The 6th Generation of my favorite Homelab systems are ready to be launched and the shipping is expected to start in December. Intel NUCs are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a perfect system for homelabs or homeservers. Intel has put its latest Skylake mobile CPU into the mini system.
Intel NUCs were never officially supported by VMware but they have a great community support. Their last 4th and 5th Generations are proven in many homlabs or even for demonstrating Virtual SAN deployments.
- 6th Gen NUCs are equipped with Skylake CPUs
- i5 and i3 systems will be available in December 2015
- Up to 32GB of DDR4 SODIMM memory
- Available with and without 2.5" HDD slot
- M.2 slot with PCIe x4 support
- External SD Card Slot
- Intel I219V Network Adapter
6th Gen Skylake NUC Models
|no 2.5" Slot
|Skylake (14 nm)
|Intel Core i5-6260U
|Intel Core i3-6100U
|2x 260-pin 1.2 V DDR4 2133 MHz SO-DIMM
|2x USB 3.0 (front panel)
2x USB 3.0 (back panel)
2x USB 2.0 (internal header)
|M.2 SATA or PCIe x4 SSD
SATA3 2.5" HDD/SDD
|Yes (Intel I219V)
5th Gen vs. 6th Gen Model Comparison
Comparing the NUC6i5SYH against the NUC5i5RYH.
- The size of both NUCs is identical (115 mm x 111 mm). They also look quite similar.
- The 6th Gen NUC has an external accessible SD Card slot (SDXC).
- The CPU of the 6th Gen NUC is slightly faster (2.9 GHz vs. 2.7 Ghz). Both systems have a 2-core CPU with Hyperthreading.
- 6th Gen Skylake NUCs support 32GB memory, up from 16GB.
- DDR4 SODIMM is required for 6th Gen NUCs.
- The CPU of the 6th Gen NUC supports PCI-Express 3.0 instead of 2.0
Does DDR3 SODIMM Modules work in DDR4 Slots?
No! DDR3 modules used in previous NUCs are not compatible! DDR4 Slots are not backward compatible because it uses a completely different physical sockets and voltage.
Will VMware ESXi work?
We do not have any Skylake CPUs on VMwares HCL at the moment but according to the community it is possible to install ESXi 6.0 U1 on Skylake Hardware. A common problem with NUCs in the past was the Network and AHCI Controller. 6th Gen NUCs are equipped with an Intel I219V Gigabit Ethernet Controller which should be possible to get up and running with ESXi. AHCI compatible SATA controllers with new PCI BUS IDs are typically not mapped to the correct drivers causing them to not work out of the box. This is usually a quick fix.
I expect ESXi to work on 6th Gen NUCs. I will write a review as soon as the first 6th Gen NUCs are delivered.