similar laptop, especially taking into account the build quality.

ASUS NUC 14 PRO: SPECS

ItemSpec
CPU:Intel Core Ultra 7 processor 165H (16 cores, 22 Threads)
GPU:Intel ARC Graphics
RAM:16GB DDR5-5600 (2800 MHz) (8GB x 2) Expandable to 96GB
Storage:512TB M.2 2280 PCIe Gen 4
Expansion:1x M.2 2230 PCIe Gen 4, 1x SATA 2.5-inch drive (SSD or HDD)
Ports:2x Thunderbolt 4.0 Type-C, 1x USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A, 1x USB 2.0, 2x USB 2.0 Headers (internal)
Video ports:2x HDMI 2.1
Networking:1x 2.5GbE LAN, WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2
OS:Windows 11 Pro (pre-installed)
Base Power:45W-65W
PSU:19V 6.32A 120.08W
Dimensions:117 x 112 x 54(mm)

ASUS NUC 14 PRO: DESIGN

The air is drawn through the side grills and ejected over the I/O region to the rear, making this the most straightforward cooling scheme possible. In addition to one USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 USB-C port, the front panel has two USB 3.2 Gen 2 type-A connectors. An audio jack, which is absent from the front port collection and not present anywhere else on this PC, appears to be gone.

There are two Thunderbolt 4.0 ports, two HDMI 2.1 ports, one 2.5GbE LAN port, and even more USB on the back. To add a second LAN port and another USB type-A, you can remove the panel and insert a daughter card, which costs an additional $50. Although you could spend the money on a Thunderbolt dock and receive many more ports for your money, the fact that these ports were included speaks much about Asus these days.

Asus supplied a power cable clip to keep the computer from shifting and unplugging, which is a good addition. In addition to that attachment, the package contained a 120W PSU bearing the FSP name and a VESA mounting plate. Asus touts on its website that access is tool-free, even though rotating the unlocking mechanism needs a flat screwdriver, which is not included.




Asus NUC 14 Pro

demonstrates that Asus had not given customers’ entry any thought at all. Because the floor plate is attached to the mainboard by a ribbon wire that fastens with one of those really finicky locking mechanisms, it is difficult to remove. The ribbon is necessary because, should you install one, the NUC’s floor serves as a cage for a 2.5-inch SATA drive, which transfers power and data to it.

ASUS NUC 14 PRO: FEATURES

The Intel Core Ultra 7 processor 165H, which has 16 cores and 22 threads and is surprisingly close to the Core Ultra 9 185H, is the design’s star. With a total of sixteen cores—six performance cores, eight efficiency cores, and two low-power efficiency cores—the selected CPU has a triple-core architecture. Only the performance cores are hyperthreaded, enabling the simultaneous processing of 22 threads.

Since this silicon’s power consumption is adjustable, Asus chose to use the 65W maximum that most system builders use. As a result, the 120W PSU can manage the power requirements of the connected Thunderbolt and USB devices as well as the demands of the system. However, this platform’s finest feature—which is the reason Mini PC manufacturers are lining up for the Ultra chips—is that it supports 28 PCIe lanes, which means that all of the I/O can be supported with enough bandwidth to avoid the need for PCIe switches and other electrical tricks.

The dual Thunderbolt 4 ports, each providing 40Gbit/s, can be used to make use of the bandwidth for additional displays, node-to-node connection, or external storage. Another approach is that thanks to AI Boost technology, this is one of the first Intel processors to enable local AI processing. Even if there are not many consumers using local AI apps right now, this could become more significant in the next years.

With eight Xe-cores operating at 2.3GHz, the ARC Graphics GPU is included with all of these Ultra 7 processors. ARC is certainly on par with any integrated graphics product AMD offers, and it represents a significant improvement over the Iris Xe GPU of the previous generation. The NUC 14 Pro has dual HDMI 2.1 and Thunderbolt ports, which allow it to support four monitor connections. Realistically speaking, though, ARC Graphics is not a current discrete GPU substitute and can not handle high-definition multi-display gaming.

All things considered, this platform is designed for the power user and will devour the majority of office-related duties.

CONCLUSION

Asus even intends to adopt the same product naming scheme as Intel in an attempt to take over the NUC market. But compared to the mostly plastic Asus NUC 14 Pro, the engineering of the Intel goods was noticeably superior. Additionally, they provided a review SKU with just 16GB of DDR5 and 512GB, demonstrating that Asus is defying the recommendations of every other NUC supplier. Currently, the standard is 32GB and 1TB; by year’s end, it may be higher. Nevertheless, Asus does at least integrate Thunderbolt, a feature that a lot of NUC manufacturers have determined is an unnecessarily expensive extra. Value—or rather, the lack of it—is the product’s main issue. Acemagic, GMKtec, and Minisforum are just a few of the companies using the same silicon, so Asus could have justified the expense of their equipment by going above and above, but it decided not to. The problems with the ribbon cable and plastic enclosure might not have mattered if it had been more expensive, but because Minisforum and other companies are selling metal-cased computers with high-end processors for less money, questions must be posed.

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