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Preview on 7th Gen (Kaby Lake) Intel NUC

The 7th Generation of my favorite Homelab systems are ready to be launched and the shipping is expected to start in Q1 2017. Intel NUCs are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a perfect system for labs or as a home server. Intel has put its latest Kaby Lake mobile CPU into the mini system.

Intel NUCs were never officially supported by VMware but they have a great community support. Their 4th5th and 6th Generations are proven in many home labs or even for demonstrating Virtual SAN deployments.

  • Kaby Lake CPU
  • i7, i5 and i3 CPUs are available
  • Up to 32GB of DDR4 SODIMM memory
  • Available with and without 2.5" HDD slot
  • M.2 slot with NVMe support
  • Thunderbolt 3 support via USB-C
  • USB 3.1 support
  • Intel Optane Memory support
  • External SD Card Slot
  • Intel I219V Network Adapter
  • Front Power Button

7th Gen Kaby Lake NUC Models

Model (2.5")NUC7i7BNHNUC7i5BNHNUC7i3BNH
no 2.5" Slot-NUC7i5BNKNUC7i3BNK
ArchitectureKaby Lake (14 nm)
CPUIntel Core i7-7567UIntel Core i5-7260UIntel Core i3-7100U
Base Frequency3.5 GHz2.2 GHz2.4 GHz
Max Frequency4.0 GHz3.4 GHz2.4 GHz
Cores2 (4 Threads)
TDP28 W15 W15 W
TDP-down23 W9.5 W7.5 W
Memory Type2x 260-pin 1.2 V DDR4 2133 MHz SO-DIMM
Max Memory32 GB
USB Ports2x USB 3.0 (front panel)
2x USB 3.0 (back panel)
2x USB 2.0 (internal header)
Thunderbolt 3 Port (40Gbps)YesYesNo
USB 3.1 Gen 2 Port (10Gbps)YesYesYes
StorageM.2 22x42/80 slot for SATA3 or PCIe X4 Gen3 NVMe OR AHCI SSD
LANIntel I219-V Gigabit LAN
Intel VT-xYes
Intel vProNo
LaunchQ1 2017


6th Gen vs. 7th Gen Model Comparison

  • The size of both NUCs is identical (115 mm x 111 mm).
  • The 7th Gen CPU is faster (i5: 3.4 GHz vs. 2.9 GHz). All systems have a 2-core CPU with Hyperthreading.
  • The 7th Gen has an i7 offering (There was a special 6th Geb Skull Canyon NUC with i7 CPU)
  • 7th Gen NUCs have Thunderbolt support on i5 and i7 models
  • The CPU of the 6th Gen NUC supports PCI-Express 3.0 instead of 2.0
  • 7th Gen NUCs are Intel Optane Memory Ready
  • The Power button has been moved to the front, which is good when you want to stack NUCs

Will VMware ESXi work?

There are no Kaby Lake CPUs on VMwares HCL at the moment but I was able to boot a standard ESXi 6.5 image on my laptop with an Intel Core i7-7500U Kaby Lake CPU. A common problem with NUCs in the past was Network and AHCI Controllers. 7th Gen NUCs are equipped with an Intel I219V Gigabit Ethernet Controller which should be possible to get up and running with ESXi. Since vSphere 6.5, all AHCI controllers are supported.

I expect ESXi to work on 7th Gen NUCs. I will write a review as soon as the first 7th Gen NUCs are delivered.

[Update: Heads Up - ESXi not working on 7th Gen (Kaby Lake) Intel NUC.]

11 thoughts on “Preview on 7th Gen (Kaby Lake) Intel NUC”

  1. Without vPro, how do you access your NUCs remotely? I've been looking for a cheap IP KVM, but there seems to be no such thing. Thanks.

    1. I can't access non-vPro NUCs remotely (except the OS itself with SSH/UI of course).
      KVM to IP systems are available for about 100$ per system but I even don't like additional cabling. To hard-reset them remotely, I have manageable power outlets. That's sufficient for my use case.

      1. Thanks. My main question concerned installation. I now see that these NUCs have an HDMI output, so I can use my TV as a monitor during installation; I was afraid I would have to keep an LCD panel around just for ESXi install/upgrade. I need to save up so that I can buy one (or two) of these and stop running ESXi inside of Fusion on my iMac!

  2. Hi!
    I got a NUC7i3BNH this morning and I tried to install it w/ ESXi 6.5 and 6.0. Both failed in regards to a "missing" NIC.
    Any Ideas?

  3. ESXi 6.5 not working out of the box. "Network Device not found". I have no solution yet. I get this from "lspci -nn" on Linux, Kernel version 4.9.8 :

    00:1f.6 Ethernet controller [0200]: Intel Corporation Ethernet Connection (4) I219-V [8086:15d8] (rev 21)

    3a:00.0 Network controller [0280]: Intel Corporation Device [8086:24fd] (rev 78)

  4. I'm trying to install esxi on a NUC7i3BNH. The nic i219-v (8086:15d8) is not detected by the OS. I tried latest 5.5, 6 and 6.5 builds.

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