Intel launched a successor to their Skull Canyon based Gaming NUCs - The 8th Gen Kaby Lake-G NUC. The new Hades Canyon named NUCs are the first systems to have two Gigabit NICs embedded which makes them even better to be used with ESXi. NUCs are not officially supported by VMware but they are very widespread in many home labs or test environments. They are small, silent, transportable and have a very low power consumption, making it a great server for your homelab. Generation 8 Hades Canyon NUCs are available with two different CPUs but their main difference is the Graphics chip. Compared to the previous releases commercial Dawson Canyon NUCs, they are not equipped with Intel's vPro Technology.
- NUC8i7HVK (Intel Core i7‑8809G) - "The big one"
- NUC8i7HNK (Intel Core i7‑8705G)
- Intel Kaby Lake-G CPU
- i7 CPU with 4 Cores and up to 4.2 GHz
- Up to 32GB of DDR4 SODIMM memory
- 2x M.2 slot for PCIe X4 or Gen 3 NVMe
- 2x Gigabit Network Adapter
- 2x Thunderbolt 3
- Vega/Polaris based GPU
- Intel Optane Memory Ready NUC
Comparison with previous NUCs (Dawson Canyon)
- no vPro Technology
- TDP of 65W and 100W
- 2x USB 3.1 Gen2
- SD Card Slot
- No "tall" (H) model with 2.5" disk support
To get an ESXi Host installed you additionally need:
- Memory (1.2V DDR4-2400 SODIMM)
- M.2 SSD (22×42 or 22×80) or USB-Stick
The following table compares the two Hades Canyon models with the i7 Version of the previous generation Dawson Canyon NUC, which was also equipped with an 8th Gen CPU.
|Code Name||Hades Canyon||Dawson Canyon|
|Architecture||Kaby Lake-G||Kaby Lake-U|
|CPU||Intel Core i7‑8809G||Intel Core i7‑8705G||Intel Core i7-8650U|
|GPU||Radeon RX Vega M GH||Radeon RX Vega M GL||UHD Graphics 620|
|Base Frequency||3.1 GHz||3.1 GHz||1.9 GHz|
|Turbo Frequency||4.2 GHz||4.1 GHz||4.2 GHz|
|Cores||4 (8 Threads)|
|TDP||100 W||65 W||15 W|
|Memory Type||DDR4-2400 1.2V SO-DIMM|
|Max Memory||32 GB (2x 16 GB)|
|USB Ports||5x USB 3.0 Type-A|
1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C
1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A
|4x USB 3.0|
1x USB 3.0 (internal)
2x USB 2.0 (internal)
|Thunderbolt Port||2x Thunderbolt 3 Port||No|
|Storage||2x M.2 22x80 slot for SATA3 or PCIe X4 Gen3 NVMe||M.2 22x80 PCIe X4 Gen3|
SATA3 2.5" HDD/SDD
|LAN||Intel I219-LM Gigabit LAN|
Intel I210-AT Gigabit LAN
|Intel I219-LM Gigabit LAN|
|Available||Q2 2018||Q2 2018||Q1 2018|
HCL and VMware ESXi Support
Intel NUCs are not supported by VMware and not listed in the HCL. Not supported means that you can't open Service Requests with VMware when you have a problem. It does not state that it won't work. Some components used in the NUC are listed in the IO Devices HCL.
ESXi runs out of the box on the NUC8i7HVK and with BIOS v51 on the NUC8i7HNK. I recommend to install the latest available BIOS version on both systems: 8th Gen NUC BIOS Update - Intel Download Center
Network (Intel I219-LM and I210)
Both network adapters are listed in the HCL for vSphere 6.5 and 6.7 and no additional drivers or modifications are required.
Depending on the physical switch used, sometimes the ne1000 based NIC fails to connect due to auto-negotiation problems. To work around this issue use the left port for initial configuration and disable auto-negotiation from the ESXi Host Client.
To disable auto-negotiation, open the Host Client and navigate to Networking > Physical NICs > vmnic0 > Edit settings and set the speed to 1000Mbps, full duplex.
- VMware Compatibility Guide - Intel Ethernet Connection I219-LM
- VMware Compatibility Guide - Intel Ethernet Connection I210
0000:00:1f.6 Ethernet controller Network controller: Intel Corporation Ethernet Connection (2) I219-LM [vmnic0] Class 0200: 8086:15b7 0000:05:00.0 Ethernet controller Network controller: Intel Corporation I210 Gigabit Network Connection [vmnic1] Class 0200: 8086:157b
Tested ESXi Versions
- VMware ESXi 6.5
- VMware ESXi 6.7
To clarify, the system is not supported by VMware, so do not use this system in a productive environment. I can not guarantee that it will work stable. As a home lab or a small home server, it should be fine.
No customization is required to install ESXi 6.5 U2 or ESXi 6.7 on 8th Hades Canyon NUCs. You can use the image provided by VMware to Install ESXi:
- VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7 U1 [Release Notes] [Download]
- VMware vSphere ESXi 6.7 [Release Notes] [Download]
- VMware vSphere ESXi 6.5 U2 [Release Notes] [Download]
The performance of a single NUC is sufficient to run a small home lab including a vCenter Server and 3 ESXi hosts. It's a great system to take along for demonstration purposes. Currently, I run a 3-NUC Cluster that runs about 20 virtual machines including 2 vCenters, virtual ESXi Hosts, vSAN and NSX. With their four 3.1GHz Cores, the new Hades Canyon NUCs are at the top of the performance chart.
The following chart is a comparison based on the NUCs PassMark score:
NUCs have a very low power consumption. I've measured the power consumption of my NUC8i7HNK in 3 states: Idle (ESXi in Maintenance Mode), Average Load (1 vCenter, 4 Linux VMs) and during a Stress test. The NUC has been configured with 32GB RAM and no HDD or SSD.
- Idle: 26 W
- Average Load: 28 W
- Stress Test: 51 W
With that, the average operating costs are about 5 Euros per month:
28 watt * 24 h * 30 (days) = 20,16 KWh * 0,25 (EUR) = 5,04 EUR
ESXi Boot Disk