Today, we will be taking a look at two of the best tiny form factor desktops head-to-head to see which one is the best option for you. The Intel NUC 13 Pro and the Beelink SER6 feature impressive buildouts despite their small sizes. Both feature new high-end processors, with the NUC 13 Pro sporting a 13th-generation Intel Core i7 processor and the Beelink SER6 Pro an AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS.
While both are powerful mini PCs, some subtle differences set them apart from each other. In the end, it’s these minor differences that will determine which one is the best move for you. In today’s guide, we’ll check out how these two desktops compare, from the features and specs to their pros and cons. Let’s dive in!
Intel NUC vs. Beelink SER6 Pro: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Specification||Intel NUC 13 Pro||Beelink SER6 Pro|
|Weight||2 lbs||3 lbs|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-1360P||AMD Ryzen 7 7735HS|
|Cores/Threads||12 Cores, 16 Threads||8 Cores, 16 Threads|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe||AMD Radeon 680M|
|Maximum Memory||64GB DDR4-3200 SODIMM||64GB DDR5-4800|
|Storage||M.2 SSD, 2.5” SATA||500GB M.2 NVMe SSD|
|Operating System||Windows 11 Pro||Windows 11 Pro|
|Bluetooth||BT 5.3||BT 5.2|
|LAN||2.5 GbE||2.5 GbE|
|Wireless||Wi-Fi 6E||Wi-Fi 6|
|I/O Ports||4 x USB Type-A Ports, 2 x Thunderbolt 4, 2 x HDMI 2.1||1 x Thunderbolt 4, 4 x USB Type-A, 1 x HDMI, 1 x DisplayPort|
Intel NUC vs. Beelink SER6: What’s the Difference?
The technology landscape would be a vastly different place without Intel. They’ve been in the hardware game longer than many companies have been around. Their first product was a simple RAM chip, all the way back in 1968. But the company’s foray into the compact PC market didn’t come until much later, when they launched the NUC mini-PC series in 2013. There have been several NUCs over the years, 13 to be specific, and each generation has steadily improved upon the previous.
Beelink, on the other hand, is a much younger company than Intel. Unlike Intel, which makes a wide variety of consumer hardware, Beelink has been around since 2011 and got its start with Mini-PCs. The company has also moved into developing TV smart boxes as well.
Both of these mini-PCs are small, unassuming boxes, with the Intel NUC Pro 13 coming in a black plastic chassis and the Beelink SER6 Pro coming in a green plastic chassis. Their looks would not indicate to you that both of these mini-PCs are fully capable content-creation machines.
Typically, with each new iteration, Intel gives the NUC a full hardware refresh, subbing out last-gen CPUs for the newest and the best. The NUC 13 Pro that we are looking at today is the 13th generation in NUC CPUs, and as such, it features the 13th-generation Intel Core processor.
The Intel NUC 13 Pro and Beelink SER6 Pro offer impressive value if you want something small that doesn’t sacrifice power. Both mini-PCs are designed to give you enough power for productivity tasks or even lighter content creation workloads while requiring the smallest amount of space possible.
Weighing at just two pounds, Intel’s NUC 13 Pro comes as a small black box with cooling vents on both sides and an array of ports both at the front and back of the mini-PC. The NUC 13 Pro utilizes a barrel-style DC power adapter, and it’s roughly the same size as a laptop charger. It’s not overly large, but it’s not especially small, either.
Mini-PCs are a favorite in the business world, as they can typically be mounted behind a TV, monitor, or even on or under a desk. Intel has even gone the extra mile here and was sure to include you with a VESA-compatible bracket if you want to mount the NUC 13 Pro. Keeping it tucked away behind your monitor is a convenient way to tidy up your computer desk.
The Beelink SER6 Pro also features a compact chassis, but it also has a bit of flair, coming in a dark-green-colored chassis. The top of the Beelink SER6 mini-PC is made from fabric, with intake grill-style fans on the sides and an exhaust atop the back I/O plate.
It’s just as compact as Intel’s NUC 13 Pro and has a similar I/O layout, though the Beelink SER6’s back I/O can feel a bit crowded with the exhaust fans and the wide array of port offerings. It’s not a terrible thing, as it’s nice to have the amount of ports Beelink included here with the SER6. But if you plan to utilize most of the ports, you will need to manage your cables carefully to keep them tidy behind the SER6 Pro.
At the core of both the Intel NUC 13 Pro and the Beelink SER6 Pro are some of the latest and most powerful processors from Intel and AMD. CPU performance is impressive on both of these machines, but as always, there is a debate lurking underneath the performance of both of these mini-PCs: Intel vs. AMD.
The NUC 13 Pro comes with a 13th-generation i7-1360P CPU. It features an impressive 12 cores and 16 threads, with a base clock of 2.2GHz and a powerful overclocking capability of up to 5GHz. This is a powerhouse of CPU, and it’s not too taxing as it’s a P-model processor, meaning it only requires 28W of power. For a 13th-generation i7, that’s downright impressive.
The i7-1360P is a popular processor in laptops, and it’s a perfect choice for the NUC 13 Pro, as it can provide powerful performance but at a more efficient rate. This low power consumption helps to keep the NUC 13 Pro cool, which can be a challenge for small form-factor PCs. You might hear the tiny CPU fan spin up when it is under load. But it doesn’t get deafening.
Switching over to the SER6 Pro, Beelink has given this mini-PC the Ryzen 7 7735HS, which is one of the best CPUs to be released by AMD in the last few generations of Intel vs. AMD processors. The Ryzen 7 7735HS features eight cores alongside 16 threads, with an impressive base clock of speed at 3.2GHz and an overclock boost to 4.75 GHz. Its power draw isn’t as efficient as Intel’s, with a TDP of 35W.
While not as efficient, the Ryzen 7 7735HS is, technically speaking, the better CPU of the two, but they are both head-to-head in the majority of multitasking applications and content creation applications.
Both of these mini-PCs use their processors’ integrated graphics. So, don’t expect to be wowed. The NUC 13 Pro features Intel Iris Xe Graphics, while the SER6 Pro comes with the AMD Radeon 680M.
Starting off with the NUC 13 Pro and the Intel Iris Xe Graphics, there’s enough GPU power for casual gaming, content creation, and streaming your favorite content. It supports up to a 1080p resolution when gaming, which is fine for playing the occasional PC game, but don’t expect to get the full potential out of your 4K gaming monitor with this mini-PC.
That being said, the Iris Xe does indeed provide support for a total of four 4K displays, making the NUC 13 Pro a great choice for a productivity setup, or it can feature as a great mini-PC for powering a TV in your office’s lobby or hallway.
Looking at Beelink’s SER6 Pro, you can access AMD’s Radeon 680M integrated graphics. The Radeon 680M is one of the best-integrated graphics GPUs on the market and offers a gaming experience that can pull down anywhere from 40 to 60 fps in almost all Triple-A games with a 1080p resolution. While it’s not leagues ahead of the Iris Xe graphics from Intel, if one of your main considerations is gaming with a mini-PC, the Radeon 680M GPU is the better choice.
The Intel NUC 13 Pro uses an older and slower type of RAM—DDR4 memory clocked at 3200MHz. On the other hand, the Beelink SER6 PRO features newer DDR5 memory clocked at 4800MHz.
If you’re just using a mini-PC for casual tasks, you probably won’t notice the difference between DDR4 and DDR5 RAM. However, if you plan on using content creation or productivity applications with a mini-PC, the faster DDR5 RAM of the SER6 Pro might suit you better.
If you’re not using the mini-PC for content creation but rather as a media station, you really won’t notice a huge difference in performance.
Both mini-PCs are upgradable and can be configured with up to 64GB RAM maximum. On both the NUC 13 Pro and SER6 Pro, you can remove the side venting to reveal the motherboard, where you can replace the SO-DIMM modules. We also have to note that the mini-PCs do use SO-DIMM memory modules, which are commonly used in laptops, and not DIMM modules, which are used in standard desktop PCs.
There isn’t too much separating the Intel NUC Pro 13 from the Beelink SER6 Pro when it comes to storage. The Intel NUC 13 Pro comes with a 1TB M.2 SSD, while the Beelink SER6 Pro only has a 512GB M.2 SSD. Both mini-PCs give you access to the M.2 slots to upgrade them if you wish to do so.
You can also install a 2.5-inch SSD in both. Intel has made the process significantly easier, as the top of the NUC 13 Pro comes off easily, revealing a bracket for a 2.5-inch drive. It’s not so easy with the SER6 Pro, which has a drive tray at the bottom of the mini-PC.
If you choose to install a 2.5-inch drive into the SER6, you will be blocking one of the main airflow fans. So, only do so at your own risk; it’s not something we would recommend if you put your CPU and GPU under heavy load frequently. This is a bit of a mess-up on Beelink’s part. But in reality, this mini-PC runs cool enough most of the time under lighter usage that this likely won’t pose a massive risk.
Ports and Connectivity
Both of these mini-PCs offer an excellent array of ports for you to connect your external storage drives, keyboards, mice, and other peripherals. Taking a look first at the port selection on the NUC 13 Pro, you get access to two USB-A ports on the front panel, while the back hosts two more USB-A ports, two Thunderbolt 4 (USB-C) ports, two HDMI 2.1 ports, and an Ethernet port that supports a 2.5 GbE wired connection.
Regarding wireless connectivity, Intel’s NUC 13 Pro features the latest Wi-Fi 6E if you prefer going wireless over using a LAN cable. There’s also support for Bluetooth 5.3, allowing you to connect a wide variety of wireless accessories, such as keyboards and mice.
Going back to the Beelink SER6 Pro, we see two USB-C ports on the front, alongside two high-speed USB-A ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack. Turning over to the backside, you get those aforementioned exhaust vents up top, with from left to right: a LAN port that supports a 2.5 GbE wired connection, two USB-A ports on top of one another, a DisplayPort output, and an HDMI.
As with the NUC 13 Pro, the Beelink SER6 Pro features Wi-Fi 6 for a wireless connection, and there’s Bluetooth version 5.2 for wireless accessories. You may have noticed that these are all a slight step down from Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 that are present in Intel’s mini-PC. While this is true, you are unlikely to experience any major noticeable difference between Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 6.
Operating System Support
Both the NUC 13 Pro from Intel and SER6 Pro from Beelink come with Windows 11 pre-installed, which, for the majority of users, is ideal. It’s easy to use, and if you’re installing a mini-PC in an office or restaurant, you will be able to sync anything connected to your Microsoft account to the mini-PC.
If you’re more of a power user, an IT pro, or someone who just wants to try something new, you can easily install Linux on these mini-PCs. This is especially ideal for someone who is using a mini-PC to build a smart home hub or a small home lab.
Intel NUC vs. Beelink SER6: 10 Must-Know Facts
Intel NUC 13 Pro
- Comes out of the box ready with Windows 11.
- Easily connect to peripherals with Bluetooth support and Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Utilizes DDR4-3200 RAM — not as fast as the BeeLink.
- The top cover comes off for easy upgrading.
- Lightweight at just two pounds.
Beelink SER6 Pro
- More power intensive.
- Fully ready out of the box with Wi-Fi and Windows 11.
- A wide array of connectivity options, including Bluetooth.
- Faster DDR5-4800 memory.
- Better for casual gaming.
Intel NUC vs. Beelink SER6 Pro: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Choose?
Hopefully, we’ve been able to help you understand a little bit more about these two capable and affordable mini-PCs to see which one is better for you.
As we said at the beginning of the article, the battle between these two mighty mini-PCs comes down to the debate over AMD and Intel CPUs. At the processor and graphics level, the Beelink SER6 Pro wins. It has a more capable CPU, especially when it comes to content creation applications and light gaming.
But we can’t deny the quality design of the Intel NUC. You can upgrade the 2.5-inch SSD slot without worrying about blocking your airflow. Plus, it demands less power than the Beelink.
So, ask yourself: are you going to be firing up some games on your mini-PC? Go with the Beelink. You’ll get better performance, thanks to the improved graphics capabilities. It’s no gaming beast, but it’ll get the job done. Conversely, if you want something power-efficient, upgradeable, and quiet for business use or to tinker around with for a home lab, go with the Intel NUC.