Intel NUC

Intel NUC 13 Pro Mini PC Running Linux: Power Consumption

Last Updated on October 30, 2023

This is a multi-part blog looking at an Intel NUC 13 Pro Mini PC running Linux. In this series, we examine every aspect of this Mini PC in detail from a Linux perspective. We’ll compare the machine with modern desktop PC counterparts along the way.

This machine is from GEEKOM, a leading and respected brand and manufacturer of Mini PCs. They provide a 3 year warranty on their Mini PCs.

For this instalment in the series, we’re going to examine the power consumption of the NUC 13 Pro Mini PC and compare that to a couple of desktop machines.

The chart below shows the power consumption with the Intel NUC (i7-1360P) compared with a 12th generation Intel desktop machine (i5-12400F) and a 10th generation Intel desktop machine (i5-10400). The specifications of each machine are detailed in the previous article in this series.

Power Consumption at idle

As you can see, the Intel NUC Mini PC draws the least power when idling even though, as our benchmarks demonstrate, it hosts a faster processor than either desktop machine.

The chart needs some explanation to put the results into context.

  • The chart measures the power consumption of each system (not just the CPU).
  • The i5-12400F machine hosts a dedicated graphics card, whereas the NUC and the 10th gen machine both use onboard graphics. Power consumption even at idle is much higher with a dedicated graphics card, in this case an NVIDIA Asus RTX 3060 Ti. That graphics card, itself, consumes 11W with the machine at idle with two screens off, 21W idle with two screens on, as reported by nvidia-smi.
  • Both the i5-12400F and i5-10400 machines offer BIOS power management options. This power management is enabled. The NUC’s BIOS doesn’t offer power management functionality.
  • For the i5-10400 machine, the BIOS offers options to enable Asus Performance Enhancement  as well as a Performance Mode. With both these options enabled, the PC idles at 22.2W and 24.9W with both screens off and on respectively. Having the power functionality disabled therefore makes a significant difference.
  • The Power Saver CPU governor is used.
  • The machines are running Manjaro, an Arch-based Linux distribution. We also tested with Ubuntu.

Next page: Page 2 – Power Consumption With Light usage

Pages in this article:
Page 1 – Power Consumption With System Idle
Page 2 – Power Consumption With Light Usage
Page 3 – Power Consumption With CPU Stressed
Page 4 – Electricity Costs


Complete list of articles in this series:

Intel NUC 13 Pro Mini PC
Part 1Introduction to the series with interrogation of system
Part 2Benchmarking the Mini PC
Part 3Installing Ubuntu 23.10 Desktop
Part 4Configuring Ubuntu 23.10 Desktop
Part 5Power Consumption
Part 6P-Cores and E-Cores
Part 7Gaming
Part 8Installing and Configuring Manjaro
Part 9BIOS options
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Nigel Bolton
Nigel Bolton
7 months ago

How many watts does the NUC’s GPU take when idling?

Patrick
Patrick
7 months ago

Very interesting article, thank you 🙂

We find using the NUC 13 Pro as a desktop machine with the Power Saver CPU governor enabled greatly limits its usability.

Do you mean the machine is noticeably slow even for basic usage (web surfing, watching videos, email, etc.)?

Dave "Nacho" Skelton
Dave "Nacho" Skelton
7 months ago

Have you tried to experiment with powertop to see if you can get the idle power consumption lower?