Kabylake NUC worked up w/ DragonFlyBSD

Matthew Dillon dillon at backplane.com
Wed Sep 6 10:11:03 PDT 2017

I worked up Intel's recent Kabylake NUC with DragonFlyBSD and it tested out
very well.  This is the NUC715BNK (slim or tall version).  Just about
everything I care about worked.  Only the sdcard slot and the IR receiver
don't.  Ethernet, Wifi, dual display, USB, sound, storage... all work.

This is what I tested:




Basically this NUC has a standard Wifi (if_iwn driver and iwn8265fw
firmware), standard ethernet, dual display output that can drive two 4K
monitors at 60hz (HDMI and USB-C -> DP1.2), sound, four USB ports, and a
M.2 slot for a NVMe drive on the motherboard.  The slim version can only
hold the NVMe card, while the fatter version has room for a 2.5" SSD in
addition to the NVMe card.  I've been using the NUC as my workstation for
the last week (driving two 4K monitors) and it works very well with xterms,
chrome, and YouTube.

There are two very nice things about this NUC verses earlier NUCs.  First,
it isn't underpowered.  The cpu is a 2-core/4-thread 2.2 GHz Kabylake, but
it turbo's to 3.4 GHz on both cores (all four threads), and pretty much
stays turboed the whole time which makes it equivalent in power to an older
Haswell i3-4130 desktop cpu.  Second, Intel finally got the Memo and put a
proper M.2 slot on the motherboard that can accomodate a full-sized NVMe
SSD (you don't have to put their stupid Optane junk in the slot, a normal
NVMe card works well and it will boot from it).   Mind you, it isn't a
game-playing machine... this is a NUC after all.  But its a wonderful
low-profile desktop/workstation.  I have it mounted under my desk.

In terms of sound, its standard like most machines these days. I did have a
problem with hum on the stereo outpu jack (channel 0)t, but channel 1 runs
through the HDMI and that works perfectly via the the stereo output on the
monitor.  Other than that, I am quite impressed.

Any NVMe SSD will work, I just threw in a random card I had on my shelf.
I'm not advocating the Toshiba.  The best NVMe SSDs today are from Samsung
and Micron/Crucial.  Standard EFI boot.

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