Laptop vs NUC For Home Office in 2019?

Jun 24, 2019
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Trying to decide between a laptop or an Intel NUC. Below are the specs of both, I work from my home office 99% of the time so I'd either have a laptop docked and shut most of the time or the NUC. The NUC has more powerful specs for the same money but not sure which is the better solution for a home based business? Please, anyone that has knowledge of this, take a look at the spec and price comparison below and give me your advice? Would be greatly appreciated, especially if you'd owned one or both. Always liked the laptop idea instead of the big tower I have now, but after getting a docking station, stand etc it might be more clutter than a little NUC that has everything built in (one little box)? So I have to decide between more power or a more complete package with less power. I have a monitor, keyboard, mouse, etc already so that's not an issue. Have to figure out which one is going to be more reliable, last longer, be faster, etc.. Thanks for any advice/feedback. :)

PS: I primarily use the computer to network, communicating with customers via gmail, Skype, Linkedin, etc.. I also upload and download a lot of files, use Excel spreadsheets, Google docs, have a lot of tabs open in Chrome, only do minor video and photo editing for family pics & videos, opening big excel files would probably be the most cpu intense thing I do next to rendering a family video, running several software programs at once like WsFTP, Frontpage, Photoshop, etc.


SAMSUNG NOTEBOOK 9 PRO (2019) LAPTOP - MY COST AFTER TAX $1158
  • Windows 10 HOME
  • 8th Gen Intel Quad-Core™ i7-8565U 1.80 GHz up to 4.60 GHz 8 MB L3 Cache
  • 16 GB LPDDR3 Memory (On BD 16 GB)
  • 512GB SSD (2500 read & write)
  • Intel UHD Graphics 620
  • PORTS: 2 Thunderbolt 3 ports - need docking station
  • Built-in media reader
  • 1 Year Warranty (no accidental) - can purchase 3 years with accidental from Geeksquad for $350.
INTEL NUC MINI PC - MY COST AFTER TAX $1265
  • Windows 10 PRO 64Bit
  • 8th Gen Intel Quad-Core i7-8559U 2.7GHz With Turbo Boost Upto 4.5GHz, 4MB Cache
  • 32GB DDR4 2400MHz RAM
  • 1TB SSD Samsung EVO plus 970 NVME (3500 read and write)
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics 655
  • PORTS: 1x Thunderbolt 3, 4x USB 3.1, 1x HDMI 2.0a, 1x Headphone/Microphone Combo Jack.
  • Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 9560, Bluetooth 5.0, Gigabit Ethernet, 4k Support, Card Reader, Dual Monitor Capable, Security Slot
  • 3 Year Warranty (no accidental)
 
Last edited:

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Do you need this thing to be portable for trips? If yes, then a laptop. If not, I would not get one of the mini PCs unless you live in a one room 10x8 trailer. Get a standard desktop or a mini tower.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Do you need this thing to be portable for trips? If yes, then a laptop. If not, I would not get one of the mini PCs unless you live in a one room 10x8 trailer. Get a standard desktop or a mini tower.
Well, I have a normal sized office (I work from home) but am tired of the big tower sitting on my desk lol, trying to get rid of clutter. Thats why I was either going to get a laptop and dock it in a stand or at the min pc since its so small. I mean both are very powerful if you look at the specs I posted, probably more than I need, I'm just trying to figure out which one will be faster, more reliable, last longer. The laptop is thin but the NUC is small too so cooling wise, their probably both the same as far as room (NUC might have a slight advantage). My question also is, are there any other benefits to having the ultrabook over the NUC other than portability? I mean honestly, if the l laptop could also have 32gb of ram, a 1 TB ssd, the same quadcore processor, I'd probably get the laptop because of the portability if I ever need it (keyboard, screen etc).. the thing is, the laptop has 16gb of ddr3 ram vs 32gb of ddr4 ram in the NUC which is probably a huge difference in speed?? Also, the 1 TB SSD is a Samsung EVO Plus with 3500 read & write vs the 512gb Samsung laptop with 2500 read & write. The laptop has a 1.8 Ghz quadcore i7 vs the NUC has a 2.7 Ghz quadcore i7. So hard to decide.. uhgg
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Well, I have a normal sized office (I work from home) but am tired of the big tower sitting on my desk lol, trying to get rid of clutter. Thats why I was either going to get a laptop and dock it in a stand or at the min pc since its so small. I mean both are very powerful if you look at the specs I posted, probably more than I need, I'm just trying to figure out which one will be faster, more reliable, last longer. The laptop is thin but the NUC is small too so cooling wise, their probably both the same as far as room (NUC might have a slight advantage). My question also is, are there any other benefits to having the ultrabook over the NUC other than portability? I mean honestly, if the l laptop could also have 32gb of ram, a 1 TB ssd, the same quadcore processor, I'd probably get the laptop because of the portability if I ever need it (keyboard, screen etc).. the thing is, the laptop has 16gb of ddr3 ram vs 32gb of ddr4 ram in the NUC which is probably a huge difference in speed?? Also, the 1 TB SSD is a Samsung EVO Plus with 3500 read & write vs the 512gb Samsung laptop with 2500 read & write. The laptop has a 1.8 Ghz quadcore i7 vs the NUC has a 2.7 Ghz quadcore i7. So hard to decide.. uhgg
Sure it's powerful for the size, but costs more than a normal system. You can't just go by speed between a laptop and a small desktop. If you don't need to or don't want to have the system mobile, don't get a laptop. If you want a small one, get the small one. I would not, you can get a mini tower or a small case for cheaper than the NUCs. And likely it will be more reliable since running components in a small case will always end up with cooling or speed issues. A system does not need to sit on a desk, there is space under or to side of desks. If you want a lower end system, then a smaller OEM system is fine. For anything else, I'm sure you can find several places for a larger system.

But up to you, what you really want to get is up to you, anything else is a suggestion. A system with the same speed as that Intel NUC can be had for well under 1,000 especially if you already have a monitor and keyboard setup.

You also did not say what specs this "big tower" you have has, you may be able to re-use components from it and get a system for 1/2 to 1/3rd the price of either laptop or NUC.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Sure it's powerful for the size, but costs more than a normal system. You can't just go by speed between a laptop and a small desktop. If you don't need to or don't want to have the system mobile, don't get a laptop. If you want a small one, get the small one. I would not, you can get a mini tower or a small case for cheaper than the NUCs. And likely it will be more reliable since running components in a small case will always end up with cooling or speed issues. A system does not need to sit on a desk, there is space under or to side of desks. If you want a lower end system, then a smaller OEM system is fine. For anything else, I'm sure you can find several places for a larger system.

But up to you, what you really want to get is up to you, anything else is a suggestion. A system with the same speed as that Intel NUC can be had for well under 1,000 especially if you already have a monitor and keyboard setup.

You also did not say what specs this "big tower" you have has, you may be able to re-use components from it and get a system for 1/2 to 1/3rd the price of either laptop or NUC.
My 7 year old Asus Essentio PC is a nice tower (mid sized) but its dying lol.. It has an old Amd Phenom 6 core processor from 7 years ago, only 8 gigs of ram, one of the usbs came out in the front lol I would just upgrade it but its way behind. Regarding the small size, it doesn't HAVE to be super small, but it can't be a tower anymore, just tired of the clutter. I love the minimalist look of the docked laptop (desk setups), so much nicer/cleaner.. but then I heard about the Intel NUCs and Asus VIvo Minis that have way more power for the money in the tiny box which also means no docking station needed (less clutter).. As much as I love laptops, a few good points have been brought up about if the screen or keyboard goes out, the computers a waste verses the mini PC can be repaired, upgraded, etc.. I liked the idea of an ITX mini build, I like the Realan silver aluminum cases, there a little bigger than the NUCs and still don't take up a lot of space and look good, but I've been told it would cost more to build one of those than to get the NUC. :-( If the Samsung Notebook 9 Pro laptop I listed above had 32gb of ram, 1 TB SSD, came with a 5 year warranty like the NUC, I'd probably get the laptop and a docking station just for the added luxury of being able to unplug it and go into other rooms in the house, take it with on vacations (although I use my Samsung S9+ phone when we go on vacation..... PS: The NUC mini is the only small pc with a thunderbolt 3 port as well, none of the other brands, even the ones with small mini towers like Lenovo have a thunderbolt 3 port :-( The laptop has ONLY thunderbolt 3 ports lol, can't win.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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I've decided against the laptop. Talked to a guy that docks his laptop after class (works at Geeksquad), said that working all day with a laptop shut doesn't allow the heat to escape good enough, could cause screen issues etc.. so going to go with a NUC or some other type of mini PC. Just gotta find out the best mini PC solution now. So far the NUC is looking the best though.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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Well, for the Intel NUC hades canyon with 32gb ram, 1 TB SSD, quadcore i7 cpu, AMD graphics card, etc its coming out to $1900-$2000!!! Not sure its worth the small size now! uhgg Can also get a 5 year warranty for $99 (comes with 3 year warranty) but still..

Intel NUC NUC8i7HNK Mini PC/HTPC (HADES CANYON WITH SKULL LEDS TURNED OFF IN THE BIOS)

  • Intel Quad-Core i7-8705G 3.1GHz With Turbo Boost Upto 4.1GHz, 8MB Cache
  • 32GB DDR4 2400MHz
  • 1TB Samsung PLUS 970 NVME SSD with Windows 10 PRO 64bit
  • AMD Radeon RX Vega M GL Graphics
Supports Up to 6 Monitors, 802.11ac Wifi, Bluetooth 4.2, 2x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x Thunderbolt 3
  • 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-A, 4x USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-A, 2x Mini DisplayPort 1.2, 2x HDMI
  • 5 year warranty
- $2000

VS

SAMSUNG NOTEBOOK 9 PRO 13.3 (2019 release)"


Intel® QuadCore™ i7 Processor 8565U (1.80 GHz up to 4.60 GHz 8 MB L3 Cache)
16GB ddr3 Ram
512gb SSD
Intel UHD Graphics 620
2 Thunderbolt 3 ports, card reader..
1 year warranty
$1158 (have to buy extended warranty for $350, docking station for $200) so more like $1700-$1800.

Also Starting to look at other options now like maybe a Mini ITX build or something ...
 
Last edited:

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
I've decided against the laptop. Talked to a guy that docks his laptop after class (works at Geeksquad), said that working all day with a laptop shut doesn't allow the heat to escape good enough, could cause screen issues etc.. so going to go with a NUC or some other type of mini PC. Just gotta find out the best mini PC solution now. So far the NUC is looking the best though.
I have used laptops for years in a dock, with lid shut. Although doing that with thin system may cause issues since they design those to use the keyboard and top area to also get rid of heat. But nothing prevents you from using a USB C dock and just leaving the lid open as a second screen, or open a bit to let air flow in.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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I have used laptops for years in a dock, with lid shut. Although doing that with thin system may cause issues since they design those to use the keyboard and top area to also get rid of heat. But nothing prevents you from using a USB C dock and just leaving the lid open as a second screen, or open a bit to let air flow in.
Right, but if you are mobile a lot (like a student) and are using the laptop through out the day and then just docking it at night time when you get home, that's different than having it docked all day long every day while running your business and then just occasionally unplugging it and using the laptop without being docked. Also, I liked the look of the shut laptop in a stand/docked, but this over heating thing has almost killed that idea, plus the laptops dont come with near as much power as the NUCs or other mini pcs... so hard to figure out the best solution.
 
I've decided against the laptop. Talked to a guy that docks his laptop after class (works at Geeksquad), said that working all day with a laptop shut doesn't allow the heat to escape good enough, could cause screen issues etc.. so going to go with a NUC or some other type of mini PC. Just gotta find out the best mini PC solution now. So far the NUC is looking the best though.
Not the best source to get advice from.
 

hang-the-9

Titan
Moderator
Right, but if you are mobile a lot (like a student) and are using the laptop through out the day and then just docking it at night time when you get home, that's different than having it docked all day long every day while running your business and then just occasionally unplugging it and using the laptop without being docked. Also, I liked the look of the shut laptop in a stand/docked, but this over heating thing has almost killed that idea, plus the laptops dont come with near as much power as the NUCs or other mini pcs... so hard to figure out the best solution.
I am not sure what difference it would make if the system is closed all the time or some of the time. It's not like how much it heats up changes if you use it for an hour open then an hour closed vs just two hours closed. Head build up does not take long, I can heat up a system from idle to max temp in a minute, and often do when stress testing systems. I also have worked with a few thousand people over the years that work all day with laptops in docks and out of docks for meetings, no heat issues past what normally happens with systems when they get older and the thermal paste starts to break down.

Keep in mind that many of the people that give advice here with hundreds of posts are experienced IT people that worked for years with thousands of systems not some student that works at BestBuy that maybe dealt with a few dozen systems in a casual home user type setting. I am responsible for about 800 laptops that run a pretty large business, we would not have them with laptops and docks if we thought there would be overheating issues. Of course we also don't advise people to buy super thin fancy lightweight stuff that can overheat without doing much.

I am currently using a new gaming laptop I got shut on a table with a monitor and keyboard attached to it. I turn it on, close the lid, and use it for hours gaming. In the week I had it, I have been checking temps and they are normal for gaming use.

If you don't want a laptop that is fine, but I would not spend extra to get a NUC system for almost double the price of a standard system with the speed you need.
 
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Jun 24, 2019
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I am not sure what difference it would make if the system is closed all the time or some of the time. It's not like how much it heats up changes if you use it for an hour open then an hour closed vs just two hours closed. Head build up does not take long, I can heat up a system from idle to max temp in a minute, and often do when stress testing systems. I also have worked with a few thousand people over the years that work all day with laptops in docks and out of docks for meetings, no heat issues past what normally happens with systems when they get older and the thermal paste starts to break down.

Keep in mind that may of the people that give advice here with hundreds of posts are experienced IT people that worked for years with thousands of systems not some student that works at BestBuy that maybe dealt with a few dozen systems in a casual home user type setting. I am responsible for about 800 laptops that run a pretty large business, we would not have them with laptops and docks if we thought there would be overheating issues. Of course we also don't advise people to buy super thin fancy lightweight stuff that can overheat without doing much.

I am currently using a new gaming laptop I got shut on a table with a monitor and keyboard attached to it. I turn it on, close the lid, and use it for hours gaming. In the week I had it, I have been checking temps and they are normal for gaming use.
I've talked to different techs, most have said the same thing, that if I'm going to be on the computer all day at my home office, the best deal for my money would be a mini itx PC build. They say it'll cool better than the NUC or a laptop, that I'll get more power for my money, that they are easier to fix and upgrade, that they perform better with the desktop components vs the laptop components. So although I love laptops and wanted to dock one in my home office, I'm leaning towards the small mini itx. Just gotta figure out where to get a custom one now because you don't see them being offered by the major brands. lol
 
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