Intel NUC

So, as part of my work is to show that the end product is low power and small form factor, i needed an X64/86 architecture computer that was REALLY low power to run my software on.

Enter the Intel NUC – on paper its an awesome little thing, 5W power consumption (probably base load) 1.46GHz single core atom processor with 512k or cache. Not a super computer by any means, but the power consumption is incredible. it’s also got other stuff thats pretty handy for embedded systems like a built in 4GB eMMC (turns out it’s not that handy) and the usual PWM i2c riff raff that you’d expect.

I had the board variant purchased, which turned out to be a massive mistake. I thought as i don’t want to run it as a low power desktop but rather an embedded computer there was no point wasting university cash on the case, power supply etc etc that came with the kit. In hind sight i should have spent the cash.

The 4GB eMMC while a really good idea on paper, isnt enough to run the windows distro (the reason why an X64/86 architecture was needed), windows 8.1 embedded standard needs 8GB. I could probably custom build an embedded compact OS but that would take ages and wouldnt run matlab anyway. You can however run linux on it, but i’m not trying to run linux so it’s a mute point.

I can’t for the life of me get a SATA SSD or HD to work, no idea why. tried 3 different power supplies to the drive but the BIOS can’t see it

The NUC has a mini PCIe slot meant for mSATA drives and Wifi cards, so i bought a SATA to PCIe converter to try to get the drive to work. Nope.

Bought an mSATA drive to see if that would work – nope, bios can’t see it.

Nothing in any of intels documentation says anything about having to enable anything in the BIOS and i cant find anything to enable anyway.

Starting to get seriously pissed off with it to be honest. should have just bought the kit, that had the proper cables to connect to the boards SATA power connector (a weird and obscure connecter as you would expect, just to fuck people like me about).

I’m going to put the BIOS back to factory settings and try that, maybe enabling the eMMC fucked something up, i dunno. Then i’ll try and update it. not really sure how im going to do that as it would probably require some form of internet connection…. university network with restricted access…. i suppose i could take it home and do it.

Another curious thing is that the mSATA doesn’t actually fit in properly even though intel claims its a supported card, it hits the sata connector and doesn’t lie flat. Now i know what you’re thinking – this is why the BIOS can’t see it because its a shite connection. I’d be inclined to agree with you, but the SATA to mSATA converter doesn’t work and neither does the SATA. So i’m at a loss.

Think i’ll ring intel…. that will be fun.

Seams i’m not the only one with this kind of problem though.

If it works it’s be a great embedded computer. IF IT WORKS. If not, well i’m going to look like a proper stupid twat to my supervisor – PhD student can’t get windows installed.



Ok so, I got it to work! Well, i got the SATA SSD to work, not the mSATA card.

I cannibalised an external HDD enclosure, for a power supply to power the SSD and plugged the sata cable in, had to delete the patricians on the drive for windows to work, but it sorted itself out.

Unfortunately i couldn’t use the SATA to mSATA pcie converter because the power supply on it will only work when its connected up to the pcie interface, and that then covers up the SATA connector. I couldn’t use the 5V out off of one of the un populated USB pads because it would be limited to 100ma without any usb identification, and i couldn’t use the SATA power connector on the board because i don’t have a fucking clue what the connector is or where to get the cable.

I’m happy i got it working but pissed off that it wasn’t the mSATA card… i bought that myself whereas the uni bought the SSD… oh well.

As for Intel claiming it’s a full spec mini pcie interface, i’d like to invite them to sit on my fat, throbbing dick.


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