Not so holy…
If you think mini-ITX is too big but don’t like the soldered down processor of the Intel NUC, the chip giant has come up with a new form factor that splits the difference: 5×5.
Measuring, er, 5.5 inches by 5.8 inches (compared to the 4.5″×4.4″ of the NUC, and the 6.7″×6.7″ of mini-ITX), the new offering in many ways slides directly in between the form factors that bookend it. Like mini-ITX, it has an LGA socket compatible with Intel’s Core-branded processors. But like the NUC, it uses SODIMM memory, M.2 drives, and an external power supply. It also sacrifices mini-ITX’s PCIe slot. 2.5″ SATA drives are also an option, though they will increase the system height a little.
So while the 5×5 leans much closer to the NUC spec list than the mini-ITX one, that processor and socket make a world of difference. The NUC processors top out at 28W for the Broadwell Core i7-5557U. Even that’s something of an outlier; every other current generation NUC uses a 15W or 6W chip. The 5×5, however, will have two thermal targets: 35W and 65W. Though 65W systems will be a little taller to accommodate a larger heatsink, support for any Intel Core processor with a TDP up to 65W makes the system a lot more versatile. For example, the Broadwell Core i7-5775C is a 65W part. This powerhouse chip includes 128MB of eDRAM, and as a result it’s surprisingly credible at gaming. This is a chip that can play Bioshock Infinite at 1920×1080 in high quality at 30 fps, Tomb Raider in low quality at 64 fps, and Dirt Showdown in medium quality at 46 fps.