Our review of Intel's supremely dinky NUC motherboard was rather mixed, for the simply reason that its embedded low-power Core i3 CPU wasn't up to much performance-wise and it also lacked USB 3.0 and a LAN port (although other models did at least include the latter). Thankfully Intel has seen the light as far as USB 3.0 goes and as well as speedier USB 3.0 ports and a LAN port, the latest BLKDC53427RKE bare bones NUC motherboard also sports a Core i5-3427U 2.8GHz CPU.
This makes it much more potent as an HPTC and general purpose, low noise system, and its retail price, which currently stands at just over £300, is only around £80 more than the older Core i3-based models. As with these, Intel is shipping the board with a plastic case for around £330, relying on the small air cooler strapped to the NUC for cooling.
With such a low power draw (the Core i5-3427U draws just 17W), there's clearly plenty of scope for a fanless case and building on its so far excellent options for slim mini-ITX motherboards such as the Galileo and Euler, Akasa has been quick of the mark redesigning its existing Newton fanless Intel NUC case to fit the new BLKDC53427RKE motherboard.
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The Newton V looks a lot like the Euler, with a flat U-shaped case that's bristling with fins all the way round to increase the surface area to aid heat dissipation. The front of the case sports two USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port, the former being powered via your usual header on the PCB, while the latter actually connects to a USB 3.0 port on the edge of the PCB that would normally sit flush against the stock Intel case's exterior.
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As such it's a little larger than the stock case, at 150mm x 150mm x 47mm, but it's still smaller than any mini-ITX case and is eclipsed by mini-ITX motherboards too. The most surprising thing about holding it is its weight. It's made of solid aluminium, which is pretty thick in some places, and the case comes in at just under 1kg. We're also amazed at the build quality to. The brushed front fascia is exquisite and the rest of the case is expertly machined.
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The rear has output ports for the NUC board's two further USB ports, two mini-DisplayPorts, LAN, HDMI and AC input. There's also a small socket for mounting a single WiFi aerial and it also sports a Kensington lock. The base is the way into the innards of the Newton V and detaches via a few screws round the edge. The motherboard itself sits in face-down with the CPU resting on a raised ridge, which is part of the case, and you obviously need to remove the stock heatsink and fan.
You need to apply thermal paste to the CPU and then secure it to the case, which is done much the same way as you would with any other motherboard, with four standoffs and standard mounting screws. It's tricky to tell how much pressure you need to apply but the screws do eventually stop turning.
You can then attach the motherboard headers, which include power, plus power LED and HDD LED and also the USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 cables. the USB 3.0 cables was quite a tight fit and only just fitted to the port on the motherboard too. Re-secure the base and you're done; start to finish is likely to be less than five minutes so we certainly don't have any major criticisms here.
Dimensions (mm) 150 x 150mm x 47mm 1 (W x D x H)
Available colours Black
Front panel 2 x USB 2, 1 x USB 3, power
Drive bays (mSATA SSDs via Intel NUC motherboard)
Form factor(s) Intel NUC BLKDC53427RKE
Cooling passive radiator (CPU)
Extras VESA mounting pins, thermal paste, case rubber feet