- The Intel NUC 13 and Geekom AS6 are ultra-small form factor desktops with impressive specs and low price tags.
- The Intel NUC has a long history of iterations and is the most powerful in its 13th generation.
- Geekom is a younger company but has released multiple iterations of compact desktops with solid reviews.
- Both desktops have compact designs, with the NUC offering a VESA-compatible mounting bracket and the AS6 resembling an XBOX One.
- Both desktops come with Windows 11 but can also support Ubuntu or Linux.
- The AS6 is better for gaming and video editing, while the NUC is ideal for home labs, smart home setups, and home theaters.
In today’s article, we’re pitting two of the latest ultra-small form factor desktops against each other: the Intel NUC 13 vs. Geekom AS6. Both desktops have some pretty impressive specs considering their small size. And both are new releases with very tempting low price tags.
Despite their similarities, the subtle differences are what will make or break them. Ultimately, these minor differences set them apart as completely different desktops. So, which one is better? And which one should you have on your radar if you’re looking for a new compact desktop?
We managed to get our hands on both of these PCs for a side-by-side comparison. We’re pitting them against each other and finding out how they stack up in terms of design, processing power, graphics, and upgradeability. Let’s see which desktop comes out on top!
Intel NUC vs. Geekom AS6: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Specification||Intel NUC 13 Pro||Geekom AS6|
|Size||117 x 112 x 37 mm||120 x 130 x 58 mm|
|Weight||2 pounds||2 pounds|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-1360P Processor||AMD Ryzen 9 6900HX|
|Cores/Threads||12 Cores, 16 Threads||8 Cores, 16 Threads|
|Graphics||Intel Iris Xe||AMD Radeon Graphics 680M|
|Max Memory||64GB DDR4-3200 SODIMM||32GB DDR5-4800 SODIMM|
|Storage||M.2 SSD, 25″ SATA||2 x M.2 PCIe Gen 4×4 SSD, 1 x 2.5” SATA|
|Operating System||Windows 11||Windows 11|
|Bluetooth||Bluetooth Version 5.3||Bluetooth v5.2|
|LAN||Intel Ethernet Controller i226-V||2.5G LAN (RJ45)|
|Wireless Network||Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 (Gig+)||Wi-Fi 6E|
|I/O Ports||4 USB Ports, 2x Thunderbolt 4, 2x HDMI 2.1||5 USB Ports, 2x HDMI 2.1, 1x Display Port 1.4|
Intel NUC vs. Geekom AS6: What’s the Difference?
At first glance, both of these desktop computers look like unassuming black boxes. Judging by their plain exteriors, you wouldn’t anticipate the powerful hardware they contain.
As for the NUC, this little desktop has a long history. Intel launched the first generation of the NUC, short for “next unit of computing,” in 2013.
Since then, the company has released 13 new iterations, with each generation improving upon the last. The 13th-generation NUC is the latest model and, as you might expect, it is also the most powerful.
Geekom is a much younger company than Intel, lacking an impressively long history of new products and innovation. Even still, in the short time they have been around, they have released multiple iterations of potent compact desktop computers, with solid reviews each time.
The fledgling company first entered the ring against the Intel NUC back in 2021, when they launched the Geekom Mini IT8. Today, they are a formidable competitor against Intel.
Both the Intel NUC 13 Pro and the Geekom AS6 offer great value if you want something tiny. The design of both systems is focused on providing the most computing power, while taking up the smallest amount of space. As a result, you’ll notice some interesting design choices.
Weighing in around 2 pounds, the Intel NUC is a compact and plain black box, with cooling vents on either side, and ports located on the front and the back. The power supply is external, similar to a laptop, which saves space inside the case.
A PC like this is perfect for fitting into tight spaces, such as on a small desk or under your TV or monitor. In fact, the designers over at Intel anticipated that many would want to mount this desktop with their monitor. As a result, you’ll find a VESA-compatible mounting bracket, allowing you to easily mount it behind your display.
The Geekom AS6 takes a very similar approach. Weighing in at 2 pounds, just like the NUC, it is equally compact. The ports are focused on the front and the back, and the power supply is externally located, allowing for a more compact design.
With a PC like this, you’ll want to be able to hook it up to your TV for some quick gaming. Considering the powerful specs it has, which we’ll get into in a minute, this is no surprise.
The sides of the AS6 are vented for cooling, and the design looks reminiscent of an XBOX One. A little hint at its gaming abilities? Perhaps.
The heart of both of these computers is the powerful CPU contained inside. Both the Intel NUC and the Geekom AS6 pack an impressively performant processor. But the biggest difference between the two is the question of Intel vs. AMD.
As you might expect, the Intel NUC is packing a lightning-fast Intel Core i7 processor. Whereas the Geekom AS6 is sporting an AMD Ryzen 9. Both are heavyweights when it comes to raw computing power. But deciding between Intel or AMD comes with a few factors that must be taken into account.
Inside the NUC, you’ll find a 13th-generation i7 CPU with 12 cores and 16 threads. This powerhouse of a processor clocks in at a base speed of 2.2GHz, with up to 5GHz of boost on tap for when the need arises.
As part of the Raptor Lake, you also get a generous 18MB of L3 cache and support for Gen-4 PCI express. All of this comes at a pretty low power requirement as well, since the CPU only draws up to 28 watts of power.
That explains how it is able to run in such a compact space without overheating: it is an energy-sipping processor.
On the other hand, the Ryzen 9 6900HX inside the Geekom AS6 is equally impressive. Containing 8 cores and 16 threads, it offers similar multitasking and computational abilities as the i7, but with even more multicore performance.
You get a whopping 3.3GHz base clock speed, with up to 4.9GHz of boost. Plus, you still get a generous L3 cache at 16MB, and support for PCIe 4, and DDR5.
All of this comes with additional power requirements, as the Ryzen 9 6900HX draws up to 45 watts of power. So, it is not as energy efficient as the NUC.
Delving into the graphics capabilities of the Intel NUC 13 Pro and the Geekom AS6, you’ll find notable differences rooted in their choice of integrated GPUs.
The NUC 13 Pro features Intel’s Iris Xe Graphics, aimed at delivering a balanced experience for casual gaming, content creation, and video streaming. It supports up to 1080p gaming at 60FPS, offering an adequate, albeit not exceptional, gaming experience.
Iris Xe also allows for the connection of up to four 4K HDR displays, an impressive feature for multitasking or multimedia consumption. Yet, for more demanding games and graphic-intensive tasks, Iris Xe might fall short.
On the other hand, the Geekom AS6 houses AMD’s Radeon 680M integrated graphics. It’s based on the RDNA2 architecture, a significant improvement over the previous Vega 8 iGPUs, and the first integrated GPU to support hardware ray tracing.
Though the ray-tracing performance might not be sufficient for contemporary games, it’s an important inclusion that points toward future capability.
The Radeon 680M, with its high core count and increased maximum core clock, offers superior performance compared to Iris Xe. It’s reported to be faster than Nvidia’s dedicated GeForce MX450, making it suited for 1080p gaming even on AAA titles at low details.
This positions the AS6 as a more compelling choice for gamers, with performance comparable to a GTX 1050-Ti or even 1060 — an impressive feat for an integrated GPU.
The graphics benchmarks paint the AS6 as the winner, as you can see below:
One of the biggest differences between the Intel NUC vs. Geekom AS6 is the RAM. Whereas the Intel NUC offers your typical DDR4 3200MHz RAM, the Geekom AS6 supports the much faster DDR5 at up to 4800MHz.
The difference in speed between the two types of RAM might come out when you are doing more memory-intensive tasks such as gaming or rendering. However, you might not notice the subtle differences if you’re not pushing your machine to the limit.
Depending on your use case, you might appreciate the RAM in the Intel NUC more, since it has a higher maximum capacity. While the Geekom AS6 maxes out at 32GB of RAM, you can install up to 64GB of RAM in the Intel NUC.
The extra memory might come in handy if you find yourself needing to multitask extensively, with dozens of browser tabs open and multiple apps running.
Both desktops take what you might call laptop RAM, also known as the “SO-DIMM” format. This type of memory is smaller than standard desktop RAM, which allows it to fit easily in these PCs’ compact cases.
You can access the RAM for upgrading purposes by unscrewing the side panel and lifting off the case. Both PCs are super easy to add RAM or change your configuration.
Both the Intel NUC vs. Geekom AS6 are very similar in terms of storage capabilities. From the factory, you can configure both systems with up to a 1TB solid-state drive.
This is more than enough capacity for even the most demanding users. You can fit thousands of pictures, documents, videos, and music files on such a drive. But if you want to upgrade, you’ll find it very simple.
Just like the RAM, you can upgrade either of these desktops by removing the side panel. Access to the drive bays is straightforward and accessible. Although the Geekom AS6 gives you a little more room for upgrades.
Both systems support M.2 drives, which are significantly faster than standard SATA drives. The higher-bandwidth interface of M.2 means you’ll be able to boot up and load apps even faster.
However, if you want to add a SATA drive for even more storage, you can easily plug one in as a secondary storage device via the 2.5” auxiliary drive bay.
Ports and Connections
The Intel NUC 13 Pro and the Geekom AS6 desktops both offer impressive connectivity options for such compact machines. Starting with the NUC 13 Pro, it features two USB-A ports and a 3.5mm headphone jack on the front.
The rear houses two additional USB-A ports, a 2.5G ethernet port, two HDMI 2.1 ports, and two Thunderbolt 4 ports. The latter four can support up to 4K resolution, making it an excellent choice for multi-monitor setups, from graphic design to stock trading workstations.
Additionally, the NUC 13 Pro comes with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 for wirelessly connecting speakers, headsets, and other accessories, making it a potential smart-home hub.
Switching to the Geekom AS6, it equally boasts a robust set of ports. The front includes two USB 3.2 ports, a Type-C connector, and an audio port. Moving to the back, it offers three more USB 3.2 ports, a Type-C (Thunderbolt 4 compatible) port, two HDMI 2.1 ports, and a DisplayPort 1.4 slot.
This configuration gives you extensive options for plugging in a wide variety of devices, and the inclusion of the DisplayPort slot provides even more flexibility for high-resolution monitors.
Similar to the NUC 13 Pro, the AS6 also offers a 2.5G LAN port, acknowledging the necessity for a reliable wired connection for high-bandwidth tasks like online gaming. For wireless connectivity, it comes equipped with the latest Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2, ensuring compatibility with a range of devices such as VR headsets, gaming controllers, and more.
As for software, both the Intel NUC and the Geekom AS6 come with Windows 11. For most users, this is perfect, since you’ll be able to get online and download your favorite apps and games right away.
Windows 11 comes with all of the capabilities you need for a gaming machine, thanks to Steam. Plus, you can configure your own software for viewing and storing movies, music, and other media.
If you want a little more hands-on experience, you can install Ubuntu or Linux on these desktops, too. While not as user-friendly as Windows, Linux-based operating systems are ideal if you want more fine-grained control over your applications.
If you’re setting up a home lab or smart home hub, you might enjoy the extra customization capabilities of Linux.
Intel NUC vs. Geekom AS6: 10 Must-Know Facts
NUC 13 Pro:
- Weighs around 2 pounds.
- Has built-in WiFi, Bluetooth, and all the essentials
- Comes with Windows 11
- Uses DDR4 RAM, with up to 64GB max.
- Upgradeable drive and RAM
- Uses a little more power.
- Comes with WiFi, Bluetooth, and all the essentials, too.
- Windows 11 preinstalled.
- Upgradeable RAM and drive
- Faster DDR5, but a lower maximum of 32GB
Intel NUC vs. Geekom AS6: Which One Is Better? Which One Should You Use?
Now that you know all about these two desktops, which one is the best bet for you: Intel NUC vs. Geekom AS6? It is a close fight, and both desktops are impressive for their size.
On the one hand, you have the NUC, with its 13th-generation Intel processor. On the other, you have the AS6, with its powerful iGPU and Ryzen 9.
Simply put, the AS6 makes a better choice for gaming and video editing. If you are doing anything graphics-intensive, you’ll appreciate the extra kick this PC delivers.
Sure, it uses a little more power, but you get the benefit of better graphics, better multicore CPU performance, and better memory bandwidth.
That is not to discount the NUC at all. The Intel NUC 13 Pro is an excellent computer for setting up a home lab, a smart home setup, or even a home theater.
Its powerful CPU and vast storage make it ideal for handling a huge library of media. Plus, with its compact size and VESA mount, you can stow it out of sight entirely.