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Intel NUC 9 Extreme (Ghost Canyon) Review

We are comparing the NUC 9 Extreme Ghost Canyon against a pair of high-powered laptops that Leo reviewed recently.


The base Core i9-9980HK-powered NUC9i9QNX version of the NUC 9 Extreme Ghost Canyon that we are using retails for £1,640 including VAT in the UK, albeit with a free 8GB RAM kit and 128GB M.2 SATA SSD (which realistically are of minimal value).

Beef it up to our configuration with 16GB of DDR4, a 1TB Kingston KC2000 M.2 PCIe SSD, and the ASUS Dual RTX 2070 Mini graphics card and the all-in price is around £650 higher at about £2300. Once you add in the 380GB Intel Optane 905p M.2 SSD that our test unit ships with, that adds another £500(!) onto the cost. That’s around £2800 all-in for our unit, excluding the cost of a Windows license, of course.

Intel NUC 9 Extreme (NUC9i9QNX) Test Configuration:

  • Processor: Intel Core i9-9980HK (65W long duration power limit, 107W short duration power limit, 28.00 TAU).
  • Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) Kingston HyperX SO-DIMM DDR4-2666MHz.
  • Graphics Card: ASUS Dual RTX 2070 Mini 8GB.
  • System Drive: Intel SSD 905p Optane 380GB M.2 SSD.
  • Secondary SSD: Kingston KC2000 PCIe NVMe 1TB.
  • CPU Cooler: Intel Compute Element default 80mm fan and vapour chamber (‘Cool’ UEFI fan settings).
  • Power Supply: FSP FSP500-30AS 80-Plus Platinum Flex-ATX 500W.
  • Chassis: Intel NUC 9 Extreme NUC9i9QNX chassis (‘Cool’ UEFI fan settings).
  • Operating System: Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.

Comparison Systems:

Tests

  • Cinebench R15 – All-core & single-core CPU benchmark (CPU), Stress test (Temperatures & Power Consumption)
  • Cinebench R20 – All-core CPU testing (CPU)
  • Blender 2.82a – All-core rendering of the BMW (CPU), Stress test (Temperatures & Power Consumption)
  • SiSoft Sandra – Memory bandwidth (Memory)
  • AIDA64 – Memory bandwidth, memory latency (Memory)
  • 3DMark – Fire Strike (1080p) test, Time Spy (1440p) test (Gaming)
  • F1 2019 – 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1440, Ultra High quality preset, DX12 (Gaming)
  • Red Dead Redemption 2 – 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1440, High settings manually applied, DX12 (Gaming)
  • Shadow of the Tomb Raider – 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1440, Highest quality preset, no AA, DX12 version (Gaming)
  • The Division 2 – 1920 x 1080, 2560 x 1440, Ultra quality preset, no AA, DX12 version (Gaming)

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